Why Do Dogs Howl At High Pitched Sounds? (Harmonicas, Whistles & Sirens)

Why Do Dogs Howl At High Pitched Sounds

It is normal for your dog to howl at high pitched noises like sirens, harmonica, and whistles.

When this happens, do not feel alarmed.

He is not doing it to be troublesome but is answering a natural instinctive call.


Dogs howl for various reasons:

  • To announce his coming   
  • To warn of danger
  • Alert anyone in the vicinity of something strange
  • To get attention
  • To show nervousness
  • Vocalize pain etc.


One of the reasons is stimulation from high pitched noises like sirens that catch your dog’s attention.



Why Are Dogs Stimulated By This?


1. Dogs are sensitive

Dogs are as curious as they are sensitive.

They can hear much better than humans and can pick up high-pitched noises easily, and even sound imperceptible to us.

Once there is a new noise they react and want to communicate back.

Sirens are jarring to us if it comes out of nowhere, for dogs their curiosity will be piqued wondering what is going on.

Same with musical instruments or high-pitched singing.


2. Howling is communication

dog howling

It is in their genes to communicate via howls.

Being descendants of wolves, it is one of the traits they still both share.

A high-pitched noise is like an invitation to a conversation and sometimes dogs react instinctively to the sound by matching it and howling along as if to say: “I hear you”.

Other reports indicate that it could be territorial, and your dog is letting the source of the noise know it is there and it is protecting its territory.


For musical instruments, they could be joining in and believe they are communicating with the source.

Some people erroneously believe howls are a sign your dog is hurt by the noise.

But dogs will show different signs for this, which includes covering their ears and hiding.

It is important to look for these signs; if it does happen you know you have to stop the noise or get your dog away from the source of the noise.





Does The Howling End?

1. You can end the howling early by taking your dog away from the stimulating sound, either by locking him in a room where the sound cannot get through or going outside for a walk.

Another trick is to distract your dog with a toy or any other activity.


2. You can train your pooch to stop howling by identifying the triggers and inserting yourself in between and giving a command to stop.

It would involve positive reinforcement and it would be useful in case the howling does disturb your neighbours and could get you a visit from the neighbourhood authority.


3. Since your dog’s howling is communicative, it should end with the end of the high-pitched noise.

If it does not, there could be another cause you are yet unaware of. It could be distress over something or your dog is being stimulated by something imperceptible to you.

If the howling is excessive then you would need to visit a behavioural consultant or a veterinarian.


4. There are instances of conditioning if the noise is regular or at a specific time.

If the dog learns to anticipate this noise, it may soon pre-empt it or howl in place of it.

You will have to be careful about this and contact a behavioural consultant to see how you can decondition your dog.


Not All Dogs Respond To High Pitched Noises

confused looking dog

This is the case with domestication or confidence in their space.

Some dogs do not react to high pitched noises.

While some may become conditioned to respond, others get tired of the noise and are not shocked or motivated to respond to it.

They have been desensitised. Other reports suggest alpha dogs in homes may feel secure or confident and see no need to respond.


So, either way, if your dog does not respond, it is not odd or a thing to be concerned about.



Concern should only be noted if your dog, along with not responding to high pitched noises could also not respond to voice commands or other noises.

It could be deafness if your dog is along in age, or a symptom of another problem.

You would need to contact a veterinarian for this.


See Also


A pet owner who loves to share useful facts and information about a variety of animals.