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.
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.
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.
My Husky was a stray who chose us. He was 1.5 years old, unneutered, covered in fleas and ticks, dehydrated, never been on a leash and had no manners. But he was pure love. We cleaned him up and trained him. Fast forward 5 years and he's a delight. He's no longer a puppy, can walk on a leash - though every walk starts with making a point that he will not be leading this walk- and he's pure joy. He's still a Husky in personality and though he knows all the commands and what is expected of him, it's all a negotiation in his mind. He will obey if there are treats involved or if he is interested. Otherwise, he's not too interested in obedience for the sake of impressing us. We're good with this, he's 8/10 for good behavior and for a husky, that's not too bad. At night, however, he howls the song of his people every time a siren passes. We live a block from the fire station. We have all been sleep deprived for years AND three/ four of us have a neurological sleep disorder which causes us to never complete sleep cycles and is having serious effects on our lives. We are having to make the decision to put our children on amphetamines, which is a terrifying decision to make as a parent. It is not ADHD or anything similar, it is a lack of a certain neurotransmitter which regulates sleep and wake cycles. Before making that choice, we need to make sleep hygiene a priority in our home. This means no howling 3 times per night. How oh how can we get him to stop? He does stop if we tell him to, but we've already woken up by that point. We love Lou so, so much. But before you put your kid on amphetamines you take a really hard look at the circumstances of your life and if there is anything at all that can be changed first. The howling has to stop. Do you have any suggestions?
Hello Amber, In your case I strongly recommend a high quality sound activated stimulation bark collar, such as "Dogtra YS-300". Most high quality bark collars are activated by vocal cord vibration to prevent them from going on at the wrong times. Howling doesn't cause the vocal cords to vibrate enough to make the collar correct. You need a collar that works on sound but one that is high enough quality that other sounds besides your dog won't set it off. I suggest calling Dogtra and confirming that their YS-300 collar will work for howling before purchasing just to make sure. A second option is a remote controlled e-collar. This requires you waking up first to teach him with it though, but unlike your verbal reprimand it is a lot more likely to prevent future howling after he has learned to pair his howling with the correction. Dogtra, SportDog, Garmin, and E-collar technologies are all good brands. Read reviews and be careful what one you buy. A high quality electric collar has at least 30 levels so that you can use as little stimulation as is needed for your particular dog to response - called his working level. I also suggest playing recordings of sirens during the day and rewarding him for staying quiet when he hears them and interrupting him if he starts to how - to help desensitize him to them. This will probably need to be combined with a collar correction to deal with the night howling though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Milo is fine when everyone is home but when we leave he will howl and bark non-stop while running around in the house, and he also tears up the garbage. He is a rescue that was found wandering. I attribute his separation anxiety to us showering him with so much love after he was alone for however long he was a stray. He is highly intelligent and learns quickly so I am hoping there is a way to teach him not to howl and bark when we have to leave the house.
Hello Marria, There are a couple of routes you can take with the separation anxiety. The first step is to work on building 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. I absolutely suggest crate training - at least until this improves. Change your routine surrounding leaving so that he does not anticipate alone time and build up his anxiety before you leave - which is hard for him to deescalate from, and be sure to continue to give him something to do in the crate during the day (such as a dog food stuffed Kong to chew on); this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Working method to build confidence and respect: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Heel: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel 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 correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable about separation anxiety and behavior issues to help you implement the training. 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 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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