Training your dog to howl on command is a great way to pick up your pack spirit in a hurry, especially if you howl with your dog. It is a fun and exciting way to bond with your dog as well.
If you have a problem barker, many professional trainers may recommend putting a bark or a howl on command as a means to curb the annoyance. It may sound counter-intuitive, but putting a behavior on command gives you an extra tool to teach your dog when certain behavior is appropriate – and when it isn’t!
Most dogs can learn to howl, although some breeds take to it easier than others. For example, Huskies, Malamutes, Beagles and Basset Hounds are examples of breeds that just love to get their howl on. On the other hand, many quiet breeds may present more of a challenge. Greyhounds, Basenji, and Pugs are not as likely to take to this trick quickly, if at all.
The hardest part of training this trick is triggering the howl in the first place. If you already know that your dog will volunteer a howl under certain circumstances, then use that to your advantage and save time teaching this trick. In this case, follow the 'Soundtrack' method, substituting whatever trigger already works for your canine.
Decide what you want your cue to be for this trick in advance of starting a training session. Suggestions include your own howl, a secret hand signal, or simply the word “Howl!”
The only tools you need for training this trick is your pouch of small treats cut into pea sized pieces and your clicker (if you use one.) If you do not use a clicker, then you can use a sound to “mark” the behavior you like, in this case a howl, followed by a reward.
Keep training sessions short enough that your dog stays interested. Avoid any corrections or punishment during your training time. This keeps your dog engaged in learning because it is fun and validating for them.
An important technique for training this trick is to be consistent with your “criteria.” Criteria simply means whatever benchmark you are going to use before you mark and reward a behavior. Getting this trick right will require you to raise your criteria for better and better howls as you go along. This will get you the deep and rich howl that you want to have on command.
The instructions below show you when the time is right to start raising the criteria for best results.