If you think your dog is just making music when he's howling, think again. Howling is his way of communicating -- he might be trying to tell you he's exited, stressed, bored or lonely. To your neighbors, who have to endure the free daily concerts, your dog might quickly become a nuisance. To avoid this, find out what is triggering your furry friend's noise-making behavior and try to get him to stop. Arm yourself with patience, persistence and plenty of dog treats, and before you know it, your dog's howling will stop.
Take your dog to a veterinarian to rule out any injuries or medical conditions that might trigger his excessive howling, because you can't always tell just by looking at your dog that he's sick or hurt.
Teach your pet companion to be quiet on command. Wait for him to start howling or make a noise that you know triggers his howling. Hold a treat in front of him and say "quiet." To sniff the treat, your dog must stop howling. When he does, wait one second before praising him and giving him the treat. Repeat this each time he starts howling and gradually extend the time that he has to be quiet before giving the treat.
Stimulate your dog mentally and physically to prevent boredom and to tire him out so he's less likely to resort to howling. Spend more time with him -- take him on long walks, play a game of tug-of-war or fetch and let him swim and run every day. Teach him new tricks or commands and reward him when he does a good job. When you're not around, make sure he has chew toys to gnaw on and food-stuffed dog toys to challenge him.
Teach your dog to be home alone without making a nuisance of himself. To help your dog overcome separation anxiety, tell him to "sit" and "stay" in the bathroom. Give him a food-stuffed dog toy and walk out of the bathroom, closing the door behind you. Wait two seconds and walk back into the bathroom. Repeat this several times and gradually stay away longer. Always wait for your dog to calm down before leaving the room again. Repeat this exercise with the bedroom door, the back door and the front door. Once your dog is quiet for 90 minutes, you can try leaving him home alone for four to eight hours.
Ignore your pet companion if he howls just to get your attention. Fold your arms in front of your chest, look away and don't talk to your dog when he starts howling. Imagine you're not hearing him. When he stops howling and quiets down, reward him with a treat to reinforce the good behavior.
Consider getting another dog to keep your howling dog from getting bored or lonely when you're not home. The dogs can keep each other company so howling is the last thing on their minds.
Never yell at your pet companion when he's howling, because he might start fearing you or he might keep up the noisy behavior because he thinks you're joining in on the fun.
Turn the radio or television on if you leave your dog home alone. The sound can be comforting, because he might associate it with you being in the house.
Items You Will Need
- Dog treats
- Chew toys
- Food-stuffed dog toys
- Dog Lovers Companion; Paul McGreevy
- ASPCA: Howling
- ASPCA: Separation Anxiety
- The Happy Adopted Dog; Tammy Gagne
- Turn the radio or television on if you leave your dog home alone. The sound can be comforting, because he might associate it with you being in the house.
- Never yell at your pet companion when he's howling, because he might start fearing you or he might keep up the noisy behavior because he thinks you're 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.