A Siberian Husky may look like a wolf but is nothing short of an affectionate teddy bear. A husky is as friendly and loving as a labrador or cocker spaniel, despite how aggressive it may look. But there is one thing that makes it seem more wolf like than its other compatriots in the dog family.
This is the Huskies howling that is unmistakably like a wolf, jackal or fox. This is a curious behavior that specifically Huskies exhibit. In the following sections, you will find out more about why they do this and whether you need to be alarmed.
The Husky Personality
Huskies are one of the most regal and graceful looking dogs. While purebred Siberian Huskies look severe and wolf like, they are actually extremely friendly and playful dogs. They are energetic and enjoy a good game of fetch.
For the uninitiated, huskies may seem quite scary and one cannot imagine being friends with them or petting them warmly. But on the contrary, they actually love the affection of people they like and are fiercely loyal towards their owners.
Huskies are big dogs with a big personality, and their affection and love are also just as large. It is true, however, that huskies are more vocal than most other breeds. But when one says that about this dog, what does it mean?
What Does ‘Vocal’ Mean?
When one says huskies are extremely vocal, it simply means that this breed of dogs tends to howl more frequently and louder than most other breeds of dogs. The sound of a husky howling can be quite unnerving. Especially at night, it can sound like a jackal howling into the darkness. For those who are not used to this, the sound can be quite hair raising.
Apart from howling, huskies can also vocalize in strange and interesting ways and can emit a variety of different noises. At times, it can also seem like your Siberian Husky is talking to you! But what does the curious behavior mean and why do these dogs behave peculiarly? The following sections will shed some light on this behavior of huskies and what one can do to manage the howling.
Why Are Huskies Vocal?
Now, a fair bit has been said about this curious behavior of huskies but not enough has been said about why these adorable canines get up to these weird antics? Huskies also tend to howl rather than bark. If at all they bark, it is when they are aggravated and want to assert their dominance. There are several reasons that can be attributed to this kind of behavior for huskies. The following sections will gloss over some of those reasons:
Huskies thrive the most when they are in packs. They are essentially friendly dogs that need the company of their owner or other dogs most of the time. This need is especially apparent in husky puppies.
If they are left alone, huskies tend to feel lonely and experience severe separation anxiety. When that happens, they tend to howl in agony and to express their distress and displeasure about the situation. If you are bringing a Husky home, it might be wise to have another dog at home for company since you can’t spend all your time with them.
As is common knowledge, dogs have a far more superior hearing than human beings. While human beings can hear at a frequency between 20 and 20,000 Hz, dogs can hear at a frequency between 40 and 60,000 Hz. Huskies are sled dogs and can hear the sound of even a weasel scurrying about in the snow, at a far distance.
This is why, when your husky seems to have flown off the handle howling at what seems like nothing at all, there is a chance that it has heard something that you have not and is reacting to that sound stimulus. Huskies have extremely sensitive hearing and will be reacting to things you cannot hear, through the day. There is no reason to be worried or alarmed.
As has been mentioned earlier, huskies are pack dogs by nature and prefer to be surrounded by their own kin. So even when they are domesticated completely and live indoors in cities and among larger civilizations (and not in the vast expanse of Siberia), the impulse to look out for their pack still remains.
The howling, therefore, is a way for them to locate other members of their pack and let them know where they are. This is also an impulse that kicks in when huskies are scared and are calling out for help from people or other dogs of their pack close by.
Can You Train Your Husky to Stop Howling?
Having a chatty and vibrant husky can be a great treat for the owner. You can spend hours on end on an afternoon hearing your husky emit the strangest sounds and practically have a conversation with them. But there will come a time, when the constant yapping, howling or vocalizing of your husky will become difficult to live with.
Besides, if you have neighbors you can just as well as say goodbye to having any friendly relations with them. The howl of a fully-grown husky can easily wake the whole neighborhood up. Howling is in the very DNA of huskies, but while you cannot stop them from performing behaviors that they cannot help, there are ways to manage the howling and sounds.
The following are some of the measures you may want to attempt.
Follow a Routine
You need to follow a regimen with your husky. This regimen will be the most effective when you pay attention and figure out what may be triggering your husky. Is it howling at a particular time of the day? Is it looking at a certain object in the house and vocalizing?
These are all important factors to consider to change your husky’s routine around and keep them occupied at those times so they do not howl. Often, you may find huskies howling out of context if they have not had enough exercise or if they are feeling restless. So it is important to keep them active.
If you are following a certain routine and still do not see change, it is time to tweak the schedule. Each husky is different and has its own individual personality. So in the initial stages of their training period, there are going to be a few hits and misses until you find a routine that is suitable for you and your husky.
Teach Them Commands
When you put in enough dedication and patience, dogs can be one of the most easily trained animals. They will listen to precisely what you want them to if you teach them to obey the right commands.
Related: Are Huskies Smart?
One of the exercises you can try is to make your husky stop howling or stay quiet on command. This does not always work as often huskies cannot help but howl. Alternatively, you can also train your husky to howl on command.
This will give you better control over the moments when your husky is giving in to the urge to howl. There are several different ways to train dogs but a system of rewards and treats seems to work the best.
Tire Them out before Bed
If your husky has a habit of howling in the dead of the night, you need to tire them out enough before bed that they sleep through the night. Take them out for a walk before bed, play a game of fetch in the yard and most importantly, ensure that their sleeping spot is comfortable.
It would also be advisable to not respond to your dog in case they start howling at night. Soon they will settle in on their own and sleep off. Of course, this will take some getting used to for both your dog and you. But this is a practice that can be inculcated with patience and dedication.
Train Them to Stay Alone
Huskies tend to howl the most when they are left alone or when they feel separation anxiety. If you leave your dog alone at home when you go out to work, they will likely howl in your absence. It may help to soothe your husky if you make it seem like the house is occupied.
Here’s a great video showing a Husky home alone howling:
From the discussion above, it may be clear to you that a howling husky is simply a healthy husky. If a husky is not howling or vocalizing, it may mean it is feeling low on energy or not up to the best health.
However, as much as you can accommodate the vocalizing, there is a need to manage the howling too so you can sleep peacefully at night and so your neighbors do not despise you! With the sections covered above, you will hopefully have more insights into this behavior of these beautiful creatures.