Why does my dog howl at sirens? (Thinkstock)
Why does my dog howl at sirens?
Lexile

You asked us, "Why does my dog howl at sirens?" That has been a head-scratcher for a while. It is almost as if sirens have an evil power over most dogs. 
 
Their heads start to go up and their doggy-lips start to purse. And out it comes, as if they have no control over it. 
 
For a long time, the explanation was simple. It is that it hurts. 
 
Dogs' hearing is so much more sensitive than ours ... that a sound that's just irritating to us must be excruciating for them. But if you have ever seen a dog howling along with a fire truck, they don't seem to be unhappy. They look pretty pleased with themselves in fact.
 
Canine science points us in another direction. To dogs' cousins and ancestors, the wolves.
 
Wolves do not bark to communicate, they howl. Listen to a wolf howl. What is that, girl? That seems to translate to "I am lonely, friend" or "Go away, stranger." 
 
These wolfish responses are also hardwired into your dog's head. So given the smug aftermath of a good howl, I'd put my money on the "Go away" explanation of your dog's big yowl. 

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What did people used to believe was the reason their dogs howled at sirens?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (100)
  • maxu-den
    8/26/2015 - 12:49 p.m.

    the dog article didnt make sense to me at all and i didnt understand it at all

  • mayab1-hol
    8/26/2015 - 04:45 p.m.

    This a very interesting article. I didn't know that wolves don't bark. When dogs howl they are sometimes happy but, sometimes mad that is interesting. Dogs hearing is more sensitive, I don't believe that when I say sit my dog just ignores me. Hehe. I would like to learn more about a dog.

  • Jason0421-YYCA
    8/26/2015 - 08:54 p.m.

    I think that it is interesting to know that dogs howl to sirens because they either think that they are lonely or they are saying go away. I believe that it is amazing how dogs are hard-wired to think that they should howl to annoying sirens. I believed that dogs hated sirens, but now I know that the dogs are actually just saying things to sirens.

  • Brandon1231-YYCA
    8/26/2015 - 10:10 p.m.

    Dogs are responding to sirens and other things that make noise because they react to these things. They are able to know if they are good or bad. They are always responding to this things so that they are able to make contact with the owner that the sound is a bad sound or it is good sound.

  • alic-nar
    8/27/2015 - 08:20 a.m.

    Wow that is amazing, I never new that dogs hearing where so much more valuable than ours. I allayed wonder why my dog always barked when the ambulance or police came by!!!!!!!

  • meganm-nar
    8/27/2015 - 08:26 a.m.

    This is so true. When a siren goes off in my neighborhood ny dog hides behind me and howls. Just to imagine how bad it hurts them, now when a siren goes off I'll watch for my dogs reaction.

  • kaylas-nar
    8/27/2015 - 10:11 a.m.

    The reason people believed sirens makes dogs howl because it just hurts their ears. They have way better hearing than us. That why they howl at sirens cause it's louder to dogs.

  • kadenw-
    8/27/2015 - 11:20 a.m.

    dogs howl like wolfs.Da!

  • brandonb-
    8/27/2015 - 11:23 a.m.

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jaxonb-nar
    8/27/2015 - 11:24 a.m.

    How do they not get annoyed by the siren.

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