Ways To Get Your Dog To Howl
Perhaps you’ve been trying hard to get your dog to howl, hoping that they would one day join in with you and start howling, but you haven’t succeeded? If you’re in this position, don’t worry, there are many people like you looking out for different tips and techniques to use to get your dog to howl.
It is easier to get some dog breeds which like to howl like beagles, foxhounds, scent hounds, wolf-like dogs like huskies and hounds as it’s their natural instinct. However in cases of other dog breeds, you may need to put in some extra time and effort as they may require some coaxing and training to start howling on their own.
Now, while you may want to learn how to get your dog to howl, in many cases, most dogs tend to howl on their own accord. While it was once thought that dogs had psychic abilities and whenever they started howling, it indicated that someone was about to die, the truth behind this is much less dramatic. There are much more logical reasons for a dog to start howling on her own.
Dogs generally howl as a form of communication with their pack members. Canines actually howl amongst themselves to relate information to each other and pull members together or to help reunite lost members with the group. This is why some domestic dogs start howling in anxiety when their owners leave the house.
Some canines start howling to warn pack members of possible threats. There are some sounds like the wail of a siren which triggers a dog’s howling. This may be because the wailing sounds are similar to a real howl and it’s the dog’s instinct to respond by kicking in.
Dogs howl in groups as a form of bonding ritual, which can be compared to people singing together at a party. Then again, there are dogs who howl for help because they are sick or injured, or to express the pain they are going through. Hunting dogs tend to howl to alert their human hunters when they locate the prey, or to alert each other.
Of course, you notice that it is more of hunting dogs and wild dogs which tend to howl as it is second nature to them. They have to howl to survive, which is not the case for domesticated and urban dog breeds. This is why the domesticated dogs don’t howl too much and you need to use some tips to eventually get your dog to start howling at your command.
Last, but not least, some dogs just howl out of boredom in a bid to gain attention! There are some dogs who notice that they can get your attention faster if they start howling, and thus use this to their advantage.
And now, how exactly to get your dog to howl…
While all this howling is not controlled or started by you, with the right techniques and some training, you can get your dog to start howling or singing at your bid and command using the following techniques. The toughest part however is determining which technique your dog will respond to!
1. Wait For Natural Howling
Most dogs, especially the vocal breeds like huskies tend to howl in general. So there is a higher chance of their wailing along to music than other dog breeds. In fact, this tendency to howl to music is a form of classical conditioning where if your dog realizes that you are impressed when she howls to music, there is a higher chance of her doing it again.
2. Find The Type Of Music Your Dog Enjoys
Then again, there are some dogs who never sing as the music you play in your house just doesn’t get them inspired enough to start howling. If you want your dog to howl, you need to play a variety of songs at home, and notice what type of song your dog barks or howls to.
This means that if you notice that your dog tends to remain silent when you play a song by Elvis or the Beatles, there is a chance of her responding to an opera or classical song. Or your dog may be more partial to country music, but may start howling when you play Michael Jackson. So all you have to do is play a variety of songs at home and keep watching your dog till you find a song which she responds by howling, whimpering, barking or any form of sound.
3. Try Musical Instruments
Why not you try howling or singing in a high-pitched tone at your dog? In many cases, this is all that is required to make your dog start howling and accompanying you. Once your dog catches on to start howling whenever you start howling or singing, you need to combine the howling with a specific command word like “Sing” or “Howl”.
This is important so that your dog realizes that the next time you say the command word, she has to start howling. Besides your howling, there are some dogs which tend to respond faster and better to particular instruments like a guitar or harmonica than a violin or piano.
If you notice that this is the case with your dog, you have to find out which instrument your dog responds to by playing recordings of different instruments. Similarly, if you notice your dog barking or howling when you play a cello recording, do issue the sing’ command immediately before you play the same recording. This is again to ensure your dog realizes that she has to start howling when you say the word Sing’ after playing the triggering instrument recording.
4. Use Treat Rewards
No matter what the trigger may be which makes your dog start howling, it is important that you reward her with treats whenever she starts howling. You have to give her some positive reinforcement by rewarding her with some praise and treat whenever she starts singing. She thus associates the sing’ command and her howling with these tasty rewards.
You can also use a clicker to clicker-train your dog into realizing that she has to start howling when you make a clicker. However if you want to teach your dog to howl only on cue, don’t give her any treats or praises if she gives a common, every day bark.
5. Follow The Leader
Remember, though you may be the dog owner, to your dog, you are her pack leader. So when you sing, your pack members succumb to their natural instinct to start howling with you and the pack or your family.
So now that you know what your dog’s favorite instruments and songs are, you have to start singing the triggering song while hoping that she will join in and start howling, barking or communicating later on.
In case she doesn’t start singing immediately, you can give her a prompt with the “Sing” command and playing a recording of her favorite song while you sing along. Once she starts barking or howling, just switch off the recording to see if she continues singing with you. And of course, do reward your pup with treats and praise when she successfully sings.
If you notice that your dog starts howling when she hears a siren, you could train her to start howling every time she hears a siren by giving her a command or cue when this happens. If required, you could always download an app with sirens to help get your dog’s attention and train her to start howling on hearing the siren. Of course, you once again have to give her treats for her achievement and to reinforce the behavior once again later on.
7. See If They Howl When You’re Not Around
As dogs tend to start howling in anxiety when you leave your house, it’s a good idea to set up a video camera at home to find out if your dog too starts howling in your absence. With this recording, you get an idea of how and why your dog starts howling in your absence, and what her trigger is.
8. Make Funny Faces
In case none of this works, you can try to teach her to howl on hearing a brand new sound of your own. Yes, you need to create a special sound which gets your dog to howl. The best way to do this is to act silly in front of your dog, and to make funny faces.
Another option you have is to hold their favorite treat in front of their nose and give it to them only when they howl. Just make sure you ONLY do it when your dog howls so they don’t get mixed signals.
Just like humans, your dog too needs practice to eventually know when to howl perfectly. No one learns anything overnight, and neither will your dog. You need to train your dog by issuing just the sing’ command and not singing yourself or playing their favorite song or favorite instrument. See if they realize, and starts howling on her own without any further help from you.
At the most, you could say “Sing!” and name her favorite songs. If she still does not start singing, just sing a few lines of the song till she joins in and when she does, it’s your turn to remain silent. However if she follows you and becomes silent too, then you have to issue the “Sing” command again.
Do keep lots of treats around so that you can treat and praise her when she successfully howls on her own. You need lots of patience and perseverance to achieve this; but it’s important you don’t get discouraged as it’s through practice that your dog grows more skilled to start singing on command.
10. Do Not Punish Them For Not Performing
Never make the mistake of punishing your dog for not singing as per your instructions. Your dog is learning something new, and this punishment only discourages them and their attempts. It also frightens them to an extent where they might not howl again.
Dogs do not respond to violence; they perform better only if you know how to treat them well and make them comfortable. The more you shout and get angry with them, the more aggressive your dog becomes to eventually give up and lose interest at learning how to howl.
Now you know the many different methods you can use to get your dog to start howling, you need to determine which is the easiest and most effective to implement. However it is very important that you remember that no matter how enthusiastic you may be about teaching your dog to howl, it is important that you first check the local noise ordinances to find out if there is any restriction or problem to your dog howling in the neighborhood.
This is to avoid unnecessary conflicts and problems between you and your neighbors. There may be some neighbors who get irritated with your dog’s howling as they may be tired, sick or impatient with the howling.
However once you teach your dog to howl on command, you can share lots of special moments with her. She will love the attention she receives with her howling and you can impress your guests with her howling.