As much as you adore your pooch, the sound of his nonstop howling every night of the week can be taxing. Instead of feeling irked by your pet, however, get to the bottom of his issue. Howling at night can signify everything from separation anxiety to the desire for attention.
Some dogs resort to nighttime howling as a means of dealing with separation anxiety. When you're asleep at night, your entire house is dark and quiet, and no one is up -- a recipe to perhaps make your poor dog feel rather lonely and neglected. By howling, your dog may be expressing his misery regarding the entire situation. He also may engage in other problematic frustrated behaviors along with the howling, such as urinating indoors, chewing on your shoes or running around your home loudly and frantically.
Desire for Attention
If your dog is used to constantly being lavished with attention, then nighttime just may not be as fun for him. By howling and whining, he understands that he'll get a reaction from you, even if it's not necessarily a positive one. He may even get what he wants from you, whether it's tasty food, a few pets on his back or even just to hear your voice. Dogs are pretty smart cookies. If doggie knows that howling works, then he's sure going to do it.
If your dog is a young puppy that is in the midst of crate training, his nighttime howling may be a sign that he feels confined and wants you to wake up and take him out of the crate -- stat. The poor thing may be feeling pretty restless and antsy. The howling also may be a sign that the little one has the urge to go to the bathroom, too.
Howling and whining also can indicate physical discomfort in a dog, whether due to an injury or some sort of medical ailment. If your doggie howls every night and you can't seem to figure out the reason behind it, it may just be time to schedule an appointment with the veterinarian.
Older canines, just like people, often develop cognitive problems as part of the natural aging process. If your dog's vision is deteriorating, he may howl a lot at night because he simply can't sell very well in the dark, and needs your help. If his memory isn't as sharp as it once was, he may be howling because he's confused and can't find his way back to his food bowl, for instance.
- Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA: Whining
- The Humane Society of the United States: Crate Training
- Humane Society of Greater Miami: Dog Issues
- ASPCA: Howling
- ASPCA: Behavior Problems in Older Dogs
- San Diego Humane Society and SPCA: Any Dog Can Live Calmly in a House -- Even Yours
- Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine: Preventing Canine Behavior Problems
- The Humane Society of the United States: Separation Anxiety
- ASPCA: Separation Anxiety
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images