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Why do dogs howl to harmonicas?

Why do dogs howl to harmonicas?

Ever wonder what makes dogs howl? If you have observed a howling dog, it often stems from a sound or noise- like sirens or even music. Dogs frequently howl at the sound of harmonicas- is there a specific reason why? If you are a dog owner, here are some answers to basic questions regarding howling dogs and harmonicas!

Why do dogs howl to harmonicas?

Dogs howl to the sound of harmonicas- and other instruments- for different reasons. Some may instinctually join in on the sound of playing due to the pitch, tone, or long sounds made by the instrument. Some others may howl in an effort to communicate and bond with you, their owner.

More reasons why your dog might howl at music are because they are a member of a vocal dog breed- or if they believe that it is the sound of another dog crying. Still, some dogs will howl out of emotion with no rhyme or reason for owners.

Do all dogs howl at harmonicas?

So, do all dogs howl when they hear someone playing a harmonica? The answer is ‘no’, not all dogs will howl- and even among those that do, it could be for very different reasons.

Some of the common reasons why some dogs will howl- and others do not- at harmonicas include:


The howling that you hear could be a result of your pet’s pack mentality and lineage- as well as an effort to communicate with those around them. Packs of dogs or wolves in nature howl and bark to communicate and bond with other members of the pack. This is how they survive! For this reason, your dog may be genetically predisposed to howling as a means of communicating with other dogs- and you.


Remember that the breed is pertinent as to why some dogs will howl at music and others don’t. Beagles, for example, are vocal dogs, while terriers and many toy-breeds are not so much.

Experts say that the more wolf-like the breed is, the more likely they are to howl. For example, Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes are notorious for their vocalization and howling. Also, any kind of hound dog is likely to howl, such as bassets and bloodhounds.


Could it be that your dog is experiencing some deep emotion triggered by the sound that you are making? When dogs enjoy something, they typically wag their tail; is your dog wagging while you play your harmonica? If your dog is not happy over the sounds that you make, it will usually flee or hide. Remember that dogs hear higher-pitched tones than humans, so there could be some sounds that hurt their ears.


Another reason why many dogs howl is for socialization purposes. Just as howling is a way to communicate, it may also be a way to connect with others of their species.

If you do not care for your pet’s howling or it is becoming disruptive, make sure that you are not somehow rewarding or encouraging the behavior.

Do harmonicas hurt dog’s ears?

Do not worry that your dog howling at the sound of harmonicas is somehow causing them pain or discomfort. While it certainly may sound that way, dogs that are in pain from a sound will typically run away to hide. There is a chance that the dog is howling at the sound of a harmonic because it is irritating to the dog; due to the repetitive nature of music, some dogs can become annoyed. This should not be interpreted as actually painful, however, as your pet will flee to avoid the sound if that is the case.

How to get my dog to stop howling when I play the harmonica?

There are some tips and tricks that may help curb the sound of your dog howling when you are playing your harmonica- or any time that a sound has prompted your pet to howl. Some of the ways to stop your dog from howling include the following:

Change your Pitch 

The pitch of your harmonica music could contribute to why your dog howls when you play. The higher the notes, the more likely your dog is to howl. Consider changing the pitch to see how your dog responds- the tone of your playing could be what is compelling your pet to chime in!

Give them Attention 

Some dogs howl when they are in physical or emotional pain, such as when they are depressed or feel lonely. Try giving your pet more of your time and attention to see if this curbs the incidence of howling.

Muffle the Sound 

Try muffling the sound of your harmonica playing to see how your pet responds. Try playing in a different, separate space that your pet does not have access to; close the door to muffle the sound a bit. Or try a bit of white noise in the background to muffle or conceal the music, if you wish.

Crate Them 

Some owners find success in curbing their dog’s howling by providing them with a comfy, secure crate that is welcoming to your pet. Provide their favorite toys, a blanket, and open door to help invite them in. When they feel safe and comfortable, they may be less inclined to howl. Plus, it occupies your pet while you play your harmonica elsewhere.

Go for a Walk 

Bored dogs may howl, so make sure that they are getting plenty of physical activity and exercise each day. Try taking them for a rigorous walk at the end of the day. This can serve two purposes: one, it keeps them active, and two, it provides bonding time for you and your dog.

Reward Peace and Quiet 

Remember to reward them when they do not howl during music or harmonica time. When they are being quiet and entertaining themselves, give them a treat or a few words of praise.

See a Vet 

Usually, howling is not a sign of anything wrong or serious. However, if the howling is accompanied by other worrisome behaviors, you should see a vet right away.