Why Do Akitas Howl? Discover the Reasons and Solutions

Akitas have distinctive characteristics that set them apart from other breeds. They are known for their dignified and aloof demeanor, often displaying a calm and composed nature. However, behind their stoic facade lies an incredibly loyal and protective companion. Akitas are highly intelligent and can be independent thinkers, which can sometimes make training them a bit challenging. Understanding their breed traits is crucial in deciphering their howling behavior.

A brief history of the Akita breed

To truly understand why Akitas howl, we must take a brief journey into their history. Akitas have a rich heritage that dates back several centuries in Japan. Originally bred as hunting dogs and esteemed guardians, Akitas were deeply revered and even considered symbols of good health, happiness, and long life. Over time, they became treasured family pets and were often given as gifts to express loyalty and friendship. This historical context provides us with valuable insights into their genetic predisposition and instinctual behaviors.

The Science behind howling

Now that we have a solid foundation of knowledge about the Akita breed, let’s explore the scientific reasons behind howling in dogs in general. Howling is a form of vocal communication deeply ingrained in their ancestry. Dogs are descendants of wolves, and howling is an instinctual behavior that wolves use to communicate with their pack over long distances. While domestication has changed dogs in many ways, this primal instinct remains.

Why do dogs howl?

Dogs howl for a variety of reasons, and understanding these can shed light on why Akitas, in particular, may be prone to howling. Howling serves as a means of communication, allowing dogs to express emotions, seek attention, establish territory, or signal distress. It can also serve as a form of bonding within a pack or family unit.

Specific reasons why Akitas howl

While all dogs have the capacity to howl, Akitas may be more inclined to vocalize due to their genetic heritage and breed traits. Akitas are known for their strong protective instincts and loyalty to their family. When they feel a need to guard their territory or protect their loved ones, they may resort to howling as a way to signal their presence and ward off potential threats. Additionally, Akitas have a strong sense of independence, which can contribute to their desire for vocal expression.

Exploring the mental and emotional factors

Beyond the genetic predisposition and instinctual behaviors, there are several mental and emotional factors that can contribute to an Akita’s howling tendencies. Understanding these factors is crucial in addressing and managing excessive howling.

Separation anxiety and howling

Akitas are known for their loyalty and devotion to their human companions. When left alone for extended periods, they can experience separation anxiety, which may manifest through excessive howling. This behavior is their way of expressing distress and seeking comfort and reassurance.

Attention-seeking behavior and howling

Akitas are intelligent dogs that require mental stimulation and social interaction. If they feel neglected or bored, they may resort to howling as a way to grab their owner’s attention. This attention-seeking behavior can be a cry for companionship, playtime, or simply a desire for interaction.

Boredom and howling

Akitas are active and intelligent dogs that thrive on mental and physical stimulation. When they are not provided with enough exercise or mental enrichment, they may become bored and resort to howling as a form of entertainment or to release pent-up energy.

Stress and howling

Just like humans, dogs can experience stress in various situations. Changes in their environment, such as moving to a new home or being exposed to loud noises, can trigger stress responses in Akitas. Howling can be a coping mechanism for them to release tension and communicate their discomfort.

Territorial instincts and howling

Akitas have a natural instinct to protect their territory and loved ones. When they perceive a threat or feel the need to establish their boundaries, they may use howling as a way to assert their presence and warn potential intruders.

Addressing health-related causes

In some cases, excessive howling in Akitas can be attributed to underlying health issues or age-related changes. It is important to consider these factors and consult with a veterinarian when necessary.

Pain or discomfort and howling

Akitas, like any other dog, may howl if they are experiencing pain or discomfort. This could be due to an injury, arthritis, or other medical conditions. If your Akita suddenly starts howling excessively and displays signs of physical distress, it is crucial to seek veterinary care to address any underlying health issues.

Age-related changes and howling

As Akitas age, they may experience cognitive decline or age-related conditions such as canine cognitive dysfunction. These changes can contribute to increased confusion, anxiety, and vocalization, including howling. Providing them with appropriate care, including regular veterinary check-ups, can help manage these age-related changes.

Medical conditions and howling

Certain medical conditions can also lead to increased vocalization, including howling, in Akitas. Thyroid disorders, hearing loss, or even allergies can cause discomfort or alter their behavior. Consulting with a veterinarian is essential in identifying and addressing any underlying medical issues.

Effective training techniques to reduce howling

Fortunately, there are various training techniques that can help minimize excessive howling in Akitas. It is important to approach training with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement methods.

Positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement training involves rewarding desired behaviors while ignoring or redirecting undesired behaviors. When it comes to reducing howling, rewarding your Akita for calm and quiet behavior can help reinforce silence. This can be done through treats, praise, or playtime.

Distraction techniques and interactive toys

Providing your Akita with interactive toys, puzzle feeders, or engaging activities can help redirect their focus and energy away from howling. These distractions can keep them mentally stimulated and entertained, reducing the likelihood of excessive vocalization.

Environmental enrichment

Creating an enriched environment for your Akita can help alleviate boredom and reduce howling. This can include providing them with toys, agility equipment, or even setting up a safe and secure outdoor space where they can explore and burn off energy.

Counterconditioning and desensitization

If your Akita’s howling is triggered by specific situations or noises, such as thunderstorms or fireworks, counterconditioning and desensitization techniques can be effective. Gradually exposing them to these triggers in a controlled and positive manner can help them develop a more relaxed response, reducing the need to howl.

Socialization and companionship for a content Akita

Akitas thrive on social interaction and companionship. Providing them with appropriate socialization and mental stimulation can contribute to a happier and more content Akita.

Importance of early socialization

Early socialization plays a crucial role in shaping an Akita’s behavior. By introducing them to various people, animals, and environments at a young age, you can help them develop confidence and reduce anxiety or fear-based howling.

Providing companionship and mental stimulation

Akitas are known for their loyalty and desire to be part of the family unit. Providing them with companionship, regular exercise, and mental stimulation can help keep them content and minimize excessive howling. Engage in activities such as long walks, interactive play sessions, or training exercises to keep their minds and bodies active.

Doggy daycare and playdates

If your Akita enjoys the company of other dogs, arranging playdates or enrolling them in doggy daycare can provide them with socialization opportunities and companionship. Interacting with other dogs in a supervised environment can help fulfill their social needs and reduce howling due to loneliness.

Integrating your Akita into the family

Akitas thrive when they feel like an integral part of the family. Involving them in daily activities, such as family outings or even simple tasks like sitting together during meal times, can help them feel included and minimize separation anxiety-related howling.

Seeking professional help if needed

While many howling behaviors can be managed through training and environmental modifications, there may be instances where professional help is necessary.

When to consult a veterinarian or professional dog trainer

If your Akita’s howling persists despite your best efforts, it may be beneficial to consult with a veterinarian or professional dog trainer. They can assess the underlying causes, provide guidance on behavior modification techniques, and ensure that there are no underlying medical issues contributing to the excessive howling.

Choosing a reputable trainer or behaviorist

When seeking professional help, it is important to choose a reputable trainer or behaviorist who has experience working with Akitas or similar breeds. Look for professionals who use positive reinforcement methods and have a deep understanding of canine behavior.

Behavior modification techniques

A professional trainer or behaviorist can provide personalized guidance on behavior modification techniques that are specific to your Akita’s needs. This may involve creating a behavior modification plan, implementing desensitization exercises, or recommending specialized training tools or techniques.


In conclusion, Akitas howl for various reasons, including genetic predisposition, instinctual behaviors, mental and emotional factors, as well as health-related causes. Understanding these reasons and implementing effective training techniques, socialization, and companionship can help minimize excessive howling and promote a harmonious bond with your Akita. Remember, patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are key when addressing this behavior. So, embrace the unique vocalizations of your Akita and embark on a journey of understanding and companionship with your howling friend.

ThePetFaq Team