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Why do dogs howl at sirens?

If you are a pup parent, you probably have noticed that your furry friend may react to sirens. I don’t know about you, but when a police car or fire truck gets anywhere near my house, my pooch responds by howling. Now, I was under the impression that she was reacting because sirens are loud. However, the truth of the matter is a bit more complicated. 

According to Hills Pet, our furry friends are inclined to respond to sirens because of an evolutionary reason. Like wolves, dogs will howl to indicate to others that there is a possible threat. Our furry friends may also howl as a tool to present themselves as more threatening. When Fido howls he is either letting you know about the sirens or trying to fend off whatever is causing the unpleasant noise.

While your pup is trying to help you in her own way, you may find her howling in response to sirens a bit irritating. Fortunately, you can train your dog to refrain from reacting to noises. Pet MD recommends using tactics called “desensitization and counterconditioning.” In order to desensitize your dog, play siren noises somewhat regularly at a relatively low volume. Ideally, your pooch will figure out that sirens are not, in fact, a threat. As for counterconditioning -- you’ll want to give your very good dog a well-deserved treat each time they do not howl at the siren noises. 

Now, sirens are not the only reason that your pooch may howl. Pet MD reported that your pup will be more vocal so that you will be more attentive. Since this is not a great habit, try your best to pay no mind to your pup when you believe that they are howling for this reason. 

If your canine companion is continually howling, he could be suffering from separation anxiety. Handling your pup’s anxiety without professional help may be a daunting task. For this reason, Pet MD recommends pet owners hire a trainer or behavior specialist to help their canine companions. 

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