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How to Get Your Dog to Howl: 5 Methods That Work

Patricia Dickson

By Patricia Dickson

Labrador howling

While most pet owners prefer that their dogs don’t howl all the time, a few find it fun and want to teach their dogs to howl. Some trainers suggest training a dog when to howl and when not to as a way of stopping incessant howling. While this may seem counterproductive, it’s said to work really well.

So, are you looking for a way to teach your dog to howl? We have five methods below that will help and a section on why dogs howl after the list.

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The 5 Tips on How to Teach Your Dog to Howl

1. Watch Videos

Dog watching TV
Dog watching TV (Image Credit: Dogtelevision, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

Watching videos of other dogs howling is a great way to teach your dog to howl. Of course, we all watch YouTube videos, so why not a few with dogs howling? Turn on the video, making sure your pet is in the room.

This is an excellent first step in getting your canine to howl, and it usually works well. Most dogs will want to join in the fun of the video and start howling. When training a dog to howl, there’s more to it than just watching a few videos and hoping for the best. We’ll give you a few more concrete methods below.

2. Get Your Dog to Howl the First Time

You can’t expect a dog to howl on cue if it’s never howled before. You need to work on getting your pet to howl first, and then you need to make sure that you know how to make it stop. This might not be an issue if you already have a vocal dog. However, if your dog is quiet and calm, you may need to use dog treats to get him excited.

One way to get a dog to howl for the first time is by jumping around with your pet and getting him excited. If your dog already barks when you reach for the leash or your keys, teaching him to howl might not be that difficult. Every dog gets excited about different things; your dog may be triggered to howl when you hold his favorite toy.

3. Use Hand Signals

person giving tick and flea medicine to a white maltese dog
Image Credit: Tanya Dol, Shutterstock

As with anything else you try to train your dog to do, you need commands and hand signals to teach him to howl on command. This will come after your dog has howled for the first time. Create a hand signal that lets your dog know when it’s okay to howl and when it isn’t.

One of the most common hand signals is to hold your open palm above your head and close your fingers when you give a verbal command. You can say “speak,” but many find that howling to your dog while using the hand signal is the most effective technique.

4. Use Positive Reinforcement

No matter what you’re trying to train your dog to do, it’s best to use positive reinforcement if you want to train them properly. When teaching your furry friend to howl, ensure you have his favorite reward ready.

The idea behind this is that when your dog howls and you give him the treat or toy, it’ll mark the behavior, and the dog will start associating the howling with getting something he wants.

5. Listen to Music

dog listening to music
Image Credit: Igor Chus, Shutterstock

Some methods for how to teach a dog to howl may seem dull, but you can listen to music, sing, and howl to entice your dog to follow your lead.

The trick is finding the music that excites your dog to howl. Start with one genre, then see how your pet reacts; if it doesn’t seem excited about the music, move to another genre and see how that goes. You’ll be surprised at the fun you and your furry pal can have together trying to find music you can both howl to.

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Why Dogs Howl

Once you teach a dog to howl, you might have a hard time getting him to stop. However, you want your pet to howl only when you give the verbal command and hand signal. Your dog may try to howl for a treat when you haven’t signaled him, but you should ignore the howl and only reward him when you give the signal. Eventually, he’ll learn that he’s only rewarded when he “speaks” on cue.

Sometimes dogs howl for reasons we can’t understand, but it could be related to medical issues, separation anxiety, or a reaction to loud noises. If your dog cries or howls excessively, and you can’t determine the reason, it’s best to visit your vet for an examination.

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As you can see, you can use a few methods to teach your dog to howl on command. Some of them, of course, are more fun than others. Watching videos of dogs howling or listening to music together are great ways to teach your dog to howl. However, you must ensure you can stop your dog from howling when playtime is over. By using your command and hand signal, you can direct your dog to howl at the appropriate time, and when you ignore an unprovoked howl, your pup will learn that he’s only rewarded when you give the “howl” order.

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Featured Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

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