A normal dog howl occurs when a dog is signaling that it is claiming or occupying an area. Howling announces a dog’s presence and acts as a warning to outsiders or potential predators. At home, dogs may howl for the same reason, as when an unfamiliar person or car approaches.
Dogs also howl to express anxiety or when they are seeking attention. Howling is an effective way get a response to a need for companionship or play. A dog that suffers from separation anxiety may howl to express the sense of abandonment it feels when an owner leaves. Howling is a form of protest at being left alone for extended periods of time.
Dogs also howl in response to triggers in the environment such as sirens, ambulances or fire engines. They may howl in reaction to certain music or songs. Like singing, howling is a form of vocal expression. It is also a way to express bonding or to join in and be a part of the action. Certain breeds such as Alaskan Malamutes, beagles and coonhounds tend to howl more than other breeds.