Why Does My Dog Howl At Music?

By helloBARK!
Updated on 22 April 2021
Expert Content

Do you have a dog that likes to howl?

I own two Alaskan Klee Kai and they don’t need an excuse to stretch their vocal cards.

My male Klee Kai is particularly talkative and he likes to howl along to songs on the radio.

So it prompted me to question: why dog my dog howl at music?

In this article, we’re going to hear from six experts, ranging from vets to dog behaviorists, who will explain why dogs like to howl at music.

Higher Sensitivity To Sound

Brandon Werber, Founder & CEO Of Airvet

Dogs have a much higher sensitivity to sound than humans.

The frequency in music can be similar to sounds their ancestors heard/made in the wild, which can create a reaction in your dog that they express as a form of communicating.

They also may simply be reacting to your innate pleasure from the music if you experience a physical reaction to the song as well.

Dogs communicate verbally as a form of bonding which can be another reason they’re howling if you are singing along with the tune.

Howling Is In The Genes

Celynn Leow, CEO Of The Halo Pets

It’s likely in your dog’s nature to howl anytime it hears high-pitched noises, which is why it howls at music. It may also be that it is responding to your emotions or that you have unconsciously taught it to howl while music is playing.

It’s possible that howling is in the genes as it detects high-pitched sounds, such as certain kinds of music. Dogs and wolves would howl in the wild to warn other dogs and wolves of their presence, and when they hear other dogs howling, they would howl as well.

It’s possible that this is why the dog howls when it hears music.

Instinct Is Triggered

Tammi Avallone, Managing Editor Of FiveBarks

Wolves howl and communicate with one another in the wild. Wolves howl in a very different way from the dog. Since a howl’s high-pitched howl can be transmitted over long distances, one wolf can howl to another to inform him of his location.

It’s similar to wolf GPS. A howl will help reunite a pack that has scattered through thousands of acres of forest. Your lovable pooch is descended from wolves, and although he doesn’t use howling to find his pack, he also has the instinct to answer a howl.

When a dog hears high-pitched music, the howling instinct he inherited from his wolf ancestors is triggered.

Beagle howls at home (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Beagle howls at home (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Prefer Wind Instruments

Dr Maureen Murithi, DVM And Veterinary Spokesperson At Doggiedesigner.com

Dogs use howling as a form of communication, especially with other dogs. They also do this when separated from their caregivers. Experts suggest it could be a sign of separation anxiety.

Wolves who are also part of the canine family are known to howl when separated from their park. Dogs howling to music is assumed to a way of them bonding with their caregivers. It’s their way of communicating and connecting with their pet parents.

Anecdotal research has shown their preference to howl to music from wind instruments such as the clarinet, saxophone, etc.

Form Of Communication

Crystal Health, DVM And Co-founder of OurHonor.org

Dogs can hear higher frequencies than we can. When they howl at music it is possible they are hearing a frequency we are not. Dog’s may also howl when a siren blasts as well.

Dogs tend to howl more when they are removed from the pack. Its is a form of communication to connect with other dogs, but it could also just be that the high pitches heard in music or sirens triggers this instinct even if the dog knows its not actually another dog.

They Are Just Singing Along

Jen Jones, Founder Of Your Dog Advisor

It’s likely your dog howls at music due to instinct. As wolves similarly will howl to join in with one another and communicate their unique voice, dogs will join in to unique sounding notes.

You might also note that dogs won’t howl at every song they hear. The most common music dogs will howl to will be flute music, wind music, etc. Dogs will also howl at other higher pitched sounds like sirens or squeaky toys.

Some people fear that dogs are in pain when they howl, though this is not the case.

They are just singing along.

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