Why Doesn’t My Malamute Howl? 7 Reasons & What To Do

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If your Malamute has suddenly stopped howling, then it could be worth checking them over to make sure everything is okay. In other cases, you may have a quieter Mal who doesn’t like to howl as much.

Don’t worry straight away, though; there are many reasons why Malamutes might stop howling, and we’ll cover them all in this guide.

Let’s get straight into it.

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Is It Normal For Alaskan Malamutes To Not Howl?

Let’s face it, most Malamutes love to howl and are usually very vocal whenever they feel like it.

If your Malamute doesn’t howl often, it shouldn’t be anything to worry about as long as they are usually quiet. However, it is definitely more normal for Malamutes to howl than not to howl.

7 Reasons Why Your Malamute Isn’t Howling

I highly recommend reading through the 7 points below if your Mal has started to go quiet out of the blue – sometimes it can be serious, and other times it has a good explanation.

1. Personality

Sometimes the simplest explanation is the right one.

Malamutes, just like any other dog, have their own independent personalities.

When you combine that with how stubborn Mals can be in particular, it isn’t uncommon for some Malamutes to be very vocal and others to be more reserved.

If your Mal has always been quiet, they probably aren’t interested in being very vocal, and that’s fine. There are ways to encourage howling, but it isn’t something they need to do to be normal.

2. Anxious

Malamutes are not a particularly anxious breed, but they can feel anxiety if there is a change in their environment.

For example, if you go to the local dog park and they haven’t been there before, there’s a good chance they will be more reserved and not as vocal.

The same thing can happen if you move house or visit a new friend. It’s one of the reasons why early socialization is so important with this breed, so they can get used to changing environments with confidence.

3. Old Age

It’s completely normal for older Mals to become more quiet and reserved as they approach their golden years.

This can happen because they don’t have the same energy that they had before or if their hearing starts to worsen, so they aren’t responding to unusual sounds like they would before.

It’s also normal for Malamute puppies not to learn to howl until they are a couple of months old, so it can happen on both ends of the spectrum.

4. Low Energy

It can be a challenge tiring out an Alaskan Malamute in the first place, given that they need around 2 hours of exercise every single day.

If you have managed to tire out your Mal, firstly, congratulations, and secondly, this could be the reason why they aren’t howling.

If your Mal needs to recover, they will be less alert or bothered about howling for attention or food – treasure these moments because they certainly don’t last!

5. Depressed

Dogs are capable of being depressed just like us humans, and this can affect their vocalization as well.

As per PetMD, a study in 2016 found that depressed dogs and cats were likely to experience changes in vocalization.

If you’ve recently suffered a loss to the family, don’t be surprised if your Mal becomes quieter and stops howling. During this time, they may have increased destructive behaviors, and giving them space or affection is important if they need it.

6. Negative Reinforcement

In many cases, you may have reacted negatively to howling before and reinforced the behavior of being quiet.

For example, if your Mal was excessively howling at something and you shouldn’t at them to be quiet, this could discourage them from howling again in the future, or at all.

This depends on the temperament of your Mal and how you reacted before, but it’s something that owners often forget about and don’t realize how much impact it can have.

7. They Prefer To Bark

Okay, Malamutes definitely don’t bark as much as other breeds, and they will usually howl or ‘woo’ instead, but I have met Mals in the past who did actually prefer to bark instead.

If your Malamute isn’t afraid to bark, encouraging them to howl won’t be much of a challenge – we’ll cover top tips for this shortly.

When to Contact A Veterinarian

You should get in touch with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your Malamute.

A sudden lack of howling may indicate that your Malamute is in pain and requires veterinary attention. If any other symptoms are present besides the lack of howling, then don’t wait around.

How To Encourage Your Malamute To Howl

Encouraging a Malamute to howl is relatively easy, and there are a few ways to get them to howl initially.

From there, it’s all about positive reinforcement, i.e., praising them when they start to howl so they know it’s a good thing.

Here are some tips for getting them to how initially:

Play Howling Sounds

Are you even a Malamute owner if you haven’t played wolf sounds to your pup to get them to howl?

My personal favorite is this video, but any will do that has plenty of howling noises.

If you haven’t done this before, turn up the volume and see what happens…

Offer A Treat

If your Mal is food motivated, offering them their favorite snack is a good way to encourage them to howl, but it’s important to ask them to howl first and then reward them with the treat and praise when they do.

This way, they don’t get into the habit of howling whenever they want a treat.

Make A Howling Sound Yourself

Another easy way to encourage howling is to howl yourself or make a sound similar to howling.

If you emphasize this with words like ‘What’s that?’ or ‘Whose there?’, there’s a very high chance that your Mal will start howling if they are in the mood for it.

A Small Caveat

It’s great fun encouraging your Mal to howl, but if you do it too much, they might start howling excessively, which is another problem altogether.

Something I like to do is get them to howl for a treat under a command.

So, for example, you’d say ‘treat’ or something similar, and if they howl, you reward them with a snack.

This way, you can control the howling so they aren’t just doing it all the time.

In Summary

It’s important to look out for changes in your Mal.

If they suddenly start not howling or vocalizing at all, something could be wrong, and you should check them over or take them to a vet if you are worried.

More often than not, it is just due to something else, like anxiety in a new place, or simply because of their personality. Encouraging them to howl is a whole lot of fun, so you should definitely give it a try using the tips above!

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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