Howling: Is It Normal For Pitbulls?

By Jay

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Have you ever heard an unusual howling from your dog before? This is not much of a surprise because our canine friends did descend from wolves, who are notorious for howling. However, this behavioral trait that had been passed down had changed drastically throughout the years. It started as a way of communication during pack hunting and became typical attention-seeking in modern times. However, can it be considered normal for specific dog breeds?

One of these dog breeds is the Pitbull, which is a very well-known international dog breed. Pitbulls are protective and affectionate towards their owners even though they are not the best guard dogs. Though Pitbulls are known to be very potentially aggressive towards strangers, they are not very vocal. However, Pitbulls still tend to howl on some occasions for a variety of reasons.

In this article, we’ll be talking all about Pitbulls and why they howl. We will also discuss later on what behavioral conditions you should watch out for involving howling. But first, we need to tackle how much do Pitbulls howl.

Howling Vs. Barking

howling vs barking
Photo credits: Dreamstime

You may be confused about the difference between howling and barking is. Identifying the meaning of these two actions may help you understand your dog’s needs.

Barking is the most common sound that you can hear from dogs. It is described as a short and powerful noise uttered by your dog. In contrast, howling is a mournful type of bark. It is a long wail that is usually heard from wolves.

Though you may identify howling and barking depending on the tone and length of noise, they have a similar purpose. Whatever your dog does, this is a sign that something is going on or your dog needs something from you.

Do Pitbulls Howl A Lot?

Pitbulls are not known to be a vocal dog breed. However, they do howl, though it is less common. Because of the rarity of Pitbull howling, some Pitbull owners get concerned whenever their dog howls. However, howling is not usual behavior for Pitbulls, and if they do, it should reach your attention. Though it is not always something serious, it could still potentially be something that needs your urgent involvement.

In the next section, we listed the possible reasons for your Pitbull howling. After that, you can observe how they can vary in intensity. Unfortunately, this means you never really always know if you need to check on them immediately.

Possible Reasons For Howling

πŸ• For the attention

Attention-seeking behavior is quite prevalent in Pitbulls because of their attachment to their owners. Because they consider you as a part of their “pack,” they will howl to summon you, much like how wolves used to communicate with each other effectively in the wild through howling. Maybe you are not spending time with them like how you used to. Changes in their environment and routine are usually the cause of their attention-seeking behavior.

To fix this, you need to have a consistent routine with your dog. For example, if you have free time from six to eight in the evening, pick those hours to spend time with your Pitbull. Ensure that time is free for you because it can have adverse effects if the routine is broken. Habits of excessive howling usually stop once they get used to this routine.

πŸ• Howling To Communicate With Other Dogs

As mentioned above, howling is the form of communication for dogs. If you have dogs aside from Pitbull in your house or your neighborhood, it could be the reason. Pitbulls and all other dogs can’t help but seek interactions with other canines sometimes. Howling can be a sign that they want to build a rapport with the other dog. Think of it as their version of limited social media.

There is not much of a fix for this reason besides meeting the other dog face-to-face. Though it may not always end well on some occasions due to their aggressiveness, it’s worth a shot. This is especially true for dogs who will not stop howling at each other.

You may ask, “But what if they are fighting?”. Pitbulls and many other dogs usually fight from a distance through barking, not howling. So it is very likely that their howling is a sign of connection, not aggression.

πŸ• They Want Your Immediate Response Because Of What They Found

Wolves also begin to howl when they sense danger or have found something they want others to see. Howling due to potential threats can be the same for Pitbulls; they wish to respond immediately during specific situations. It could even be because of emergencies, such as a fire. Think of it as an emergency siren sound, with which the howl shares a similar sound.

If you are not at your dog’s side at the time of howling, you should check it out immediately, especially for Pitbulls who do not usually howl unless necessary. This shows that something is going on. Pitbulls will not hesitate to break their usual character if they sense danger. All thanks to their strong attachment to their owners.

πŸ• A Response To Sound Or Music

When dogs hear music that catches their attention, they may howl in response. It could be that the sound is similar to howling or want others to listen to it. So do not be startled if your Pitbull starts howling at your favorite song. They may also howl in scary sounds such as sirens or fireworks. Howling is also a means of warning to other dogs or humans, especially their owners, of the potential danger they heard.

πŸ• Distress Or Pain

Pitbulls may howl because of intense pain as a call for help. They want their owners or someone they trust to help them or at least be near them during that time. If your bulldog can’t move properly, it could be that they are howling because of pain. You should be able to indicate where and take them to the vet if possible. You may also administer pain relievers as long as they are prescribed by the vet beforehand.

πŸ• Boredom

Dogs may howl for the sake of boredom. A bored creature may try to do something that it does not usually do. This is the case for Pitbulls who do not usually howl. Instead, they may do it for the sake of reducing boredom.

To prevent this, make sure your Pitbull stays entertained by providing toys for them. The best type of toy for bulldogs is the chew toy because of their fondness for nibbling.

πŸ• Fear

Some dogs have specific fears due to either trauma or shock. They howl, especially if you adopted these Pitbulls from shelters due to trauma from abandonment. Howling can be seen as a call for help and a coping mechanism. Much how humans cry or scream during dreadful experiences.

Please make sure you recognize what that fear is and remove it. Sometimes it could be a loud sound or an audio effect on your television that’s scaring them. You never know what behavior your Pitbull may display, especially since they are also aging. Older dogs are more susceptible to anxiety and other mental issues. This leads us to the condition involving howling that you should be concerned about.

When To Be Concerned

If your Pitbull constantly howls uncontrollably, it could be a sign of anxiety. This condition is usually characterized by restless and nervous behavior in dogs. If it happens while you are present, it could be generalized anxiety. However, if it occurs when you are leaving or absent, it could signify separation anxiety. This form of fear manifests itself when the person the dog is attached to disappears from the environment.

There are no quick fixes to this condition. You may want to see an Animal Behaviorist if you suspect that your Pitbull has this condition. It can become a tedious process of treatment of regression, but it is all for your dog’s health. Anxiety can escalate to depression which can significantly impact your dog’s overall health. So make sure you take preventive measures at the earliest of symptoms.

Listed below are other symptoms of anxiety in dogs:

🐢 Sudden Aggressive Behavior

🐾 Uncontrolled Littering

🐢 Destructive Behavior

🐾 Excessive Barking

🐢 Restlessness

🐾 Rapid Breathing

🐢 Drooling

🐾 Compulsive Actions

Methods For Preventing Howling

If you do not want to hear howling from your Pitbull, there are methods you can try. It is worth noting, however, that whatever happens, do not punish your dog physically. It will only teach them to be afraid of you, which causes them to howl even more. Though training can be tedious and challenging, they are worth it, significantly if the howling has affected you or those around you.

πŸ•β€πŸ¦Ί Counterconditioning

Counterconditioning involves indicating the factor that triggers the howling. If they are afraid of sirens, gradually introduce that sound to them while comforting them. After that, give them treats as a reward for good behavior. This teaches them that they should not be afraid of that triggering experience.

πŸ•β€πŸ¦Ί Training And Routine

Discipline through training is always the best method for ensuring your Pitbull maintains good behavior. Unfortunately, this involves a lot of time and effort, and even then, not all dogs become fully trained. However, it may reduce the chances of howling, so this method is worth a shot.

πŸ•β€πŸ¦Ί Consulting A Professional

Though the most pricey method, it is the most effective. Animal behaviorists can provide proper practical training to your Pitbull, which significantly reduces howling tendencies. However, it must also involve your cooperation as the owner.

Bottom Line

Pitbulls are adorable, compassionate, and very affectionate pets. Despite not being vocal, they may want to communicate their needs with you when they lack them. If you plan to get a pit bull, you must know that they are demanding your attention. They are a big responsibility, and you have to tolerate and eventually fix their behaviorβ€”all for the sake of being able to live together with minimal inconveniences.

I am Jay, I am a pet lover. Have few Pitbulls with me. So love to write about pitbulls.

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