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.

2

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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Tokyo

Dog breed icon

Huskey

Dog age icon

Eight Months

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Hello, I have a husky mixed with German Sheppard. She is generally well-behaved. But, she always starts howling at 6:00 AM and it kills us. I don't know what to do with her. We tried all types of training. Is there a way we can fix this?

July 31, 2023

Tokyo's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Could you explain what all you have tried so far a bit more? Are there coyotes in the area? It's possible she is hearing coyotes howling in the distance at that time. If so, I would work on desensitizing her to their howls by teaching Quiet, playing coyote videos and practicing Quiet with that video (hidden behind your back), to condition her to be quiet when she hear that noise. If you know of another noise triggering the howling, you can also do a similar process with that noise. Check out the article I have linked below and the Quiet method - this method shows how to teach a dog to stop barking desensitizing to a door knock at the same time. This process can be done similarly with any noise that triggers a howl. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Aug. 3, 2023

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Coco

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Husky

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10 Months

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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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