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Why Doesn’t My Dog Howl? 9 Weird Reasons + What It Means

Why Doesn't My Dog Howl

“Awwwhooooo,” howled your neighbor’s dog.

“Awwwhooooo!”, another canine responded.

Meanwhile, your pooch is undisturbed. They don’t even bother to look at what’s going on.

Whether you find howling dogs cool and want your dog to do the same.

Or you’re wondering why you never heard them howl,

or why they stopped howling…

This article is perfect for you. 

Here you’ll discover:

  • What it means when your dog doesn’t howl.
  • 9 real reasons why there are dogs that don’t howl.
  • If your dog really is unable to howl or just chooses not to.
  • And much much more…

Why doesn’t my dog howl?

Your dog doesn’t howl because they belong to the quiet breed of canines. They also thought they weren’t allowed because they were shushed or punished in the past. But it could also be because they’re shy, anxious, ill, slowly losing their hearing, or totally deaf.

Why doesn’t my dog howl – 9 reasons

#1: Your dog thinks it’s not allowed

Your dog has been with you since they were born.

But the number of times you heard them howl can only be counted by your fingers.

Meaning, it’s 10 times or less, as far as you can remember.

And the last time you heard them was years ago.

Well, maybe because they thought howling was a big no-no inside the house.

Can you try to remember what happened then, before all the howling stopped?

Was it while you were busy with a task? Or while you were reading a book or maybe watching Netflix? 

Did you ever shush them then?

It could have happened during a video call with someone. For example, during a Google Meet or Zoom. 

Well, if you said yes at some point, that could be the answer to your question.

Sometime in the past, you must have stopped them from howling.

Although it wasn’t your intention to forbid them completely, they took the constant attempt to stop them as a sign that howling is not a preferred behavior. 

#2: Your dog’s past experience

One of the reasons your dog doesn’t howl anymore could be due to a bad experience or trauma in the past. 

Did you get them from another family who used to take care of them? Or from a shelter perhaps?

If so, they may have been physically punished for barking or howling. As a result, they formed negative associations with howling. And stopped doing it. 

Rescue dogs have the biggest possibility of experiencing these kinds of treatment. 

So for them not to get hurt anymore, they chose to become the quiet type instead (no more barking and howling).

If you recently got your dog, check for possible signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well. 

Especially if you don’t know if their previous owner treated them kindly.

Other possible causes of PTSD:

  • Loss of their hooman.
  • Being abandoned in forests.
  • Abuse (physical or emotional).
  • Experience in natural disasters.
  • Bad encounters with other species.

If you think your new dog is suffering from PTSD, you must be extra careful and be sure to keep them away from the things that bring them stress. 

Consistent play sessions, exercises, and positive reinforcement training are good starting points for your pooch. 

Also, remember to be patient with them as it’s not easy to heal dogs with this disorder. It may take months and years of training. 

So you must extend your patience (and love) towards your fur pal.

Read next: 9 reasons why your dog is suddenly afraid of you

#3: Your dog is anxious

Your Dog Doesn't Howl Because He Is Anxious

A fire truck passes by. 

All the other dogs were howling with the siren. Except for yours. 

Your dog is quiet, so you look for them.

You find them under the bed, trembling. 

Your pooch may be experiencing noise anxiety. 

Although, there are dogs who respond to sirens like they’re howling to a pack of canines from afar… 

There are also dogs who are afraid of loud noises. Your pooch is an example.

Some of the signs of anxiety to look for in your dog:

  • Hiding.
  • Panting.
  • Quivering.
  • Eyes widening.
  • Refusing to move.
  • Pushing ears back.
  • Attempting to escape the situation.

If you see your dog exhibiting the following symptoms, do not pet or console them because it will only worsen the situation. 

Try your best to remain calm instead because that will help lessen their anxiety. Also, if your dog sees you panicking too, it will be hard for them to recover easily. 

Note: As every dog is different, no single treatment works for their noise anxiety. Better seek a veterinarian’s advice on how to treat it properly. 

Check out also: Top 10 reasons why dogs grab your arm

#4: Your dog is ill

Your dog usually howls while listening to you play the flute or to the ring of the church bell or to the noise of the sirens,

But then suddenly they weren’t responding to any of these sounds…

Then, they may be sick.

Although they’ll try their best to hide what they’re feeling, their body will show it anyway. 

And as a fur parent, you must be able to figure out if your dog needs a vet’s attention. 

Here are the signs you should look for to know if your pooch is sick:

  • Salivating.
  • Stinky breath.
  • Frequent drinking.
  • Excessive urination.
  • Stiffness on their body.
  • Lack of interest in doing doggy activities.
  • Coughing, sneezing, and difficulty in breathing.

Warning: If you see any of these on your pooch, contact your vet immediately. Please do not wait for the symptoms to worsen as your dog may be secretly suffering already. 

Further reading: Why is my dog avoiding me all of a sudden?

#5: Your dog is deaf or slowly losing their hearing

Dogs have a sensitive and highly-developed sense of hearing. 

They’re also capable of hearing sounds from far-off distances. 

So when your pooch doesn’t howl back even if they usually do, upon hearing the sound of your neighbor’s dog, there must be something wrong.

For an aging dog, loss of hearing is inevitable. 

Because of this, they won’t bother responding to nearby howls anymore since they can only hear faint sounds.

They also don’t have enough energy to even reply anymore.

Eyes get blurry, body gets weak, energy gets low.

Gone were the days when their hearing was at its peak as well. 

When a dog is aging, loss of hearing is accompanied by other signs such as:

  • Decrease in energy level.
  • Anxiety towards familiar objects.
  • Being forgetful of the commands.
  • Excessive barking (due to loss of hearing).
  • Shift in sleeping cycle (e.g. restlessness at night).

On the other hand, below are the possible causes of deafness in dogs:


Research shows that there are many types of deafness, however, the most common in dogs is one known as Congenital Sensorineural Deafness (CSD), which is hereditary and permanent.


Ear infection is caused by wax buildup in your pooch’s ear canal. Good news about this condition, if treated immediately this is still reversible.

Head Trauma

Blaunt traumas in the head (e.g. being severely hit) can also cause deafness due to the blood getting and blocking the dog’s inner ear.

This can either be permanent or temporary, depending on how serious the case is.

Foreign objects

Unlike CSD, this type of deafness known as Conductive Deafness can be temporary because it’s just the outer or middle ear that’s affected.

The foreign objects that can be stuck in your dog’s ear are the following:

  • Beads.
  • Marble.
  • Cotton swab.
  • Small food (e.g. beans).
  • Rubber/ plastic ball or toys.

Note: These objects may cause inflammation and irritation to your dog, so better let your vet remove these foreign items immediately. 

There are also evident signs on your dog, so you’ll know if they’re experiencing hearing loss or total deafness. The following are:

  • Excessive barking.
  • Not as attentive anymore.
  • Failure to respond to commands.
  • Not reacting when their name is called.
  • Unresponsive to loud and sharp sounds.

#6: Your dog is depressed

Your Dog Is Depressed

“Oh no. Is that even possible?”

Yes, but before you panic for your dog’s well-being, check yourself first. 

Are you happy and content with your life? Are you currently problem-free? Is nothing bothering you? 

“Wait, this isn’t about me, yeah?”

Of course, but it could also be.

Your dog may be depressed because you, their hooman, are depressed and they’re sympathizing with you. 

According to AKC, dogs can sense your feelings, read your expressions, and follow your actions. 

A study also shows that canines can match a human’s facial expression to their vocalization, hence, they know if a person is feeling happy, sad, or afraid.

This all changes though if you’re actually happy and that’s the emotion you keep showing your dog, but they still look gloomy and sad.

They could really be depressed after all.

Depression in dogs could be due to these varying factors:

Warning: Depression in dogs displays similar symptoms to dogs having medical conditions or experiencing chronic disease. So go to your nearest vet to rule out any serious illnesses. 

#7: Your dog is the quiet type

“Why are you so quiet, my Fido?”

Your dog is energetic, they love to lick, dig, smell, roll, cuddle.

Almost all of the characteristics of the other dogs are also present in yours (so you’re quite sure they’re really a dog), except for one.

They never howl.

“Why is that?”

Well, there are certain dog breeds that are not so vocal and your Fido’s breed may fall under one of those.

List of some of the quiet dogs by PetMD:

  • Bulldog.
  • Whippet.
  • Doberman.
  • Greyhound.
  • Japanese Chin.
  • Golden Retriever.
  • Chinese Shar-Pei.
  • Scottish Deerhound.
  • Basenji (barkless dog).

Does your dog’s breed belong to one of those?

No wonder you don’t hear them bark or howl often.

#8: Your dog is shy

Isn’t it that when it’s your first time meeting someone, you don’t get too friendly right away? 

You try to show your best self.

The ‘quiet and behave’ you rather than the ‘perky and bubbly’ you.

The same could be true to your new pooch. 

They could be the type that doesn’t bark or howl to their new parents immediately because they’re shy. 

Don’t worry because rest assured, after a week or two of being with you, they’ll eventually be comfortable in showing you their true colors.

#9: Your dog doesn’t know how

Maybe the reason why your pooch doesn’t howl is because they don’t know how to do it in the first place.

They might not also know that they are capable of doing it.

Maybe until they try it on their own.

However, if they don’t have a fur sibling, then they probably don’t have someone to howl with.

Unless you’re willing to do it with them.

“Wait. Why do dogs howl anyway?”

Howling originated from their wolf ancestors. They do it as a way of telling the other packs nearby of their location. 

Dogs still howl nowadays as a way of communicating with other dogs, and sometimes even to their hoomans.

If you want your pooch to learn how to howl as well, you are free to try the following:

  • Howl for them until they follow you.
  • Let them watch Youtube videos of howling dogs.
  • Play an instrument that mimics a howl (e.g. harmonica, trumpet).

Try letting your pooch what this video and they might imitate it:

People also ask:

What does it mean when a dog can’t howl?

When a dog can’t howl it means they’re deaf or aging. There’s temporary deafness and there’s a permanent one, so go to your vet to ask if your pooch can still be treated.

If it’s due to wax buildup or foreign objects blockage, there’s still a good chance your dog will still be able to hear again. For aging canines though, it may be irreversible.

Do all dogs can howl?

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on what you prefer), not all dogs can howl. There are dog breeds who prefer to be quiet and don’t like howling, or even barking.

For example, one of those breeds is a Golden Retriever who would rather keep their mouth busy by holding or retrieving something, than using up their energy to bark or howl.