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Healthy Dogs

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Howling in Dogs

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What to Do About Excessive Howling continued...

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.

Finding Help

Because howling issues can be challenging to work with, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT). Many CPDTs offer group or private classes that can give you and your dog lots of help with attention-seeking howling. Please see our article, Finding Professional Help, to locate a CPDT in your area.

Spend Time with Your Dog

Some dogs howl because they’re lonely, especially if they’re left alone or kept outside for many hours at a time. Dogs, like humans, are very social animals and need regular interaction with their human families. If your dog howls often when by himself, you may need to spend more quality time together. Bring him inside more often, play games and take walks with him. Take him to a fun training class that focuses on rewarding good behavior. When you must leave your dog home alone for more than a few minutes, be sure to give him plenty of toys and attractive chew items to enjoy by himself. 


WebMD Veterinary Reference from ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist

The ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist specializes in the resolution and management of pet behavior problems only. Please do not submit questions about medical problems here. Only licensed veterinarians can diagnose medical conditions. If you think that your pet is sick, injured or experiencing any kind of physical distress, please contact his veterinarian immediately. A delay in seeking proper veterinary care may worsen your pet's condition and put his life at risk. If you are concerned about the cost of veterinary care, please read our resources on finding financial help.
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