Why Does My Golden Retriever Howl?

There are many different reasons why your Golden Retriever may be howling – some more serious than others. However, if after reading this article you are still unsure what the cause is, I highly recommend taking your Golden Retriever to a vet who can hopefully figure out what’s wrong.

According to various research studies, howling is directly linked to the genetics of the dog due to the distant wolf-like instincts they still possess. Additionally, howling is also used by Golden Retrievers to express themselves and perform other activities such as guarding their territory, exhibiting joy, showing sorrow, anxiety, fear, etc.

In this article, I will discuss some of the most common reasons that might explain why your Golden Retriever is howling.

Howling due to anxiety

If you didn’t know, wolves howl a bunch, often to communicate with other wolves, or even to show sadness when the pack is out hunting and they are alone. A similar thing happens with dogs, except you are the pack. If your Golden Retriever is left alone for extended periods of time, they may begin howling in response to an emotion of loneliness or sadness. They may even howl to try and signal their loved ones to come home.

Howling to define their territory

Another common reason why Golden Retrievers howl is to define their territory. Generally, dogs use other means of marking their territory, but there are numerous examples of Golden Retrievers using howling as a method of establishing their territory. Also, when a dog is in a position where it wants to be alerted to something, it may howl to warn others of its presence. 

Howling for attention

Golden Retrievers, like humans, love attention. Sometimes they might howl just to make us spend some with them. Who can blame ‘em? The problem with this is that it can get reinforced if you come to your dog whenever it howls thus leading to a bad habit. If this becomes a big enough issue, you may want to check out some different methods of training your Golden Retriever to stop doing it. 

Howling due to loud sounds

Golden Retrievers and most dogs, in general, have an extremely good sense of hearing which leads to some dogs being much more sensitive to loud noises. Some dogs may even howl to imitate the noises they are hearing around them, such as howling at firetrucks, music, etc. If you know that your dog dislikes loud noises, they try and find a quiet part of your houses where they feel safe and secure. 

Howling due to pain

Just as humans may cry, Golden Retrievers tend to howl when experiencing pain. If your dog gets physically injured, they may instinctively howl to vocalize the pain. If you believe the injury is serious enough, I recommend you get them checked out by a vet – it’s better to be safe than sorry! Interestingly enough, if your dog is with someone who gets hurt, they may howl even if they aren’t hurt. 

Howling due to excitement

If you’re gone for most of the day, your Golden Retriever may just be howling in excitement for seeing you. Some dogs can’t understand that their owners are only going to be gone for a portion of the day, so reuniting with their owners is a much bigger deal for them. 

Howling to communicate with other dogs

Just like how humans talk to communicate with other humans, Golden Retrievers can howl to communicate with other dogs. Golden Retrievers are very social animals that need communication amongst other dogs or with us. For that reason, your dog may be howling to try and communicate something important to you. 

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