Why do dogs howl at sirens

“Why do dogs howl at sirens”

You were enjoying the company of your loved ones, suddenly you hear a sound of a siren in distance, followed by a grim howl just beside you. You look over and it is your pet dog howling in response to the distant siren.  

It happens with all dog owners. No matter the breed or age, dogs of all ages and temperament howl. Some howl a lot and some howl rarely. Simply, they all do.  

Are you aware, why do dogs howl?

Howling is one way of communication of dogs. It is one of those canine behaviors, that have ancestral roots. The fact that, many generations ago, the loyal and calm companion living in our homes had ancestors who lived in the wild.

Being precise, Wolves are those ancestors. Wolves howl and there are several reasons they do so. While some bellowed wolves howl to announce their location, some brave one’s howled to warn other wild animals.

Dogs do not howl for the exact same reasons as they are not in the wild but whenever they do there will be a reason. According to different studies, some common reasons of a dog howling are

  • In response to sirens or high-pitched sounds
  • To acknowledge other dogs
  • To get their owners attention
  • To alert from some kind of danger

While these reasons seem casual and will not bother any dog owner. There are some worrisome factors also, that can trigger your dog

  • Loneliness
  • A medical issue
  • Some kind of wound you did not notice
  • Separation anxiety

Well, it is hard to differentiate which one of these your dog might be facing. A simple method is that excessive howling without any obvious reason is worrisome.

Some dog owners get worried by young puppies howling for the first time. There is nothing to worry about. The fact behind of a puppy howl are same as that of an adult however, some might learn to howl as early as 8 weeks whilst other might not do till 1st birthday.

Why do dogs howl at siren?

One main cause of your dog howling in response to a siren is that he might feel there is another dog. Therefore, to communicate your dog might howl. Sometimes from your perspective there is no sound but a dog can hear it.

It is because dogs can hear and create sounds at frequencies that a human ear will not hear. So, in some cases, the sound to which your dog’s responding will not be hearable to you.

Apart from these low frequency sounds, loud sounds like siren from an ice-cream van, an ambulance or a street vendor’s speaker are irritating for everyone. Being human we bear them or at max curse them inside.

 While, Sirens and other high-pitched sounds are the noises dogs hate and these are sounds that can make dogs go crazy. Albeit all this craziness and hate, no research has found any sound to damage dog ears.

However, according to some research, some dogs may interpret loud sirens as a threat and warn you by howling. Some other might do to warn the siren itself.   

Sirens to make dogs howl

Now when we know the reasons why a dog howl. Can you make a dog howl on purpose? Before answering, can you?

The first question is why should you or why should someone make his dog howl?

There can be two answers to this. Firstly, it can be done to a quiet dog to make his inner wolf come out. Secondly, to those who howl too much in order to get there tone down a bit.

Coming back to the main point, the answer to can we make a dog howl on purpose? Is absolutely yes. Just like you train your dog to play dead, fetch balls and sticks or to sit on your command. You can teach them to howl also.

For such purpose you must know the reason why your dog howls. If he doesn’t howl at all, following are some tried and tested techniques to teach your dog to howl

  • Play sounds of other dogs howling
  • Play music
  • Experiment with sirens

And if your dog already howls too much you can follow the above-mentioned steps to control when they howl and when they should not. You can use word “Hush” to make them quiet and reward them when quiet to stop excessive howling.

Do you know, why do dogs whine?

Like howling, whining is one of the many forms of communication for your dog. Whilst there are several reasons for a dog whining. One is in response to sounds dogs like. Yes, dogs do like sounds.

Some sounds that dogs like are

  • Doorbell ringing
  • Baby laughing
  • Can opening sounds

Most dogs whine with the music they like, but sometimes they might be whining for something else and it can be

  • For seeking attention
  • To get something from your plate
  • To get any toy they often play with
  • Showing pain
  • Excitement
  • As a greeting behavior

If your dog is whining too much and you want it to stop. The first thing you must do is to identify the reason or body posture he is in. What it will do, is allow you to understand and provide if your dog wants something.

If he is not demanding something and you don’t know the real reason. You can simply divert his attention for the time being. Be careful to not pay too much attention every time around or he will adapt it as a habit whenever he wants something.  

Why do dogs howl at music?

Dogs howl to all kinds of music. There are simply two causes. One is when they like it and the other is when they don’t. Many researches and studies have claimed that dogs do react to different types of music.

A psychologist, Deborah Wells, at the Queens University in Belfast did a studied and found out reaction of dogs by exposing them to different types of music in a shelter. Here are the outcomes

  • Pop music did not make any noticeable reaction.
  • Heavy metal music gave a sense of canine pandemonium. Dogs started barking as they felt agitated.
  • Classical music had a soothing effect. Dogs became calm and stopped barking. They even began to settle at one place.

This study proves that music like heavy metal is the sound that makes dog bark. Opposingly, classical music and low tone music what they enjoy. However, every soul has its own preferences. If your dog has any other favorite type, let him join in the fun whenever you play it.

Are you curious, why do dogs howl at the moon?

Its been 51 years, when Neil Armstrong, the first human to leave his footprints on a place other than the earth, landed on moon. Being human we know what that white hanging ball is, but dogs don’t.

Our canine friends still find it perplexing. So, it is not wrong to say dogs howl at moon. However, there are some other reasons also. One reason might be the light that the moon provides.

More light means, there is more to see. All the little creatures in your backyard are more visible. One other cause may be fear. Many dogs have phobias of anything round and big hanging above their head like balloons.

Above is where the moon is and your dog might have the same problem.

Why do dogs howl at night?

At night, is usually the time when dogs howl. It is the exact same time when there is comparatively less noise pollution and less atmospheric disturbance.

It sounds more academic. In simple words, at night when there are far lesser vehicles and machines as humans go to bed. So, your dog and his other canine pals get better reception of calls and hence, better communication.

Other than this your dog might be able to see or hear people who come out in the night for a stroll. He might be warning them in a lower tone to as he may feel them a danger. 

Why do dogs howl at fire trucks?

Fire trucks usually have high-pitched sirens with heavy tone. Along with this tone, they are often heard suddenly. So, it is not wrong to believe that a dog that howls whenever a fire truck is heard, fears it.

While some may howl in fear, some other brave one’s might howl to warn you about the upcoming hazard. Apart from these obvious reasons, dog experts also believe that a sound of fire truck far away might not be hear able to you.

But dogs can hear it and they interpret it as another dog trying to communicate from far away. In reply your dog might howl as if to say “Yes, I am here”.



Howling is a behavior that lies deep in the DNA of dogs. The most obvious of the reasons of howl of a dog, might be the same as their ancestors. However, this behavior is also triggered by many factors, as discussed.

Excessive howling, is what needs to be looked after. Other than agitation, howling is not that bad and your dog may be enjoying some song of yours. If such is the reason, let it be!


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