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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Most Recommended
3 Votes
Step
1
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.
Step
2
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.
Step
3
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.
Step
4
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.
Step
5
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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Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
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.”
Step
2
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.
Step
3
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.
Step
4
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.
Step
5
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.
Recommend training method?

The 'Speak' and 'Quiet' Method

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1 Vote
Step
1
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.
Step
2
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.
Step
3
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.
Step
4
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.
Step
5
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.
Step
6
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.
Step
7
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'.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Sharon Elber

Published: 03/20/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Skyler
Siberian Husky
8 Years
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Question
0 found helpful
Skyler
Siberian Husky
8 Years

I just recently moved to an apartment. My husky has been kenneled in my kitchen for her whole life. After about a week of being her usual quiet self, she has decided to cry and whistle when I leave. I have to go to work and don't want this to become her new norm. What do I do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1104 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jessica, First, I would spend some intentional time training her when you are home, working on obedience commands or tricks using food rewards to building confidence in the new location and help her associate the new place with good things. When you hear neighbor noises that could be making her nervous, I would also give a treat for any calm responses to the noise with an upbeat attitude, to help her adjust to those as well and address her emotions about the new situation. Second, check out the Surprise method from the article linked below. I would do a short refresher with rewarding her for quietness in the crate while you are home. Start with the crate door closed and you out of the room since this isn't new for her. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate There are a couple of routes you can take with the separation anxiety. I would work on building her independence and her confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into her routine. Things such as making her work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching her to remain inside a crate when the door is open as well as closed. Give her something to do in the crate during the day while you are out of the room (such as a dog food stuffed Kong to chew on). Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ For some dogs the above is sufficient, but for those who need more, an additional 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 to help you implement the training. Building her independence and structure in her 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 Make sure you are implementing what he teaches there in other areas of pup's life too. 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 her. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with your pup’s end on mute, so that you can see and hear her but she will not hear you. 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 her while she is in the crate and leave. Spy on her from outside or another room. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear her crying or see her 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 her side through the crate wires, without opening the door, then leave again. Every time she 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 she is and sprinkle several treats into the crate without saying anything, then leave again. Practice correcting when she barks or tries to escape, going back inside and sprinkling treats when she stays quiet, for up to 30 minutes a session at first. After 30 minutes -1 hour of practicing this, while she is quiet, go back into the room and sprinkle more treats. This time stay in the room. Do not speak to her or pay attention to her for ten minutes while you walk around and get stuff done inside. When she is being calm, then you can let her out of the crate. When you let her 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 her to be calm when she comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore her 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 her the food stuffed Kong into the crate/room with her. Once she is less anxious she will likely enjoy it even if she didn't pay any attention to it in the past, and that will help her to enjoy alone time more. First, she may need her anxious state of mind interrupted so that she is open to learning other ways to behave. Once it's interrupted, give her a food stuffed Kong in the crate for her to relieve her boredom instead of barking, since she will need something other than barking to do at that point. Regularly practice her 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 her clearer. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark If pup seems to need this done without you returning to correct, this can also be done using low level remote collar training. I don't recommend doing that on your own though. I would hire a professional trainer with experience using both positive reinforcement to reward the quietness, as well as a great understanding of proper remote collar use and what a "working level" is...If they don't know what a working level is I would go elsewhere. It simply means the lowest level that an individual dog indicates they can feel the remote training collar. This level is determined ahead of time in a calm location. A good quality collar like e-collar technologies, garmin, or dogtra, should have at least 40 levels to allow you to get the exact level needed to communicate with pup without it being overly harsh. Avoid three level cheap shock collars. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Sól
Husky
9 Weeks
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Question
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Sól
Husky
9 Weeks

She is yelling the whole time in her play pen despite having a bed, plenty of toys and water. She will keep yelling for well over half an hour if ignored, during the day and at night.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1104 Dog owners recommended

Hello Emily, At 8 weeks of age I am guessing that you recently brought pup home? If that's the case, then know that what you are experiencing is completely normal. Pup is getting used to sleeping and being alone and that's an adjustment. Usually the first five days are the worst. It typically takes about two weeks for most pups to adjust completely; however, you can help that adjustment be as smooth as possible by doing the following. Thirty minutes is actually a very good amount of time compared to how long many puppies will cry during the early weeks. 1. At night, when pup cries but doesn't have to go potty (like after you return them to the crate when they just went potty outside) be consistent about ignoring the crying until they go back to sleep. The more consistent you are the quicker the overall process tends to take even if it's hard to do for the first couple weeks. Some pups are very persistent and do cry for hours on and off the first three nights especially. You are not alone in this but almost all improve soon if you can stay consistent early on. 2. When pup does truly need to go potty at night (when it's been at least 2 hours since pup last peed), take pup to go potty outside on a leash to keep pup focused and things calmer. Don't give treats, food, play, or much attention during these trips - boring and sleepy is the goal, then right back to bed after. This helps pup learn to only wake when they truly need to go potty and be able to put themselves back to sleep - helping them start sleeping longer stretches sooner and not ask to go out unless they actually need to potty. Pup will generally need 1-2 potty trips at night even after trained for a couple months though due to a small bladder. 3. Wait until pup asks to go potty by crying in the crate at night before you take them - opposed to setting an alarm clock, unless pup is having accidents in the crate and not asking to go out. This gives pup the chance to learn to start falling back to sleep when they wake in light sleep if they don't really need to go potty, instead of being woken up all the way when they could have held it a bit longer. 4. Practice the Surprise method from the article I have linked below to help pup get used to crate time during the day too. Practice during the day should also help nights improve sooner too. Surprise method - only give treats during daytime practice, not at night though: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Rita
Siberian Husky
2 Months
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Question
0 found helpful
Rita
Siberian Husky
2 Months

How cani train my puppy to stop biting me? She refuses to let me go even when i try to distract her with a toy or something.
Also how can i make her to stop whining when she's left alone at night and accept the fact that it's time to sleep we can't be with her the whole time..

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
257 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is information on nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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zues
Huskie
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
zues
Huskie
2 Years

So my dog has been having seizures lately and now he wont eat his dog food and won't stop crying. It is so Loud. So could you just give me some ideas? Thanks!!!

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
257 Dog owners recommended

This sounds like something you need to discuss with a veterinarian. He is likely experiencing discomfort and it could be due to the seizures he is having.

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Question
Saga
Siberian Husky
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Saga
Siberian Husky
2 Years

Uncontrolable whining when she knows we are almost going, when arriving at the house and until we get dressed off+cleaned&the regular treat is served, and a little but not much in other general situations.
Also acting out in first time dogmeetings (but also with old dogbuddies not seen for awhile) that many times result in physical conflict, so her social life has been limited close to nothing at the moment and each time a new meeting opportunity arrives even harder.

/jokko.nygren@gmail.com

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1104 Dog owners recommended

Hello Joakim, First, I would stop giving the treat when you get home, since that may be adding to pup's over-excitement, anticipating that. Instead, when you first arrive home, completely ignore pup for ten minutes at least. Once pup walks away or goes to lie down, and their body language gets calm, calmly say hello very calmly - almost monotone. The first week, expect pup to be very persistent and possible even more rude about it. After a few days of being consistent and not getting the treat or any attention until they calm down, most of the time pup will improve. Second, I recommend working on commands that teach pup to respect space, like Place, Out, Leave It, and Down. Use those commands, once taught, to calmly give pup directions in general. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ With other dogs, I recommend recruiting friends to practice the Passing Approach method from the article linked below - the goal is to pass the other dog so much that they become boring to your dog - right now pup is becoming over-aroused and that's leading to a lot of issues once the dogs finally meet. Interrupt pup fixating on the other dog - before an outburst even. Reward calm body language, focus on you, and ignoring the other dog. Don't let the dogs meet nose to nose though if pup is still likely to react poorly at that point, and whenever pup meets any other dog, keep the greetings to no more than 3 seconds, then tell pup "Let's Go!" and walk away. When pup follows, give a treat from your pocket so they learn to follow quickly when you say "Let's Go". https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs I recommend avoiding the dog park and similar environments right now because that will increase arousal and likely make this issue worse due to the type of climate usually at a dog park. Instead, pursue activities like structured heeling walks and hikes with others and their dogs, where you can practice obedience around other dogs and pup be exercised in a calmer way around the dogs to keep arousal lower, and create a pleasant association with the dogs. Obedience classes, obedience practice with friends, G.R.O.W.L. class, and certain canine sports are also good for similar reasons. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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