Why Golden Retrievers Howl (Reasons Revealed!)

by Jennifer Nelson

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Why Your Golden Retriever Howls

Golden Retrievers are incredibly versatile dogs who were originally bred for retrieving games. However, if you’ve owned one, you’re probably aware that they have some interesting quirks, one of those being their obtrusive howls.

If you’ve ever wondered why your golden retriever howls, look no further! There are a ton of reasons why your pet golden retriever howls, and we’ve included them all below:

Why Your Golden Retriever Howls

Howling is a great, albeit loud, way for dogs to communicate with each other. In wolves, howling is often used for warning their pack of danger, or to help lead lost wolves back to the pack.

Golden Retrievers, on the other hand, often howl when they hear another animal, or even a human, howl. It’s their way of answering the call that they heard!

Your Golden Retriever might also be howling because they’re lonely. As mentioned previously, Golden Retrievers are incredibly social dogs, and they love spending time with their owners. If your pet is missing hanging out with you, they might howl to try and get your attention, just like a wolf trying to lead a lost pup back home.

Similarly, if your Golden starts howling suddenly when you are busy, it’s most likely because they want you to look and pay attention to them.

Howling in Golden Retrievers can also be linked to other related noises. If your Golden Retriever hears a siren or another high-pitched noise, they may howl to try and mimic the noise or alert you to it as it could be potentially dangerous.

Sometimes, your Golden will be howling simply because they’re bored. Golden Retrievers are an incredibly active breed, and they need an appropriate amount of stimuli in order to behave properly.

Finally, if your Golden Retriever is howling in a way that is different than normal, it could be because they’re sick or in pain. The same way that a human cries out when they’re in pain, your Golden might be trying to tell you that they’re sick or injured.

How To Get Your Golden Retriever To STOP howling

While some owners find their Golden Retriever’s loud howls cute and endearing, others find it annoying and pester some. If you’re in the latter group, here are some things you can try to get your pet to stop their insistent howling.

Howling Because Of Pain Or Illness

First, you’ll want to rule out a medical issue as the cause of your pet’s howling. The first step in doing this is taking your Golden to the vet, who will be able to diagnose your pet with any illnesses or injuries that could be causing its howling.

Howling Because Of Loneliness

If it’s not a medical issue causing your Golden Retriever to howl, the next most likely cause is separation anxiety and loneliness. This can be a bit difficult to solve because if your dog is howling because they’re lonely, it’s likely you won’t be around to hear it. Signs that loneliness is causing your Golden Retriever to howl include destructive behavior while you’re away, and pacing up and down when they think you’re about to leave.

To help encourage your pet not to howl while you’re away, try giving them lots of toys to play with. Additionally, make sure you reward your Golden whenever you come home and they haven’t misbehaved with treats, toys, and extra love. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re giving your Golden Retriever lots of exercise before you leave the house. That way, they’ll spend the time you’re gone sleeping, rather than causing a mess!

Why Your Golden Retriever Howls

Howling For Attention

If your Golden Retriever is howling because they want attention (i.e. they’re howling at you while you’re still in nearby proximity to them), you’ll have to teach your dog that howling will not get them the attention they’re seeking. To do this, when your Golden Retriever starts howling, stop paying them any attention. Totally ignore your pet, the way you might ignore a child throwing a temper tantrum.

It’s important that you simply ignore your pet when they’re howling for this reason, rather than punish them. Even negative attention is considered attention for your Golden Retriever and will encourage them to keep howling.

Additionally, you’ll want to reward good behavior to reinforce that howling is not the way to get attention. This can include giving your Golden Retriever a treat when they’ve been well behaved and quiet.

Howling Due To Hearing Loud Sounds

You’ll likely know if your Golden Retriever’s howling is due to loud noises because they will start howling when the noise begins, and stop howling shortly after it’s stopped. If the sound that’s causing your pet to howl doesn’t occur too frequently, your Golden Retriever’s howling is probably not a big deal. However, if it happens often, you can try systematic desensitization and counterconditioning to try and make them stop.

Desensitization is the process of guiding your Golden Retriever to become less sensitive to the sound that’s causing them to howl. This process involves a structured plan and starts with exposing your pet to a less threatening, shorter version of the stimuli that is making them howl. Gradually, as they begin to get used to it, the volume and intensity of the noise are increased until they’re no longer liable to howl at the noise.

Counterconditioning, on the other hand, attempts to reteach your pet to associate a pleasant feeling with the noise that is causing them stress. To do this, you can try giving your pet a treat or extra attention as soon as the noise begins. That way, they will begin to associate the noise with something good, and stop trying to warn you about its potential danger.

Howling Due To Boredom

Finally, if none of the above reasons are causing your GOlden to howl, it’s likely they’re doing so because they’re bored. To rectify this issue, make sure your Golden Retrieve is getting a lot of exercise. Daily walks are a great way to make sure your pet is staying active, healthy, and stimulated enough that they won’t feel the need to howl.

Closing Thoughts

A Golden Retriever’s howl can be frustrating to deal with, especially if it occurs frequently. While rectifying the situation can be simple, it can also be a long process depending on the cause of your pet’s howling.

If you’re stuck on how you can get your Golden Retriever to stop howling, the best place to start is usually your veterinarian. They will be able to rule out any medical issues and give you a good jumping-off point to start with.

Golden Retrievers are great family dogs and can make great companions for a wide variety of owners. That being said, they can sometimes be fickle and quirky! If you’re looking for more information on why your Golden Retriever does or doesn’t do something, you can check out the rest of our website. We offer a diverse range of advice, from why your Golden Retriever likes to cuddle to why their ears might stink!

Read On- Is A Golden Retriever The Right Pet For My Family

If you’re in the market for a new dog and wondering if a Golden Retriever would be a good fit, keep reading below!

Golden Retrievers are great family dogs, are incredibly affectionate, and are incredibly quick learners. However, they’re very active and social dogs, and require lots of exercise and attention, as well as grooming! If you’re looking for a dog like this, and can handle the time and energy it will take to keep them happy and healthy, then a Golden Retriever would be the perfect fit for you.

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