My Cocker Spaniel Howls

by Elizabeth
(Yorkshire, UK)

My cocker spaniel is now 7 months old and she howls. In the day, if I go to the toilet, she will howl.

She didn't do this when we first got her.

When we leave to go out, she will howl. I don't think she keeps howling the whole time but my neighbours report that she does do it.

It's becoming an issue as occasionally she will howl at 3:00am.

Some people say ignore it and we have tried that but it doesn't appear to be working...have you any advice?

Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)

It sounds like you cocker may be suffering from separation anxiety and then some, especially if she howls when you're in the toilet!

Dogs howl as a way of communicating with each other over long distances (the howl carries much further than a bark or a growl) and it may be that she's trying to 'communicate' with you when you're not there.

Howling can be fairly disturbing, especially if it happens during the night, but it is possible to remedy with a bit of additional training.

You might like to try the following:

  • Try giving her more exercise to tire her out so that when you go out, she's relaxed and may settle down more quietly, perhaps even sleep!

  • Give her lots of playtime - throw her a ball, a Frisbee, play tug-of-war or hide and seek, etc. and give her a stuffed Kong if you're going out for any length of time. A Kong will keep her occupied which means she'll have less time to miss you.

  • Leave her with a worn t-shirt or nightwear that will have your scent on it - that may be a great comfort to her while you're away.

  • Use her crate more often. Make a point of placing her in there, even while you're at home. Leave her for a few minutes and gradually build up to an hour or so. You want her to feel happy in her crate, and not want to have her following you around the house all day. The less 'dependent' on you she is, the better.


When you leave the room, or leave the house, no fuss, no long goodbyes - just go. When you return, act as though you've never been away and don't pet her until she's calm. Take off your coat, shoes, put away your shopping - settle yourself in before petting her. Sounds rather cruel doesn't it? It's not, I promise you. You will be helping her by doing this. When you're ready you can give her lots of cuddles and a little treat.

There's a lot more to separation anxiety than I've written here and I recommend you follow the link to the article and read it fully. There are many recommendations to help with your dog's anxiety.

Follow the recommendations and you may see an improvement in a week or so, but it usually takes a couple of months at least to remedy. Don't expect it to ever go away completely as it's also a lot to do with your dog's sensitivity.

Good luck!


› Cocker Spaniel Questions

Comments for My Cocker Spaniel Howls

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

My Cocker Spaniel Doesn't Howl
by: Deb L

I originally came to this site to see if cocker spaniels were ever known to howl. Mine has never howled and rarely barks. He has the sweetest personality.

Tonight the tornado sirens were sounding, but he needed to go outside. We live in a high rise. I stepped outside just long enough for him to take care of his needs. The sirens were so loud they seemed to be attached to our building.

Rocky didn't seem to think anything at all was out of the ordinary. One of my neighbors said that if the air pressure outside did change that he would howl. He has never howled at anything, doesn't usually bark even if other dogs are barking.

He doesn't seem to have a hearing problem as he listens to commands no matter who speaks them or in what tone of voice.

I am either truly blessed or there is a problem maybe?

Howling Cocker
by: joy

Mine howls when I'm in the bathroom too and I can be right next to him and he howls. I think he wants all of us in the same room with him. We get woken up at least twice a night and he will be in the same room with us.

I think we let him take control when he was a pup.

He also drives you crazy wanting treats all day staring at you and whimpering.

Howling pup
by: Lizzie

Sometimes I can't even go to the bathroom, and she can howl at 2 in the morning which isn't good when my husband has to be up at 5.30am.

Is there anything I can do?

Cocker Spaniels do howl!
by: Anonymous

Howling is a not uncommon among Cocker Spaniels, as I learned from an agility judge who owned several Cockers. When I complained to her about my Cocker's mournful, dreadful howl, she said, "You ought to hear five of them!"

Mine howls when he's feeling lonesome. Yours, too?

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Cocker Spaniel Q&As.


Like This Page?