Your home is like the first scene of a horror film…
You don’t live in a haunted house.
But your dog howls whenever you’re back.
What’s up with that?
In this article you’ll find out:
- Should you allow howling?
- 11 real reasons why your dog howls when you get home.
- 3 tips on how to make them stop with their howls.
- And much much more…
Table of contents
Why does my dog howl when I get home?
Your dog howls when you get home for reasons such as feeling excitement or hunger, being confined for too long, having an uncomfortable space, seeking attention, wanting exercise, protecting territory, trying to bond with you, asking for help, or it’s their way of greeting you.
11 real reasons why your dog howls when you get home
#1: They’re excited
Your dog feels like you’ve been gone forever every time you leave them. So once you get home from work, they howl because of excitement.
It’s a way for them to say:
“Omgosh! Welcome home, hooman.
I’ve been waiting for 100 years already!”
Dogs often become vocal when they’re feeling extreme emotions, like being excited and ecstatic.
Now, let’s get more into details.
Why would your dog howl because of excitement every time you come home? I mean, it’s not like you were really gone for 100 years.
Aside from that, they’re also used to you going to work every day.
So what’s the big deal about it?
Let me ask you this.
You borrowed a hammer and chatted a bit with the next-door neighbor. Did your dog howl when you got back home?
Or do they only howl when you’re away for the whole day?
You see, the excitement of your dog builds up as they wait longer.
So they’re more excited when you come home from a 9-hour work shift, versus when you’re back from having a chat with the neighbor.
#2: It’s their way to greet you
“Awwwwhooooooo” could also mean,
Great to see that you’re back home!”
Howling is just one of the many ways your dog can communicate with you.
The others are barking, yapping, yelping… well, the list goes on!
If your pooch howls when you get home, it’s probably their special way of greeting you.
They’re just letting you know that they’re happy you’re back. And now it’s time for you to tend to their needs.
Interested to know more about this topic? This article is a must-read.
#3: They’re hungry
Another reason why your dog howls when you get home is because they’re feeling hungry already.
Let’s say that you’ve been gone for at least 9 hours. And within that span of time, your dog hasn’t eaten yet.
(I mean, can you imagine not eating for that long in the daytime? I know I can’t.)
Although dogs don’t eat like us humans, PetMD says you should feed your dog once or twice a day.
And there should be at least 8 to 12 hours intervals in between their feeding time.
Here’s an example.
You always feed your dog before you go out.
And throughout the day, your dog entertains themselves by running around the yard. They’re probably chasing a cat or a squirrel again.
But hey, even if your dog lives in an apartment, they can find ways to occupy themselves.
They’ve spent all their energy being an active pooch.
That’s why they’re already starving by the time you get back home.
#4: They need to pee/poop
Another reason why your dog howls when you get home is because of their urgent need to pee or poop.
Here’s a question.
Can you hold your bowels for 8-10 hours a day in the daytime?
That’s hard, right?
It’s possible to do it when you’re asleep. But when you’re awake, stopping the call of nature is way more difficult.
If your dog can let themselves out in your yard thanks to dog doors, then that’s great.
They have the freedom to pee or poop whenever their body calls for it.
But if your pooch is confined in a crate every time you leave the house, there’s a problem.
It can be real torture to confine your dogs for more than half a day in crates.
That’s why whenever you get home, they howl. They plead for you to get them out so they can do their private business.
You see, dogs don’t want to urinate or defecate in the places where they sleep.
So if you confine them in crates, they’d hold their bowels for as long as they can to keep their space clean.
Now, if they’re not allowed to get out to do these things, they’d soil their crate instead.
And this goes against their nature.
#5: Their room is uncomfortable
You get home to a howling pooch every day.
And once you let them out of their room, you notice that they’re panting heavily. They’re extremely thirsty, too!
What could be the problem?
The temperature of the room they’re staying in could be the issue here.
Dogs who have thick fur have higher body temperatures if compared to the short-haired ones.
It’s because of all that extra padding and insulation their fur provides.
Thus, why they also prefer to stay in colder temperatures.
Here are some examples of howling dog breeds that have thick fur:
- Chow Chows.
- Siberian Huskies.
- Alaskan Malamutes.
- Bernese Mountain Dogs.
If these dogs are staying in a hot room (especially in a place facing the afternoon sun), it’ll be exhausting for them.
So they howl when you get home to let you know they want to be let out.
#6: Seeking attention
Your pooch’s way to get your attention is by howling when you get home.
And once you hear them calling for you, you immediately go and give them cuddles.
Your dog has learned that this is the way to receive petting or anything they want. That’s why they don’t hesitate to do this.
There’s no harm if this is just their way of saying “I miss you”.
But if they howl excessively, then you might be having an over-vocal and overly-attached pooch.
In this case, you have to ask for a dog behaviorist’s advice.
#7: They want to go outside
It’s your routine to always take your dog out as soon as you get home.
So they howl to invite you to go outside and play with them.
As soon as you open the door, your dog’s up on you with eager eyes and a wagging tail.
They’re waiting for you to put on their leash.
And because they’re getting impatient with how slow you put down your things, they howl as if to say,
“Hurry up, hooman!
I waited all day, now it’s time to play…”
#8: You have a visitor
“Every time I get home and I’ve got a visitor, my dog howls as if they’re trying to scare them away.”
That’s exactly the reason why your dog howls.
They want to scare your guest off. And your pooch wants to let the new person know that they’re in their territory.
Being territorial is a common behavior for most dogs.
(What’s not common is if they start being aggressive.)
Some dogs bark at visitors who come to their homes. While other dogs are calmer and would just settle on sniffing the new people’s butts.
In your case, your dog howls.
But you might be asking, “What’s the reason behind this?”
It’s in their blood
Your dog howls because it’s in their natural instinct to do that.
They’re descendants of the Canis Lupus or the grey wolves after all.
You see, the wolves howl for many reasons.
They do it to celebrate successful hunting. To let the other animals know of their presence.
And to let potential threats know it’s their territory. So they should definitely back off.
#9: It’s a bonding thing
When you get home, your dog howls to greet you, so you howl at them too.
It’s not often that dogs do this, right?
Usually, they just bark and whine when they want something. That’s why when they howl, it gets exciting.
You may even try to imitate how they do it.
And because you’re howling with them, your dog thinks that you understand them.
“Why would they think that way?”
You see, when their wolf ancestors howl, they do it in unison as a way to strengthen their pack.
Howling in wolves is kind of like chanting their group’s mission and vision.
Or maybe like singing their national anthem.
The wolves do it as a group as a form of bonding.
So if you howl along with your pooch, they see it as a bonding opportunity.
#10: Puppies howl a lot
Your puppy howls when you get home because of many reasons.
They may need your help.
For example, they may want something can’t get themselves.
Like having their toy stuck in, behind, or under furniture. Or they threw their ball downstairs and they’re afraid to come down.
They could also be scared of something, like loud noises. So they howl to call out for you.
Another reason they howl is they just discovered that they can do it.
Like these cute puppies below.
(A friendly warning, prepare for some cuteness overload!)
#11: They’re in pain
Another possible reason why your dog howls when you get home is because they’re in pain.
Dogs are prone to accidents because… let’s admit it.
They’re not really the careful types.
They may have jumped too high from the porch and they landed on the wrong foot. Causing them to limp while walking.
Maybe they wounded themselves when they tried to chase the raccoon in the yard.
Or *knock on wood* they ate something they shouldn’t have.
According to Vets-now, should look for signs such as:
- Panting heavily.
- A swelling body part.
- Licking a specific area.
- Whining when touched.
- Lacking appetite and energy.
Warning: If your dog’s showing the symptoms mentioned above, take them to the vet for a check-up.
3 tips on how to stop your dog from howling when you get home
#1: Avoid crating your dog
To lessen and stop your dog’s howling habit, do not confine them in crates when you leave.
You may be housetraining your pooch.
But it’s not recommended to keep them inside their crate for too long.
The longest time you can confine your puppy there is for 1-2 hours only. While for adult dogs, it’s 5-6 hours.
Instead of leaving them in crates, keep them in a more comfortable and dog-proof room.
Or much better, in your backyard so they can pee anytime they want.
If you let them move freely in your yard, room or house, your dog will be less agitated in going out to pee or poop.
But if you’re afraid that they’ll make a mess of the house, put baby gates or dog barriers in the areas where you want them to stay.
This is to keep them safe and to prevent them from escaping as well.
#2: Counter-condition them
To stop your dog from howling when you have visitors, counter condition them.
By doing this, your dog will get used to people coming over. It will improve their social skills.
And this will also lessen their howls.
Here’s how you can do it:
Step 1: Have a friend come over to your house. They will be the ones who’ll act as the ‘stranger’.
Step 2: If your dog howls, ignore it. Tell your friend to ignore them as well.
Step 3: Once your dog stops howling, have your friend throw them a treat.
Step 4: Next is to ask your friend to come closer to your pooch. As they come nearer, the treat must also be a high-value one. (Such as boiled chicken bites.)
Step 5: If your friend is up to it and your dog is calmer, ask them to feed your dog with their hand.
You can repeat this exercise with other people, too.
#3: Keep them active
Howling dog breeds are also known for being active.
Take for example the Siberian Husky.
They need a job or work to do. Or else they misbehave by being vocal.
To lessen these dog breed’s howling habits, make use of their energy elsewhere.
Give them lots of exercises. Take them with you on your morning runs.
There’s a saying that goes, “A tired dog is a happy dog.”
But this time, you can change it to:
“An exhausted pooch is a quiet pooch.”
Bonus: Let them calm down first
Your pooch’s excited when you come home. And you understand why they feel this way.
If their howls are not too extreme, then it’s totally harmless.
Remember that they’re just happy to see you. So it will break their heart if you totally ignore your pooch.
What you can do instead is wait for them to calm down first.
And once they do, that’s the only time you give them your attention.
By doing this, your pooch will learn that they’ll only get what they want if they stop howling.