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Do German Shepherds Howl?

Do German Shepherds Howl?

Howling, like barking, whining, or growling is another way your German Shepherd communicates.  This article will answer the question do German Shepherds howl, as well as some of the reasons why German Shepherds may howl.

Can German Shepherds howl?

Yes!  German Shepherds aren’t like Huskies or beagles where they are known to howl a lot, but German Shepherd can and do howl.

Why do German Shepherds howl?

Typically, German Shepherds howl when they are trying to communicate something to us.  Here are some of the reasons why your GSD may howl:

  • Gaining your attention
  • Separation anxiety
  • Boredom
  • To prevent you from leaving
  • In response to another external sound
  • Imitation
  • They are in pain or injured and need help
  • Excitement
  • To Communicate

Let’s go into detail about each of these reasons your GSD may howl.

German Shepherds howling

Howling to gain your attention

Often times when a GSD howls it’s to get our attention.  My German Shepherd rarely howls.  However, when she does it’s usually when I’ve left her in a room and told her to stay.  She’ll howl a few times if she wants to gain my attention to get me to come back. 

How do I know this?  She never ever howls when we are in the same room.  She only howls when she is trying to communicate with me from far away, so a howl or a bark is really her only option.

Separation anxiety

German Shepherds are known to be very attached to their humans, and some can even have separation anxiety.  They get nervous or anxious when their humans aren’t around and some dogs will howl non-stop until their human returns. 

If you think your GSD may have this issue check out my full article of German Shepherd separation anxiety.

Boredom

Another reason your German Shepherd may be howling is from being bored.  If you German Shepherd has been cooped up all day and hasn’t had much of an outlet for their energy, they can express their excess energy through a howl. 

You’ll usually find that if you take you dog for a long walk or have a play session the howling will “mysteriously” stop.

Preventing you from leaving

A common reason German Shepherds howl is to prevent you from leaving the house.  Dogs quickly learn our routine, so if they know you always put them in the crate or a certain room before leaving the house, you may find they howl once placed in that location.

This is to let you know they don’t want you to leave.  If the howling is too incessant, it could be a sign of separation anxiety as discussed above.

In response to another external sound

Another time I have noticed my German Shepherd howling, is when there is another dog barking or howling outside.  Before dogs were domesticated, they used howling in the wild to communicate with one another.

Accordingly, when your dog hears another dog outside barking or howling, sometimes they will howl or bark in response.  Dogs are also known to howl in response to sounds like sirens.

Imitation

long haired GSD outside

Dogs not only respond in response to other dogs howling, but they will also respond to your noises.   You may find that if you make a sound similar to a howling noise your dog will start to howl as well.  Sometimes, dogs mimic the sounds they hear. 

Your GSD is in pain or injured

Similar to above, dogs used howling in the wild to let their pack know they were injured and needed help. 

Accordingly, if your dog is hurt, in pain, or stuck in a tight spot and you aren’t within sight, they may howl to try and get you to come to their rescue.

Excitement

Just like dogs can whine because of excitement, they can also howl from excitement.  Sometimes, your GSD will be so worked up with excitement that they need to release that energy.  My dog is more prone to whining or barking when this happens, but some dogs also howl.

To communicate

Lastly, the main reason dogs howl is to communicate.  All of the reasons above express howling as a way of communicating to others their wants or needs in a certain situation. 

Remember, since dogs don’t have words, they use every sound they have to let us know what they need or want.

Why does my German Shepherd howl at night?

Nighttime is usually a calm time where everyone is in bed and all is quiet.  Your German Shepherd may want attention at this time so they howl to gain your attention.  They could also be bored or be presenting signs of separation anxiety especially if you are sleeping in another room from your GSD. 

Try giving your dog a short walk or having a fun play session before bed and see if they howl less or not at all.  Chances are if you tire your dog out before bedtime the howling will decrease. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this article gives you some insight on German Shepherd howling.  German Shepherds or any dog can howl for a number of reasons. 

If you want to drill down as to why your German Shepherd is howling, look at the situations where your dog howls and then look to see if they fit into any one of the reasons listed above. 

Chances are if you can identify the reason why your dog is howling, you can determine that it is either nothing to worry about or find ways of reducing the howling if it is bothersome. 

Does your German Shepherd howl a lot?  Let me know in the comments!

 

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