There’s nothing sweeter than the playful, energetic personality of a Whippet. They get zoomies like no other, and their unique physical traits have made them an incredibly popular pet dog breed. Coming in at a relatively manageable 18lb-48lb on average, the Whippet is a small dog with a whole lot of personality. However, you might have noticed a few traits and behaviors that you were not expecting nor make much sense, such as loud barking and howling. But why do they do this, and how should you respond? Can you even stop them? Well, here is all you need to know.
So, why does my whippet howl? Whippets typically howl during periods of loneliness (typically when left alone at night). However, they may also howl while excited, in response to loud sounds, as a result of medical issues (or old age), or just as a means of communicating with you and others around you.
Howling isn’t usually a concern when it comes to your pups’ long-term happiness.
However, much like barking, if it happens all the time, it can become a bit of a nuisance.
Not only for you but also for any neighbors who may be hearing it day in and day out.
So when it comes to why your Whippet is howling, it is best to work out exactly what your dog is trying to tell you before it becomes a hard habit to break.
Keep reading to find out exactly why your Whippet is howling and what you can do to stop it.
What Does It Mean When A Whippet Howls?
There are many reasons your Whippet may have started howling, from loneliness, excitement, and even just as a means to communicate with you. Whippets are sighthounds, so by nature, barking and howling are not as common with this breed as it is with other dog breeds, like Border Collies, who love a good yap.
However, regardless of your dogs’ breed, howling is something of an instinct with dogs.
It’s one of the few ways they have of communicating how they are feeling or if they want something. Although whippets are less likely to howl, you won’t be exempt from this behavior completely.
Dog howling can be both worrying and irritating, but here are some of the main reasons your Whippet may suddenly be howling:
They Are Lonely
Dogs get very attached to their people. This means that if you are away for a long time, they can really start to miss you.
Separation anxiety in whippets is usually more troublesome if you spend a lot of time at home with them, for example, if you work from home, and then suddenly routine changes and you’re spending 8 or 9 hours away from home every single day.
Your beautiful pup won’t understand why you aren’t there, they don’t understand your need to leave them at home, and so they begin to fear that you are gone and not coming back. Separation anxiety in dogs can be a really hard nut to crack.
If your dog is just howling with no other issues, your dog may be just adjusting, and with a little time to get used to you not being home, they will stop howling.
If they are pacing, digging, or scratching, their separation anxiety may be a little more destructive and damaging.
You may also find if your Whippet sleeps in another room at night than you, they will howl.
They just want to be close to you and are howling for your attention – and in the hopes you’ll let them snuggle under the duvet.
Response To High-Pitched Or Loud Sounds
Whippets, like any dog, have incredibly sensitive hearing. High pitched sounds and loud sounds that go on for a long time, like sirens, can really affect your dog. That’s not to say the howling is because it doesn’t like the sound.
You may find your dog howls along to the music on the tv or radio; more than likely, he is enjoying the sound and joining in. However, sharp and quick sounds that elicit howling from your Whippet can be him telling you he really doesn’t like the sounds and he’s having a protest.
Either way, most sound-responsive howling is difficult to manage because it is just your dog, being a dog and responding to noises he does and does not enjoy.
Many dogs vocalize noises like barking and howling to let their owners know they are in pain. Howling itself can be related to pain, discomfort, anxiety, or even fear.
If your dogs’ howling continues and you can’t find any reason for it to be happening, it is very likely that your pup is trying to tell he doesn’t feel right and that a vet’s visit may be on the cards.
Your dog could be in pain from an accidental accident you didn’t even know happened, or he may just be feeling ill.
When dogs reach old age, they can experience strong signs of dementia, hearing loss, and age-related aches and pains.
Howling can become more common as your dog gets older as they lose their senses a little bit, and they can become very confused at times.
Some age-related issues can be treated, but most of the time, we have to accept this new normal with our aging pets.
Should You Ignore A Howling Whippet?
No, you really shouldn’t ignore your Whippet if it is howling unless you have ruled out all underlying issues with a vet.
It is common for pet owners to ignore dog howling in the hopes that if their dog doesn’t get attention for the behavior, they will stop.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way.
If your Whippet is in pain or ill, by ignoring their cries for help, you have not only left them in pain for longer than necessary, but whatever condition is ailing them could be far worse than if you had just had them checked out in the beginning.
Likewise, if it’s an emotional issue that is causing your Whippet to howl, ignoring their cries can go one of two ways. The first, they stop howling and learn that you aren’t there to help them.
They lose trust in you, and your bond with them is damaged.
The second, they continue howling, only getting worse, but they don’t trust you and may begin to fear you.
This howling will then become an ingrained habit they do for no reason other than that’s what they have done for long enough.
By ignoring howling, you are avoiding the root cause of the behavior.
Behaviors don’t correct on their own, your dog needs to be shown and taught the appropriate way to behave, and that requires you to get stuck in and work with them.
How Can I Stop My Whippet From Howling?
There are a few things you can do to stop your Whippet from howling, depending on what their issue is, such as a vet’s visit, behavioral training, or just spending more time with them.
Howling isn’t always unwanted behavior; it’s one of the only ways our dogs have to communicate with us. However, below are a few ways to manage your whippets howling.
Get Them Checked Out At The Vets
The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure there is nothing physically wrong with your Whippet.
A quick visit to the vet can rule out any physical issues that may be causing them to howl.
Sometimes this is all you will need to do to stop them from howling, so a visit to the vets can save you a lot of time if your Whippet is howling because they are in pain or feeling sick.
Spend Extra Time With Your Whippet
Perhaps life has got pretty hectic, or you’ve started a new job.
Regardless, your Whippet won’t understand if you have new responsibilities.
All they know is you are spending less time with them.
Give them plenty of love and attention when you are home, but for the times you aren’t – especially if you are away for many hours – you can enroll them in puppy daycare or book a dog walker to come every day.
This way, they are socialized even when you aren’t there.
Reach Out To A Dog Trainer
If you have suspicions that your dogs’ howling has become more than a little quirk of his and has become a full-blown nuisance habit, it may be time to call in the big guns.
Licensed dig trainers will have had plenty of experience with howling dogs, and they may be able to help you break this habit with your dog.
Leading to a happier pup and a happier owner.
Although whippets aren’t generally known for barking or howling, they are just like any other dog with needs they may need to express to you.
Howling and barking is one of the few ways our dogs can quickly get our attention.
So it’s important to listen to your Whippet if he starts howling and do a little detective work to see if there is anything wrong that you can help him with.
Hello. I’m Luke- the founder of WhippetCentral. I’m somewhat of a whippet nut and have been for most of my life. In that time, I’ve owned and raised numerous whippets. Bonnie is my latest girl; she is currently eight years old and keeps me very busy! Understanding the need for whippet-specific content, I decided to create this blog to share what I have learned and to share my expertise regarding owning and raising whippets – the right way!