How to Make Your Dog Howl

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How to Make Your Dog HowlI’m sure I’m not the only person who’s howled at my dog, hoping she would join in and howl along with me, right? Some of you might have dogs that like to howl, like scent hounds or wolf-like dogs such as huskies, but Haley’s not one of those dogs. No matter how much I sacrifice my self-respect in attempts to get her to join me, she’s not having it. She barks, she whines, she yips, she yawns, but…no howl, no way! [pardon the pun]

Long ago, some cultures thought dogs had psychic abilities and the howl of a dog meant someone was about to die, yikes! The truth is a lot less dramatic, howling is just a form of communication and here are a few different ways canines use howls to relate information to each other.

Why Dogs Howl

Pack Communication
Packs of canines howl to pull members back together or to help lost pack members reunite with the group. This could be why some domesticated dogs howl from separation anxiety when their owners leave the house.
Protecting Territory
Canines may use howls as a warning to others when protecting their territory or to warn pack members of a potential threat. Haley sometimes uses a howl-like bark when strangers approach the house.
Auto-Response
The electronic howl of a siren makes some dogs answer with a howl of their own. It probably sounds so similar to a real howl that a dog’s instinct kicks in and they respond.
Bonding
Group howling among dogs (or you and your dog) could be a bonding ritual similar to how people bond by singing together.
Distress
Dogs have been known to howl when they’re sick or injured to either cry for help or to express pain.
Alert Signal
Hunting dogs often howl to alert each other or their human hunters when they’ve located their prey.
Attention
If a bored dog gets attention by howling, they quickly learn to howl anytime they’re bored or lonely.

The Haley Howl

I’ve only heard Haley howl one time and I didn’t get to witness it in person. A few years ago we set up a video camera for a short time to observe Haley’s behavior when we weren’t at home. Towards the end of a Christmas holiday when my son and daughter-in-law were heading back home, they said goodbye to Haley and we all left the house to have lunch together before they left town. Here’s what happened after we left the house.

I was shocked when I watched the video! Was that really her, howling? I wish she would have been standing in the camera’s view but she was looking out the window and probably hoping to call her pack back home. They say each wolf has a distinctive howl that’s like a vocal fingerprint, acoustically calibrated to carry over long distances. Maybe this is Haley’s vocal fingerprint which includes blowing out air and yawning. I did mention she wasn’t good at howling, right?

If you want to teach your dog to howl, try these ideas!

How to Make Your Dog Howl

  • Howl or sing in a high-pitched tone at your dog, then praise and reward with treats when they mimic you. After your dog starts to catch on, combine the howling with a command such as “Sing” or “Howl”.
  • Use a harmonica or other musical instrument to experiment with different pitches to try to make your dog howl.
  • If your dog howls when they hear a siren, start giving them a command or cue when it happens. Give praise or treats to reinforce the behavior.
  • Play different types of music to see if your dog will respond and howl. For some reason, the theme song to Law and Order works for a lot of dogs.
  • Download an app with sirens or sounds for getting your dog’s attention and experiment with your pup.
  • Set up a video camera and record your dog when you leave the house to see if they howl.

Singing DogThe last idea was the only one that worked for Haley. She tries really hard but either she needs some howling lessons or I could use some of your suggestions. I’d love to hear her howl again, so share your secrets for how you make your dog howl.


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How to Make Your Dog Howl

62 Comments on “How to Make Your Dog Howl”

    • You would think since Bentley is a Basset Hound that he would howl. Nope, nada, never. We have tried every single trick that you mentioned and he simply doesn’t howl. He has come close a few times but nothing as impressive as Haley. I love that she howled when you all left. She was definitely trying to get you to come back with her boy. ♥ ♥

      • I’m so surprised by that! I thought for sure Bentley would be a master howler. Maybe he’ll surprise you too one day with a big ole soulful howl.

    • My mom says to let us know when you post on how to stop your dogs from howling. Bailie and I love to howl and we do a lot of it being hounds. If one howls, the other has to howl as well.

      • Come to think of it, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of a Golden that howls. They are so beautiful and refined, I would probably crack up laughing if I saw one howl. ?

    • My older boy Wilson loves to howl. All I need to do is make a whoo-whoo sound and off he goes. Jimmy has never figured it out, but occasionally he gets his lips in the right mode and belts one out.

      • Yes! I thought about you Jenna when I was writing this post. I would love to see a video of your tribe when they start their howling. ?

      • It’s weird, I listened to the Law and Order theme song and there doesn’t seem to be anything special about it that would make dogs howl but I guess there’s something all those dogs on YouTube love about it. ?

    • My brothers thought this was vastly amusing to do to my parents schnauzers growing up. I wasn’t a fan then, still not now. They bark enough as it is, no need to teach them howling.

      • I grew up with schnauzers too and they are pretty vocal as it is. I’m sure I tried to get ours to howl too, but they pretty much just barked, a lot! ?

    • I’ve only heard Harley howl once a year. No – really. I take him to Sunrise Service with me on Easter Sunday and the Men’s Chorus always sings. When they get started He throws his head back and belts out a few notes and gets everybody going. Every single year! #truestories

      • I was fascinated to learn that wolves have unique vocal fingerprints. I guess that makes sense though, like how we can recognize other people’s voices.

    • I haven’t had a dog that howled since our family dog passed over 10 years ago. He used to love howling at the sirens. I’ll have to try some of your tips for getting my dogs to howl.

    • Everyone said, oh you have a hound, they howl all the time. No, she does not howl!! She talks like crazy but no howling. I love the idea of a camera when we are gone. We talked about it because we thought it might be funny to see what she does.

      • The first time we set up a camera, Haley stared at it for about 20 minutes after we left. I guess she was looking at the little red light or maybe it was making a slight noise. You’ll have to let me know what Cocoa does if you set up a camera.

    • That video is SO cute! I’ve never heard Rita howl. When I howl, she just runs over and looks concerned, so I’m not sure I’ll ever hear her. Our last dog didn’t howl either, but our beagle used to. It was adorable.

      I hear once that only male dogs howl at sirens, but wasn’t sure if that was a myth?? I’ve only ever had female dogs and none of them have howled at sirens.

      • I wonder if that’s true, that only males dogs howl at sirens. Hmm, maybe someone will leave a comment and answer that question. I had to laugh at the thought of Rita coming over to see if you’re okay, lol! ?

    • Cole has a sort of scream… he only does it for one neighborhood dog that he seems to hate.
      Oh and once when we went in to a restaurant and left him in the car with the moonroof open. It was cool.
      He stuck his mouth out the opening and screamed for us to return so loudly the staff said, noone’s here, bring him in!

      • Aw, I bet that was a site to see with Cole calling for you from the moonroof. It was so nice of the staff to let him come in and join you. Nice people! ?

    • I’ve never heard my border collies howl, but I’ve never tried to teach them to howl either. When I played your video of Haley howling they both gathered around my computer and looked very interested, but neither did any type of vocalization in response.

    • My dog only howls in her sleep. She will do 3-5 of them getting louder with each one. Sometimes she wakes herself up and it is funny to see her looking around to see who was howling.

      I believe singing must be close to howling. My dog sings to Happy Birthday to You. To get her started, I use a high “wooooo” sounds. She is usually singing by the second line.

      • I think you’re right, Melody. Singing must be really similar to howling and I would love to see the Happy Birthday song. That would make birthdays extra special! ?

    • What a unique, cool video of Haley howling!! Missy & Buzz are definitely not howlers, although Buzz will let out a howl-like sound every now & then when he’s outside in the yard and hears/sees someone close to our property. I will try and record him when he does it.
      Two of my pet sitting clients are Huskies, and both definitely howl. Milo, the boy, tries to howl-manipulate me into giving him extra treats 😉 Haley, the girl, howls softly for more belly rubs.

      • I’d love to hear Buzz’s howl-like sound! It’s hard to catch them in the act, isn’t it? I never have my camera or cell phone at the ready when Haley does interesting things. The huskies sound adorable, especially Haley with her soft belly-rub howl. ?

    • That was amazing. It sounds like Haley gave a little sniff in between her howls.

      How lucky you were to capture that.

      My first two dogs always howled at sirens. And when we left the house.

      But Honey shows no interest in howling. She didn’t even look up when I played the Haley video.

      Maybe I’ll howl for her sometime and see how she responds.

      • I think she was blowing out air or something, lol! I would have loved to have captured her visually on tape though to see what she was doing. If Honey doesn’t react to your howling, maybe she’ll hear a foghorn one day and howl. ?

    • The only time I’m aware of my dogs howling is when I take one for a walk and leave the other two behind. I can hear the other two howling as I walk down the street. Now I know why they do that….thanks for that interesting information!

      • Aw, they all want to be together for a pack walk. I bet it’s nice having some one-on-one time with each of them sometimes too.

    • Hahaha
      I love how when you left Haley howled-like she wanted you to come home!
      Do you know if it is possible for a border collie to howl? (As they are sheepdogs and not breed with any wolf-ish species)

    • Look it it up on YouTube. I’m trying to get mine to howl ^^ he has a lovely bark and he’s very quiet ‘–‘ I rarely hear him bark, whine a lot but ehhhhh… howls are soooooo much cooler

      • The YouTube howling dogs are so cool, aren’t they? I sure wish I could teach Haley to do it on command, but I’ve spent countless hours howling at her and making a fool out of myself, haha! ?

    • My 2 Basset Hounds only Howl when their pack is gone….such as I’m walking Fritz but when I get back Florlinda is howling like CRAZY I can hear her two blocks down the street!oml this dog ? same thing with Fritz he’s a major howler too!i bet the dogs sing “when I’m gone” when me and my family are out somewhere other then home!??BTW I think this is a pretty good website I like to train the younger dog Florlinda you can’t train a old dog new tricks right? I want her to howl too,when I AM home the super bowl is currently on haha ?? bye.im also not giving out my full name…

      • Haha! I think you should video Fritz and Florlinda to see if they actually do sing “When I’m Gone” after you leave the house. Thanks so much for visiting and don’t give up on training Fritz. You really can teach old dogs new tricks, lol! ?

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