Howling. A classic dog behavior. Something that is probably incredibly annoying to your non-doge loving neighbors. And so darn cute in puppies, you just can’t stand it.
So. Why do dogs howl?
Dogs are descended from wolves, so it’s only natural that behaviors would translate. Wolves use howling for a number of communication reasons, among them helping other pack members to locate each other. This theory has particular resonance due to the fact that dogs that are still close to wolves genetically tend to howl more than dogs that aren’t.
A howl is loud, distinctive and piercing. So it seems only natural dogs would use it to spread the alarm and call for aid.
Many dogs are trained to howl when they find prey, particularly hunting breeds. This allows their hoomans to find them when they are miles away, and also helps to sometimes keep their prey trapped.
“This is MY bed!” Ok, so maybe not quite that literally. But as wolves use howling to let other animals (mostly other nearby packs) know the boundaries of their territory, so dogs may be doing the same to other passing dogs…cats…fire trucks.
Ever noticed one pup (or hooman) howling sets off another pooch? It’s a strong indicator that the pups feel the behavior is social. You do it, they do it. Ok…maybe they’re just being copy-canines.