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If you live in a quiet neighborhood, it is possible that a dog will hear a siren very rarely and bark when an ambulance, a police car, a fire truck or another type of ambulance pass by. If you live in a busy neighborhood in the city, it is possible that this is a common phenomenon. AND dog howling at sirens is annoying for two main reasons. First, it is often the unwelcome loud noise brought into an otherwise quiet environment. When it’s late at night or early in the morning, it can be especially unwelcome. More worrying is the obvious suffering that seems to be causing our dog.
At AnimalWised, we help understand the causes of this suffering by looking at why my dog howls at sirens. When we look at the reasons for this inappropriate howling, we can see what to do so that it does not happen again in the future.
Dog hearing is much more developed than in humans. A healthy dog is able to perceive up 60,000 Hz (unit for measuring the frequency of sound), while people are only able to hear the surroundings 20,000 Hz. For this reason, dogs are able to hear sounds that are otherwise imperceptible to us. Because of this, the dog may be able to hear many more loud noises.
Although the dog will respond to sounds that we can also hear, it also responds to frequencies that we do not perceive. Whether they interpret the sound as dangerous or disturbing, their answer for us can be confusing because they seem to come from nowhere. It is important to realize that not all dogs are the same and may not necessarily respond to the same auditory stimuli in the same way.
On some occasions the dog may howl without special consideration auditory stimuli. This can be difficult for a dog watcher to say because he may think it’s a sound we can’t hear. In these cases, the dog may howl due to an internal emotional stimulus. It could be caused by anxiety, boredom or the amount of emotion that leads to their reaction. It can even be a sign of happiness, although it is less common.
Sounds are not the only stimuli that can cause fear in a dog. You will learn more in our article about why a dog is suddenly afraid of everything.
The sirens are purposefully loud. They exist to warn others against a emergency. This sound can disturb and annoy us, so it should not be considered strange that it also affects dogs. Because the sirens of rescuers, police or firefighters can be high frequency, the dog can be even more sensitive to it. A simple distraction is not the only thing your dog howls at sirens.
Dogs sometimes howl when they hear sirens because it reminds them of the howls of their peers. It is important to emphasize that the howling itself has several meanings. For us as carers, sadness, social isolation or fear of loneliness are the most important. You can learn more about the general reasons for this behavior in our article on why my dog howls.
Dogs communicate their emotions in different ways, not just through vocalization. Posture is especially important because it allows them to express themselves properly, especially to other dogs. By observing their body language, we can better assess their needs and understand certain behaviors they may exhibit.
Although no animal is in danger, the dog may hear a call for help when the sirens are played. For them, it is possible that the siren of an emergency vehicle, such as an ambulance, sounds like a dog in need. Howling, our dog warns other animals in the area. Conversely, they may perceive the siren as howling competing dog. In this case, the dog howls because they want this potential intruder to know whose territory they entered.
Dogs can similarly howl at other sounds, whether it’s the high tone on the piano or the sound of our television. We cannot interpret these sounds directly, but we can look at the context and you will see how they react. If he sits on the couch, howls obediently and shows no signs of anxiety, we should not worry. This is especially true in the case of a breed with a predisposition to howling, such as the Nordic breeds, which include the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute.
When a dog shows signs of fear or anxiety, it signals a problem. Dogs can be easy scared of sirens if they feel fear or insecurity. This can be caused by poor socialization, trauma, poor education, stress, boredom or many negative factors. For this reason, it is important to look for signs that the dog is afraid to hear the siren.
Different sounds can cause different reactions in different dogs. Find out more in our article about why my dog is afraid of thunder.
The first thing you should know about how to stop howling dogs on sirens is that you may not have to. If the dog howls when they hear the sirenBut aren’t anxious, it can be something that doesn’t disturb the household. Similarly, if they are not anxious and sirens appear very rarely, it may be a problem that does not need to be addressed.
Conversely, if we have a lot of loud noise in neighborhood and / or the dog responds with uncertainty, we must act. Howling itself is instinctive behavior that should not be suppressed. Instead, we need to take the following steps:
- If you’re on the street when it happens, ignore the howls and keep walking as if nothing happened. You must act calmly and without paying attention to it. This will help your dog understand nothing is wrong. Conversely, if you lift them, pay more attention to them, or act nervously and incoherently, the dog feels that their alarm condition is appropriate. We are the reference character of the dog, so if we do not think that sirens are a problem, the dog should follow.
- We just should provide reassurance if the dog is very upset or looking for a place to hide. In these cases, they are frightened and we need to give them some support. Don’t reinforce negative behaviors such as running, compulsive barking, or smashing things. Instead, take them away when they start howling. Offer them a game or a toy to make you feel safer.
- Above all, we need to find out the reason for the dog’s uncertainty and solve it. Dogs are very sensitive to changes in routineso we have to look at the context. You may have moved home or a new family member has been welcomed. In these cases, we must provide support and reassurance and also positively redirect their behavior. If the dog has poor socialization, has been improperly trained or has experienced trauma, we should invite a dog ethologist to help solve these problems.
If the dog howls for no apparent reason, we recommend consulting a veterinarian. For example, senile dementia in dogs can cause fear and uncertainty, which leads the dog to howl more often. If he has a dog, it can be the cause of a health problem he hadn’t sounded the sirens beforebut he starts doing it all at once.
Some people claim that dogs howl at ambulances or others emergency sirens because he can perceive death. It is not true. Dogs are able to detect necromones, ie the odor emitted by a dead organism. However, they are unlikely to be smelled from an ambulance passing by the window. Their state of alert is caused by interference, not the specific reason for using the siren.
If you want to look at some more general reasons why dogs howlcheck out our video below:
If you want to read similar articles like My dog howls at sirens – Why and what to dowe recommend visiting our category Facts about the animal kingdom.