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101 Dog Myths 02 - Dogs howl and bark into empty spaces because of spiritual beings

Dog Myths 02 - Dogs howl and bark into empty spaces because of spiritual beings

Many times, when humans find that they cannot point out the reason for certain things that had happened to their dogs, they blame it on spiritual beings. I have seen dog forums where people advice others that spiritual beings are the cause of barks and howls at night! It is kind of annoying at times where we are here trying to help people with dog problems and there someone is replying nonsense, asking the owner to sprinkle holy water and what not.

From my years of experience on dogs and other animals alike, there was never an animal problem that was left unsolved, reason was because I would go all the way to the root of the problem my pets had encountered, solve them and learn from there instead of pushing blame and treat them as an impossible case. By far even during obedience and corrective trainings we have never met any unsolved barking / howling case, it is usually the problem with how owners treat their dog that resulted in this kind of behavior. We will explain some of our theories on dogs senses below and hopefully it can help you understand your dog better.

Ears - Sense of Hearing
Barks and howls alike, most owners do not want to go through the trouble to find out the cause. Dogs have hearing frequency of more than 3 times the distance compared to humans, they can hear very subtle sounds from far far away, water dripping, neighbors quarreling, other dogs whining/barking and many other sound that you and I may not be able to pick up. Electronics like phone and vacuum cleaner produces a sharp pitch that we cannot pick up either, which is why most dogs bark when certain electronics are activated. The thing is that dogs can choose to listen or to ignore the sound they hear, ever seen a dog sleeping soundly even while you are watching a movie or listening to rock music? Whenever a dog is alert, the ear made up of roughly 18 muscles will turn towards the direction of the sound, which helps to increase their hearing power. With training and exercises, all dogs regardless of breed and age can learn to stop being alert to these noises.

Nose - Sense of Smell
The most important part of a dog in terms of ability, the nose. A dog's sense of smell is about 1000 to 10,000,000 times more sensitive than us, they can pick up scents and learn everything about it, for example if someone is throwing rubbish next door, your dog will be able to pick up the smell very quickly and also learn what the smell is about - what food or things it consist of, how long had it been spoiled, is it edible, who is carrying it etc. Basically every story behind every smell can be learned by a dog's nose. This although is an advantage, can sometimes be annoying especially for your dog when it is supposed to be resting at night, because the house is usually quiet at that period of time when you are asleep, your dog will tend to pick up scents more easily.

Eyes - Sense of Sight
Dogs do not have good eyesight, they cannot see clearly like us, color wise only certain blue, grey and yellow can be seen. But they can spot movement much better than us and also see better in the dark, things from a certain distance that moves, example a bug or lizard at night can also attract their attention.

Body - Sense of Energy
Animals sense energy much better than us humans, this is partly because they do not communicate with words, and most of the time just body languages are not obvious enough. Energy is where a dog is able to sense the "feeling" of another living thing except plants, without speaking they can understand how we feel, our mood, our character, our confidence level. If you have a bad energy, meaning that you are always nervous, easily excited and have emotional issues you will most likely find that your dog would not listen to you well, dogs although are known to be loyal, needs an owner with good energy to be able to live happily. Otherwise they will always feel threatened by things revolving around them and behavioral problems will appear.

Now imagine yourself with these abilities - the smell of someone walking past the door, the sound of lifts faraway, movements of insects and bugs crawling on the ceiling. It will not be easy for your dog to sleep well at night especially when you as the owner is not willing to tell your dog that these are not dangerous, your dog will then whine and bark because it is afraid and wants attention. To you it may seem like your dog is barking at empty space but to the dog there is something it had caught with it's strong senses, so as an owner would you still classify barking/howling at empty space as a supernatural case or would you treat this as an issue that can easily be resolved?

Dogs bark for a couple of reasons - stress, alert, attention. Howling can be form of communication with other dogs, they can hear howls far away and will tend to answer back if the owner does not forbid it. Howling can also be caused by medical condition and also separation anxiety, it will be hard for owners to find out the cause unless they really go into the root of the problem, like monitoring their dogs at night, if not just get a reputable trainer to help eliminate the problem, NOT an exorcist.


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