You are enjoying your resting time at home and are spending some quality and quiet time with your family. Your pet dog is also resting comfortably beside you and in some distance, a siren is heard maybe of a fire truck or ambulance.
The dog abruptly perks up and jumps off the couch and he will start howling like he is going out of style. This may sound very familiar since the dog is prone to howling no matter how far is the distance of the siren.
People know about this nature of the dogs but still, they wonder “Why do dogs howl at sirens?”.
Why Do Dogs Howl At Fire Trucks?
One of the main reasons that dogs howl at sirens has to do with their ancestry. Even though the pet is cute, cuddly, and has been domesticated but they weren’t born to be that way. They are the descendants of wolves which is quite opposite to their behavior.
The connection between them is clear and wolves use howling as their main form of communication. They have a much sharper sense of hearing than humans and hear long-pitched sounds from a large distance.
If a wolf is separated from their packs, then they use howling to communicate and inform the rest of the pack of their location. Though the dog may not be a part of the pack their DNA still has the howling program ingrained in them.
Dogs hear the high-pitched sounds that of the sirens and think that it is another dog howling from a large distance and therefore they start howling. They are responding and communicating with another dog and telling them their location.
The dog may also howl because it may be something to do with protection. If your pet senses something unusual, new, or potentially threatening then they use howling as a sign of communication.
They may interpret the sound of the sign as a danger and they use howling as a way to get your attention and make you aware of the danger. Some people argue that the dogs howl because the sound of the siren is hurting them.
The main reason is quite opposite as the sound does not bother them but they may think that it is a sign of a threat.
Why Do Some Of The Dogs Ignore The Sirens?
Though most of the dogs start howling at the sound of sirens and therefore a lot of people ponder over the question “ why do dogs howl at ambulances?” but it is not universal.
The only accepted reaction for this behavior is that no two dogs are alike and some of the dogs may feel that the immediate need to howl but others don’t. They might be feeling safe and secure at home and consider humans as their pack.
It may also be that case that their hearing is not as sharp and they do not hear the siren from such a large distance. Therefore, some dogs react very strongly to the sound of the sirens whereas, if your dog doesn’t then it is not something to be very concerned about.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Howls At The Sound Of Sirens?
As howling is a part of the natural behavior of the dog and it is nothing to worry about. If the howling becomes excessive then you may want and try to correct their behavior. One of the best ways to deal with any howling problem is to discourage the dog from doing so.
Either ignore them completely as if you don’t pay enough attention, he may stop howling or reward the dog every time they hear a siren but don’t howl. Since howling is a very instinctual behavior it may take some time to change the behavior.
Training them on your own may not work every time and if they still howl every time, they hear a siren at a distance try and consult a dog trainer. They can work with your dog and help them get accustomed to the sound of the sirens.
Why Do Dogs Howl When They Hear A Siren?
Although the dogs have sensitive ears, a brief exposure to the sound of a siren or other similar sounds does not cause damage to their ears. Try and avoid exposing them to long-term and consistent pollution.
If the dog winces in pain every time they hear a siren, then schedule an appointment with your vet and ensure that the underlying issues are paid attention to. In the case of an emergency vehicle passing by, the dog may want to make you aware of the abnormality that is occurring.
They might be trying verbally to chase away the threat and when the siren goes further away, they start making less noise. Another reason a dog may howl is that it has separation anxiety. When you leave your home or when your pet is unable to reach you, then it can be a sign of them suffering from separation anxiety.
Are Dogs Happy When They Howl?
When your dog is howling as a response and they have gotten your attention then they believe that they have gained your attention. A lot of pet parents find their dog howling entertaining and it is a way to get positive attention from people.
To discourage your dog from howling a behavior conditioning technique called reinforcement should be used. Do not pay attention or punish them during their howling as it may lead to the amplification of their behavior.
Howling at the sound of the sirens is a form of communication either with a human or with other dogs trying to pass on information or communicating with each other. It is not something that is a cause of concern.
All the potential reasons/causes and the ways to deal with the howling issue are mentioned in the article above. Since it is a natural behavior for the dogs, it may take some time to condition this behavior and lessen its probability.