Why Do Dogs Howl When You Howl

Why Do Dogs Howl When You Howl?

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Dogs who howl with their owners do so for a variety of reasons, but mainly because they enjoy bonding with their human parents and enjoy a good howl. Howling is not a favorite of some dogs, so they do it when they are anxious. Consider this if you notice it occurring in your pet.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Why Do Dogs Howl When You Howl?“.

Howling dogs. The howls vary from time to time. Sometimes they are in response to the moon sometimes its twilight (101 Dalmatians?) and sometimes they’re in response to your howl.

Why Do Dogs Howl When You Howl

Whats the reason though?

Could it be that they’re descended from wolves?

Your little one may be wishing that he could run wild in the hills as his ancestors did. Since hes stuck as a tiny handbag dog his best option is to howl as his life depends on it.

It begs the question is it safe?

What is the point of making them howl?

Do they really enjoy it or is it just for show? We did the research on this topic so you would not have to.

Pack Bonding

Usually dogs assume their human family is part of the pack since dogs are pack animals.

There are rituals that wolves and other species of packs perform in the wild that prove you’re a pack member.

In other words when you howl at your dog he might howl back to show you’re part of his pack.

Thats so sweet! I guess hes complimenting you on your attempts to form a bond with him as they say that imitation is the greatest compliment.

Alternatively he believes he ranks higher than you in the pack and so he indulges you just like parents do with their young children. Correct.

Descent from Wolves

Dogs descended from domesticated wolves way back in history.

What was the process of domesticating the first wolves?

What human said “Hey that ferocious predator is kind of cute and I want to pet him”? I digress. 

Wolf howls to signal their position to other wolves since they are territorial animals.

Therefore dogs are genetically predisposed to howl when they hear high-pitched sounds signaling to other wolves (real or imaginary) nearby that they are not alone in the world.

Your howling is one of these sounds. There are also sirens doorbells and violins. 

For Treats

The vast majority of dogs are brilliant (at least most of them are) and they quickly figure out which behavior gets them treats and which does not.

In other words if you give your Rover treats when he howls he’ll soon get the idea and start doing it for the treat. Is it any wonder? 


The majority of dogs are highly sensitive to their human parents’ emotions.

When you’re excited they’ll get excited as well jumping around and getting all giddy.

Stress sadness anxiety or any other emotional state are all examples of this.

Thus if you display emotions or behavior that seems weird to your dog when you’re trying to get him to howl he’ll likely howl in response.

Its possible hes a bit freaked out. The man thinks you are saying “oh man!” when you are saying “oh man!”

The whole thing is so bizarre! I do not know whats happening!”

In response he shouted “buddy you freak me out and I’m confused!

Thank you so much! Please stop now!”   Well maybe not.

Right? Who is capable of reading minds?


It is not uncommon for dogs to kick their seats when they are bored just as a toddler kicks the seat in front of him on a plane.

They may chew on your garden furniture or shoes dig a huge hole under your veranda or howl. When your dog is bored you might want to offer him some more stimulating toys and activities.

You know get his mind moving so he does not get bored.

The fog breed like Collies and Jack Russells thrives on games that engage their minds and bodies getting the mental juices flowing while letting out all the energy.

He’s Trying to Tell You Something

There is a possibility that your dog will howl when you howl but not always. Sometimes it might not be when you howl.

Observe his howling patterns and try to spot a pattern. Perhaps he is trying to tell you that he needs something.

Signals like that are useful for signaling mealtime or when its time to take a walk or when he needs to go potty. The poor guy does not have the words to tell you these things so he has to find another way to communicate his message.

If you can see a pattern in Bruisers howling you’ll be able to better understand and meet his needs which will make things easier for you both.

Is it Cruel to Make Your Dog Howl?

Howling isnot for every dog.

Because they can not express themselves verbally the best thing to do is to observe Rovers body language.

Its likely that hes having a good time and bonding with you when hes howling. You should encourage him to do that.

Lets say your dog shows signs of anxiety or agitation when he howls.

In that case he might be reacting negatively. Anxiety fear or uncertainty might be troubling him.

You should not encourage him to howl.

By petting him speaking in a calm low tone and being calm in general reassure him that everything is fine.

Likewise look out for patterns as these could help you determine whats causing him anxiety.

Without knowledge you can not fix something

What Do I Do When My Dog Howls? Why Do Dogs Howl When You Howl?

What can you do about a dog howling now that you know why they howl?

He might be howling for different reasons depending on the situation.

You can let your dog howl if he is howling to bond with you or for any other positive reason.

You or your neighbors should not be bothered by it of course. 

You should not encourage your dog to howl if you do not want it to howl or if its doing so because of anxiety or any other negative reason.

The best thing to do is to reward him when he does not howl.

It may be difficult because you’re rewarding inaction instead of action but keep going and you’ll be rewarded.

Which Breeds of Dogs Can’t or Won’t Howl?

Huskies and German Shepherds howl more than other breeds like other dog breeds. Most hound breeds also howl frequently.

The majority of dog breeds do not howl or they are highly unlikely to do so.

The Basenji is one of the few dogs that never barks.

Despite its barkless name this pup does not mean its completely silent – it occasionally makes a low-level noise similar to yodeling.

French Bulldogs are also very unlikely to bark and they’re not likely to howl. Also known for being couch potatoes they do well in apartments.

Bulldogs Bernese Mountain Dogs Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Whippets Shih Tzus Shiba Inus Scottish Deerhounds and Doberman Pinschers are among other quiet breeds.


Many dogs are not prone to howling however some breeds namely the hounds love it.

Despite this you might be able to get your dog to howl with you unless its a Basenji since they can not physically howl.

Dogs who howl with their owners do so for a variety of reasons but mainly because they enjoy bonding with their human parents and enjoy a good howl. 

Howling is not a favorite of some dogs so they do it when they are anxious. Consider this if you notice it occurring in your pet.

The best thing to do in that situation is to discourage the howling show a lot of love and attention and try to work out whats causing the anxiety.

Your pup should not be discouraged if the noise does not bother you and its howling along happily.

However if you (or your neighbors) prefer a quieter environment you can deter the howling or look for a dog of a quieter breed.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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