Why does my dog howl at sirens? (Thinkstock)
Why does my dog howl at sirens?
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You asked us, "Why does my dog howl at sirens?" That has been a head-scratcher for a while, almost as if sirens have an evil power over most dogs. 
 
Their heads start to go up, 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, 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've ever seen a dog howling along with a fire truck, they don't seem to be unhappy. In fact, they look pretty pleased with themselves.
 
Canine science points us in another direction, to dogs' cousins and ancestors, the wolves.
 
Wolves don't bark to communicate, they howl. Listen to a wolf howl. What's that, girl? That seems to translate to "I'm 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 (28)
  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    8/26/2015 - 07:23 p.m.

    I think this is a good thing to know because now people know why dogs howl when there are sirens. Dogs howl because of their cousins and ancestors, the wolves. Wolves howl to communicate to each other. The howling is part of the dog's instincts.
    What did people used to believe was the reason their dogs howled at sirens?
    Answer: People used to believe that the reason their dogs howled at sirens because it hurt their ears. They have more sensitive ears than humans so it hurts the dogs.

  • nataliac-nar
    8/27/2015 - 01:45 p.m.

    That has always a question of mine and my dads!!

  • keatonm-1-ols
    8/31/2015 - 12:53 p.m.

    I think that it is the same reason people hate sirens, because it is annoying. think how much more it would be if you were a dog. Since they have sensitive ears it would probably be really annoying.

  • karlees-1-ols
    8/31/2015 - 12:54 p.m.

    The reason that people thought that their dogs barked at loud sirens, was because they thought that it hurt the dogs ears. However, the real reason is that they are trying to say, "Go away."

  • tycenb-ols
    8/31/2015 - 12:54 p.m.

    People used to think that a dogs howl at the sirens was because it hurt there ears. Now recent study suggests it might be a trait from their cousins, the wolf.

  • jasminpd-1-ols
    8/31/2015 - 12:54 p.m.

    They used to think that it just hurt. Dogs ears are more sensitive than ours so loud noises hurt. They dogs are now howling for the reason that they think its fun.

  • mckaylas-1-ols
    8/31/2015 - 12:55 p.m.

    People used to think that the reason dogs howl at sirens is because it hurts them. Its true that dogs have way more sensitive ears than that of a human. However, they used the expressions of their faces to determine other wise.

  • briannar-1-ols
    8/31/2015 - 12:55 p.m.

    Dogs howl at sirens because that is the way they communicate. People for a long time thought that dogs howled at at sirens because it hurt their ears, but canine scientist believe that it is because dogs ancestors where wolves.

  • jacksonh-ols
    8/31/2015 - 12:55 p.m.

    This helped me to explain why my dog barks when someone pulls into our drive way. It may also explain why he barks at the doorbell.

  • laneys-1-ols
    8/31/2015 - 12:56 p.m.

    People used to believe that dogs howled at sirens because it hurt their ears.

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