Why Do Dogs Howl?
Probably because they get stimulated by high pitched sounds, or in response to a nearby dog. Howling apparently acknowledges that they’ve heard the sound, and also expresses their readiness to respond or join in the action. (Howling seems like an appropriate response to a few humans we know, too!)
Some owners worry that it’s an expression of sadness. Dogs yelp, more than howl, when they're hurt or scared by something sudden — but a sad, mournful, pathetic howl can indeed be a form of crying.
You’ll probably learn to interpret your pooch’s voice, in the same way that you get to know when barking is just his way of chatting to you or another dog in the vicinity; or when it’s seriously aggressive. Sometimes it’s an expression of fear, but they can also be expressing boredom, or a desire to be left alone!
In the wild, wolves know that if danger is present, the best thing to do is be as quiet as possible, staying hidden until the threat has passed. Dogs, on the other hand, are a bit like humans. Dogs bark at threats until they go away. So do we, essentially – or we whistle in the dark as a way of being brave.
You may have seen a video clip on social media, that shows two large - and very fierce-looking - dogs barking angrily at each other through the bars of a gate. Teeth bared, lips curled back; quite alarming to see how fierce they can get, as they snap at each other’s snouts. And then the gate slides open, and instead of going for the kill, they are perfectly friendly with each other. Odd! But even odder: as soon as the gate closes again, they go back to war.
It’s always best to take notice of your dog’s barking. Nine times out of ten he is trying to alert you to something, and it’s best to pick up on his cue, and see what the matter is.