Get The Dog To Howl
Sometimes dogs will need an extra push to start howling; that’s often the first step in the training process. You need to trigger their howling instinct. Some dogs do this naturally, making the first step easier for some owners.
If you’re trying to trigger a howl, try singing. This is an older trick, but it’s simple, and it works. If you’re not a keen singer, opera music at a high pitch will work. Your dog will be curious about the music, and this could result in a howl.
Musical instruments can also be an excellent way to trigger a howl. Don’t go out and buy an instrument if you don’t own one, online clips of them will do the trick. While the music is playing, you can howl to show your dog how to respond, this may feel somewhat silly, but it will help make the actions clearer.
Another way to trigger a howl is to try whistling. However, some argue that this is not the best way to train your dog to howl as most owners whistle to call their dog over. Mixing howling training with whistling may confuse your dog more.
If your dog is vocal when they’re playing, this could be a good place to start howling training. Listen to your dog while they play. Do they make any high-pitched sounds that are similar to howling? If they do, keep provoking this sound, and in time your dog may howl.
Finally, try playing some dog howling audio to them. Online videos of other dogs howling may trigger a pack response and a howl from your dog. If not, audio of a siren may also cause a howl. Just be careful that your dog isn’t scared of sirens, as these sounds cause some dogs to hide.
When your dog finally howls, it’s important to reward them with a treat to promote this good behavior. You don’t need a cue word yet, just keep rewarding your dog when they howl, as the more treats they receive, the more they will howl!
Teach Them To Howl On Cue
Once your dog has mastered the howling sound, it’s time to get them to do this on cue. Choose a cue word and teach your pup that howling on time will earn them a reward!
Now you know what sound triggers a howl for your dog, you can start adding the cue word in when this sound plays. Your cue word could be anything – a simple command or an invitation. Choose one word and make sure you stick to it. Say it whenever your dog howls.
Make sure you treat your dog when they howl with the cue word. Your dog will start remembering the trigger sound, the cue word, and the treat. The goal is to get them to associate the cue word with howling, but howling should already be associated with the reward.
Keep repeating this behavior to reinforce when they should howl. This will take time and patience, and success isn’t guaranteed – it can sometimes depend on each dog and their personality. Remember that your dog is trying to work it out too, being kind and patient with them is crucial.
You will be able to remove the initial motivation after a few tries. It makes no difference if you play some audio of other dogs howling or just play with your dog, this initial motivation will gradually disappear over time.
Remember that this step could take weeks of practice. It might be hard for your pup to realize that the cue is associated with howling, so go slow and reward them accordingly. When you’re sure they have nailed the cue, you can gradually start giving fewer treats.
When the behavior is taught, always make sure you give rewards only when the cue word is said. If your dog howls on command, reward it. If they howl randomly, skip the reward. This will help them identify the howling behavior is correct when a cue word is said. If they are constantly rewarded for howling alone, this could result in a dog that howls all the time just for treats.
Make Sure You Can Stop Their Howling
If your training goes wrong and howling becomes a problem behavior, understanding their motivations is the first step in dealing with it. When your dog is howling for attention or a treat, you should ignore it and treat them when they go quiet.
It can be easy to focus on the bad behavior, remember to reward the good behavior after to reinforce this. If you are consistent with treats when they are quiet, your dog should realize that not howling all the time will earn them a treat.
If your pup has started howling while alone, this usually signifies that they’re lonely. Anxiety could also be a cause, so if you suspect this is a reason, make an effort to spend more quality time with them or arrange for a dog sitter when you are away. We all live busy lives these days, but if your dog’s howling is due to loneliness, it might be time to put down the emails and set aside some needed playtime with your pup.