My Cocker Spaniel Howls

by Elizabeth
(Yorkshire, UK)

Why Does My Cocker Spaniel Howl And What Can I Do To Stop Her?

Why Does My Cocker Spaniel Howl And What Can I Do To Stop Her?

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, but now she will howl when we leave to go out. 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 your 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, I hope your Spaniel settles down soon!

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3-year-old Cocker Spaniel Howls In Her Sleep
by: Anonymous

My 3-year-old Cocker spaniel howled in her sleep last night. Was she having a nightmare?

Same thing here
by: Anonymous

My English Cocker howls when she is not getting something she really wants.

This is never about food; it usually has to do with wanting to be given freedom in the environment we are in, freedom to run and play or in anticipation of being in an environment where she knows she will be allowed to run and play.

Believe me, she is not deprived in this department. She gets her exercise daily, and we play lots of games in the house and are constantly working on some sort of new trick or behaviour.

She really is an exceptionally smart dog. She is also extremely energetic and rather highly strung.

I got her to be a companion animal, so if I am through with work for the day and have errands to run and the weather permits, she goes with me. If I stay with my granddaughter on the weekend, which is usually an overnight affair, I take her with me.

If I go on vacation, I tend to favour more rural, outdoor experiences, so I just rent an air-bnb that allows dogs and take her with me.

Ok, she is not perfect, but I can live with a bit of howling. She is, in all other respects, the perfect dog for me.

My Cocker Spaniel Howls Too!
by: Ollie’s mom

My 7-month-old cocker (who we’ve had since he was ten weeks) started howling in his crate during the night like his leg was getting chewed off or something. Very alarming. I wondered if a spider had bitten him, so I let him have free run of the laundry room with the crate door open and a bean bag chair.

He slept soundly in the bean bag for a few nights until the howling resumed. It's always around 4:30 am.

Now I wonder if he is responding to a train horn that blows about a mile away or if he hears birds chirping, or if he is just lonely.

In any case, of the three cockers we have had, he is the first ever to howl. That said, he is also afraid of literally everything.

Best of luck to everybody else who is also dealing with this issue.

Mine does too
by: Anonymous

My Cocker does that too. I started letting her sleep at the foot of my bed and she’d still wake up and howl. It’s kind of funny though because she’ll do it until she sees or hears me. Then, she’ll immediately stop and just look at me like I’m dumb.

My cockers howl
by: Berni

I have two beautiful cocker spaniels and they are very good boys - contented active and happy. However they do howl during the night - not every night - but two three howls. I think they are dreaming. We soothe them and they go back to sleep.

Soothe the howling of my cocker spaniel
by: Marie

When my 12 year old cocker spaniel howls at night, I pat her lightly on the back and tell her, all is okay. She goes back to sleep for me and rests well the rest of the night.

Howling & Jealous
by: sdk1122

My beautiful cocker spaniel, Ari, will howl for no reason at all. She'll be asleep in the chair, hear something from the TV, or outside & just start howling! It's bizarre because there's no trigger that we can identify that prompts her to howl.
She's also quite jealous/protective. My mother lives with me, and when I kiss her goodnight she'll get in between us growling and fervently wagging her tail. It's kinda funny because she doesn't know which one to protect!

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?

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