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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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
Recommend training method?

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.”
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.
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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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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?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Ajax
Husky
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Ajax
Husky
2 Months

My Papillon died about a year and a half ago and life just hasn't been the same for me. I've been wanting a puppy for months and months but haven't had the right one come along.

When I met Ajax I just connected with him right away. I live in an apartment, so this wasn't my ideal kind of dog to get, but I couldn't leave him where he was. He was infested with fleas and ticks and when I took him to the vet he ended up also having Coccidia (parasites). The owner before me was obviously VERY horrible and irresponsible.

I've done some research and have come to understand that huskies are high energy. This is not a problem in the sense of getting out and burning the energy. I actually wanted this in a dog while I was looking. I'm a VERY active person also and love to go on runs and hikes. The issue is the whining. I live with 3 other people who don't want to hear him scream on and on and on. I was just wondering if there are any tips and tricks I can employ to get him to learn not to scream without leaving him in the crate where he will distrub my room mates and neighbors. Starting next week he will be going to stay at my friend's house during the day two days a week. Is this a good time to try the "hard ignore?" Can I do that in combination with other tactics? He also screams like crazy when he sees I'm mixing his food. Any help would be SO appreciated!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
78 Dog owners recommended

Hello Brittany, See if your roommates will agree to let you try ignoring him for one week to two weeks, to see if he will learn to be quiet in the crate during that time. This will be a loud week but you will need to be extremely consistent and practice time in the crate a lot! During that time you can do a couple of things to speed up the process. Explain to them what your plan of action is to show them that you will be training him proactively to stop his barking faster, if you feel like that will help them understand and be supportive. First, purchase several large Kong's and put his dog food into a bowl and cover it with water. Let it sit out until the food turns into mush, then when it is mushy and puffy, mix a little bit of peanut butter, or liver paste or squeeze cheese if anyone is allergic to peanut butter, into the food mush. Very loosely stuff the Kongs with the mush mixture, place them into zip-lock bags, and freeze them. Check your peanut butter and make sure it does NOT contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. More so than chocolate. Second, create a "Bonker" by filing a sock with something heavy like beans and something fluffy like fabric or stuffing, until you get a stiff, soft, and heavy bumper looking thing. Normally this would only be used for older puppies, but in your case you need to teach him faster so we will use a bonker. Third, place him into the crate with one of the food stuffed Kongs and leave the room. If he cries, then enter the room without speaking to him and hit the back corner of the crate with the bonker, enough to startle him a little bit without really scaring him, then leave the room again. When you hit the corner also say "Ah-Ah!" in a firm but calm tone of voice so that you can later use just that verbal correction in place of the bonker if he starts whinning. If he stays quiet for a minute after you leave, then go back into the room, and quietly and calmly praise him and drop several treats into the crate, then leave again. Keep your praise soft and very calm and boring. Otherwise it can make things worse. Repeat the correction whenever he cries and the treat sprinkles whenever he is quiet for two minutes. As he gets better, then wait until he is quiet for five minutes, then ten minutes, then fifteen minutes, and so forth, before going in to sprinkle treats. You will be potty training him also at this time. Try to time it so that you go to him and let him out to go potty while he is being quiet for a few seconds. This will not always be possible but try your best without running the risk of an accident in the crate. To speed up potty training I suggest you also use the crate for that during this time and after he learn to be quiet also. Put him into the crate for one and a half hours, and then while he is quiet go to him and take him outside to go potty. While he is outside, tell him "go potty", and when he goes, give him three small treats, one at a time. If he goes potty, then let him be free and out of the crate for forty-five minutes if you are able to watch him. At the end of the forty-five minutes, place him back into the crate for another forty-five minutes, until it has been a total of one-and-a-half ours since he last went potty. At one-and-a-half-hours take him back outside to go potty again. If he does not go potty when you take him outside, then take him back inside after five to ten minutes of letting him try, and place him back into the crate. After thirty-minutes in the crate, while he is being quiet for a couple of seconds, go to him and take him back outside to try going potty again. Repeat crating him, taking him outside, and crating him again if he doesn't go until he goes potty when you take him and you can give him the forty-five minutes of freedom. You will be doing all of this while also going to him periodically while he is in the crate to correct him with the bonker and reward him with the treats. Expect this to be very time consuming at first. It should teach him to be quiet and potty train him more quickly though. While you are gone, he can be crated for 2-3 hours during the day, and longer at night, but when you are home take him out more frequently to speed up the process of potty training and prevent as many accidents as possible. One advantage of potty training him with the crate this way is that he will get a lot of practice being in the crate without being in the crate without a small break for too long. This will help him get comfortable with the crate faster and learn to entertain himself with the Kong toy instead of cry. Make sure you do not skip giving him a food stuffed Kong toy whenever you place him into the crate. You can feed him all of his meals in Kongs right now to give him something to do in the crate and decrease his crying. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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