Barking is just one way dogs talk to us humans, but the husky is a dog breed that has so much more to say, that he howls, barks, and whines to express himself.
So why do huskies howl so much more than other dogs? It’s simply the huskies way of communicating or ‘talking’ and they’ve got their wolf ancestors to thank for this.
Huskies are descendants of wolves, as are all other dogs. People are attracted to the husky because they believe that the dog’s looks come from it having a particularly strong genetic similarity with the wolf. They want to believe that the pointed muzzle, the thick coat, the triangular ears and bright, intelligent eyes are because of the husky being part-wolf, but this is unfortunately not true.
In a wolf clan, they have different types of howls. They have excitement howls, location calls and territory howls. One of the amazing characteristics of huskies is that they bark less than other dog breeds, but that doesn’t make them quiet one bit! They have an amazing variety of other sounds that they use to ‘talk’, of which howling is the most used.
Why Do Huskies Howl and Is It Just a Bad Habit?
Huskies howl for many different reasons, and it can be quite hard to identify why your husky might be howling and what he is trying to communicate. It is only when the howling becomes excessive and possibly a bad habit that the behavior of your dog will need to be modified.
As your husky grows up and you get to know his characteristics, you’ll be able to tell when his howling is purposeful and when it is for no reason. In fact, you will be able to distinguish your 4-legged friend’s different howls and what they are associated with.
(Does your husky have blue eyes, brown eyes, or a mix of both? Find out everything you could possibly want to know about your huskies eye color, including what you should do when their eyes are red!)
Howling Is in Their Genes
All dogs including the husky were once wolves in the wild. Huskies were used by the Chukchi people to pull sleds. They would howl as their main form of communication. A dog howls for the same reasons wolves do. Like wolves, dogs howl to guide and communicate to other pack members the way back home.
Howling was more audible over snowy distances and this howling would alert others to their whereabouts.
Researchers tell us that dog-howling is in the genes of a dog. Howling is an instinctive thing with huskies. Domestic huskies view their human family as their pack and will howl when their family goes out or has been away from home for a long time.
Why do huskies howl if they are domesticated now? Most domesticated huskies no longer need to howl to make themselves heard over snow and through forests, but they now communicate to us humans. If you’re a husky owner, you’ll surely want to know what your husky is trying to say to you with his different howls, whines, and barks.
Boredom or Loneliness
A husky may howl out of sheer boredom or loneliness. They are such an extraordinary breed – intelligent, energetic and playful – working dogs. Somehow you have to find an outlet for this dog’s energy, otherwise he’ll be howling continuously while you’re away.
The best thing you can do for your husky is to keep him well exercised and entertained when you’re not there. Why do huskies howl when the other dogs you have are content with the lifestyle you’ve provided them with. The answer could lie in their past working-dog lifestyle. It could be that he is howling just from lack of something to do. If he’s bored, destructive and howling it may be that he is missing the lifestyle he was bred for – a busy, action-packed, strenuous life of sled pulling.
Not every toy will work for a bored husky as they are notorious for destroying toys. But there are toys that are robustly designed for huskies and they will manage to entertain your dog when you’re not there for an hour or so. There are some puzzle-type toys for instance that you can fill with some peanut butter and he will be highly entertained as he tries to remove the treat inside.
Some people use a dog camera that allows them to see and talk to their dog from anywhere. This can calm a dog down. Others opt for a dog pheromone collar. The pheromone released is similar to what a mother dog uses to calm newborn puppies. The pheromone creates a sense of relaxation.
They Wear Their Heart on Their Sleeve
That’s what makes huskies such lovable dogs – they show each of their emotions openly – there is no hiding their feelings. They wear their heart on their sleeves – oops – their wagging tail.
You must have noticed when you arrive home from being out for a while how your canine companion just leaps around for joy, howling and whining. This is obvious excitement at having you back in his life. He has missed you and is expressing his sheer joy at your return.
Your husky may howl and whine while you’re away. He is vocalizing his displeasure at you leaving him alone. It may well be a case of separation anxiety for your dog. The husky will often combine a howl with a whine or growl because he is suffering from separation anxiety or he is angry from being left outside.
You can make sure he has things to entertain himself with otherwise he gets sad, lonely and destructive and he will howl continuously in protest.
A howl expresses a whole host of emotions – joy, sadness, boredom, loneliness, distress, frustration and pain, and huskies let you know precisely what they want by their sounds and their body-language.
They’re Attention Seekers
Dogs are highly social creatures and they used to live in packs. If you study wolves or pack dogs such as the Cape Hunting Dogs, you’ll see them interacting with each other through facial expressions, tail and ear movements, stiff legs, perhaps raised hair and of course, plenty of vocalization.
Huskies love attention and interaction with their people and will try to get the attention of their human family by any means. Some dog owners will tell you how emotionally manipulative a dog like the husky can be.
A howl is known to attract attention and when you investigate it, it’s just your dog thrilled to see he got you to where he is, and now it’s time for a game!
Huskies are more prone to howling than other dog breeds and you could say it is just in their nature to do so. Huskies love to be the center of attention and they’re even willing to get extra attention from strangers who visit your home.
Response to Another Howl or High Pitched Sound
If your husky hears another dog howling, he will likely respond with a howl. Husky owners have even gone as far as playing YouTube animal sounds to their dogs and had them striking up a howl in imitation to what they’re listening to online. It is instinctual for a husky to identify with howl-type sounds.
These dogs are intuitive and responsive and they will even howl at ‘trigger sounds’ such as a siren or even when your alarm clock goes off in the morning. Their instincts make them naturally return the call.
(Have you ever wondered whether huskies are aggressive? This article is going to explain everything you need to know!)
When Do Huskies Start Howling?
Each husky is different as to whether they howl or not and at what age they start. Some husky owners become concerned when their husky puppy doesn’t show any inclination to bark. Husky owners who have experienced howling huskies will say that while it is certainly in these dog’s nature to howl, they shouldn’t be encouraged to do so, as once that start, they don’t stop.
If your husky is still a young dog and you don’t have other huskies for him to imitate, it might be that it is just going to take him a little longer to start howling.
Then again, your husky may not be howling simply because he’s just a quieter dog. Yes, huskies do howl more than most dogs, but nothing is set in stone and some just don’t have it in their nature to howl a lot.
The youthful vocal cords of a husky puppy can’t produce a true wolf-like howl yet, but most puppies try to mimic the howls of their parents. Husky puppies can start howling early and some husky owners will tell you that they have witnessed- and video-recorded a 7-week old husky puppy howling. You can see the evidence of this on YouTube.
(Does your husky bark as well as howl? While it’s not as common it does still happen. Find out why your husky is barking!)
How To Stop Your Husky Howling
Unfortunately, some dogs learn that howling can get them attention from people. Howling is a tool your pet uses to express something, but it can be inappropriate when you’ve got neighbors on all sides. It can be hugely frustrating when your dog’s howling keeps you awake at night as well as the entire community.
Let a Vet Check Him Out First
Before you think that your husky is just being naughty with his constant howling, have him checked out by your vet just for peace of mind. You don’t want him to be howling because he is in pain and you just ignore it.
There are any number of reasons why he may be in discomfort. On the other hand, if your vet does offer your dog a clean bill of health, then you know you’ll have to find a good way to address his howling.
Ignore Howling Behavior
If your dog has learned to howl to get your attention, you may need to curb his behavior. He will have to learn that howling isn’t going to work. The first thing you will have to do in your efforts to get your husky quiet is to ignore him when he howls. He needs to learn that it is being quiet rather that gets your attention.
If you want your dog to learn to stop howling for attention, you’ll need to reward his quiet behavior. Give him a treat and your attention when he is quiet. He will need to discover that there won’t be any attention or treats while he is howling.
Plenty of Exercise Required
Sometimes a dog will just howl because it’s a high-energy dog like the husky. Dogs like this have excessive energy and they’re bored and pent up. The sled-pulling husky is not a dog for the couch potato. Most dog lovers are mesmerized by the sheer cuteness of husky puppies but it is important to remember that these balls of cuteness grow up into strong, energetic dogs.
The truth is that these extremely active dogs aren’t going to suit every household. These are dogs that need at least 2 hours of exercise a day. A big garden with a high fence is a must for these dogs. You can take your husky for a run while your ride a bike or hit a tennis ball with a tennis racquet on the beach or at the park so that your dog has to run far to fetch it.
The husky is known for his stamina and can run for long distances without tiring. These walks and runs are important for such a dog as it will help with releasing some of that pent-up energy. Getting outside the yard allows your 4-legged canine friend to have his senses stimulated as he sees and smells new things.
When your pet is tired from all the exercise, he is far less likely to howl simply because he’s worn out.
A Dog Trainer Can Change Dog Behavior
Howling issues with your husky can be challenging. The ‘ignoring him when he’s howling’ effort may not be working and in the meantime, you’re getting a lot of flak from your neighbors. They’re becoming nastier with their comments and it becomes a matter of urgency to stop your dog howling or face some kind of action.
In circumstances like this, you shouldn’t hesitate to enlist the help of a certified dog trainer or dog whisperer. These days, dog behavior is a big topic. Animal trainers want to know why dogs do what they do. Modern dog trainers, whisperers and behaviorists are using force-free and positive reinforcement tactics to change the behavior of pets.
We’ve all seen trainers on our television sets and not only do they successfully change the bad behavior of dogs, but they also educate dog owners about how to communicate with- and train their dogs.
(Have you ever wondered whether your husky can swim and if they like water?)
Who wouldn’t laugh and want to hug a husky puppy for throwing back his head and trying to howl like his parents? Sure, this behavior can amuse and delight, but left to take its course, that same howling could turn out to be vexing and aggravating.
When looking at the question ‘why do huskies howl?’ it is no doubt a form of communication. However, huskies are super intelligent and even a tiny puppy can be encouraged to howl excessively because he learned it’s a good way to get attention.
Fun and cute to start with, for many people, howling can become a nuisance, and if you want to keep peace with your neighbors, it would be best to not encourage howling. You should rather have your husky socialized to ‘talk’ quietly when communicating his needs.