My Puppy Sings

December 2, 2008 at 06:33 PM ·

My puppy, who is 5 months old, sings when I practice my violin.  He will start making long notes of varying pitches. I believe he is a musically inclined dog.  I have another dog who has never sung.  I was wondering how many of you might have had the same experience.  I'm  awed by his attraction to music.   He is part beagle, black lab, and the rest is unknown as he was a found at a rescue. 

Replies (22)

December 2, 2008 at 06:45 PM ·

That's a Beagle thing. I had 2 of them when I was a kid and they would "sing" along with me whenever I sang. They are great dogs.  

December 2, 2008 at 06:50 PM ·

My dog will do this sometimes if he's in my room when I practice.

Our other dog, Tobey did something like this when he was a puppy... We were in the truck and some Tobey Keith song came on (I hate his singing) but the dog started singing and howling and he was making all of us laugh. He loved the attention he was getting and so he did this pretty much the entire song. But he's never done anything since.

And uh oh.. Have fun with a beagle:) They are crazy hyper... The big version of a jack russel.

December 2, 2008 at 07:04 PM ·

 Our lab used to do this, as soon as anyone played double stops. She seemed to really enjoy chiming in, and had a loud, horrible voice. It was funny the first time; the next ten thousand times were quite annoying. If we put her outside, she'd run to the nearest window to the person playing to join in. She lived a long time for a lab, 16 years, and she eventually stopped when she was about 14 and lost her hearing. Have fun! 

 I remember being told by someone that airedales have perfect pitch. It might be nice to have a singing dog who can actually sing in tune, but I think for the moment I'll stay with our terrier mutt who ignores the violin and barks at squirrels. 

December 2, 2008 at 07:38 PM ·

I cannot say for dogs, but my buggies and many parrots sing along! Some dance and birds have a natural sense of body rythm.  Maybe it is because their voice is musical, I don't know!

Cute discussion!


December 2, 2008 at 08:22 PM ·

Oh I know! My trio of budgies used to go crazy when I'd practice the saxophone!  They'd start making all the noises and whistling and they would dance and bob their heads up and down. It was quite funny.

December 2, 2008 at 08:25 PM ·

My dog, Patch, (a pit bull) doesn't sing, but every time I practice he comes into the room, lies down at my feet and puts his chin on his paws. Even when I was first learning, and my playing sounded like fingernails on a chalkboard, Patch lovingly listened to every note. He's so sweet! I love my dog!

December 2, 2008 at 09:49 PM ·

My cat licks my toes when I practice to get to me to stop and pay attention to him. i scare him away with the highest glissando artificial harmonics I can manage.

December 3, 2008 at 04:01 AM ·

My Siberian Husky howls to double stops.  Solo Bach or the multiple stop cadenza in the Rondo Capriccioso get him going.  Unfortunately, however, he doesn't have a great voice. 

I know a great voice when I hear one because his predecessor, also a Siberian, who passed away seven years ago at the age of 15, had a beautiful, rich, truly operatic contralto voice that he would demonstrate whenever he heard a siren.  He would start from a low tone and rise to a dazzling display of bel canto trills and ornaments.   Sometimes I encouraged him by howling myself, but I was no match for his virtuosity.

Towards the end of his life, at the age of 13 or 14, the evident deterioration was touching and pathetic.  His voice grew hash and raspy, but you could still tell that he had once been a canine Callas. 

I noticed the same deterioration recently when I attended my 40th college reunion and heard an ad hoc glee club of my classmates tackle a madrigal.  It reminded me that they were getting old, and I am, too.

December 3, 2008 at 04:52 AM ·

I have a dog that sings also, but not when I play. She only sings to certain songs; Ghost Riders in the Sky is one of her favorites. She won a talent contest with that once (all the other dogs did normal things).
Does your puppy have a certain type of music?

December 3, 2008 at 04:55 AM ·

My dog does not want a violin to interfere with his goergeus voice. He likes to sing with me when I am high up on the E string, but he never quite hits the right notes. i think he needs voice lessons.... 

December 3, 2008 at 05:12 AM ·

This is going to the dogs.

December 3, 2008 at 05:37 AM ·

I love how I can vividly imagine the budgies bobbing their heads along right now!

It's neat to know that other dogs (the beagles, labs, etc.) do it too, I used to think this would be something more common among breeds(?) that share more wolfish characteristics(?) or perhaps closer lineages to their lupine fellows or something...

I knew a pianist whose malamute would sing along with her as she would practice various things.


December 3, 2008 at 06:56 AM ·

I have a recording on this site where you can hear my late beloved Hacker (cat) "humming" in the background.  My surviving cat Tommy carries on the tradition in a way by running INTO the room when I practice.  Except of course when I'm doing vibrato exercises.  That is when he hides under the bed.

December 3, 2008 at 09:30 AM ·

My dog will groan and cover his ears.  Part of me feels sorry for him, and part of me gets really pissed: 

"I didn't ask for your opinion."

"I didn't ask for your violin music."

December 3, 2008 at 02:25 PM ·

Check out Arnold Steinhardt's entry for June on his blog "Fiddler's Beat."

December 3, 2008 at 03:18 PM ·

My vet told me a dog howls or moans to a sound when it's scared, distressed, aggravated, or just identifies with the sound somehow.   For a puppy (6 weeks to a few months old), the sound of a violin might sound like crying and you could be downright terrifying the poor animal.  My rottweiler puppy, when he was 8 weeks old, would howl and hit me and sometimes nip at my arm just to stop me from playing....  So, insulting.  But in his mind, I was crying, and he wanted to protect me.

For a beagle, it could be he identifies with the howling and wants to howl back.  (Also, it's pretty common in Lab breeds.  My violin teacher's lab always howls no matter what the sound.) However, with other breeds, be sure you are not aggravating or scaring your dog.  Animal attacks happen and people never understand why because it could be something as small as playing your violin that edged it on!

December 3, 2008 at 04:25 PM ·

Just to clarify, my puppy looks pretty happy with himself after singing, and.... he's experimenting lately with shorter notes.  As for my genre, I'm fiddling for the most part, Irish, bluegrass, and folk, he likes it all! ... thanks for all the tales (pun intended).

December 3, 2008 at 11:25 PM ·

My Jack Russell on hearing an instrument comes running into my violin making workshop and sings/howls along with the instrument being played. She willingly runs in and volunteers for this and it seems like some kind of instinctive duty done compulsively like scent marking is done. It is probably an involuntary evolutionary response and seems strangely devoid of either pain or pleasure. Wierdly it also seems that the better the instrument is the more likely my dog is inspired to sing along. We kind of use her as a sound tester these days!

December 4, 2008 at 12:40 AM ·


Beagles are very musical, although they are usually partial to brass music. That's why they are also called BUGLES

December 4, 2008 at 07:16 AM ·

My dog tends to run away if I start playing on the E string.  Since dogs have more sensitive hearing than humans, especially in the higher frequency range, I'd suspect that you're probably torturing the poor dog and it's communicating it's pain to you b/c it can't effectively escape the sound.  (For example, my dog is terrified by thunder storms, even if I can't hear anything) Especially with higher pitches like those on the violin, some of the overtones that sound will be very high pitched and probably beyond the range of human hearing but painful for a a dog whistle.

Have you talked to your vet or given the dog an opportunity to escape the sound? For example, my dog is allowed to go outside freely and I often practice in a room far away from the back yard.  He invariably goes outside even with three rooms between us. 

It's of course possible that the dog is howling in response to the sound of the violin (esp. since it's a hound) or singing along, but if it were my dog I'd want to give it as much of a choice as possible in case the sound IS unpleasant for him.  I try to practice during the cool part of the day and if somebody other than I takes him for a walk try to practice so my practice time overlaps with his walk. 

December 4, 2008 at 01:50 PM ·

Here is an irrisistible cocatoo who bob his head! It is the dest dance I ever saw from a bird! If I find one with a dog one day, I will tell it too!

Pet lovers, this video worths it!


December 4, 2008 at 03:21 PM ·

We had a dog once who sang only when I played Bach. I could never figure out whether he sang because:
- he liked Bach and the way I played it,
- he hated Bach and the way I played it,
- he liked Bach but hated the way I played it, or
- he hated Bach but liked the way I played it.
Or it could simply be that he was voicing a preference for Vivaldi.
:) Sandy

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