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Wolves do not howl when excited
DustWolf
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Post: #1
Wolves do not howl when excited
Hi,

I understand that how an animal behaves is not always relevant to therianthropy, because as therians we are of course human, but...

I wanted to point this out for all the people who want to appear "more like a wolf" by howling in excitement: Screaming when excited is a behaviour primarily displayed by primates. The wolf howl is a vocalisation used to indicate being sad or lonely (or to howl along with friends or family, or to answer rivals). As a wolf therian I do sometimes feel like howling when I feel lonely, but while I can be obnoxious while I am excited, I notably do not howl.

By typing "awoo"s when you are excited you are basically saying that you are a primate, who doesn't really relate to the feelings of the animal you claim to identify as (wolf).

Like I said it's not super relevant to therianthropy, but it's a pet peeve of mine.

It doesn't mean you're not a real therian if you do, but I guess it's just an example about how therians do not always experience the full spectrum of animal behaviour.

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Dusty

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(This post was last modified: 2020-02-02 9:38 by DustWolf.)
2020-02-02 9:35
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Syraphin Faelad
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Post: #2
RE: Wolves do not howl when excited
Whimpering and more likly body movements show excitement in canines (jumping on the spot, fidgiting, face licking, lowered posture etc). Howling is communication long distance.
2020-02-02 9:51
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Talarp
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Post: #3
RE: Wolves do not howl when excited
That's true. I just get excited as a wolf, personaly. All about my tail, my ears, and little noises. Can't stay at the same place, just have to move, move, move.

But sometimes, to be honest, howling is realted with joy. Not excitment. Joy. It's something calm inside my heart. The need to howl. Howl to say I'm here. Howl to hear if I'm alone or not. Howl to the moon and nature. Howl who I am. Howl my stength. That's the most humanistic howls I have.

Wolves sometimes howl for different reasons. In Mongolia, some wolves howled like lamentations songs [or kommos (greek)] because humans had take their babies. It was something between calling their babies, crying them and warning. Sadness can affect a wolf if it's a huge one. Hopefully, it doesn't happen a lot.
Emotions rarely enter in howlings. It can, like an "alpha" calling his pack back because there's something wrong (intrudors or any danger). In this case, there's stress. It's a vocalisation but an emotion is connected to it.

So yes, it can be related to emotions, but still. That's not something really common. Happy wolf are... not capable to stay still! haha (well, depend on the intansity of the feeling)

That's what I've read and learned. I hope there's no mistake or at least, no big mistake.


I also am sometimes confused about that.

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2020-02-02 9:56
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Kisota
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Post: #4
RE: Wolves do not howl when excited
Title of thread is not necessarily accurate, I'm afraid.

First of all, we can only assume, not actually know, an animal's emotional state at any given time.

Secondly, you're contradicting yourself by first saying they howl for sadness and loneliness, and then saying also to howl with their families.

Why wouldn't a rally with friends and family, which often includes a chorus howl, indicate excitement and/or joy? If we are going to assume animals' emotional states during behavioral displays, why ignore the probable emotions going on during THESE howls?

Replying "well that is a howl to protect the territory" or give some other reasoning based on the survival functionality of it is not a refutation.

Because here's the thing: yes, howling can be communicative in a lot of ways. But the driving factor for much of animal behavior is not cognitive, higher-level reasoning. Wolves are *probably* not thinking "we should all wag our tails and nuzzle each other wildly and howl right now, because that is a good idea that will help us bond and warn others from our home turf." They're probably feeling SOMETHING that is driving them to behave the way they are.

Put better, in this article from NPR:
Quote:Instead, the primary basis of vertebrate vocal communication is believed to be emotion (Suddendorf 2013), a conclusion reached by Charles Darwin in The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals (which is still widely quoted). Even in chimps, “the production of sound in the absence of the appropriate emotional state seems to be almost an impossible task” (Goodall 1986). We share many midbrain structures for emotions with other vertebrate species. Included in the term “emotion” are the concepts of “internal drives” (Grandin 2005) or “internal motivational states” (Lord et al. 2009). Were 302’s howls that day really motivated wholly or in part by hunger, exploratory behaviour, or care soliciting? Possibly those innate feelings caused adaptive neurohormonal adjustments in him; excitation of the sympathetic nervous system resulted in more cortisol or other biochemicals in the blood, and the result was that he howled. The biochemistry of emotions is a complex and active research area. If the outcome of such howls often enough was that the pack joined in on what turned out to be successful hunts, then natural selection would favour howling in that particular context without having any reasoned-out intent.


My point here is that even calls that have survival function (as opposed to "just" communication or something? I'm not even sure we can really separate such things out), ALSO cannot be assumed to be independent of emotion.

These topics are very complex.

I think it would also probably be beneficial to be more specific about what we mean about "excitement." Do we mean excited, energetic joy? Or do we mean being in an excited / more highly stimulated mental state? As someone who has worked with wolves, I would say either seems likely to be a facet of howling behaviors, as with the "joyous" looking rallies OR when there is an appropriate excitatory stimulus (eg: many of our animals would get worked up by sirens or train whistles and begin howling).

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2020-02-02 15:01
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Tdae
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Post: #5
RE: Wolves do not howl when excited
Thank you for mentioning this Dusty. When I howl it's usually like it comes from the attachment cry and very mournful. It helps me feel a little better but I'm self-conscious about people hearing me. Otherwise I might howl if I'm hanging out with dogs and it's fun to get everyone to sing together.
2020-02-02 15:18
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Saorise Fiain
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Post: #6
RE: Wolves do not howl when excited
I find that I get the urge to howl back when I hear a similar sound. Coyote, dog, and fox noises get me going, even artificial sounds like ambulances as well. I try not to howl though, because I live in the suburbs and someone would definitely hear me and complain /:

Anyways, I'd say that this information is mostly accurate. I also heard somewhere that wolves will howl out of affection for one another, but I'm not sure how true this is.

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(This post was last modified: 2020-02-02 16:21 by Saorise Fiain.)
2020-02-02 16:20
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Wolfy
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Post: #7
RE: Wolves do not howl when excited
I do not believe this is true. Yes, wolves do howl for territorial reasons, but I've had experience with wolves howling because of joy. When I went to a wolf sanctuary I saw two wolves licking each other by the mouth affectionately. Then they both started to howl. It seemed like it was because of joy, not for any territorial reasons. I wanted to join in the howling, but there were other people around, so I couldn't.

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2020-02-02 16:42
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Tdae
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Post: #8
RE: Wolves do not howl when excited
Clearly, howling is a lot more complex than humans understand. I feel that it grows from the attachment instincts, and so it could be associated either with loneliness or togetherness, rivalries or mating.
2020-02-02 16:48
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Wolfy
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Post: #9
RE: Wolves do not howl when excited
I agree with Tdae

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I am a wolf.
2020-02-02 17:02
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little wolf
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Post: #10
RE: Wolves do not howl when excited
Mine is probably more of a human reason, but when I get the urge to howl, it's usually when I feel deep emotion. Doesn't matter what kind of emotion it is. I also want to howl when I hear and watch wolves. For me, howling actually brings out my excitement. I love it, it makes me feel truly alive, and it's how I express or externalize what I truly feel. I hardly get to do it, which sucks, but if I could, that would be the easiest way for me to communicate that I'm feeling strong emotion. Howling is a form of communication, but I also think there's a deeper, instinctual reason. All animals have that deep instinct ingrained in them, even humans, however shut off from it they may be, which drives the animal. I also agree with the notion that we can't completely understand other animals. We can do our best through studying them, but we'll never know what it's truly like to be them. In the situation you're describing, Dusty, it could be a mix of theriotype and the human expressing themselves. For instance, humans like to make noise when they're excited, and the wolf part of a wolf therian wants to use the sound that feels natural to them, which is often howling for wolves. That's how I'd describe my reasoning and experience. I feel like sometimes we're a bit too invested in assigning behaviors, urges, and trains of thought to either our human side or our theriotype, when it could just as easily be a mix.

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2020-02-02 17:23
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