Does your dog howl every time you play guitar? Believe it or not, he’s not dissing your musical skills — although it might secretly feel that way! Trust me, I feel your pain!
Dogs may be scared of musical instruments such as guitars due to their fear of loud noises and instinctive behavior. Or it could be a simple health issue.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to address this issue and reduce your dog’s fear of your guitar. Read on to find out why dogs are scared of guitars, and what you can do about it.
Why Does My Dog Hate Guitars?
Here are a few reasons why your dog hates your guitar.
He’s Scared of the Noise
Dogs generally don’t like loud noises, which could be the reason he’s reacting in a negative way to your guitar playing. If you notice your dark barks, howls, or runs away whenever you play your guitar, it could be the noise that’s to blame. This will most likely be the case if you play the electric guitar connected to an amplifier!
In many cases, it could just be your dog acting naturally. When dogs were animals in the wild, they would use a wide range of vocalizations to communicate with each other. For instance, the howl of a wild dog was basically a call to return to the common ground. It’s possible that your dog mistakes your guitar playing for the ancient howl of the lone wolf in the wild, and that they instinctively respond with their own howl. If this is the case, you can keep on playing and have absolutely nothing to worry about. He’s just being a dog!
Most dogs dislike unfamiliar sounds like fireworks and thunder. It makes them feel uneasy and afraid. Well, it’s the same thing with your guitar. If something sounds strange to Fido, he may not act in the most positive way. In some circumstances, he may be downright scared and run away — a form of self-protecting.
If your dog is usually okay around musical instruments, but now he’s acting strange, it could be that he’s dealing with an ear infection. Loud sounds can worsen ear discomfort associated with ear infections, which is why he’s probably not happy about your guitar playing. Take him to your local veterinarian to get him examined and he’ll be given the appropriate treatment to ease his discomfort. For the time being, keep your playing to a minimum to minimize his pain.
What You Can Do
So, what can you do about Fido’s howling every time you play guitar?
If your dog is terrified of musical instruments, it can be hard and time consuming to get him accustomed to your guitar. However, if you’re really keen on getting to the root of the problem and helping him conquer his fears, here are some helpful solutions.
#1: Desensitize Your Dog to Guitar Playing
This is a tricky and time consuming process, but it will be worth it in the end when you can confidently play guitar without your pooch running away or crying. Desensitization is a process that involves slowly introducing your dog to the music that elicits the response and rewarding them with praise or treats for calm behavior. Ultimately, it’s about teaching your dog that guitars are safe and non-threatening. A dog trainer may be able to assist with the process.
Start by letting your dog explore and sniff the guitar. Once he’s got familiar with it, give him a cuddle and show him how proud you are of his braveness. If your dog continues to be scared when you play the instrument, start playing far away from your dog and choose a genre that’s soft and calm so it won’t scare him away. Once your dog begins to get closer, give him a treat and praise him for his courage. It’s important to use positive reinforcement to help him connect your guitar with something good, not something scary.
Desensitization requires time and patience. If you think you won’t be able to manage it alone, consider enlisting the help of a professional dog trainer.
#2: Play with Your Dog Before Playing Guitar
Most dogs crave attention. If you’re attempting to address the issue between your guitar and your dog, try providing a good playtime before playing the device. This way, he’ll be super calm and relaxed by the time it comes to playing guitar, he won’t be up to howling or running away from the instrument.
#3: Play in Another Room
If your dog is simply scared of the noise it creates, it’s probably better just to keep your guitar in a room your dog doesn’t enter — and play there. While you can help your dog adjust to the sound, some dogs may not adjust if they’re terrified of the noise. Save your dog the stress by playing guitar in another room of your house. This way he won’t get to see or hear the guitar, which leaves him with no reason to get scared.
#4: Record and Play
A great way to help your dog adjust to your guitar playing is by recording the music you play and then playing it while you hang out with your dog. You could take your dog outside, have a run around or game of fetch, and let your music play in the background. Alternatively, turn it on while you’re chilling out with your dog. Gradually increase the sound and continue playing with or cuddling him. You’ll be surprised how loud you can turn the music up without your k9 responding. Of course, if he shows any signs of fear, turn off the music and take him to a safe place where he can relax and calm down.
#5: Head to the Vet’s
In some instances, your dog reacting negatively to guitar playing could be due to an ear infection. Take him to your local veterinarian to get him checked out and follow the best practices to keep his ear health at its best.
You can tell if he’s got an ear infection if he tries to cover his ears with his paws or tilts his head to one side whenever you play guitar. In fact, he may do this in response to any form of noise, not just musical instruments. If you see these signs, consult your vet right away to get him treated.