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Huskies Howling: Reasons and Management

One of the things that people remind of owning a husky is the howling. Huskies do not bark like other dog breeds, but they are pretty vocal with howling and talking. Huskies howl as their primary form of communication thanks to their wolf ancestors. Howling is more straightforward to detect in the distance than barking, making it easier to find each other. Huskies continue to howl and whine because of their ancestors.

While house-trained huskies no longer require to howl to send signals through the wild, there is a lot you can learn as an owner about why huskies howl and what they mean when they howl. Now, let’s take a more profound discussion to understand more about how the huskies “talk” to you.

Why Do Huskies Howl?

husky howling

Almost everybody already knows that huskies do howl. But is the real reason for this noise? What do huskies want to tell through their wails? 

🐶Ancestors

As mentioned above, huskies howl like wolves because they are closely related. That is why it is no doubt that you have always been mistaken when comparing a husky to a wolf. Their coat, eye structure, and pointed muzzle give clear hints on how closely they are related. Huskies and wolves are like cousins. That is why they have almost the same behaviors. 

🐶Calling the pack

An excellent way to understand why huskies howl is to look at how a wolf howls in the wild forest. When a wolf is isolated from the pack, it will howl because this is the best way to call the pack’s attention. Howling is done than barking. This is because barking might be ear-splitting enough, but the firm short barks make it hard for the pack to identify where the sound initially came from. The long-pitched sound of a howl resonates through the air and makes it easier to recognize. This is also to give time for the other buddies to identify where does the sound comes from because howl can travel further to reach other huskies.

🐶Triggers

While there is no surprise that if your husky hears another dog howling, it will also howl. But remember that it’s not just other dogs or any animal that can trigger your husky. Remember that huskies howl at sirens as an instinctual response. Their instincts hear the sirens as another husky in the distance calls out to them, so they return the call. An ambulance’s siren is just a simple light and sound, but huskies don’t perceive it like that. The siren that they hear from the distance could be another husky calling out for help. 

This is also the same as when a husky hear a cry, specifically if from a baby. This is a bit difficult to understand why huskies howl. Some professionals say that this dog considers the baby as one of the family even if the husky knows that the baby is a human and not a dog. Huskies treat the baby as part of their pack. Keep in mind that huskies like to howl together, so your pet may be joining in with the baby’s “howling.” 

🐶Stress

In relation to the baby’s cry, this may look like a sound of distress to the husky and howls in response. While we will never really understand what is running on your husky’s mind when they hear a crying baby, there’s plenty of explanation to believe the husky recognizes the crying as distress. Aside from this, howling also means that he is under stress because he needs attention.

🐶Emergency

When a husky howls, it might be a sign of an emergency. Its howl means you need to come quickly because something wrong is going on. Huskies are very sensitive to threats. That is why their howl is like a siren to signal you and guard you. This is related to the other facts mentioned above. When huskies can sense a threat, they will howl to alert you and call their packs at the same time. 

🐶Health issue

A husky howling is not always for communication purposes, but it could be used as a cry of pain. When a husky is not feeling well, howling is probably the best way to tell you about it. This could mean that your husky is sick or has some internal pain that’s causing discomfort. Typically, these howls are different from others in tone and frequency. The howls are sudden non-triggered, followed by an abnormal act. If these howls persist, you need to take your husky to a vet for a check-up. 

How To Deal With Unrestrained Howling?

husky howling in the snow

Howling is only a way of communication that huskies use. While it is common for huskies to use a mix of different communication methods, some huskies will howl in every situation. Many huskies are very quiet and will only howl occasionally, but there are huskies that are incredibly vocal. If your husky howls a lot, there are a lot of ways you can try to deal with it. 

🐶 Howl in command

You can train your husky to stop howling on command. The most common approach husky owners take is to try and teach your husky an order to stop howling. This usually gives mixed results. But the best system is to teach your husky to howl on command first before teaching it to stop howling on command. This method may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s a common approach dog trainers take to stop dogs barking. Over time, the husky will stop howling with consistent training unless given the appropriate signal.

🐶Ignore some events

One reason why huskies howl is they need your attention. Many huskies can suffer from separation anxiety, and if they know that you can’t resist their howl or whine, they will do it again and again. So, try to ignore your husky’s howling. Show your husky that this is not the way to ask for food or a toy. Combine the step 1 with this method. But! Do not scold or punish your husky when it howls. This is because they may find even this kind of attention rewarding. Just simply do not touch, speak, or look at your husky. 

🐶Reward

Huskies are still dogs that need rewards. So to teach them how to be quiet, reward them only after they follow your command. This will help them condition their behavior and stop them from howling excessively. Please do not give them treats until they have been quiet for at least five seconds. Also, give them treats or snacks at random minutes, especially when they are behaving and quiet. The unforeseen reward will help fortify good behavior. 

🐶Seek a professional

AS mentioned, huskies are susceptible to separation anxiety. If your husky has a more severe case of this condition, seek a piece of professional advice. In this case, your husky may need more extensive counterconditioning and desensitization. This is often started by very short periods of separation, then gradually increasing them. You can talk to a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT). This is to discuss training techniques, possible medications, and other options. Aside from the help of a professional, you must also spend quality time with your husky. 

Howling Due To Separation Anxiety

Huskies Howling: Reasons and Management howling
Photo credits: Lynn Coetzee

One of the primary reasons why a husky howl is due to separation anxiety. So how do you keep your husky calm when you are gone? Here are the tips for training your dog to calm down in every situation.

🐶Exercise

In this step, you might have to get a little bit early and take your dog for a walk. You can throw the ball for it in the backyard to tire your husky out. This will be less likely to be howling or barking when you leave.

🐶Distractions

For distractions, you can use food puzzles where you can stuff with some treats and snacks to make your husky sit there for hours just to get that food out of the puzzle. Another type of distraction is music is also an option. You can use various types like using classical music than heavy metal. 

🐶Camera

This step may be unusual to manage separation anxiety, but it also works. There are unique cameras with a treat dispenser where you can see what your husky is doing, and you program the camera to give your dog a treat. The nice thing about the camera is they can actually tell you how much of a problem you have. You can clearly see the reasons why your husky howl even when you are not around. 

Bottom Line

Howling is indeed very beneficial, especially during emergencies. But excessive howling can cause some sort of a problem. It can cause you a burden, mainly if you live in an apartment where there is a strict noise protocol. So as an owner, you must know how to manage your husky. And before getting a husky, ask your landlord or neighborhood if it’s alright to have a husky at home. This is an act of respect, especially for noise-sensitive areas. 

If your husky keeps on following you, read this blog for more information.