How to Train a Husky to Not Howl

Medium
2-4 Weeks
Behavior

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.

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.

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.

The Exercise Method

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Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
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The Ignoring Method

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Step
1
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.
Step
2
Stop all rewarding activities
Once howling starts, rewards stop. Stop engaging in any attention or playtime with your dog.
Step
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.
Step
4
Wait for the appropriate alternative
Continue to ignore until the howling stops and only when the howling stops completely.
Step
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.
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The Redirect Method

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Step
1
Determine a verbal command
A word like “quiet” generally works well, but feel free to use any word or phrase that you prefer.
Step
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.
Step
3
Reward for ideal behavior
Provide a treat immediately after giving the verbal command while your dog is quiet.
Step
4
Withhold rewards for poor behavior
Do not reward if your dog continues howling. She should only be getting treats when she is quiet.
Step
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.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Lou
Husky mix
7 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Lou
Husky mix
7 Years

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?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

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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