How to Train a Husky to Not Howl

How to Train a Husky to Not Howl
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon2-4 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

Most Husky owners are exceptionally familiar with just how vocal the breed is. Though some owners may enjoy the frequent word-like barks and rumbles, others may get driven just a little crazy by a Husky who is a big howler. Husky howling can range from comical to downright noisy, so it’s not unusual that some owners would prefer it to not be a behavior that happens every day.

Huskies howl for communication just as wolves do in the wild. The howling can be to alert you to an injury or illness or to get your attention for another reason like a bathroom break, food, water, or another need that needs to be met. Sometimes, Huskies howl just to howl. Either way, if you’re hurting for some peace and quiet, there are ways to cut down on your Husky’s noise that can save you the time it takes to go out and buy some earplugs.

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Defining Tasks

Getting a Husky to stop howling can be challenging, as they are bred to be vocal by nature. Your Husky may take a few weeks to a month to adapt to a quieter lifestyle or realize that there are other ways to get a message across to you. Starting training methods when your Husky is a puppy will provide an easier path to a quieter life, but adult dogs can still adapt to training with enough patience and consistency. Though they are high energy dogs, Huskies can be stubborn, so being persistent may contribute to a good pay off in the end. Your relationship with your Husky depends on whether or not you can properly assess his needs, so spending plenty of time with him is essential before you expect him to respond to training.

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Getting Started

Whether your go-to method is for exercise, redirection, or ignoring, you’ll want to have plenty of rewards on hand in order to reinforce the behavior that you want to see in your Husky. Tasty treats or fun toys can both work well, but treats are generally easier to manage and can prevent your dog from getting too distracted during your training times. Use things that are high in value to encourage your dog to maintain focus on what you want from him and keep things interesting by rotating out the type of treats you use, if possible.

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The Exercise Method

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1

Learn your Husky’s needs

What one Husky needs in exercise may not necessarily be what another Husky needs. However, Huskies in general are extremely active and yours is likely no exception. Determine how much exercise your dog needs to tire him out at the end of the day.

2

Prepare a daily schedule

Your Husky needs daily exercise, regardless of what form it takes. Come up with a daily schedule of what types of exercise that he will get each day and when in order to keep a routine that he can easily adjust to.

3

Go for walks

Huskies love to walk and run. Offer your dog plenty of opportunities to do so by going on long walks around your neighborhood or in a local park at least once a day. Going for multiple walks a day may be even better.

4

Give your dog a job

Your Husky was bred to pull sleds and other heavy objects. Even if you don’t live in a snowy climate, offer your dog some opportunities to pull objects like wagons, wheeled boxes, or other safe items that can encourage good behavior and plenty of exercise.

5

Join a sport

Huskies excel at dog sports and can use them as an outlet for all that excess energy. Some dog sports include flyball, frisbee, rally obedience, or agility.

The Redirect Method

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Determine a verbal command

A word like “quiet” generally works well, but feel free to use any word or phrase that you prefer.

2

Use verbal command when appropriate

When first beginning, you’ll want to use your verbal command as soon as your Husky quiets down after a moment of howling. Once she is quiet, you’ll mark the behavior with your verbal command to help tie the command to the behavior.

3

Reward for ideal behavior

Provide a treat immediately after giving the verbal command while your dog is quiet.

4

Withhold rewards for poor behavior

Do not reward if your dog continues howling. She should only be getting treats when she is quiet.

5

Repeat often

Repeat this process every day, if necessary. Soon your Husky will begin to equate the verbal command with being quiet and you will not need to wait for her to do it on her own. Reinforce with plenty of treats until she is reliable.

The Ignoring Method

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Catch your dog in the act

Catching the unwanted behavior is an important step to correcting it. Keep an eye on your Husky for signs that she's about to howl.

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Stop all rewarding activities

Once howling starts, rewards stop. Stop engaging in any attention or playtime with your dog.

3

Don’t acknowledge bad behavior

Avoid making any eye contact, verbal acknowledgement, or even bodily acknowledgement when your Husky begins to howl. Turn away and ignore everything in order to convey the message that howling is unwanted.

4

Wait for the appropriate alternative

Continue to ignore until the howling stops and only when the howling stops completely.

5

Continue rewards when appropriate

Once your Husky has quieted down, then you may return to providing playtime, rewards, and affection. Soon, she will realize that staying quiet gets her good things while howling will only make the good things stop.

By TJ Trevino

Published: 03/28/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Coco

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Husky

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10 Months

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Question

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Hi, i keep my husky outside, in my garden,is a huge one,,, but he started to dig around and for 2 weeks he started to get out and meet other dogs,I always isolated the place where he had gotten out but still he found another place to get out... now everyplace is closed and he can not get out. The problem is that he howls all night because the other dog he meet inside comes near the garden. what should i do? Should i sterilize him maybe he wont want to get out?! Does he howls because he is unhappy? I take him for walks but he still howls Thank you for your help.

July 23, 2021

Coco's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Redisa, The desire to wander is much stronger in dogs who aren't neutered, and if there is a female in heat somewhere that could be making him want to get out even more, so unless you have a reason not to neuter him, I do recommend doing that. A lot of huskies will also howl at night in general though if left outside. I would recommend crate training him and crating him inside overnight. He should be able to hold his bladder during the night if crated, then can be outside more during the day. If he is not already used to a crate, expect crying at first. When he cries and you know he doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give him a dog food stuffed hollow chew toy to help him adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. If he continues protesting for long periods of time past 3-5 days, you can use a Pet Convincer. Work on teaching "Quiet" but using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell him "Quiet" when he barks and cries. If he gets quiet and stays quiet, you can sprinkle a few pieces of dog food into the crate through the wires calmly, then leave again. If he disobeys your command and keep crying or stops but starts again, spray a small puff of air from the Pet convincer at his side through the crate while saying "Ah Ah" calmly, then leave again. If he stays quiet after you leave you can periodically sprinkle treats into the crate to reward quietness. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Since the howling is happening when you aren't outside to train, at night, you will need something to automatically reinforce quietness in your absence, so you would need to use an automatic stimulation based bark collar. Check reviews for one that is sensitive enough to correct for howling too. Another option is to teach the Quiet command, and once pup knows that practice Quiet during the day, correcting on low level stimulation whenever pup barks or howls and doesn't obey Quiet, and rewarding when pup obeys Quiet. At night when pup is outside and howling, you can use the vibration setting or tone setting as a reminder to be quiet, then use pup's "working level" stimulation level to correct remotely from inside. Only use high quality collars like dogtra, e-collar technologies, garmin, or sportdog for safety and reliability with training. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Remote training collar working level: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

July 26, 2021

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Coda

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Siberian Husky

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2 Years

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It's my brother's dog and he is getting in trouble with the manager in his park because his dog is howling and it just started yesterday with we went to a longer shift. Any ideas

April 22, 2021

Coda's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Ashley, If pup is just bored, something like an automatic treat dispensing device that is programmed to release a treat periodically after it detects pup being quiet for a certain amount of time could help. Some models of AutoTrainer and Pet Tutor are such devices. For anxiety, first, pup needs to be crate trained to help build independence. Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below and work on that method to get him used to you being out of the room while he is crated. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate He also needs to build his independence and his confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into his routine. Things such as making him work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching him to remain inside a crate when the door is open as well as closed. Give him something to do in the crate or on Place during the day while they are out of the room (such as a dog food stuffed Kong to chew on). Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Another protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair corrections. Building his independence and structure in his life will still be an important part of this protocol too. First, check out this video from SolidK9Training on treating anxiety. It will give a brief over-view of treating separation anxiety more firmly. This trainer can be a bit abrupt with his teaching style with people but is very experienced working with highly aggressive, anxious, and reactive dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Second, purchase a Pet convincer. DO NOT use a citronella collar, buy the additional unscented air canister if the collar comes with the citronella and make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh and the smell lingers a long time so the dog continues to be corrected even after they stop the behavior). Next, set up a camera to spy on him. If they have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, they can Skype or Facetime them to one another with pup’s end on mute, so that she can see and hear him but he will not hear your sister. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. Set up your camera to spy on him while he is in the crate, and your sister leave. Spy on pup from outside or another room. Leave however they normally would. As soon as you hear pup crying or see him start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, quietly return, spray a small puff of air from the pet convincer at his side through the crate wires, without opening the door, then leave again. Every time he barks or tries to get out of the crate, correct, then leave again. After five minutes to ten minutes of practice, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back into the room where he is and sprinkle several treats into the crate without saying anything, then leave again. Practice correcting when he barks or tries to escape, going back inside and sprinkling treats when he stays quiet, for up to 30 minutes a session at first. After 30 minutes -1 hour of practicing this, while he is quiet, go back into the room and sprinkle more treats. This time stay in the room. Do not speak to pup or pay attention to him for ten minutes while you walk around and get stuff done inside. When he is being calm, then you can let him out of the crate. When you let him out, do it the way Jeff does is in this video below. Opening and closing the door until your dog is not rushing out. You want him to be calm when he comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore him when you get home right away. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Also, for longer alone times give him a food stuffed Kong into the crate/room with him. Once he is less anxious he will likely enjoy it even if he didn't pay any attention to it in the past, and that will help him to enjoy alone time more. First, he may need her anxious state of mind interrupted so that he is open to learning other ways to behave. Once it's interrupted, give him a food stuffed Kong in the crate for him to relieve his boredom instead of barking, since he will need something other than barking to do at that point. Regularly practice him staying on Place and in the open crate while you are home and leave the room as well. Finally, teach pup the Quiet command to make communication with him clearer. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Check out Jeff Gellman on youtube and his videos on separation anxiety to learn more options also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

April 22, 2021


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