I have had multiple scenarios where dogs I've owned or watched would consistently howl or sing at very specific things, and nothing else.
Scenario 1: Final Jeopardy
Whenever we babysat our friend's black-and-tan dachshund and watched Jeopardy, he would howl at the song used during Final Jeopardy. Not the intro. Not any of the outtakes of the song, but only when the song played during the part where everyone writes down their final answer. He didn't even have to see the television screen to know to howl. He just did it. I have no video of this particular dog, and he has since passed, but apparently there are many videos of dogs on YouTube howling to Final Jeopardy.
Here are several sample videos of various dogs during Final Jeopardy:
- Howling at Final Jeopardy Tune
- Dog Sings Jeopardy
- Gilbert Sings to Jeopardy
- Dog sings Jeopardy Show Song
- Aunt's dogs singing with Jeopardy
- Another Dog sings Jeopardy
At no point in these videos is any of these dogs rewarded for their behavior. We never rewarded the dog we babysat for howling.
Scenario 2: Answering Machine
If our phone rang in the house and the answering machine picked up, once people started speaking to leave a message, both male dachshunds would howl and sing. They would not do this on playback. They also would not do this if the call came from inside the house.
While I found it adorable, I did not reward them for this behavior; I do not understand why they reacted like this every single time. Of note, I think one dog howled and the other joined in, as one has since passed and the other doesn't do it anymore.
I never rewarded our dogs for this behavior.
Why do these dogs choose to howl at these very particular scenarios and only at those times and so consistently? Are there specific tones in these sounds that might have enticed them to howl?