When Your Rottweiler Channels their Inner Wolf
Is your Rottweiler a howler? A lot of owners are baffled by the way their Rottie will occasionally throw back their heads and howl away. But does it mean they’re unhappy, and should you be worried?
When Rottweilers or any breed of dog howls, they really are channeling their inner wolf. Rottweilers are ancient breeds, one of the oldest that’s ever existed. And the closer they are to their wolf ancestors, the more likely a dog is to howl.
Is it Something to Worry About?
Dogs howl for all kinds of reasons. Some of them are benign, and others could indicate that your Rottweiler is struggling with something. Ultimately, howling is a way for dogs to communicate with us.
But, in case you’re concerned about the amount your Rottweiler howls, these are some of the reasons they do it.
It’s Just an Instinctual Reaction
Howling is a very mournful sound, and we might immediately think something’s wrong but for much of the time, a dog will howl because it’s programmed to do so. In the wild, wolves and other dogs use howling to communicate with the rest of the pack.
Your Rottweiler is in a pack of its own by being in your family, and it could be that they’re acting out their place in the wolf pack of yesteryear. This is especially true if they’re howling to music. As the AKC reveals, dogs even have a sense of pitch.
Instincts are powerful things!
They Know it Gets Attention
By now, you’ll know that these ‘Velcro dogs’ love nothing more than to feel loved and appreciated by their owners. Rottweilers live for their human’s attention and once they know something gets it, they’ll do it repeatedly.
They’re Responding to Sounds Outside
It might not be music that sets them off but other dogs in the neighborhood. If you live in an area with lots of dogs, you may find that at certain times of the day or evening, they love to howl at one another. Great fun for them, not so much for us!
Other stimuli include police or ambulance sirens. There can be any number of things that set your Rottweiler off howling.
Dogs make noise to soothe and entertain themselves if they’re bored. Dogs who are out in the yard all day with nothing to stimulate them will often either bark non-stop or howl.
Rottweilers are one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs on the planet at they need lots of mental stimulation and interaction. If they’re howling, it can be a sign you need to pay them a little more attention or provide something to occupy their complex minds.
Rottweilers are very prone to separation anxiety. It’s partly because of their high levels of intelligence and intuition, and partly to do with their intense loyalty to their owners.
These dogs hate to be away from you for too long and while some Rottweilers will become destructive or depressed, others will happily howl for hours as they mourn your absence, only stopping when you come back home so that it’s usually your neighbor who alerts you to the problem.
They’re in Pain
Of all the reasons to howl, being in pain is obviously the one that will give you the most cause for concern.
If your Rottweiler is usually very quiet and doesn’t howl but is suddenly doing so, then get them checked out at the vet. Our dogs have no other way to tell us that they need our help, and it could simply be your Rottweiler’s way of asking for you to ease the pain.
When the Howling Drives You Crazy
For a little while, at least at the beginning, hearing your Rottweiler howling may provoke laughter and even have you getting out your cell phone to record them doing it, especially when they’re a puppy.
As they get older and the howling continues, it can be nothing short of annoying and you’ll try anything to get it to stop.
Sometimes, there are occasions when there’s very little you can do to stop it, and you should know the difference between behavioral howling and instinctual howling.
For example, some Rottweilers are only howlers in their sleep. They might be dreaming they’re chasing cats, or are calling out to you in their slumber, or are running on the Arctic Tundra with their wolfy ancestors. Who knows?
But there are ways to manage behavioral howling so that your Rottweiler learns to control his lupine instincts.
Keep Their Minds Occupied
As we’ve discussed, that intelligent brain of your Rottweiler’s needs plenty to keep it busy. If it’s separation anxiety or loneliness that’s causing your Rottweiler to howl, then this can be addressed in different ways.
By purchasing special toys and brain puzzles, especially those that dispense treats once your Rottweiler has completed the task, their brains will be focused on other things and once they’re all puzzled out, they’ll probably sleep!
If you must be out of the house for long periods of time, consider putting your Rottweiler in daycare. They’ll have the time of their life and it’ll stamp out your howling woes.
Make Sure They’re Getting Plenty of Exercises
Rottweilers have a large amount of physical energy that needs expanding. If they’re stuck in the house all day and can’t run around, then this will be a prime reason for howling, if out of frustration if nothing else.
Let them get out their energy with a long, activity-filled walk, ideally before you leave the house to go to work. That way, when they return, they’ll just want to lay down and have a big snooze until you get back home.
Don’t Feed into the Howling
Like a lot of behaviors that you don’t want to feed into, howling for attention won’t last long if it doesn’t get the attention desired.
It’s not easy, of course, because that howl can be pretty loud, but Rottweilers who live for their owners’ love and adoration will soon give up on an activity that gets them neither.
Seek Professional Help
Not for you, but for your Rottweiler! (Although, after all that howling, it might help you to get therapy, too.)
Vets can rule out any issues such as illness or injury that would otherwise have gone undiagnosed, and a professional dog trainer could help with the behavioral side.
Trainers are qualified to work out what might be causing your Rottie to howl so much and can give you tips on how to stop it from happening.
Try and Embrace That Voice
Persistent, behavioral howling is neither pleasant nor healthy, but it wouldn’t be reasonable to want to stop your Rottweiler from howling altogether, especially when it’s a way of communication.
By getting to the root cause of the howling, you will be able to curb it enough so that your Rottweiler only ever rarely, if ever howls, but that if they feel it’s necessary, they’ll do so.
Once it goes back to being a cute, occasional treat, both of you will enjoy your Rottie getting in touch with their inner wolf!