Why Do Dogs Howl at Harmonicas? And Does it Hurt Their Ears?


Have you ever wondered why dogs howl at certain sounds or musical instruments? It’s a fascinating behavior that can be traced back to their wolf ancestors. In this article, we’ll explore why dogs howl at harmonicas and whether it hurts their ears. So, let’s dive in and unravel this canine mystery together!

Why Dogs Howl in General

Howling is a unique form of communication for dogs. It’s their way of expressing emotions or signaling to other dogs. This trait stems from their wolf lineage, where howling serves as a means of establishing territory, warning off intruders, and gathering the pack. So, when your furry friend howls, they are simply engaging in this ancestral behavior.

Dogs may also howl due to other reasons:

  • Feeling sad or anxious when left alone
  • Experiencing physical pain or discomfort
  • Dealing with old age and related conditions like dementia
  • Suffering from hearing or vision loss

If you’re unsure why your dog is howling, it’s best to consult a vet for a thorough examination.

Dogs and Harmonicas

Now, let’s focus on why dogs are particularly fascinated by harmonicas and why they may join in with their own howling.

The Urge to Communicate

Dogs have a remarkable ability to hear higher frequencies than humans. When a harmonica is played, it produces a range of tones and pitches that can catch a dog’s attention. Their natural instincts kick in, and they feel compelled to respond and “communicate” through their own form of singing — howling.

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No Pain, Just Joyful Singing

While dogs can pick up on higher frequencies, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the sound of a harmonica hurts their ears. Watch your furry companion closely when you play the instrument. If their body appears relaxed and they seem almost joyful while howling, there’s no need to worry. They’re simply joining in the musical experience and having fun.

However, if your dog shows signs of discomfort or tries to escape when you play the harmonica, it might indicate that certain pitches or frequencies are unsettling to them. In such cases, it’s best to respect their preferences and find alternative ways to enjoy your harmonica without causing distress.

Tips to Stop Your Dog from Howling at the Harmonica

While it can be amusing to see your dog harmonizing with your musical skills, prolonged howling can be disruptive. To regain control over the harmonica sessions and maintain harmony at home, here are some tips to curb excessive howling:

Give Him the Right Attention

Dogs are masters at grabbing our attention. If howling becomes a way for your dog to get your focus, you can choose to ignore it or remove him from the room when you play the harmonica.

Avoid Encouraging Howling Behavior

As tempting as it may be to laugh or react when your dog howls, it’s essential not to encourage this behavior. By ignoring the howling and not rewarding it with attention, your furry friend will eventually understand that it doesn’t lead to a desired outcome.

Seek Professional Help

If your dog’s howling persists and you’re unable to address the issue on your own, consider consulting an animal behaviorist. These experts are equipped with the knowledge to analyze your dog’s behavior and develop effective training methods to discourage unwanted habits. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats, are commonly used to train dogs to refrain from howling in certain situations.

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Separate Your Dog from the Music Room

Removing your dog from the room when you start playing the harmonica might help reduce howling. However, remember that dogs have keen hearing, so they might still hear the instrument from other parts of the house. If the problem persists, you could explore soundproofing the music room to minimize the noise reaching your dog’s sensitive ears.

Some Dog Breeds Are More Prone to Howling

Certain dog breeds are more inclined to howl due to their genetic predisposition. If you own a Basset Hound or a Siberian Husky, for example, you might find that they absolutely love to harmonize with your harmonica melodies. Other breeds that tend to howl more frequently include Alaskan malamutes, American Eskimo dogs, Beagles, Dachshunds, and Bloodhounds. With these breeds, it may require additional effort to discourage their harmonizing tendencies, or you can simply embrace their participation in your musical endeavors.


Although it’s amusing to witness dogs howling in response to harmonicas, it’s important to remember that it’s a natural behavior rooted in their ancestral instincts. Harmonicas generally do not harm a dog’s ears, and most likely, your furry friend is belting out tunes of joy while joining your musical sessions. If you find their howling excessive or disruptive, you can utilize the tips shared in this article to manage and modify their behavior. With a little understanding and patience, you and your dog can strike the perfect harmony while enjoying the magic of harmonica music together.

Image in header via Pixabay

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