Doggos Doin’ an Aroo: Why Do Dogs Howl at Sirens?

You’ve noticed that whenever your dog hears the sound of a siren, he starts to howl, and you’re curious about whether or not this is normal dog behavior. Why do dogs howl at sirens? 

Is it instinctual for him to howl at every police car, fire engine, and emergency vehicle that whizzes by your house? Or should you try to curb this habit? By learning about why dogs howl at sirens, dog owners can address this issue head-on – if it’s a problem – or simply leave their dogs to be, well, dogs. Here are some of the common reasons why dogs howl at sirens.

why do dogs howl at sirens

Why Do Dogs Howl at Sirens? They Are Communicating With the Family/Pack

Dogs are descendants of wolves, and in the wild, wolves howl at one another as a form of communication. If a wolf wants to communicate with the rest of the wolf pack that there is a foreign invader, or it simply wants to let them know where he is, he will howl. 

Your dog does not belong to a wolf pack; instead, he belongs to your family, and his howling behavior is him trying to communicate with you when he hears a siren. Perhaps he thinks it’s a threat, for instance, and he’s trying to let you, his pack member, know to protect you. He could also think that by howling, he is warding off the invader making the noise.

He Believes the Siren Is Communicating With Him

Another reason your dog could be howling is that he interprets the sound coming from a fire truck or another type of passing siren as communication. Other high-pitched sounds from clarinets, flutes, or other sources could also trigger the howling.

Your Dog Is Scared

It’s possible that your pup is scared of the sound of a siren, especially if he’s scared of other loud noises like fireworks. He might howl under the siren sound goes away. If your dog is exhibiting certain body language like tilting his head or panting or pacing, or he runs away, then he’s likely frightened.

why do dogs howl at sirens

Do All Types of Dogs Howl at Sirens?

Every type of dog breed won’t express a vocalization like howling when they hear a siren. But if your dog does, keep in mind that it’s completely normal f. There may only be a problem if your dog is doing it excessively. 

Hounds like bloodhounds, beagles, and foxhounds are known for howling, while huskies and malamutes are also usually howlers. Huskies and malamutes are closer to their wolf ancestors than other breeds, which may explain the howling.

Your dog might ignore sirens when they pass by, even if he is one of these kinds of breeds. Every dog is different. If your dog doesn’t howl, he is probably just used to the sound, especially if you live in a place where he hears them all the time and he isn’t threatened by them.

dog barking

Curbing Howling in Dogs

If this canine behavior is bothering you, there are a few steps you can take. For instance, perhaps your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, and he starts howling when you leave. Or, if you aren’t home and a siren passes by, he goes wild with howling. This could really be an issue if you live in an apartment building with neighbors nearby.

To address separation anxiety, don’t make a big deal out of leaving your home. If you do, your howling dog may remember that you’re leaving, and he will start becoming anxious and make noise.

Instead, every time you’re leaving, give him a treat that will last, like a bone or a treat-dispensing toy. You can stuff an Orbee-Tuff Diamond Plate ball with some kibble or peanut butter, and your dog will have fun trying to catch the toy as it bounces unpredictably around the house.

If you do this enough times, your dog will learn that you leaving the house is a good thing, and he’ll be less likely to get stressed out and howl. It’s also important to crate train your dog so he has somewhere comforting to spend the day, and to leave him with plenty of other toys he can play with.

Use Positive Reinforcement

If your pooch howls or whines because he is scared of fireworks or other loud noises, one solution is to get him a Thundershirt, which will calm his anxiety. You could also play white noise try to cover the outside noise and lead him to his crate, where he will hopefully be able to relax.

Always remember that positive reinforcement, like rewarding your dog with praise and treats, works better for dogs than negative reinforcement. Yelling at your dog to stop howling is likely not going to do anything. Instead, it could teach your dog to be afraid of you, or show him that when he wants attention from you, all he has to do is howl.

If you need some options for healthy treats, reward your dog with Wholesome Pride’s Raw Freeze Dried Beef & Liver Dog Treats. They are all-natural, grain-free, and have no artificial fillers or preservatives. If your dog has a sensitive stomach or food allergies, these are safe snacks.

Keep in mind that if your training methods fail, you could always hire a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist to come to help you curb your dog’s howling.

dog with bone toy

Howling Because of Medical Issues

Your dog could be howling because of medical issues. This is why it’s important to take him to the veterinarian if you notice any physical changes or your dog seems different personality-wise. For example, perhaps he’s more lethargic or has trouble jumping up on the couch. Your vet will be able to help your pup and hopefully, that will put an end to the howling.

Do Sirens Hurt a Dog’s Ears?

You might be concerned about whether or not sirens hurt your dog’s ears. While sirens could startle your dog, it’s unlikely that the sound is painful to them. If it were, then dogs wouldn’t run towards the sirens, which they often do when they hear and see them.

best toys for huskies

Howling in Dogs

Your dog’s howling is typically not something you need to worry about. But if you believe it stems from a larger issue like anxiety or health problems, take the necessary steps and be in touch with your vet and/or a dog trainer if necessary. Then, not only will your home be a more peaceful place, but your dog will feel better, too.