If Fido once has again resorted to giving you a concert, his howling can become a nuisance quickly. Although it's normal for him to howl in response to high-pitched sounds, such as sirens, it's not normal if he howls all day long. Howling is your dog's way of communication and he might be trying to tell you something. To stop his howling, find out what's triggering his behavior -- maybe he needs more attention or maybe he's just bored. Whatever the reason, with patience and persistence you can break his bad habit effectively.
Consult a veterinarian if your dog is howling consistently. He might have an injury or medical condition that's causing his noisy behavior. Your veterinarian also can prescribe medications for your dog if his excessive howling stems from separation anxiety.
Train your dog to be quiet if he howls each time you're not home. Give your dog a toy and tell him to "sit" and "stay" outside the bedroom door. Go into the bedroom and close the door. Wait one second, open the door and calmly walk out of the bedroom as if it's no big deal that you were gone. Let your pet companion calm down and do the exercise again, making sure you increase the duration that you're separated gradually. Repeat this exercise at the back door and front door. When your dog can be alone for 90 minutes without howling, you can start leaving him home alone for four to eight hours.
Ignore your dog the instant he starts howling if he's just looking to get your attention. Pretend he's not in the room -- don't talk to him, don't pet him and don't look at him. When he stops howling and is quiet, praise him and give him a dog treat. Repeat this each time he breaks out in song so he starts noticing that howling isn't getting him anywhere and being quiet gets rewarded.
Teach your pet companion the "quiet" command. Wait for a howling episode, blow a whistle and say "quiet" to startle your dog and stop the noise. Wait one second and give him a treat for being quiet. As an alternative to blowing a whistle, say "quiet" and hold a treat near your dog's nose so his urge to sniff forces him to stop howling. Give him the treat after one second of being quiet. Extend the duration that you dog has to stay quiet gradually before giving him the treat.
Spice up your dog's life so he's not bored and lonely, and is less likely to resort to howling. Walk your dog more often and spend quality time with him. Play games, like tug-of-war and fetch, with him or take him along on your jog so he can burn energy that he otherwise would use to misbehave. Arrange doggie play dates with friends who have dogs, so your buddy can improve his social skills, and challenge him with food-stuffed dog toys and daily obedience training.
Avoid yelling at your dog when he starts howling, because he might think you're encouraging him and joining in on the fun.
Items You Will Need
- Dog toys
- Dog treats
- Food-stuffed dog toy
- ASPCA: Howling
- ASPCA: Separation Anxiety
- Dog Lovers Companion; Paul McGreevy
- ASPCA: Enriching Your Dog's Life
- Avoid yelling at your dog when he starts howling, because he might think you're encouraging him and joining in on the fun.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.