Training & Behavior

Do Border Collies Howl And Why?

You’ve probably heard a Border Collie howling at some point in your life. These dogs have quite the reputation for their unique vocalizations. However, you may be wondering why your Border Collie howls so often. What are the reasons for it – could it be:

  • Something that is scaring them?
  • Their way to communicate with you?
  • A sign of boredom and want you to keep them company?

Truth is, there are many different reasons why Border Collies howl so frequently.

Do Border Collies Howl?

Some border collies howl when they are excited or distressed. This is called yodeling. Other dogs may yodel when they see another Border Collie that they recognize.

Border Collies also howl when they play. They may yodel while playing with their owner or another dog. Up to this point, no one completely understands why these dogs are showing this kind of behavior.

However, there are researchers who did study this behavior. In their discovery, it is a way for Border Collies to communicate with each other. Other theories support the idea that yodeling might improve hearing in Border Collies.

The Effect of Incessant Howling to Your Border Collie

A time may come when your Border Collie’s howling becomes excessive. And if they’re doing this often, you may start getting complaints from your neighbors.

The continuous and frequent sound of a dog howling can be annoying. In worst cases it may be disturbing or painful to some people.

Continuous howling can also have a negative impact on your dog’s health. Dogs who are anxious or bored can produce a large amount of saliva and drool a lot. If owners fail to address this situation, their dog may end up with the following:

  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay

Reasons why Your Border Collie is Howling

When you are able to identify the reason for your Border Collie’s howling, it becomes easier to address the problem.

Border Collies are an extremely vocal breed. For many Border Collies, it is instinctive to howl. They are bred to herd sheep. Their constant companion is the sound of their own voice.

For a Border Collie, hearing their own voice is a calming and soothing sound. They are accustomed to hearing their own voices in their everyday lives.

You may notice that when Border Collies are left alone they often howl. They are not trying to annoy you or your neighbors. They are simply trying to pass their time.

If they are left at home alone for long periods of time, they may feel lonely and bored. They have no one else to talk to and no flock to herd. Thus, they turn to vocalization to pass the time.

To Alert their Owners

Border Collies might howl to alert their owners. It could most likely happen when there are strays nearby. They may howl if they sense another animal that needs to be scared off. Howling can be used as an alert signal when it senses something unusual.

Border Collie chasing other dog away

How loud these howls can get depends on several factors but two are pretty common including:

  1. Environment
  2. Dog’s individual level of arousal

Some dogs will howl in short bursts. Then again, others will howl continuously throughout day and night.

A means of Communication

When we hear Border Collie howling, it’s not just for the sake of noise. There is a definite reason for it. The howling of Border Collie is a form of communication. They are trying to communicate a message to other dogs, their owners, or sometimes even to themselves.

Border Collies are a very intelligent breed and have a lot of energy. They need an outlet for their emotions.

For them, a way they know to release this energy occasionally comes in the form of howling. If you have other pets in your home, they may also try to communicate with them through vocalization.

Seeking Attention

If the Border Collie wants its owner’s attention, it will howl. There are some owners who just ignore their dog when calling them out. What they don’t know is, it is only fueling frustration in their Collies.

Thus, it starts howling more frequently to get the attention it wants. To prevent this from happening, be sure to give your dog a lot of attention each time it calls out.

Can a Border Collie Puppy Howl?

Border Collie puppy in a bucket

Border Collie puppies are notorious for their loud vocalizations. In fact, Border Collie puppies often sound like Border Collie adults. These puppies are born with all their vocal chords intact. Having said that, they have the ability to vocalize at any age.

Even as puppies, they have a lot of energy. They love spending time and bonding with their owners. When Border Collie puppies are left alone, they will often howl.

But not because something is wrong with them. It is only a way of them telling that they are bored and look for ways to pass the time. Just like with their adult counterparts.

The Reason for Puppy’s Howling

Border Collies are not always loud and cheerful. Sometimes, they are nervous and anxious. If your dog is constantly vocalizing even though there is no reason, it may be anxious or afraid.

There are many situations that can cause anxiety in dogs. Some of the most common are:

  • Thunderstorms
  • Fireworks
  • Visits from noisy or unfamiliar people

If you notice that your Border Collie is howling because of fear, you should do your best to comfort them. Try to keep them in a quiet place when thunderstorms are nearby. Use a blanket to cover them. This is quite effective in making them feel safe and secured. Providing them with lots of attention and affection creates similar effect.

If you have guests over that make your Border Collie nervous, try to keep them out of sight as much as possible. Border Collies are very intelligent and sensitive dogs. They need their owners to help them feel safe.

Should You be Worried if Your Border Collie is Howling?

Border Collies can howl in a number of ways. Among which could be a sign of communication. They are often taught to communicate with other members of their pack. A prime example could be when they’re calling for their owners.

In some cases, though, it may just be an indication that the dog is doing something exciting or engaging. You might occasionally hear your Border Collie howls. In these instances, don’t be quick to jump to conclusion that something’s wrong.

Border Collie in the fence wanting to play bubbles

In fact, in some cases, it can be a sign of satisfaction or contentment. If your dog is howling at any point, it’s best to check in with them. Try to see what they’re up to. If it seems that they are a bit distressed, calm them down a bit. This can be addressed by offering treats and affection.

Underlying Medical Issues of Howling in Dogs

If your Border Collie is howling, there may be underlying medical issues. The most common cause of this behavior is anxiety or depression.

There are some medical conditions that can result in a Border Collie’s excessive crying and howling, including but not limited to:

  • Cushing’s disease – Cushing’s disease occurs when the adrenal glands become enlarged. This causes high levels of stress hormones such as cortisol. High cortisol levels can lead to poor appetite, lethargy, and weight loss. Treatment for Cushing’s includes medication that reduces cortisol levels in the body and surgery to remove excess adrenal tissue.
  • Hypothyroidism – this is a kind of condition in which the thyroid glance isn’t functioning properly to produce sufficient supply of thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism can cause fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, and hair loss. Treatment involves medication to raise thyroid levels and dietary changes to promote more production of thyroid hormone.
  • Hip dysplasia – Hip dysplasia is a disorder of the hip joint that affects large breeds like Border Collies. Hip dysplasia occurs when the hipbone does not fit properly into the hip socket. This oftentimes cause pain and inflammation. Treatment for hip dysplasia includes surgery to repair the joint and pain relief medications for comfort.

Border Collie Howls everytime I leave

There are numerous reasons why your Border Collie howls when you leave. Among the most common is caused by separation anxiety. It’s actually a common behavioral problem in dogs.

This is a distressing situation. It does not just affect the dogs, but the owners too. Also, it’s one of the most common reasons why dogs are taken to the vet. Believe it or not, it can result in accidents or destructive behavior in your home.

If you strongly believe that separation anxiety is what’s causing the howling of your Border Collie, you might want to introduce new objects and situations into your house. But when doing this, try to do it gradually.

From this point forward, make sure you always have fresh water available. It would be nice if you’d put your Collie on leash. This way, they don’t feel trapped indoors.

Addressing the Howling Episode of Your Border Collie

If your dog is howling in response to something, there’s usually a trigger and they can be trained out of the habit.

The most common reason for a Border Collie’s howling is boredom. This can lead to:

  • Barking
  • Digging
  • Chewing
  • Other unwanted behaviors

Training your dog to spend more time with you will help alleviate this problem. Perhaps, your dog is too young to spend time alone. If this is the case, then consider investing in a playpen. Or if you want to, you can get a baby gate. This can keep your puppy contained when you’re not around.

trained Border Collie showcasing beautiful stance

If there’s no obvious cause for the howling, it may be pheromone-related. This happens when an animal releases pheromones as a signal to other members of their species, like when females mark their territory after giving birth.

What to Do to Stop the Howling?

Exercise is good for dogs. It helps them stay healthy and fit. It also gives them a way to release energy and keeps them from getting bored.

Border Collies are very athletic dogs who enjoy running and playing. However, their energy levels are often very high and they can’t run around the whole time.

athletic abilities of Border Collie while playing bubbles

If your Border Collie is an indoor dog, they may get bored and start vocalizing. Border Collies are known to “talk” a lot, especially when they are alone. If your Border Collie has nothing to do and no one to talk to, they may start vocalizing to pass the time – just as mentioned earlier.

There are many ways to help manage your Border Collie’s energy levels. You can exercise them for an hour each day. You can commit time to:

  • Take them for walks
  • Play fetch with them

You can also give them interactive toys that challenge their mind and make them tired. Giving your Border Collie something to do will make them less bored and less likely to vocalize.


When your Border Collie is howling, you may get frustrated. You may want to yell at them or put a stop to the noise. However, it is important to remember that Border Collies are bred to vocalize. They are very social, active, and intelligent dogs.

If they don’t have anything to do and no one to talk to, they will often try to howl. Border Collies need two things to stay healthy and happy. These are going to be mental and physical stimulation. Apart from that, they also need a good amount of affection from their owners. If you can give them what they need, you can help your Border Collie stop howling.

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