Dog Howling at Night Causes, Superstitions and How to Stop

Dog howling at night moon

While some people are okay with the dog howling video and sound downloads, the same can be a nuisance when you are a dog owner and it is happening while you are trying to catch some sleep. Why has my dog started howling at night all of a sudden? Dog howling at night could mean a lot of things. According to, some howl more than others. These include American Eskimo Dogs, Coonhounds, Alaskan Malamutes, Tamaskan Dogs, Foxhounds and Dachshunds. In this article, you will learn various superstitions related to the howling sound, the causes and how to stop it.

Why Does a Dog Howl At Night – Dog Howling at Night Causes

What does it mean when a dog howls in the middle of the night? There are different causes of a dog howling at night. Whether it happens all of a sudden or is a common behavior, below are some of the causes attributed to night time dog howling sounds.

Attention Seeking

A dog may howl to attract attention from their owner. This is a manipulative tactic made to ply on the emotions of their owners. This is more so when they are aware that attention is given to them whenever they produce the sound. When they become aware that this works, the behavior becomes reinforced.

Separation Anxiety

When left alone for a long time, dogs suffer isolation distress. During such times, you may get a neighbor complaining of the dog’s howling noises. Additionally, your pet may engage in other unusual activities such as chewing on furniture and soiling carpets.

These unpredictable activities indicate your dog is suffering from separation anxiety. Dog howling at night as a result of anxiety may also be exhibited where the dog is left to sleep alone.

Territory Demarcation

At times, the meaning of dog howling at night could be a territorial invasion. Dogs are highly territorial. They will use howling to defend their boundaries and as a defense mechanism whenever they suspect other dogs are encroaching on their space.

Howling serves to announce their presence to other dogs as well as ward off any potential predators. While this kind of howling is most common in the wild and in homeless dogs, it can be experienced in domestic settings when strangers walk into the home or if a strange car pulls through the driveway.

Expression of Injury

Another reason for dog howling at night is when they get injured. Just like humans cry or wail when hurt, so do dogs express it through howling. The vocalization is just one of the ways they could use. Pain and discomfort in dogs will be expressed through howling and whining.

Alert on Discovery

Additionally, some dogs have been taught to howl when they discover something. This is so as to alert their masters of the location of the prize or prey. It is therefore common to hear them howl when they have caught something.

Confinement when Crate Training

When puppies are being crate trained, they may howl before they sleep as well as in their sleep. This could be so as to express their displeasure at being confined. Initially, being in the crate may make them feel restless and their whining is so as to get your attention and alert you get them out of it.


As time passes on and the natural aging process kicks in, dogs start experiencing cognitive issues. If you have observed changes such as deteriorating visual ability or memory loss, old dog howling at night may just be a way of them expressing their confusion.

Dog Howling At Night Superstition

The dog howling at night sound has over time been associated with superstitions. These vary depending on localities and communities.

According to, a dog howling while outside the house of a sick person was believed to be an omen that the involved person would die. This is more so where the dog is driving away and comes back to continue with the howling at night.

Other dogs howling at night superstitions include:

  • A howling dog is a sign of bad luck.
  • If a dog howls three times death has already occurred nearby.
  • Dog howling at night signals the death of a friend.

While the above has been passed on through time, there is no proof that these are true. They remain superstitions related to a dog howling.

How to Stop Dog Howling at Night

How do I stop my dog from howling at night? To begin with, you will need to find out why your dog is howling. You could keep a diary and note down when this occurs. This will help identify a pattern which will lead you to the cause. Also, try to stand around their sleeping area at night and see if any environmental factors could be causing the howling. Once it is clear what is the cause, here are some ways to stop it:

  1. Ignoring your dog when they howl for attention is the first step. Simply don’t look at them, speak or touch. Teach them that howling is not the right way to seek attention. Do not scold them though when they howl at night as this could reinforce the behavior.
  2. Ensure your dog engages in physical activity during the day so he can get rid of pent-up energy. This will ensure he gets a good night’s sleep with no howling.
  3. To eliminate howling resulting from separation anxiety, start by exposing your dog to short periods of isolation. This could be leaving them alone for like five minutes. This period can be increased gradually. Once the isolation is over, ignore your dog for a while. This will help teach them that separation only lasts for a while and they should be okay with it.
  4. Where you can’t seem to identify the cause of unnecessary barking and dog howling at night or where the cause is severe separation anxiety, take them to an animal behaviorist or the veterinarian. They may be in need of professional counter-conditioning and desensitization sessions.

Sources and References

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