Did your dog start wolfing? Sometimes it makes you laugh, sometimes it annoys you a little because it is still restrictive if this behavior is adopted excessively. Whether for you or for your neighbors elsewhere.
What do the howls of a dog mean?
The howling of the dog is part of its range of means of communication, as well as barking or grunting. To reassure you immediately, when your dog is wolf, it is not necessarily that he is in pain. At least, he is not in physical suffering, we will see later that this behavior can be caused by a simple lack.
First of all, it will be important to distinguish this howling behavior in domestic dogs and in the most “lupoid” dogs. Let me explain: the most lupoid dogs are in fact the dogs which have characteristics, in particular physical, which are closest to wolves, the ancestors of the dog.
Clearly, these breeds (like the Husky or the Czechoslovakian or Saarloos Wolf Dogs ) are among the breeds that have been the least modified by humans and which therefore keep some very marked instincts.
On the other hand, for breeds that have been widely modified by humans to promote peaceful human / dog cohabitation, it will be rather rare (but nevertheless possible) to find behaviors such as howling.
Why do wolves howl?
“To make the wolf”, as its name indicates it, comes from a behavior adopted by the wolves, the ancestors of the dog. This attitude has a role of social interaction and signaling:
- In wild wolves, howls are used to signal their geographic position. Often this behavior will be observed when a member of the family group is “lost” or removed from his group. He will therefore signify his presence, and the members of the group who hear him will answer him to help him find his way.
- Still among wolves, howling is a territorial signal. Indeed, it is used by the group to signal that they are there, and that they are “at home”. Clearly, wherever their screams resonate, other individuals will know that a pack is present. You will understand, your domestic dog will not be able to make the wolf for this reason because it is simply not part of a pack.
Personally, I could observe this howling behavior during an internship that I carried out in a pack of 50 Husky a few years ago. As soon as a dog started to “wolf”, everyone responded and it could also be triggered by any noise similar to that of howling.
Why do domestic dogs howl?
As we have seen, it will be rare to see a domestic dog wolf, except if it belongs to a breed very close to the wolf.
However, it is not impossible to hear a dog (of a breed well modified by humans) adopt this behavior, let’s see what can push a dog to make a wolf?
- The howling can indeed be triggered by a noise similar to that of the howling: a siren, a horn, music, etc.
- A dog can start to wolf if its owner does. Indeed, the howling being an activity and a social interaction, the dog will take it as a call and will answer his master, without really understanding why elsewhere.
- A dog left alone and who can not stand it can start to wolf to call “for help” and especially to indicate that he is alone and that he wishes to find his master. I have also observed it in my dog (which is however not one of the most lupoid dogs, given that it is a Border Collie). I could see it because I have a camera that alerts me to my dog’s barking and when I received the notification and I launched the video to see what my dog was doing, I saw it in the middle of my living room playing wolf. Sorry for my neighbors …
If your dog plays wolf when he is alone, it is because a certain separation anxiety prevents him from living calmly your departures. Do not hesitate to consult our article which will help you to solve this problem.
- A bored dog can also start wolfing, as if to keep busy. Remember to stimulate and keep your dog busy every day. Whether you are present at home or not, your dog needs to exert himself physically, mentally and in an olfactory way to be well in his paws, and this regularly, it is important for his balance. Do not hesitate to read our article on “how to occupy your dog” which will allow you to find many ideas to stimulate and occupy your doggie.
You will understand, the dog that makes the wolf is not necessarily in physical suffering, it is a behavior which remains normal. Nevertheless, the domestic dog that makes the wolf can still be in emotional distress, I would say.
Why is my dog wolf?
- Because his breed is close to the wolf and that he keeps marked instincts and behaviors specific to the most “primitive” dogs.
- Because he heard a noise approaching that of the howl and that he therefore has the reflex to respond to it.
- Because he feels alone and seeks to report it and to call his master.
- Because he is bored and found this social activity to occupy himself.
What if my dog plays wolf?
- Understand the cause (boredom, instinct, anxiety, etc.).
- Occupy your dog during absences.
- Positive departures.
- Adopt a consistent attitude to resolve the problem of separation anxiety.
- Divert to another behavior if the screams are excessive by offering an activity to your dog.