How to Train a Husky to Stop Whining

Medium
1-4 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

If you have a whiny Husky on your hands, it can be frustrating. If the problem goes on, it can even interfere with your relationship with your dog. Luckily, training your Husky to stop whining is a fairly easy job, although it will require some consistency and the right tools.

This guide will give you three methods, best used in conjunction, to make sure you are not only letting your Husky know that you do not like the whining, but also that you love peace and quiet.

By working in plenty of reinforcement to your training program, you will make sure that your Husky continues to trust you as you give him space to learn to stop whimpering, and the confidence that comes with it.

Expect your training to take a week or two, longer in problem cases where the whining has been persistently reinforced in the past. 

Defining Tasks

Sometimes whimpering may be your dog’s way of letting you know there is a problem that needs to be addressed. It is important that you eliminate the possibility that something else might be going on. Although it is typical for puppies to have a whiny stage right around four to six months, of age, any sudden start to whining behavior with adult Huskies could be a sign of something more serious.

Make sure that before you start training your Husky to stop whining she doesn’t have an illness or injury that could be causing her pain. In addition, check to be sure she has fresh water. If she is in her teething stage, whining is pretty typical. Make sure she has plenty of soft chew toys to help with the pain of new teeth coming in.

If whining is happening in conjunction with other behaviors such as licking, scratching, restlessness, or refusal to eat or drink, be sure to get in to see your veterinarian ASAP. This could be a sign of a more serious problem that requires veterinary attention.

Getting Started

The first step in training your Husky to stop whining is to make a mental note of the things that he likes most. That is, what is a reward in his eyes? Does he love some belly rubs, a treat, a toss of the ball or a quick game of tug of war? When you have a solid understanding of what counts as a reward to your dog, you have a great deal of power to influence his behavior with nothing more than being the gatekeeper to all of the things he loves.

Start to become aware of when you are rewarding your dog. Is he coming up to you and whining, and then you reward him with an ear scratch or other attention?

Often owners unwittingly make problem whining worse, simply by responding to it and trying to make it stop. If this is the case with you, your Husky has been training you. Take back control of the relationship by being more aware of the kinds of behavior that you want to be reinforcing. 

The Day to Day Method

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Ongoing process
The most important method for training your Husky to stop whining is to start to be more aware of when he is quiet and then reinforcing that behavior, while making sure that whining is not rewarded. This is an ongoing process that is not part of a formal training session, rather an approach to dealing with your dog from day to day.
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Random
The most powerful rewards are those that are unexpected and random. Want to play a game of tug with him? Wait until he is lying down quietly and then call him over for a game.
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Pay attention to rewarding
Make sure that the everyday things your Husky enjoys are given only when he is not whining. For example, do not put the food bowl down, or let him outside, or let him up on the couch if she is whining. Wait for even 3-5 seconds of not-whining before giving access to these good things.
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Hard ignore
Use a “hard ignore” for the whining behavior when it pops up (only after you have eliminated the possibility that the whine might be a warning sign of something that needs to be addressed). Turn your face away, do not make eye contact, walk away. Do what you need to do to stop even acknowledging problem whining.
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Practice quiet time
Several times a day, call your dog to join you for some quiet time pets. This is a chance to work on whining more directly. As soon as she starts whining, look away and stop petting. The instant she stops whining, even for a second, start petting her again. Gradually add more time, expecting a few more seconds of quiet before returning your attention to her
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The Time Out Method

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Why use time outs
If you have started to reward quiet time throughout the day, it is time to start adding a consequence for problem whining. This method will use one of the most effective punishments that does not require you to physically assault your dog – the dreaded “Time Out.”
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Set up
Set up a crate, room or pen that is a place you can put your Husky in a short “Time Out” where he will be left alone. He should not have toys or access to other people or dogs while in time out.
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Too bad!
When your Husky starts whining, try a “hard ignore” first. This means you do not even look at your dog or you walk away from him. If this stops the whining, even for a few seconds, turn to give your pup some praise. If it fails to stop the whining, wait 10-20 seconds then say “Too bad!” and immediately take him to time out.
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Time out
Leave him in time out for 2-3 minutes. It is likely he will be whining, just ignore that. Wait for 10 seconds of no whining before letting your dog out of the time out.
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Be consistent
Although it is tedious, repeat the process vigilantly, especially when you first introduce it. Your Husky will learn within 5-10 repetitions that whining just doesn’t pay off. It will take a week or so for it to really sink in but stay consistent.
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The 'Speak' and 'Quiet' Method

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Putting it on command
Another great way to stop problem whining is to put both 'speak' and 'quiet' on command. It may seem counter-intuitive to reward vocalizing. However, by putting it on command and rewarding it only when it is asked for, and meanwhile rewarding quiet when asked for, you are gaining a language to communicate with your dog and getting a 'quiet' command that will work to stop problem whining once and for all.
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Marker
First, decide on a “marker” word or sound. This can be a simple “Yesssss!” or a special quick whistle. Or, you can get a clicker, a small and inexpensive training tool that makes a quick click sound when you squeeze the button. This “marker” should always be followed by a small, pea-sized, food reward. For this training method, use it each time the instructions say to mark/reward.
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Reward a sound
Get your treat bag in hand and sit in front of your dog. Wait for her to vocalize – even if it takes a minute or two for her to get frustrated enough to make a sound. Or, start this training session at a time when she is already being vocal. Mark/reward any vocalization, including a whine, 5-10 times in rapid succession.
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Add "Speak!"
She will probably be immediately offering a vocalizing now that you are rewarding it rapidly. This is exactly what you want. Now add the command “Speak”, knowing she will give you a sound. Mark/reward in as rapid a rate as she offers the sounds. Repeat 10-20 times.
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Add "Quiet!"
Now it is time to introduce the opposite, that is, 'quiet'. Say “Quiet!” (it usually helps to say it in a long drawn out tone for some reason) and then give her a chance to stop whining. Take even a second of not whining, and be sure to mark during the silence, followed by a reward.
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Alternate
Alternate between 'speak' and 'quiet'. Give her time to “guess” at first, taking any success you can get. Over time you can extend the duration of the quiet after she seems to understand what it means.
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Practice day to day
Eventually you will want to take 'quiet' out of the training session and start using it day to day… keeping rewards random, but often enough that she hopes to be rewarded for the quiet behavior. Use a "time out” if she persists on whining after you have asked her for 'quiet'.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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