Dogs That Howl, Whine & Bay

Barking poodle mix

Howling vs. Whining vs. Baying: What Is the Difference?

Dogs typically use several sounds to communicate with humans and fellow canines; the most familiar is barking. Lesser common sounds include howling, whining, and baying. To understand how you can best meet your dog’s needs, you need to understand the difference between howling, whining and baying. If you’re interested in why your dog barks, we’ve got 7 Reasons Dogs Bark.

Howling 

Dogs howl for many reasons. Your dog might howl to express his separation anxiety, distress, physical pain, attract the attention of humans or other dogs, or as a response to sounds such as a fire engine or police car sirens or their owner’s howl. While the reason for howling can vary, researchers believe that howling is in a dog’s DNA, passed down from ancestral wolves. The howl is a wail that may sound like a bunch of o’s or ah-ah-oooo.

Whining

A dog whines while his mouth is closed. This vocalization is usually your pet’s way of saying he needs or wants to go outside, he’s sorry or excited, in pain, anxious or scared, or wants attention. The behavior indicates some level of stress in your dog. Whining can be taught to your dog to let you know he needs to go potty; however, your dog understands whining equals attention and might whine often.

Baying

Although often confused for howling, baying is a different communication tool for dogs. Instead of the mournful tone of a howl, baying involves a continuously long collection of short enthusiastic bursts of sound unique to hound breeds. This mix of bark and howl dogspeak is used to alert hunters and fellow dogs that a hunted animal is near. The closer a hound gets to the animal, the intensity of the baying increases.

How Can I Stop A Dog That’s Howling? Whining? Baying?

The first step to addressing your dog’s howling or whining is to make sure he is not injured or sick. If your pet begins to howl or whine more than usual, check with your vet to rule out any medical causes.

Once you know your dog is physically well, you can focus on curbing these behaviors. Before you look for solutions, it’s essential to understand that punishment or yelling is not a useful training tool and may backfire with your dog displaying increased negative behavior like biting.

If your dog’s howling is set-off by another dog’s howling or sirens, he’ll most likely stop howling once the triggering sound stops. Now, if your dog is exposed to these triggers regularly and his howling is becoming excessive, you can opt to ignore his behavior in the hopes of reducing his howling episodes and reward him for being quiet. When your efforts are ineffective at controlling your dog’s howling, desensitizing, and re-training your pet not to howl can be accomplished with the right training tool like BarxBuddy Ultrasonic Trainer.

One way to curb your dog’s whining is redirection. Refocus your dog’s attention to something he enjoys, and he’s less likely to whine. However, when your pet whines for attention, you will need to employ other training methods to let him know whining is a no-no.

If your dog, like most other pets on the planet, gets anxious or apprehensive when you take him to visit the vet, take him to the clinic for non-medical reasons, something happy like any clinic celebration where pets are allowed to play or given treats. Dogs are simple creatures. Follow up the desired behavior with a treat or something he enjoys, and it is more likely he’ll repeat the behavior.

Similar to howling, baying is a response to sirens or another dog making the sound. Your dog will probably stop baying once the triggering sound stops. On the other hand, if he continues to bay, training your pet to stop. Of course, if your dog is out hunting, his baying won’t cease until after the animal is cornered, ending the hunt.

What Should I Do If My Dog Howls in His Sleep?

Does your dog howl in his sleep? If so, you’ve probably been alarmed to hear your pet howling while sound asleep. Chances are your dog is having a dream. You may observe him chewing, twitching, or paddling, indicating his brain is quite active during the REM phase of sleep.

Although a few occasional howls during his slumber shouldn’t be cause for alarm, frequent howling episodes while sleeping can indicate possible seizure activity or a REM sleep disorder if he tends to wake up howling and acting distraught.

If you notice unusual behavior or constant howling from your dog while sleeping, contact your vet. One thing you should not do to your dog if he howls during his sleep is to touch him to wake him up. Your dog may wake and display aggression toward you.

Do Bark Collars Work on Howling and Whining Dogs?

If you are desperate for some peace from your dog’s howling or whining, you may be wondering if a bark collar can be effective at eliminating these behaviors. The answer is yes, and no. A bark collar detects the sounds your dog makes in two ways, vibration or noise.

If the collar is vibration-sensitive, it picks up the sudden energetic rhythms and fluctuations in your dog’s neck as he barks, but does not do so well in determining when he’s howling or whining as those vocal vibrations differ from barking.

However, a collar activated by sound is more effective at picking up the sound waves of howling or whining. Unfortunately, this type of bark collar is also sensitive to other sounds, which might accidentally activate the collar.

A safer alternative is to train your pet with a training device that doesn’t come in contact with your pet. The BarxBuddy Ultrasonic Training Tool is easy to use and is an ideal complement to an overall training program. It’s recommended that you keep several of The BarxBuddy tools in various rooms, so members of your family can each have their own. They don’t require any calibrating with a collar or other device, either.

How to Stop a Dog Howling When Left Alone

As you head out the door, you hear your dog begin to howl, and according to your neighbors, he continues to howl until you return. In addition to frustrating your neighbors, the constant stress your dog feels in your absence is not healthy for him. Whether he’s howling from separation anxiety or boredom, we’ve got a few tips to help get your dog to calm down and stop howling when left home alone.

  • Exercise – Any time you have to leave the house for hours, take your dog outside and get him moving. Playing fetch, frisbee, or going for a nice walk may be enough exercise to wear him out, and he’ll be content with napping while you’re away.
  • Create a routine – Try to make sure your dog’s daily (even on weekends) routine stays consistent.
  • Feed your dog – Feed your dog before you leave so he doesn’t get all “hangry” while you’re gone.
  • Go potty – Ensure your dog has gone outside and relieved his bladder and bowels to prevent any anxiety and accidents while you’re gone.
  • Create a comfortable space – Make sure your dog’s crate or living space is comfortable and has plenty of safe toys he can play with during his time home alone.
  • Leave a shirt behind – Leaving a piece of your clothing with your scent might comfort your dog and eliminate his need to howl.
  • Turn on the TV – The sound of the television or radio may drown any outside noises that may trigger your dog and have your dog thinking you are still at home.
  • Keep calm – As you leave, you mustn’t make a huge deal out of it. Some say not to acknowledge your pet as it may trigger anxiety because he realizes you’re going. Be just as cool upon your return. Please wait for a few minutes after your arrival to reward him with affection.
  • Desensitize your departure – By taking quick trips before you are gone all day, you may desensitize your dog to your departure. Trips could be as short as going out into your backyard, down the street, or around the block.

For More Advice on Dog Training

Learn more about the BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool, which is designed to help you stop unwanted behaviors from your dog using a humane, safe and effective training device.

Explore our dog blog and learn more about training, grooming and other pet-related topics, and browse our shop, which contains innovative pet products hand-selected by our team.