Thursday, December 21, 2006

Howl!

SUMMARY: Various dogs sing for various reasons.

The late, great Frankie, thinking about his glory days as a torch singer.
RemSing Feb 2003
The late, great Remington singing.

My sister Sharon had an Australian Shepherd, Frankie, who used to throw his head back and howl (sing) whenever anyone sang "Happy Birthday To You!" It was a great trick for calling family (of which Sharon and her then-spouse had huge quantities of) long-distance on their birthdays, just something a little different.

My old pal Remington used to move into a different world when sirens sounded; as though taken over by the spirits of his wolf ancestors, he'd raise his nose to the heavens and a long, thin howl from the depths of his soul emerged as though civilization and his family had vanished from around him, unnoticed. He also howled (sang) but in a more conscious way when he was very happy, and he did it more and more over time as we encouraged him by trying to get him to sing on command.

I have three dogs now who are useless as singers because they just never naturally howl and I know of no way to teach them to "sing" if they don't do it on their own. The only time I've ever heard Tika howl is when she's dreaming (very spooky, wild sound, thin and deep, pulled from an ancient memory, in the depth of the dark night).

The only time I ever heard Jake try to howl was when Remington used to howl at fire engines, and even then he couldn't quite figure it out--he'd put his head back in the right position but then make just really sharp, painfully high-pitched yelp-barks. Since no one else around here howls, I've never seen him try again, the little copy-cat who likes to believe he's really the leader of the pack.

And I've never seen any hint of howling or singing from Boost, although she does often do a little short "oww!" of happiness sometimes when she first gets out of her crate in the morning. Hmmm, something to think about trying to capture--

1 comment:

  1. My brother used to have quite a howler with his hound mutt, and you could get her going by making dissonant sounds through your nose and mouth at the same time. But terrier Pappy has no comprehension... he's not even much of a barker, just a groaner.

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