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)
  • daizypd-ols
    8/31/2015 - 12:59 p.m.

    People thought that the sirens hurt the dogs' ears but that was just a belief. Another thought is that they howl with it not at it.

  • amelianaa-ols
    8/31/2015 - 01:00 p.m.

    People believed that dogs howled at sirens to either try to out-do the sirens by being louder or that the dogs were frightened by the sirens.

  • jennab-ric
    8/31/2015 - 03:39 p.m.

    I am pretty sure the reason dogs don't like sirens is because they are very loud. when we hear a siren it is loud to us it is even louder to dogs. It said in the passage that when dogs hear a loud sound such as a siren it is so loud that it is painful to them so they howl. I have two dogs and they howl whenever there is a loud noise such as a siren.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    8/31/2015 - 09:28 p.m.

    A dog's hearing is more sensitive than a human's ability to hear. They can hear the sound more loudly compared to us. No one really knows what a dog means by howling but there are some predictions. I don't really know if a dog howls almost every time they hear a siren. I think that the dogs don't know what it is so they think it might be dangerous or something.

  • bradenh-mci
    9/02/2015 - 11:28 a.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.

  • galaxyl-mci
    9/02/2015 - 11:52 a.m.

    This is actually quit interesting I have 4 dogs and they howl at sirens I thought it was just because,they heard them and wanted to chase them. This story told me different.It is actually something that i would like to look into some more.

  • tashag-1-mci
    9/02/2015 - 11:56 a.m.

    The reason people used to believe that dogs howled at sirens is because they thought it hurt their ears, even though it means "Go away!"

  • elizabeths1-ric
    9/03/2015 - 10:13 a.m.

    Dogs dislike hearing sirens because it hurts their ears..... My dog Cooper Barks police cars and trains because they are so loud.

  • kevinb-1-bar
    9/09/2015 - 07:21 p.m.

    People used to think that dogs howled at sirens was because an irritating noise is very loud for them and so it bothers their ears so they howl, also that the have much more sensitive ears then ours. And Wolves are just like dogs which is what makes them howl because they are trying to say either I am lonely or go away.

    I think this article is interesting because that is a cool thing to know about dogs!

  • annabel1226-yyca
    9/09/2015 - 08:55 p.m.

    It should be painful for the dogs. Then what does the owner do to help them feel better? Get a earmuff? If I was a dog I will go get a blanket and cover it in my ear and start howling to let my owner know that it is painful to listen to the siren.

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