How to Teach Your Dog to Howl or Sing on Command

Have any of you taught your dogs to howl on command?

This is a fun “trick” you can teach some dogs more easily than others.

Although, some dogs are naturally more vocal so maybe you don’t want to encourage them to howl more than they already do! 🙂

My dog Ace is not much of a barker, so the first time we got him to howl, I think he was just as shocked to hear his own howl as we were.

The following are my tips for teaching a dog to howl/sing on command, but let me know how you taught your dog in the comments.

How to teach your dog to howl or sing

Here’s what we did … I imagine there are other, better, ways.

1. Our friend Justin started “howling” to get Ace to howl.

2. Ace howled too!

3. We started using the cue “sing” and rewarded him with praise and food.

How to teach a dog to howl

Today, Ace will howl when we use the “sing” command, but he’s reluctant to do it and I’ve pretty much trained him to howl once I start howling first. 🙂 Then, once he gets started “singing,” he doesn’t want to stop!

Here’s a video:

Ace gets a little stressed out and is reluctant to “sing,” but he gets rewarded with pepperonis, so don’t feel too bad for him!

Other tips to teach a dog to “sing”:

1. Some dogs may be tempted to bark instead of howl. Just ignore the barking and reward your dog for even the tiniest howl.

2. It may be easier to teach “sing” if your dog already knows “speak” (bark).

3. If your dog howls naturally, like when he’s excited, mark the behavior with “sing” and reward him.

4. You may want to teach your dog a command for “quiet” to get him to stop howling! 🙂

5. Tilting your head back and making silent howling gestures just might become your dog’s cue, just to warn you. 🙂

6. Have fun with this. It ain’t meant to be so serious!

How about you?

How did you teach your dog to howl or sing?

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21 thoughts on “How to Teach Your Dog to Howl or Sing on Command”

  1. I’ve always wanted a howling dog! Ace’s howl is just too funny! Hiccup isn’t a barker or a howler – he’s a growler. That’s pretty much his only vocalization, from a frightened growl when someone gets in his space, to his “playful” growl that scares off the other dogs at dog park, to his annoyed “grumble” growl when he’s comfortable and I want him to move.
    My parents accidentally taught their dog to greet them with this silly “woo woo woo” noise when they get home. He just did it once and they got excited because it was very cute, and now he uses it as his default greeting.

  2. I didn’t realize “speak” was for bark. We taught speak but we use it more as sing. Baxter doesn’t really bark anyways. We used the technique of “woo-wooing” at him, and he mimicked us very quickly. Now we say speak, and he woo-woos back at us–usually for a treat. We have become very specific that if he speaks too loudly or it verges on a bark, he doesn’t get a treat. He’s learned this and if he’s too excited, he’ll correct himself and keep trying to be quieter.

    I think the biggest thing I’ve found is we speak to him and to each other, so he’s learned this is how to communicate with us. We’ll have whole conversations, especially when we first get home and he’s all excited to see us.

  3. LOL! We sing on our own a lot, so quiet would be a better command for us. We do sometimes stop on command, but when all three of us start belting out a tune, it is pretty much impossible for Mom to stop us.

  4. I should try this with Pierson. It was easy to teach him to speak. I merely found a trigger that made him bark, said the command bark, and rewarded. The trigger was blowing in his face. When I blow in his face, he thinks it’s a game and so he barks excitedly. Now if I could just somehow turn it into a howl…

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      That’s pretty much how I taught ace to speak as well. You’ll have to let me know if you get Pierson to howl.

  5. Since my Significant Otter’s Boxer’s sort of crooned on prompt, his appetite for a genuine howler arrived last year in the body of Zu the Plott-Walker Hound Blend. She’s teaching Zeva the Boxer to harmonize, much to The Otter’s delight. Finding the OFF switch is another matter, but Zu’s operatic baying brings smiles from strangers everywhere.

  6. hahah oh my goodness this is cute. My dog howls at sirens when they go by our house, otherwise, she’s pretty quiet. I’ve been reluctant to teach her speak or any vocal tricks since my friend’s dog now barks every time he wants a treat….and I didn’t want that.

  7. That video is too adorable!! I wanted to teach Silas to howl (or “boxer-talk”) on command but never knew how, I’m going to try this!!

  8. Zeus sings when I play my clarinet. His singing is especially energetic when I play the Clarinet Polka. On the other hand his singing is much more appropriately subdued when I play Fuure’s Pie Jesu. I do try to have the windows closed when Zeus is in full voice.

  9. My dog is already very vocal and I am on the border of wishing he would master queit as well as he did singing, talking, barking, whining and oofing (which is his favorite answer to almost everything). Then again, I think conversing with my dog is normal and get a little upset when he ignores me because I had to go somewhere without him.

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