Beyond the Basics: Teaching Your Dog to Howl on Command

This post is part of the series Dog Training Commands: Beyond the Basics

Other posts in this series:

  1. Beyond the Basics: Teaching Your Dog Not to Jump on People
  2. Beyond the Basics: How to Teach Your Dog to Speak
  3. Beyond the Basics: Teaching Your Dog to Howl on Command (Current)

Teaching your dog to howl is not necessary to having a well mannered dog.  But it can be cute.  Especially if you have a breed with a unique howl, such as the Huskies, Hounds and Beagles.  We have two that are Beagle mixes, Santana and Cami, and they both have such cute howls.  Although Cami won’t howl on command yet, we haven’t gotten to that with her.  She does love to howl with the rest of the pack, when I leave the house or when I come home.

Why Dogs Howl

Howling is a form of communication among dogs.

They howl to relate information to other members of their packs. To pull together as a pack, or to warn other pack members of possible threats, or as a form of bonding.  Dogs will also howl for help.  I think this is the mentality behind my pack’s howling when I leave.  They don’t like not having their slave at their disposal.

Dog bred to be working hunting dogs tend to howl when they’ve located they prey or to alert their humans.

In the wild howling is part of the survival process, so it’s instinctual.  Which is why domesticated dogs tend not to howl as much.

Teaching Your Dog to Howl on Command

Unfortunately teaching your do to howl on command isn’t as easy as some of the other dog training commands.  Some breeds of dogs, again, such as Huskies, Hounds and Beagles howl by nature.  Thus it’s easier to teach these breeds to howl.  Other dog breeds may may you really work for it, to train them to howl on command.

Getting your dog to howl for the first time is probably the hardest part, if you have a breed not prone to howling. So there are lots of things to try to get your dog to howl. If one method doesn’t work, try another.  I’m sure eventually you’ll get a howl from your dog.  Just be ready to reward it!

  1. Try howling yourself, or if you have another dog in the household that howls on command, get him to help.
  2. Lots of people recommend using sirens.  We’ve never tried this method, and we don’t have many sirens our in the sticks.  SO I don’t know how well this method teaching your dog to howl works.
  3. Music – Try playing a variety of songs to see what songs, if any, your dog will respond too.  Don’t forget to try different genres like classical or opera, if your dog isn’t responding to your phone’s playlist.
  4. Act silly and make faces and noises, hoping to get your dog to howl.
  5. If your dog has howled before, wait for him to naturally howl, then be ready with your treats and command word.  Such as ours do when I leave the house, just have someone ready with the treats when they do it.

Once you’ve figured out how to get your dog to howl, the rest is just rewarding, and adding in a command.  Just like most other dog training commands.

Have patience!  Just like with all dog training, practice makes perfect.  You’re not going to be able to teach your dog to howl on command in one training session.  Keep practicing, and marking the behavior, he’ll get it in time.

This post is part of the series Dog Training Commands: Beyond the Basics

Other posts in this series:

  1. Beyond the Basics: Teaching Your Dog Not to Jump on People
  2. Beyond the Basics: How to Teach Your Dog to Speak
  3. Beyond the Basics: Teaching Your Dog to Howl on Command (Current)
Header Image Credit: Found Animals Foundation

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