Does it seem like your pooch has an extraordinary talent in music?
Because they turn into a diva when the radio is on.
And become a backup singer whenever you play a song.
Wait a sec. Are they a genius? Or…
Is this normal in the doggy world?
Read on to find out:
- What makes your dog sing along to the music.
- If they genuinely appreciate songs or only do it out of instinct.
- Why do their pitch always stand out whenever they sing with you.
- 3 different scenarios of hounds howling to instruments explained.
- And many more…
Table of contents
Why does my dog howl at music?
Your dog howls at music because they have a sense of pitch, belong to a vocal breed, are experiencing strong emotions, or think they can hear another canine’s cry, so they respond as an instinct. It could also be their way to bond and socialize with you and other hounds or get your attention.
People also ask:
7 incredible reasons why your dog howls at music
#1: Pack communication
Your dog’s howling to music could be an attempt to communicate.
Based on the history of canines, that is.
Have you ever wondered why some dogs resemble wolves a lot?
Well, it’s because hounds are descendants of the mighty wolf.
And as you know, wolves operate in packs. That’s how they manage to survive in the wild. They watch each other’s backs. Also, they hunt and sleep together. Talk about a close bond!
It’s fascinating how well a wolf pack operates. It’s like a well-oiled machine. And each gear in it plays a vital part.
When it comes to a pack’s survival, there’s a key component. It’s pretty much the same for humans btw. 😉
The particular aspect of communication we’re going to look at today is howling.
Wolves would emit a howl to know other pack members where they are. It’s kind of like you sharing your live location with a friend on Messenger.
Dogs, although domesticated, have kept their instinct to howl. But since your pooch now lives at home with you, you’re their pack.
So, in other words, they’re probably not howling a whole awful lot. For your relief, that is.
But if you’ve noticed your Fido howling at certain songs, it might be because the sounds resemble a canine howl.
This prompts me to share that…
#2: Your dog has a sense of pitch
Do you have a vocal doggo? One that seems to ‘sing along’ to a song or certain instrument sounds?
It’s all because of the pitch. Once it’s right, your dog will start showing off their musical talents.
“So what type of sounds make them howl like a wolf?”
Experts say that they’re mainly reactive to wind instruments. Such as flute and saxophone.
Oh, long notes can cause them to vocalize too. Like the sounds of the violin and humans belting out.
Well, it’s pretty evident in these woofers:
Also, have you noticed that they’re adjusting their pitch? Or often ‘sings’ off-key when they do this?
Is your pooch tone deaf? Or are they doing it on purpose?
Guess what, it’s intentional. So let’s say they’re only ‘harmonizing’ with you or the music.
It was revealed that this trait is observed in wolves. As they change their tone whenever they join a howling fest.
And they do it to distinguish themselves from the rest. So it could also be innate in your pup.
Interesting, isn’t it?
Fun fact: With this info, researchers found a way to detect a wolf from a group of ‘howlers.’ Through a devised code, they were able to do it with 97.4% accuracy. They said the varying pitch and vocal intensity help them in the process. Amazing!
#3: You have a vocal dog breed
Their ‘singing prowess’ could also be in their genes.
And if yours have these, I’m pretty sure they’re vocal too, even when the radio is off.
This attribute can also be traced back to their ancestors. As it was observed that those with a wolf-like appearance might howl more than other breeds.
Say, the Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies.
While French Bulldogs are also known for ‘crying’ a lot. Or…
Are they ‘singing’ too just like the others? See for yourself:
Also, hunting dogs like Basset Hounds, Bloodhounds, and Beagles are on the list as well.
‘Baying’ versus howling
They’re a bit similar to each other. But the former is more intense and commonly observed in hounds.
Because in the past, they were taught to ‘bay’ when they’re close to their prey. And this is how it sounds like:
See a slight difference?
#4: Experiencing strong positive or negative emotions
Does your doggo also wag their tail while jamming to music?
If so, there’s nothing to worry about. It’s a classic trait of an excited pooch. And you normally witness this when you get home. So, they must be enjoying what they hear at the moment.
However, do they hide once you play an instrument? Or some songs?
Canines have heightened senses, so they can hear high frequencies that human ears can’t discern. Or it could be that they’re still a puppy and lack exposure to unusual sounds.
But, they may also be judging you…
Peps, a ‘music critic and co-author’
A story about Richard Wagner, a notable composer, and his dog proves this.
As Peps, his Cavalier King Charles Spaniel reacted differently in each musical key.
Reports said that every time Wagner composed, his Fido would join him. And listen to his songs intently.
While working, some melodies made Peps calmly wag their tail. On the other hand, pieces in ‘E-major’ would prompt the doggo to get up and be aroused.
In the end, the dog somehow helped him create one of his masterpieces – the Tannhäuser.
So, what type of music makes your pooch sing their heart out?
Because some hounds have a thing for opera:
While others unleash the ‘Disney princess’ within them when “Let It Go” comes out:
#5: An act of bonding with other canines or humans
It’s already given that dogs howl to communicate with their pack. And it could also be the reason why they do it with you.
They must have felt the need to connect with their human and other hounds. And one of the best ways to do it is through music.
This is because people singing together is usually a positive thing.
And in the ‘Canidae’ world, howling doesn’t only gather the whole pack but also strengthens their family bond.
Fun fact: Do wolves howl every time in the wild? Specialists say that it’s seasonal because you won’t hear any during the ‘denning’ season. Why? They do it to keep their location and newly-born pups safe from predators.
#6: Social activity
“Oh, everybody’s doing it?
I’mma join too! AHH-R-ROOO!”
Howling can also be a social thing.
Dogs might also do it not to connect emotionally with you or other canines. But just to mix in with the pack. So they may participate once they hear others doing it.
Which reminds me of ‘group barking.’ As it also starts with one hound whining. Then ends up with the whole neighborhood of doggos in chaos.
You can also check out: 13 Reasons Why Your Dog Barks When Other Dogs Bark + 5 Tips
Lastly, it could be for one simple reason…
And that is to grab your attention.
They might be bored. Or you’ve somehow encouraged the behavior.
Like barking, howling can also make you turn around and notice them.
Also, when they ‘sing along’ to music, it’s usually amusing and funny. So you and other people are likely to produce heartful laughs and give lots of praise.
And your dog may like the reaction they’re getting, so they might do it again.
Reading tip: Why does my dog stand in front of me?
What to do about it
Dogs howling to music is usually a harmless behavior. It’s for pack communication and bonding. So there’s nothing wrong with tolerating it.
But, if they’re doing it too much, they might also interfere with your activities. Or cause trouble with your neighbors.
Because who knows, they could be one ‘cry’ away from filing a noise complaint.
So if you need to practice an instrument, or have this issue, you should:
- Give them enough exercise and quality time to prevent them from getting bored.
- Train them to be quiet as you play. Give them treats and praises whenever they’re silent.
- Put them in a ‘safe place’ instead. Leave them some toys to keep them busy while you’re rehearsing.
It could be a separate room that’s far from you, with white noise playing in the background. Or a crate with doors open and covered with a blanket. To give off a comfy and secure feeling.
When to go to the vet
Canines may also howl if they feel pain or loneliness. But when they do it as a response to music, it’s not that alarming.
However, do they show any strange behavior besides howling? Like hiding under the table, running away, or cowering?
If so, have them checked by a vet. To know if it’s anxiety or other medical conditions.
3 scenarios of dogs howling at music
#1: Dog howls when I play guitar
You pick up your guitar and…
Your pooch sits on their bum and points their snout up to the ceiling. As they’re about to let out some tuneful howls.
Like this sweet hound who’s enjoying a late-night jamming session with their hooman:
What causes them to accompany you?
If they only howl at a specific part of the song, their instincts might be kicking in.
And it can happen whenever you strum a high-pitched sound. So they may not react when you play some low notes.
Next, does your doggo stay beside you and jam along?
If so, they could be naturally expressive. Or it’s their way of communicating with you. Like singing is to humans, howling in dogs also strengthens family bonds.
But, if your Fido cries like they’re complaining, they might be demanding your attention. They may be jealous of the time you spend with your guitar. Or they simply want you to play with them.
Also, is there a specific song that unleashes their vocal prowess?
If that’s the case, there could be a particular tune that urges them to jam along.
#2: Dog howls when I play violin
Canines may also love classical music. One study shows that it has the power to soothe them when they’re in distress.
And your pooch might be one of them. So they belt out an almighty howl whenever you play the violin.
Like this one:
What makes them do it?
Well, there could be 4 reasons.
First, they want to sing along.
Second, they like to connect with you. The notes you’re playing may sound like a howl, so they think you’re inviting them to chime in.
Next, because of ‘overtones.’
You know that violins have these higher pitches that aren’t noticeable to humans. And your Fido might be hearing them as they’re more sensitive to high frequencies than us.
Lastly, believe it or not, they can also be your biggest critic.
No offense, but they may also howl when they hear a bad screeching sound.
This is because dogs have a sense of pitch. And some are even gifted with a good ear in music.
But relax, things like that happen. And your doggo is only rooting for you.
So what should you do?
A quick fix would be letting them play outside while you practice.
Violin sounds are louder and more piercing than a guitar. So make sure you’re in a distant room to avoid triggering their howling.
If possible, ask somebody to walk them while you’re playing. So schedule it when it’s cool outside.
But if you opt for a permanent fix, which is better, you may also train them to be silent.
And you need to have some free time to do this. Because this won’t happen immediately.
Note: Don’t refrain your dog from singing all the time. A few duets won’t hurt. So once in a while, allow them to jam along with you in practice.
#3: Dog howls when I play the flute
Does your pooch howl along like you’re some kind of a Pied Piper?
Congrats! You might just have a musically inclined doggo. Or they’re simply bonding with you by chiming in.
If they seem excited, they don’t mean to sabotage your practice.
Your Fido can also like a particular tune you’re playing. And you’ll know it if they only react to that one song.
Also, the flute creates ‘resonance’ or sound quality that’s full and resounding. So your dog may also be reacting to it as it may sound like a cry of another hound.
This causes them to follow you no matter what they’re doing. And this video can prove it:
If it’s more like a whine than a howl, it could be that they’re irritated by your constant practice. Or they want to get noticed.
#BONUS: My dog howls when I play saxophone
Your pooch has the blues.
They even do harmonizations when you play. Like they’re a clarinet in a doggy form.
Why is this happening?
If they do it most of the time, your doggo just loves to jam with you and your saxophone.
They could be:
- Enjoying the music.
- Communicating with you.
- Joining you in the ‘howling frenzy.’
But, if they only do it occasionally, their ‘singing’ might depend on the song you’re playing.
Or the type of saxophone you’re using. Because they’re more sensitive to higher frequencies.
This is why you may notice more howling with high register ones like a Soprano and an Alto. And less when you use lower saxes such as Tenor or Baritone.
So, what’s the case for your pooch?