Do Pitbulls Howl? 7 Reasons (and How to Teach Them)
If you have a four-legged pitbull friend or are thinking of adopting a Pitbull, you are probably curious about your Pitbull’s personality traits.
Pitbulls are very friendly and loving dogs. They demand love and require early socialization. You should also know that Pitbulls are quiet by nature, which means they howl in specific situations.
Do Pitbulls how? Pitbulls do howl in specific situations. They are normally quiet dogs. Hence, if they howl then they are probably trying to communicate with you. Pitbulls can also howl when they hear other dogs howling.
In this article, I’m going to discuss (briefly) everything you need to know about howling and how to understand each of your dog’s sounds and understand what they mean.
So, If you want to know the types of howling, why your Pitbull is howling, how to stop your Pitbull’s howling, how to prevent howling, what excessive howling is, when to consult a professional, and how to train your dog to howl, keep reading…
Do Pitbulls Howl?
Pitbulls are normally quiet dogs, which is rare to hear your pitbull howling. However, it is not impossible.
If out of nowhere your Pitbull starts howling, it can be alarming to hear this noise coming from him/her. In such cases, you need to look for the cause.
The short answer is yes, Pitbulls do howl.
Your pitbull can howl for a variety of reasons, which I will discuss with you in the following sections. However, in all cases, it is important to listen to what your four-legged Pitbull is trying to say.
3 Types of Pitbull howling
It is most commonly known that dogs can’t talk, however, they have their own way of communicating with us that mother nature has blessed them with, which is howling. Not all howls sound the same. There are 3 different types of howling:
Howling is a behavior that can generally be seen in canine species. A howl is a loud, doleful, and sustained noise.
A bark sounds like a loud explosive cry. It is also very short. Some dogs bark just simply because they are happy. But since Pitbulls are quiet, it is unlikely to be the case here.
A bay is any deep, prolonged noise.
7 Reasons why Pitbulls Howl
Your Pitbull may be howling for many reasons. Some of these howls are even a cry for help, or to alarm you of something you did not notice, or because they are distressed.
The following reasons can be why your Pitbull is suddenly howling:
If your dog is hurt, they howl as a cry for help. They could be severely injured and in pain, because of their coat, you may not see it. Don’t beat yourself up for it, it can happen.
The pain could either be external or internal. Hence, if your Pitbull is suddenly hurt, you should check them thoroughly for any signs of injuries. Luckily, Pitbulls normally do not have a lot of hair, which will make it easier for you to look for wounds.
If you have checked your pitbull externally and still can’t find what is causing them pain, then you should book an appointment with your vet so that they could look for any internal causes.
If you have a hunch that your Pitbull is howling because of a medical cause, then you should visit a veterinarian as soon as possible.
If you rule out the possibility of a medical cause, there are 6 other reasons.
Pitbulls are clingy. They require a lot of attention, love, and care from their family. If you are out of the house for a long period of time and can’t take your dog with you, then a Pitbull is not the right dog for you.
Pitbulls can’t be left alone for more than 6 hours. If they are left alone for more than that, they start to feel lonely.
When Pitbulls feel lonely they experience emotional pain, and if they are really sad, they will express it by howling. If your Pitbull is howling at night and is sleeping in a separate room, then it is probably feeling lonely.
It could help to make him/her feel your presence, and it would be even nicer if you play with them every now and then.
Humans are not the only species that are sometimes disturbed by certain sounds. Alarming sounds such as sirens almost always mean bad news.
Sirens are quite startling for dogs too. And hearing sounds like sirens, music instruments, or anything like it may trigger your Pitbull to howl.
If your Pitbull hears other dogs howling, they may howl too. If it hears yelling, they might not like it either. So try to keep a quiet and relaxed environment for your dog.
If you are talking to your Pitbull, and he howls back at you, then he is trying to communicate back to you.
Sometimes you can find your dog howling as a greeting, for example, if you walk through the door then your dog is howling as a greeting. If your Pittie is meeting his/her friends, they may howl at them as a form of greeting too.
In short, howling can be a way through which your dog is showing excitement.
Your dog has no other way to express his/her fear. Hence, he might be trying to tell you that they are scared. Pitbulls have great hearing capabilities, they can hear stuff that you most probably can’t hear.
So if there is a gunshot or any other possible noise that is perceived as a threat to him/her.
Sometimes there are possible situations that can scare your dog, you might not perceive it as a threat, but your dog is here to tell you.
Warnings of possible danger
Your Pitbull is smarter than you know; they can smell danger from afar. If there is a trespasser at your home, your dog will try to warn you, he/she may even scare the intruder away.
If there’s any harm to your life or anything that your dog perceives as dangerous, they will howl as a way to warn you.
Don’t forget, your dog is looking up for you too, so you might want to listen.
Cry for attention
Life can get busy and tough. You might be trying to juggle a few things at once. As a result, you may have less time for your dog.
You are not playing with them as much as you used to or even going on walks regularly like you used to. Your Pitbull has noticed.
Your dog needs some quality time with you and is missing your presence. Hence, they howl as a way to grab your attention.
How to stop your Pitbull’s Howling
Your Pitbull’s howling could get annoying to you and your neighbors. They could ask nicely at first, but some would then go to the police, and with the reputation Pitbulls have, you can expect to be in more trouble than you would with other dogs.
So, you should really know how to stop their howling in case it gets annoying, and here is how to do it:
Ignore attention-seeking howling
If your Pitbull is howling in an attempt to grab your attention, you should discourage such behavior.
It is possible that your dog is howling because of something as unimportant as “give me a treat”, which can be quite confusing for you.
Ignoring your dog means not looking at them, not touching them, not speaking to them. You might think it’s okay to scold them, but it is better if you don’t do that either,
You should completely ghost them until they understand that they have done something wrong.
Reward quiet moments
If your dog has been behaving badly lately aka. Excessively howling and you want them to stop, you should enforce good behavior aka. Being quiet.
Let me tell you how to do that:
When you give your dog a treat or play with them when they are being quiet, you are enforcing good behavior.
If you see your dog laying down and being a good girl/boy, then you should treat them with something.
Spoiling your dog when they are being good can also mean taking them for a walk or playing with them.
Give them attention
You should focus on being consistent with your dog. As you probably know by now, Pitbulls require a lot of attention. So, you should act based on the amount of attention your Pittie needs.
What is too much attention and what is too little attention, you might be wondering? I get you, it’s confusing.
It varies from one dog to the other as well as from one breed to the other. But, you know Pitbulls require a lot of attention. Still, every Pitbull is different.
When you get to know your Pitbull better, you will be able to assess how much attention they need. Make sure you are giving them consistent attention.
By this point, you have probably already identified that the reason behind your Pitbull’s howling is fear.
Counterconditioning is a way to stop your dog from howling out of fear.
You start by teaching your dog to have pleasant feelings when exposed to something that previously scared them and caused them to howl.
In simpler words, you change the narrative and show the dog that he does not have to fear this specific thing. You associate good feelings with the feared stimulus.
You should use counterconditioning at the same time that your dog is exposed to the stimulus.
It can be as simple as patting them or giving them a treat when the stimulus is present.
Counterconditioning and desensitization often exist together. Desensitization happens when you expose your Pitbull to the feared stimuli but you take it gradually.
You should start by exposing your Pitbull to the stimuli at a low intensity. With time, you can increase the intensity of the stimuli until your dog no longer fears it or perceives it as a threat.
If you have noticed, we have not mentioned hitting or yelling at the dog at all as ways of stopping the bad behavior, and that is because these types of physical and verbal punishments only make things worse and will often backfire.
You should never physically or verbally abuse your dog, there are definitely better ways of disciplining them, and you can learn how to discipline your Pitbull here.
When is howling too much?
Howling is excessive when it is continuous. When you have tried all methods to make your dog stop howling and they all failed, then he/she is excessively howling.
When to seek help with your dog’s howling?
If you have ruled out all possibilities of medical causes and visited a veterinarian that confirmed that your dog is healthy, it might be time to seek some professional help.
Visiting a pet behaviorist might be a good idea to pinpoint why your dog is howling and how to stop it.
Make sure you rule out all other possibilities; be it lack of attention, an intruder at your home, or a medical condition.
How to teach your Pitbull to Howl – Step-by-Step Guide
If you want to hear your dog’s voice, you can always teach them the skill. Teaching your Pitbull this skill may be a bit tricky, as it is against their nature to be noisy. However, it is not impossible.
- Sing or make howling noises
If you have a squeaky voice, here is your chance to shine. When you sing and are vocal, your dog will want to join in. Remember, your dog loves to mimic you. That way, you will encourage them to be vocal too, in their cute way.
- Musical instruments
Dogs have musical ears too. A music instrument may induce a howl.
Whistling is another way to catch your dog’s attention. If you whistle, you will encourage your dog to whistle in their own way (howl).
- Play audio of puppies howling
If your Pittie hears other puppies howling, he/she would want to join in and mimic them.
- Play audio of a siren
Sirens in general are a trigger for dogs and often lead to them howling.
So, play the sound of a siren, and you would most probably hear your dog howling. If you show them that it is not a bad noise, they will probably associate it with a good memory like laughing.
Finally, remember to reward your dog when it howls on cue.
How to prevent your Pitbull from howling in the future
Some dog owners don’t want their dogs to be noisy and honestly, I can relate.
- Proper attention
As we have mentioned before, lack of attention can cause your Pittie to howl. If you give them consistent attention, you would not be giving them a reason to howl in the first place.
- Look for physical harm
One of the primary reasons for your dog howling is if they are experiencing some kind of pain. You should spot any injuries early on so that it doesn’t reach the point that your dog is in severe pain and has to howl to alert you.
- Teach your Pitbull to be quiet
If your dog is still a puppy, add being quiet to the list of things you need to teach them. You should be able to make your dog quiet down on cue.
- Notice attention-seeking howling
If you pay attention closely to your dog and the reason they are howling, you will notice that they are howling to seek your attention. If you notice this pattern, start ignoring your dog when they howl for attention.
Why does my pitbull howl at night?
If your dog howls at night, they are probably having a terrible dream, are trying to warn you, or are missing you extra at night.
You should check on your dog if this happens. However, if you notice that they are trying to seek your attention, ignore them till they stop and come back when they are quiet.
Why does my Pitbull howl in his sleep?
There is only one reason your dog is howling at night and that is because your poor baby is having a horrible dream. In this case, you should make your dog feel safe by being there or patting them.
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