Howling in Dogs
What to Do About Excessive Howling continued...
If Your Dog Howls, Whines or Barks to Get Your
Some dogs learn that howling can get them attention from
people. If your dog howls for this reason, his howling will usually occur in
your presence when he wants attention, food or desired objects. If your dog
howls to get your attention or “ask” you for things he wants, like food or
toys, you need to teach him two things to be successful in curbing his
behavior. First of all, he needs to learn that howling doesn’t work (even if it
did in the past). He also needs to learn that being quiet will work. If
your dog realizes that howling always makes him invisible to you and being
quiet earns him your attention as well as all the great stuff he wants in life,
he’ll quickly learn to curb his vocal behavior.
- Ignore your dog’s attention-seeking howling
To avoid accidentally rewarding your dog when he howls, totally ignore him
as soon as he starts making noise. Don’t look at him, touch him or speak to
him. Don’t try to scold him either. Dogs, like kids, often find any attention
rewarding-even if it’s negative attention. So scolding your dog might make his
howling behavior worse! Just pretend your dog is invisible. If you find it
difficult to do this, try folding your arms across your chest and turning away
from him completely.
- Reward your dog for being quiet
It’s easy to forget to pay attention to your dog when he’s being quiet.
Often, we only pay attention to our dogs when they’re doing something wrong! If
you want your dog to learn to stop howling for attention, you’ll need to reward
quiet behavior. Randomly give your dog treats and attention when he isn’t
making noise. You should also make and stick to a new rule: Your dog doesn’t
get anything he wants (food, toys, access to the outdoors, treats, petting,
etc.) until he’s been quiet for at least five seconds. If your dog howls
in an attempt to get your attention, ignore him until he’s quiet, as described
above. Then, after five seconds of silence, you can pay attention to him
You can also try teaching your dog to be quiet when you ask him
to. First, say “Speak!” and try to get your dog to bark or howl. (Knocking on a
wall or door usually works well.) Praise your dog when he starts making
noise-but DO NOT give him a treat or toy. Then say “Hush” or “Quiet.” The
moment your dog stops barking or howling for a second or two, quickly say
“Good!” and give him a tasty treat. Repeat this sequence over and over, slowly
stretching out the time that your dog must be quiet before earning his goodie.
At first, one second of silence can earn him a treat. After he’s successfully
mastered that step, increase the time to three seconds. If he’s successful
again, increase the time to five seconds, then ten seconds, then 20 seconds,
and so on.