Spend a little bit of time searching YouTube and you'll see tons of video featuring vocalists. Sure there are plenty of prospective American Idol contestants, even quite a few parrot stars, but there are also tons of dogs! Other people are teaching their dogs to sing, so why not teach yours?
Do Dogs Really Sing?
Although not all dogs sing, there are actually a couple of breeds that have a propensity for song. The best singer though the New Guinea Singing Dog, a wild dog that is closely related to a dingo. Sonograms show this vocalization to be very different from those made by any domestic or wild dog, including the Basenji. Unlike a howl, the Singing Dog changes the tone of its voice, warbling a song to communicate with other dogs.
The New Guinea Singing Dog is a fascinating and adept vocalist with a voice that domestic dogs can't compete with, but that doesn't stop them from trying. Sometimes you just have to figure out what makes your dog want to burst into song. So how do you figure it out?
What's there to Sing about?
Have you ever broken into song for no apparent reason? Maybe you sing in shower or when you vacuum. Doesn't it feel great! Belting out a song and letting off some steam? Why should it be any different for a dog? Have you ever heard the neighborhood dogs start singing when they hear distant sirens? Okay, so dogs really howl, but I've heard some people whose singing isn't much different. It isn't really about how you sound, after all. It's about how you feel. And wouldn't it feel great if your dog sang along with you?
Not all dogs may be descendants of New Guinea singing dogs, but they are likely descendants of wolves. They have surely been given a wonderful set of vocal cords. Wolves communicate and maybe even just announce their love for life by howling together. You're the pack leader, so you're probably going to have to demonstrate to your pooch that there is indeed something to sing about.
Some dogs will naturally respond to their owners singing with a resounding howl. This isn't a critique of your ability as a singer. Your dog doesn't mean to be Simon Cowell. He's just giving in to the instinct to howl with the pack. So start by singing a little song to your dog to see what happens. Don't worry about sounding foolish. You probably do, but your dog doesn't care!
Don't worry if this doesn't work. Not all dogs have a musical ear so it may take some work. Try changing the way you're singing. Hold notes for an extended length of time, stretch out the last word of every chorus. It may take a few refrains, but your dog is likely to jump in. When he does praise him and make sure there's a treat forthcoming, or a kiss and cuddle.
If this doesn't seem to entice your dog to sing, try catching him in the act of some noise other than a bark and reward it. Your dog might start thinking about some other noises to make to get a treat. Or when the neighborhood dogs start howling, see if you can get your dog to howl too and reward the noise. Then see if you can get him to offer the behavior. Eventually you can get him to sing along with you.
Better get busy singing. If you start now, you might have a partner for caroling at Christmas!