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While whippets aren’t known for being overly vocal dogs, they can still howl from time to time. And since this is likely uncommon behavior for your pup you might wonder why on earth they’re howling.
Why Do Whippets Howl:
Whippets howl as a form of communication. While you aren’t likely to hear a whippet howl often there’s still situations where their instincts will kick in and make them howl. Reasons for them to howl include they want attention, are feeling anxious, or to let you know where they are.
In this post you’ll discover:
- 8 real reasons why whippets howl
- When a whippets howling is something to be concerned about
- 4 tips to help reduce how often your whippet howls (Tip #1 is the most effective!)
- And much, much more
Let’s jump right in.
Table of Contents
Top 8 Reasons Why Whippets Howl
Howling is one of your whippets’ most natural ways of communication.
While whippets aren’t super vocal breeds in general, if they hear another dog howl, a siren, or if you sing a certain high note, they may join in as a way of communicating.
It’s hard to imagine that your well-behaved pup has wolf ancestors but it’s true.
And they still have certain instincts that they got from their wolf ancestors.
Howling was a way for wolves to let their pack know where they were and to communicate back and forth.
When your whippet howls after hearing another dog howl, a siren or even certain notes of music, it makes them want to respond.
And their response is letting the other dog know that they heard them and are ready for action.
Related Reading: 7 Simple Strategies To Help Quickly Calm A Reactive Dog
2) Hearing Noises You May Not Hear
If you’ve ever seen your whippet start howling late at night or what seems to be for no reason, they may be hearing something you can’t hear.
Dogs are able to hear 2-3 times higher pitched tones than humans which means they might be hearing something you’re not able to.
And howling is a dog’s way of letting anyone who’s entering, or about to enter their den, know they’re here and to stay away.
They may also be howling to let the rest of their pack (you and your family) know that they hear something and are warning you about it.
So if you see your whippet howling at what seems like nothing, they could be scaring off something they hear, or letting you know something’s nearby.
3) Separation Anxiety
Sometimes, if you’re not careful, your whippet might become so attached to you that they develop separation anxiety.
Which makes them incredibly uneasy whenever you leave home and results in them barking, whining, crying, and of course, howling.
Reasons why this might have started recently are because of a change in their schedule, change in where your family lives, or a change of members in your home.
If you started working more lately, this change in your schedule directly affects their schedule and how much time they get to spend with you, which can make them very anxious.
Or if you’ve moved to a new location they may not be adapting to their new environment well which causes them to howl when you leave them alone now.
Whippets can also develop higher levels of anxiety if someone new is living in their home or someone they love recently passed away.
If any of these things have happened recently it could be contributing to why your whippet is howling more.
Related Reading: Are Whippets Prone To Separation Anxiety?
4) They Want Attention
Sometimes if your whippet is really desperate for attention, they may howl.
This wouldn’t be too common considering whippets are generally quiet dogs.
But if your pup is feeling extra bored and wants you to play with them, go outside with them or take them for a walk, they may howl to get your attention.
Whippets will try just about anything if they’re bored enough to get your attention.
Which might mean the occasional howling scene in hopes you’ll come over and give them some love and attention.
5) They Think You’re Howling
Have you ever noticed your whippet starts to howl when you’re singing?
Well, simply put, they may think that’s your human version of howling.
Which makes them want to howl along with you.
Just like they would if they lived with a bunch of other dogs and one started howling, the rest would likely join in.
It can also be a way to bond with you if they howl while you sing.
Just like when people sing along to a song and bond while enjoying eachothers company, a dog howling along with you is a form of bonding and communicating this bond through their howl.
6) You’ve Encouraged It
If you’re starting to notice your whippet howling more and more lately, it could be because you’ve unintentionally (or intentionally) encouraged it.
When they’ve howled in the past, if you’ve howled along with them as a joke or went over and gave them attention, it’ll make them want to howl more.
What might have seemed like silly or normal reactions to their howling has unintentionally encouraged the behavior.
Now they think howling is a good thing to do and one that gets your attention.
Which makes them want to do it more.
7) Letting You Know Where They Are
There’s two reasons why your whippet might howl to let you know where they are.
Both are instinctual for your pup and come from their wolf ancestors.
When you leave for work in the morning, your whippet might think this is you leaving to search for food.
This is because when it’s time for wolves to leave their den and search for food, one or two will stay behind to help the rest of their pack find their way home.
Every now and then the ones that stayed back would howl to give the other wolves an idea of how to get back home.
So if you notice your whippet howling as you pull into the driveway and getting out of your car, they may be guiding you back home.
What a helpful pup.
Another time you may notice your pup howl is when you’re going into a new, unfamiliar place.
When your whippet howls in this situation it’s to let other dogs know they’re close by and not to be startled when they see them.
If they weren’t to howl it would be seen as a form of aggression because it would appear that they’re sneaking around.
By letting out a howl it lets the others know they’re about to enter their environment and that they come in peace.
You may notice them howl for this reason if they’re about to go into a dog park.
Sometimes a whippet even may start howling from excitement.
They’re overflowing with positive emotions and not sure how to express it so they let out a big howl.
It wouldn’t be likely to hear your pup howl from excitement often, but if they get really happy about something it’s not out of the question.
Maybe they’re overflowing with excitement about going to the dog park, getting one of their favorite treats, or seeing you come home.
Just because whippets are generally quiet dogs doesn’t mean they won’t have moments of loudness and instinctual behavior.
4 Tips To Reduce How Much Your Whippet Howls
1) Train The ‘Quiet’ Command
Many people will ask their dog to be quiet without taking the time to actually train them on what they want when they say the word quiet.
Which is terribly ineffective.
So if you want to be able to get your whippet to stop howling when you say so, it’s important to teach them a ‘quiet’ command.
You can do this by following the steps below:
Step 1: Do something that would cause them to bark or howl (e.g. have someone ring the doorbell, sing a tune that always makes them howl).
Step 2: *Following the doorbell example* Look out the window of the door to acknowledge their barking then get their attention by holding out a treat.
Step 3: Once they stop barking, give them the treat.
Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 and increase how long you wait to give them a treat after they’ve become quiet.
Step 5: Add in the que word ‘quiet’ when you get their attention and they stop barking or howling.
Step 6: Continue practicing getting them to be quiet after saying the command word until they’ve got it down pat.
2) Make Leaving Less Of a Big Deal
If your whippet gets super upset everytime you leave home and stays upset long after you’re gone, do your best to make your leaving less of a big deal.
There’s a couple ways you can do this.
One is by making your ‘I’m about to leave’ pattern less obvious.
And the other is to help them look forward to you leaving.
Let’s talk about the first way by making your departure pattern less obvious.
When you’re about to leave you likely do the same 4-5 things every single time without realizing it.
But your pup definitely notices it.
And when they see you start your leaving pattern, they start to get themselves worked up because they know it means they’re about to be alone.
How you can stop this is by adding some confusion to your pattern.
When you grab your keys, instead of putting on your jacket, go sit down and watch some TV.
Or grab your keys, put your jacket on then do the dishes.
This way your pup won’t have a great idea of when you’re actually going to leave.
Which means they won’t be able to get themselves worked up and overly anxious when they think you’re leaving them.
Now for how to make them look forward to you leaving (sounds crazy, I know).
Right before you leave, give them one of their favorite, special treats. One they only get when they’ve been really good or on their birthday.
This will make them associate you leaving with a good thing instead of a terrible thing.
3) Don’t Encourage It
Do your best to ignore your whippets howling.
If their reason for howling is mostly because they’re bored or want your attention, the best thing you can do is ignore it.
Which will require a good amount of patience.
But if you cater to them and go pet them in order to get them to stop you’re only encouraging the behavior.
So the best way to stop howling from being a boredom buster behavior, is to ignore them when they do it.
4) Consult With a Professional
Sometimes it can be challenging to stop howling behavior on your own.
There can be deep rooted reasons for your whippets howling that aren’t obvious to you.
Which is why bringing in a behavioral specialist can be very helpful.
They will likely be able to find the trigger much quicker than you would on your own and help come up with a solution to help them stop howling.
Or at least reduce how often they are.
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