Why Do Golden Retrievers Howl? Reasons & Solutions

Has your Golden Retriever been howling? Do you want to understand why your Golden Retriever howls and how you can train their howling behavior? Luckily, you have come to the right place.

Although it may sound relatively strange, it is normal for dogs to howl. Some breeds howl frequently, and some species do not howl at all. The Golden Retriever is among the breeds that howl naturally. Fortunately, when your Golden Retriever howls, it is often not a cause for worry. However, there are severe cases when you should intervene.

Without taking too much time, let us dive straight into why your Golden Retriever howls and when you should worry.

Why Do Golden Retrievers Howl?

Golden Retrievers are social and affectionate dogs, so when they howl, that is their way of communicating their loneliness and gaining your attention. Other Reasons why your Golden Retriever is howling include – them being bored, in pain, responding to a high pitch noise, responding to a siren, or it may simply be part of their ancestry.

7 Reasons Why Golden Retrievers Howl

Reasons Why Golden Retrievers Howl

Howling At Sirens & Other Loud Noises

When Golden Retrievers hear sirens, they associate those sounds with the sound of other dogs howling.  Golden Retrievers have earing that surpasses ours significantly, so they can pick up on these sounds more than us and are more sensitive to such sounds.

Since Golden Retrievers have such a strong sense of duty, they will howl in response to the siren, which they perceive as another dog howling, to alarm you of the potential encroaching danger. 

Fortunately, there are ways in which you can alter and minimize your Golden Retriever’s reaction to sirens. This can be done by exposing them to sirens more often and desensitizing them to it. In this way, you can teach your dog to differentiate between a dog howling and a siren and effectively alter their reaction towards sirens.


As you may know, Golden Retrievers are an affectionate and social breed who do not particularly enjoy being away from their owners or being in the company of someone whom they are not comfortable with for too long.

golden retriever sleeping

When your Golden Retriever has been away from you for too long, they will begin to howl. They howl as a way to communicate their loneliness, with the hope that you will hear them and return to them. Just like wolves howl when they are separated from their pack and hope that their pack will hear them and find their way back to them or respond to them, Golden Retrievers do the same. 

If you have been unusually busy and you hear your Golden Retriever howl, it is likely that they miss you and would like to spend some time with you. You can identify that your Golden Retriever is howling because they are lonely by seeing whether their howling is accompanied by pacing, sense of distress, and destructive behavior.

Response To A High Pitch Noise

When there is a high pitch sound, your Golden Retriever will respond to it by howling. Golden Retrievers typically associate high-pitched noises with other dogs howling. However, in most cases, when they hear a high pitch noise, they will howl in an attempt to warn you of potential dangers.

Howling Because Of Pain

When Golden Retrievers are in pain because of an illness or injury, they communicate their pain by howling. This is similar to us, humans, crying when we are in pain. You can usually identify whether your Golden Retriever is howling because of pain by taking note of how they are howling.

If their howl sounds different from what it usually sounds like, then there is something wrong with your Golden Retriever. You should take your Golden Retriever to the veterinarian so that they can be treated and relieved of their pain as soon as possible.

To Catch Your Attention

When your Golden Retriever wants to catch your attention or try to persuade you to give them what they want, they will howl at you. This can be pretty adorable when they are puppies because they are like children wanting your attention.

However, as your Golden Retriever gets older, this behavior may not be as cute. Your Golden Retriever may grow into the habit of howling at you and getting exactly what they want. In this case, you should simply pretend not to hear your Golden Retriever.

This is a much better way of teaching them a lesson without harsh punishments. Harsh punishments are still a form of attention, so ignoring your Golden Retriever would be more effective. You can have a look at these amazing training books for your Golden Retriever.


Golden Retrievers are naturally active and curious. They need something to quench their curiosity and keep them busy otherwise;, they will find other ways to occupy themselves. One of the ways in which Golden Retrievers pass the time when they are bored is by howling.

Your Golden Retriever will howl to get your attention and notify you that they are bored and need something to do. The best way to deal with this is by ensuring that your Golden Retriever gets ample exercise every day.

Active Golden Retriever

Walks are fantastic for Golden Retrievers because they get their daily exercise, and they can see new places and quench their thirst for adventure.


Back in the day, Golden Retrievers were generally used as hunting dogs by hunters. Golden Retrievers were exceptional retrievers who would catch and return the prey to their hunters without any hassle.

As we already know, wolves howl when they need to find their pack. Since Golden Retrievers were used as hunting dogs, they would howl to find their way back to their hunters or vice versa. This is a trait that Golden Retrievers inherited from their ancestors and have in common with wolves.

Should You Worry About Your Golden Retriever Howling?

You should generally not worry about your Golden Retriever howling, especially when a trigger is present, such as a siren or a loud noise. In other cases, your Golden Retriever is lonely, so you need to spend more time with them, or they may simply want your attention. This is not something to worry about, but it is a negative trait that needs to be adjusted. 

How To Adjust Your Golden Retrievers Howling Behaviour? (Solutions)

When you are trying to adjust your Golden Retriever’s howling behavior, you should first identify why your Golden Retriever is howling. If they only howl when they are injured, then it is an issue that can be fixed by taking them to the veterinarian for treatment.

If your Golden Retriever is howling in response to sirens and high-pitch noises, then you should teach your Golden Retriever a different way to respond to those sounds. This is especially important if the sounds are frequent and there is no way to stop them.

You can desensitize your Golden Retriever to these sounds by exposing them to those sounds and teaching them to become less sensitive and reactive to those sounds. However, it would help to do this systematically by starting with shorter and less alarming versions of the sounds. 

As your Golden Retriever adjusts to those volumes and intensities, you should gradually increase the volume and intensity. If you simply introduce them to a loud and alarming version of those sounds, you may cause your Golden Retriever to enter a state of distress.

When dealing with your Golden Retriever howling because they are bored and seeking attention, the best way to deal with such behavior is to work proactively and teach your Golden Retriever basic commands such as ‘stop’ and ‘quiet’ which you can use to stop them if they ever start howling for attention.

However, if this has already become an issue for you, you should teach your Golden Retriever that they will not get what they want by howling.  You should completely ignore them when they start howling for attention.

When they behave well, you should reward them. This may seem relatively simple, but it teaches your Golden Retriever that they will need to behave well to get treats and attention from you. They will become reluctant to howl because that will not get them anything.


Why Is My Golden Retriever Howling In Sleep?

When your Golden Retriever howls, barks, or even growls while they are asleep, it is because they have a dream. In their dream, they may be encountering something that would make them howl if they were awake.

Why Is My Golden Retriever Puppy Howling?

Your Golden Retriever puppy could be howling because they are ill or injured. Shortly after adopting your Golden Retriever Puppy, they may be howling because they are not yet accustomed to their new home. Other reasons why they could be howling is because they are bored or simply responding to the sound of sirens.

Why Do Golden Retrievers Howl At Sirens?

Your Golden Retriever associates the high-pitch sound emitted by sirens with the sound of other dogs howling. When dogs howl, it triggers other dogs to howl so that they can warn their owners of the potential danger.

Why Does My Golden Retriever Howl At Night?

Your Golden Retriever may be howling at night because they may have detected the presence of another person, and they want to attract your attention and notify you of this person’s existence. Your dog could also be lonely or responding to the sound of sirens from emergency vehicles. 


If your Golden Retriever howls, it is often nothing to worry about. The best way to understand why your Golden Retriever is howling is by considering their environment and their demeanor as they are howling. 

If there are loud sounds, then those are the triggers. If your Golden Retriever seems to be uncomfortable and in distress, then they are most probably in pain, and this is when you are warranted to worry about your Golden Retriever howling.

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