How to Teach Your Dog to Howl?
Have you been trying very hard to make your dog howl? You must be hoping that one day they would give in and start howling. Making dogs howl isn’t all that easy. Some learn to howl quite easily than others.
If you are looking for ways to encourage your dog to unleash his inner wolf, the first step is to find out what makes your dog howl. Once you have figured that out, reinforce that behavior.
Howling is a common way of communication among dogs, but they don’t use it as a means to communicate with their owners. If you want to train your dog to howl, you’ll need to follow some tips. That said, you must remember that sometimes it can be hard to stop your dog from howling.
Read through this article and learn about some methods with which you can train your dog to howl on command.
Here’s how to teach your dog to howl!
Why Do Dogs Howl?
Some breeds of dogs howl more than others. It might initially be difficult to find out what makes your dog howl, but once you have found out the right triggers, reinforce its behavior if you want to teach them how to howl at your command. Dogs usually howl to contact other canines. It is one of those instincts that dogs inherited from their wolf ancestors.
Sometimes, dogs howl due to anxiety as well. You can set up a camera before leaving your house to find out if your dog howls in your absence. Recording its behavior in your absence can help you better understand its behavior better. It would be a lot easier to teach your dog how to howl if you know why it howls in the first place.
Below are a few common reasons why dogs howl:
To Communicate With Other Dogs
As mentioned earlier, the most common reason why dogs howl is to call out to other dogs. Like barking, howling is also a means of communication with each other for dogs. In the wild, dogs used this method to call out the dogs that were separated from the pack. Dogs see their owners as pack leaders. So, when you leave the house, they call out to you.
Howling of dogs together as a pack is known as pack howling. They see it as a kind of bonding ritual to connect with other members of the pack. It is very similar to humans singing together as a social activity.
To Send Warnings
Howling is also an ancestral instinct to send warnings and alert signals. Your dog might howl when it sees a stranger entering your house. Dogs are very protective of their territories. Anything strange happening in the home can make them howl.
Dogs also howl to warn other dogs of any danger or to alert dogs of their presence. Hunting dogs also use howling to alert other dogs or their owners when they have cornered prey.
Response to Strange Sounds
Sometimes dogs howl as a reflex to certain sounds. It can be a strange sound like the sound of sirens or any musical instrument as well. High-pitched sounds usually trigger this response. Your dog might even howl in response to music on the television or any other device. This type of howling is likely to stop when the trigger sound stops.
To Express Anxiety or Distress
Dogs also howl when they are sick, in pain, or feeling anxious. They might even howl to show they feel lonely if you leave them alone. Sometimes, your dog may howl due to boredom.
Watch the video on why do dogs howl.
How to Make Your Dog Howl?
The first step in teaching your dog to howl is to determine what makes your dog howl. Some dogs howl to high-pitched sounds while others might not howl despite your best efforts.
Sometimes even watching a dog howling in a video gets them going. Whether your dog howls to the sound of sirens or whistling, it might take a while to find out what encourages that behavior in your dog.
Like with any other form of training, you’ll have to encourage your dog when it howls to ensure that it understands that their behavior is appreciated. With positive reinforcement and practice, you can teach your dog to howl on command.
Following are some ways in which you can make your dog howl:
Wait for Natural Howling
It can be challenging to make your dog howl without training, but most dogs howl naturally without any effort on your part. Such breeds are more likely to howl along to the music as compared to other breeds. If your dog realizes that it makes you happy when it howls, it will do it again.
The best you can do in the beginning is to wait for your dog to howl naturally. It might simply occur as a learned behavior when your dog watches another dog howling. If it seems probable, take your dog to a dog’s park. Allow your dog to observe other dogs and interact with them to encourage your dog to howl.
Find Your Dog’s Favorite Music
Sometimes your dog might not howl even if you’re playing music. This can be because your dog does not like the music you are playing, and it is not exciting enough for your dog to start howling.
Like humans, our canine friends also have different musical preferences. You have to play different types of songs to find out what kind of music your dog likes. Notice what type of music makes your dog bark or howl.
If you play a song, but your dog remains silent, you should try a different kind of music. From opera to classical or from heavy metal to country music, try everything to find out your dog’s preference. Keep noticing your dog’s behavior until you find a song that makes your dog howl or bark.
Play Videos of Howling Dogs
As mentioned earlier, watching other dogs howl can make your dog howl too. You can use this as an effective way to teach your dog how to howl. You can find many videos on YouTube when you search “dogs howling.”
You can play these videos in front of your dog to encourage it to howl. Your dog might feel like communicating with the dog in the video and start howling as a result.
You can also try videos of the sounds of other animals like cats. Some dogs respond to the sounds of other animals by howling as well. Try different videos to see which works best in eliciting a response from your dog.
Play Musical Instruments
Often, when you sing in a high-pitched tone or howl, your dog will howl in response to you. Once your dog has learned to howl when you start singing or howling, you can use a command like ‘sing’ or ‘howl’ to give him a cue. This way, your dog knows to start howling when you say the command word.
Some dogs also respond better to different musical instruments. Playing a high note on a piano, harmonica, or any other instrument can make it howl.
You will have to find out which instrument your dog responds to. Play different instruments to see if your dog reacts in any way. If your dog howls or barks to the note of an instrument, use your command word before playing it again. This is to train your dog to start howling after you say the word ‘sing’ or ‘howl.’
Watch the following video of a dog howling to a harmonica.
Use Sirens for Training Your Dog to Howl
Some dogs howl to the sound of a siren. If you notice that your dog howls to its sound too, you can use that in training. You can download an app with sirens or play a video of siren sounds on YouTube. This will help you to get your dog’s attention, and it will howl on hearing the siren.
Now you can train your dog by saying the command word and then playing the sound of the siren. Give your dog treats for howling to reinforce its good behavior. Watch this video of dog howling to an ambulance siren.
Make Your Dog Follow the Pack Leader
As mentioned earlier, dogs consider their owners as their pack leaders. They look up to you, love to follow your commands, and are eager to make you happy. So, when you sing, your dog will follow its instinct to howl along with you like a member of the pack. You can use their instinct to train them to howl.
Once you have figured out their favorite song, you should sing it in front of them. This will work as a trigger for them to join in and start howling. If your dog does not begin howling immediately, you can take it step-by-step.
First, give it a prompt with a ‘sing’ or ‘howl’ command. Next, play its favorite song and then start singing along. When your dog starts barking or howling, turn off the music to see if it keeps howling with you. If it does, reward your dog with treats to appreciate her behavior.
Establish a Verbal or Non-Verbal Cue
Once you have figured out what makes your dog howl, you have to establish a cue. This is to train your dog to howl on command. Every time your dog howls, immediately say a command word like sing or howl. Over time your dog will be able to make the connection between the prompt and its howling. Make sure you use the same command word every time to avoid confusion.
If you don’t want to use a verbal command, you can use hand gestures to command your dog to howl. There are different cues that you can use to signal your dog. Regardless of the type of prompt, keep it consistent. You can use a non-verbal cue like clapping your hands once or snapping your fingers.
You can also play a high note on a musical instrument as a non-verbal cue. Using a clicker is also a great way to train your dog to howl when you make a sound. When your dog starts howling to non-verbal cues, reward it with a treat.
Watch this video on how to train a dog to howl on command.
Use Treats for Reinforcement
Regardless of the type of prompt, it is essential to reward your dog every time it starts howling. Rewarding it with a treat will work as positive reinforcement. It will make your dog understand that it is doing well.
You should praise your dog and give it treats whenever it starts howling on your commands and cues. This will make your dog relate commands and howling with tasty rewards.
It is important to remember that training your dog to howl on cue will be different. You should not reward your dog or praise it if it barks, instead of howling.
Practice with Your Dog
Like any kind of training, your dog needs regular practice to learn how to howl. So, when teaching your dog to howl, you should practice whichever method you choose every day. Do not expect anything to work overnight; instead, be patient and consistent.
Practice with your dog by giving the command, playing their song, and singing along. Gradually, turn off the music first to see if your dog keeps howling while you sing. The next step is to give only the command to see if your dog has finally learned to howl on command. This will make them learn to start howling without any further help from you.
If your dog still needs some help, give the command and then name their favorite song. If that does not help either, sing a few lines of the song until your dog joins in. Once it starts howling, you can stop singing. If it follows you and becomes silent too, give the command cue again.
During the practice, keep rewarding your dog every time it howls on its own. This process can be long and tiring, but be patient as your dog will learn sooner or later. All your effort and patience will be worth it when your dog starts howling on command.
Do Not Punish Your Dog for Not Howling
Some breeds learn to howl quite quickly while others take a lot of time. This process of training your dog can be tiresome, but never punish your dog for not howling. This is an entirely new thing for your dog to learn. So, it is likely that your dog might not understand your instructions in the beginning.
Punishment will only discourage them and, even worse, make them feel distressed. Some dogs can even get frightened and might not howl again as a result of punishment.
Do not make the mistake of assuming that your dog will respond well to violence. They will only behave better if you treat them well and make them comfortable. If you shout or become aggressive, your dog will become aggressive too. In the worst case, it will lose all interest in learning how to howl.
What to Do If Your Dog Howls All the Time?
Sometimes, when dogs have learned to howl, they howl too much. This can be bothersome for you or your neighbors.
The first way to make your dog stop howling is to find out what is triggering that behavior. Your dog might be howling for your attention. If you are at home, you can ignore it until it stops and then reward your dog when it is quiet.
When you keep rewarding your dog with a treat for being quiet, they will know how to behave. With more encouragement, they will know when howling is unnecessary.
Your dog howling in your absence can be a sign of separation anxiety. This can also mean that it is feeling lonely without you. If you feel it is separation anxiety, notice other signs as well. Set up a camera and record its behavior in your absence. If it paces around and acts nervous after you leave home, it might be separation anxiety.
You can help your dog cope with separation anxiety by spending extra time with it. Give your dog extra care and play with him to make him feel comfortable. You can also introduce it to some boredom-busting activities to keep him engaged. Give it more mental stimulation and games to play inside the house.
Now that you have learned how to teach your dog to howl, you can use these methods for training. Find out which way is the most suitable for you and your canine friend. Stay consistent with that method and practice it thoroughly.
It is also important to remember to check the local noise ordinances before you teach your dog how to howl on command. You do not want to surpass the restriction of your dog howling in the neighborhood, and knowing everything about the local guidelines will also prevent any conflicts between you and your neighbors. You have to be mindful that howling can annoy people who are sick, tired or anyone who does not like that sound.
Once your dog learns to howl, you will feel proud of your accomplishment. Like with any other kind of training, patience and consistency is the key. It is undoubtedly going to be a plus if teaching your dog how to howl on command also makes your bond with your dog better.
Daniel Bloom is the mind behind the Dog Pages blog. He created this blog for the love his dog, Augustine. He manages his team of contributors who love dogs as much as he does. When he is not blogging, he spends his time cooking and reading. He never misses his daily walks with his dog and loves to play Frisbee with Augustine whenever he gets a chance.