Howling and Whining are one of many forms of vocal communication used by dogs, and have a direct connection to barking. Just with barking, dogs howl to get noticed, and to announce their presence. High-pitched sounds, like emergency vehicle sirens or musical instruments can also be responsible.
Issues to Rule-Out First
- Separation Anxiety Howling
If your neighbors call you and tell you that your dog is howling when you are at work, your dog’s extreme howling may be brought on by separation anxiety. Separation anxiety howling only takes place when a dog is left alone or else separated from his human. This type of howling is usually coupled with at least one other characteristic of separation anxiety, like pacing, destruction, elimination, depression.
- Health-related Causes
Dogs sometimes howl when they’re injured or unwell. If your dog starts howling or howls more than ever before, take him to a vet to eliminate sickness and injury prior to doing other things.
How to Handle Excessive Howling
Howling in Response to Sounds
If your dog howls as a result of some kind of trigger, such as another dog howling or a nearby siren, he’ll most likely stop when the sound stops. This kind of howling usually isn’t excessive -unless, of course, the triggers happen often. If they do, you should use desensitization and counter-conditioning to aid your dog learn to be quiet.
When the issue is rooted in how a dog feels with regards to a particular thing, often it isn’t enough to just teach him a different behavior -like to fetch a toy rather than howling, for instance. Instead, it’s best to alter his motivation and feelings, which are the fundamental reasons for the behavior issue in the first place.
Systematic desensitization and counter-conditioning are two typical treatments for fears, anxiety, phobias and aggression -basically any behavior problem which involves arousal or emotions. It’s often most reliable to use these two methods together when trying to solve animal behavior problems.
Some dogs discover howling can get them attention from people. If your dog howls because of this, his howling will often occur in your presence when he wants attention, food or desired objects. If your dog howls to obtain your attention or “ask” you for things he wants, like food or toys, you have to teach him a couple of things to be successful in curbing his behavior.
For starters, he must learn that howling doesn’t work. Secondly, he also must learn that being quiet will work. If your dog understands that howling makes him invisible to you and being quiet earns him your attention as well as all the great stuff he wants, he’ll quickly figure out how to curb his vocal behavior.
Disregard your Dog’s Attention-Seeking Howling
To prevent accidentally rewarding your dog when he howls, completely ignore him as soon as he starts making noise. Don’t make an effort to scold him either. Dogs, like kids, often find any attention rewarding -even if it’s negative one. Just pretend your pet is invisible. If you find it hard to get this done, try folding your arms across your chest and avoiding him completely.
Reward your Dog for being Quiet
It’s very easy to forget to focus on your dog when he’s being quiet. If you want your pet to learn to stop howling for attention, you’ll have to reward quiet behavior. At random give your dog treats and attention when he isn’t making noise. It’s also advisable to make and adhere to a new rule: Your pet doesn’t get anything he wants (food, toys, access to the outdoors, treats, petting, etc.) until he’s been quiet for a minimum of five seconds. If your dog howls so as to get your attention, ignore him until he’s quiet, as described above. Then, after few seconds of silence, you can focus on him again.
Because howling issues can be tough to work with, don’t think twice to enlist the help of a professional.
Whining has a close connection with barking. Dogs most often whine for a number of reasons.
- Appeasement Actions – Some dogs will adopt a submissive posture and whine when interacting with people and other dogs.
- Greeting Behavior – Some dogs whine when they are excited during greetings. The greeting may be when meeting dogs or people.
- Seeking Attention – Some dogs whine to get their owners attention, rewards or desired objects.
- Anxiety – Some dogs may whine involuntarily as a result of stressful situations.
- Separation Anxiety – your dog only whines right before you leave or during your absence.
- Injury or Medical Condition – whining may occur in response to pain or an agonizing condition. If you notice that your dog vocalizes often or has suddenly begun to vocalize, it’s vital that you take her to the vet to rule out medical causes.
How to Handle Excessive Whining
Appeasement whining is a normal canine behavior when they perceive a threat or aggression being directed at them. Dogs may hold the ears back, tuck the tail, crouch or roll over on the back, avoid eye contact or turn the body sideways to the perceived threat,
One strategy to reduce your dog’s appeasement whining is by building her confidence. Try an obedience class that uses reward-based training techniques, trick-training classes or dog sports like agility, fly ball and musical freestyle. Avoid physical and verbal punishment.
Whining During Greetings
If whining happens during greetings then try to divert his attention to his favorite toys. Telling your dog to be quiet won’t be effective unless you’ve taken specific steps to train your dog what the word “Quiet” means.
Furthermore, most dogs whine when greeting people because they’re excited, and in an incredibly aroused state, they may not have control over their behavior. Instead, use management procedures to help prevent your pooch from becoming overly excited.
This type of whining is difficult to eliminate – the cause of anxiety needs to be removed. It is usually accompanied by other nervous behaviors, such as pacing, circling and licking. There are some medications may help reduce your dog’s anxiety. Check with your veterinarian.
Steps to Avoid Whining
As well as not reinforcing whining behavior, you need to reward your dog for being quiet. Your dog must learn that they only receive your attention, play or treats when they are quiet. They will lose the motivation to whine as they understand that silence works well to get your attention.
Don’t hesitate to contact a professional in your area. Many pros offer group or private classes that can give you and your dog lots of great skills to learn and games to play that will reduce her appeasement whining, whining during greetings and attention-seeking whining.