Full Moon this Sunday...
November 15, 2010 8:48 AM   Subscribe

Would a howling party at the dog run be a bad idea?

Dogs that howl with their owners seem to be having a good time, right? So how good or bad an idea would it be to bring a bunch of friends and their dogs together and for us all to howl together?

Would the dogs think "This is awesome!" or would they be all "Whoa! What is going on? This is way too weird! Maybe I should bite this howling being I don't know that well!"
posted by Jonathan Harford to Pets & Animals (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This would freak out my dog. Dogs have their own language and intonation that would be hard to replicate as a human, you might make them anxious or scared. I'm not against it as long as you make sure everyone is having fun and you're willing to break it up if someone is distressed.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:56 AM on November 15, 2010

my pup would not enjoy this at all were we at the run as the same time as you. And I would think you were a tremendous asshole for doing it.
posted by JPD at 9:01 AM on November 15, 2010

Another vote for "please think of others at the dog run" -- many dogs (including mine) would be terrified of this.
posted by somanyamys at 9:04 AM on November 15, 2010

"This is way too weird!"
This one.
posted by BurntHombre at 9:09 AM on November 15, 2010

Depending on where you are, fighting for the right to have dog runs at all is sometimes difficult. Neighbors might not be super-enthusiastic about the idea in the first place, and howling might be the last straw.

I sympathize, though. The family beagle sure loves a good howl sometimes.
posted by charmcityblues at 9:13 AM on November 15, 2010

Well. Depends on the dog. My dog would be fine with it! She enjoys a good howl, and the sirens she howls back to can't be half as off-key as a human howl.

However. You do risk teaching your dogs that howling is acceptable and encouraged. You could live to regret that! ;)
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:13 AM on November 15, 2010

Yeah, I wouldn't do this at an event or place where not everyone was onboard with the idea.

Greyhound gatherings often include a "group roo". The one I remember was well-announced, then kicked off by a hand-cranked fire siren, which got a couple of dogs going, which in turn got a couple of other dogs going and so on, until just about all of the dogs in the park had joined in. The dogs rather seemed to enjoy it... but it was a scheduled event at a rented park; not an impromptu gathering at a dog park where some people (and their dogs) weren't expecting it.
posted by usonian at 9:14 AM on November 15, 2010

Yes. It's a terrible idea. It's stressful for other dogs (and owners), and you can inadvertently reinforce habits that other owners may be trying to train their dogs OUT of. Look, I own a very friendly 'baying' breed, but her personality is such that this would terrify and upset her.

Barking and howling are also very stimulating behaviors for dogs--the dog is excited; it's barks/howls; the action is stimulating and exciting; the dog feels excited; it barks/howls more, and can make it more difficult to calm a dog down once it's cued into that loop.

Not only that, but our city's beautiful dog park got cut nearly in half, and lost its 'small dog only' section because the neighbors complained about the noise and the city revoked the permit for that area of the run. Seriously, this is the kind of thing that causes complaints and zoning problems.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 9:17 AM on November 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh I missed that you want to do this at the dog run. Please don't do this.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:18 AM on November 15, 2010

Hmmm... I was convinced that this would be a bad idea until I heard about the "group roo". Funny how googling shows it as a strictly Greyhound thing, though!

Oh yes -- we'd be doing this at NYC's Union Square dog run -- which is almost always empty at night (which is when we'd do it). I'd clear it with any dog owners present before we started up. It's also an already loud area that's set pretty far from buildings.
posted by Jonathan Harford at 9:24 AM on November 15, 2010

Yeah, this sounds like playing with fire. Thanks, everyone.
posted by Jonathan Harford at 9:28 AM on November 15, 2010

Doing it at night is asking for more trouble from neighbors than doing it during the day. And you'd be surprised how far a dog's howl can reach. Please don't do this. It sounds obnoxious.
posted by shesaysgo at 9:55 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Everyone in this thread is completely wrong!

They do this once a month at the dog park near my house at dusk the day of the the full moon. Been doing it for years. The dogs are typically really into it or a bit bemused. Some are startled but even the most timid non-howlers like mine typically only look startled for a moment then go back to whatever they were doing. Most of the dogs visibly enjoy a good howl.
posted by fshgrl at 1:06 PM on November 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Maybe everyone us right about the neighbour thing though.
posted by fshgrl at 1:09 PM on November 15, 2010

Please consider the collective wisdom and advice. Even though I enjoy the howling videos on youtube, I would *hate* it if someone did this in my neighborhood. The barks and howls can heard at quite a distance. Please be considerate of others. You may find it bemusing but others may not appreciate the cacophony.
posted by shr1n1 at 8:30 PM on November 15, 2010

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