If your dog has been howling when the phone rings, you might be wondering why and what you can do to get it to stop. In this post, I will show you a number of reasons why it might be been doing it and what you can do about it.

So, why does my dog howl when the phone rings? Possible reasons why your dog howls when the phone rings are that it is in its nature to howl at high pitched sounds, the sound causes it to be anxious, it is trying to alert you or that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior.

Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become a lot easier to get it to stop.

Why your dog howls when it hears the phone ringing

Below are common causes and what would make each of them more likely to be the main cause.

Nature

The cause could be that it is in its genes to howl when it hears high pitched noises like with certain types of ringtones. In the wild, dogs and wolves would howl to alert other dogs and wolves of their position and when they hear other dogs howling they would start to howl as well. This could be why your dog howls when it hears your phone ringing which would be more likely if it has a high-pitched ringtone. In this case, you could try changing it to a lower-pitched ringtone instead.

Anxiety

The reason why it does it could be that the sound causes it to become anxious. It could be because the sound is very loud and it is too much for its sensitive hearing or it might be due to the phone vibrating. This would be more likely if it shows signs of being anxious such as by pacing or hiding.

Encouraging the behavior

It might be the case that you have inadvertently trained your dog to do it by giving your dog things it wants when it howls. If you give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it starts howling at the phone ringing, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. If you do not want it to howl, it would help to reward it only when it does not howl while the phone rings.

It is trying to alert you

Another possible reason why it does it might be that it is trying to alert you. This would be more likely if it comes running to you when it does it. In this case, it would also help to give it positive reinforcement training and desensitization training.

Things to consider

Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

If it always did it

If it did not always howl at the phone, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.

If it did start suddenly, it might be because you rewarded it for doing it one time, you changed the ringtone or there was a significant event involving the phone ringing that might have caused it to get anxious at the sound.

What is different when your dog does not howl when the phone rings

If it does not always howl at the phone, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not do it.

For example, if it does not do it when you are in the room, it might be the case that it does it to alert you.

What to do about your dog howling at the phone

Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.

Change the ringtone

Since it might be doing it due to the high pitch, it would help to try changing the ringtone to one that is not so high-pitched. It would also help to try turning of the vibration setting.

Positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage your dog to behave the way you want it to by giving it rewards when it behaves that way.

To use it to get it to stop howling at the phone you could do as follows:

  1. Start by playing the sound very quietly and reward your dog for not howling
  2. Gradually increase the noise of the phone and reward it for not howling
  3. Repeat the above but with the phone in a different room
  4. If it starts howling, go back to an easier stage and build up to a louder volume slowly

Desensitization training

Desensitization training involves getting your dog to have positive associations with the sound and to become used to it. To use it to get your dog to stop howling, you could play the sound quietly when playing with it and gradually raise the volume.

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not howl and to wait for it to stop howling before giving it things that it wants.

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Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.