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Statistics say 95% of people talk to their dogs. The remaining 5% are clearly lying. How cool would it be if you could come home at the end of a long day and share the events of your day with your dog and your dog would tell you all about theirs!
This scenario is possible with less than a handful of dog breeds in the world; the Siberian Husky is one of them. Let’s look at the nitty gritty of how to teach a Husky to talk.
Can Huskies really talk?
Well, ask a Husky; they’ll let you know! The Siberian Husky is one of the very few breeds that are blessed with vocal cords that can produce a wide range of pitches and tones. They aren’t shy of putting their ability to speak to good use.
There are multiple reasons why huskies are so vocal. They mainly use it to communicate with their pack from a young age. As they grow older, they learn to direct certain pitches, tones and sounds towards their hoomans during certain situations and emotions.
Check out this interesting study about how dogs vocalize in order to communicate.
Huskies and the different sounds they can make
Siberian Huskies have a very peculiar chatty bone in them which enables them to vocalize in several ways – it’s what makes huskies weird but awesome! The sounds they make may mean different things in different situations. In some cases, it could indicate happiness, pleasure and satisfaction.
On the other hand, they may also indicate stress, fear, anger and discomfort in several situations. If you listen and observe closely, over time, it would be easier for you to tell what your Husky is feeling by the way they sound. Their vocal cords can produce variations of sounds such as…
The Husky Howl is almost as famous as the breed itself. Just like their wolf ancestors, Huskies howl to communicate. However, there are many reasons why huskies howl.
In the wild, wolves howl to make their location known to other wolves of the pack. If they just barked, the echo of it might confuse the pack as it may be too short to be traced back. However, the wind will not easily disperse the prolonged howl.
Singing, in the Husky world, is just a few variations of howls at different pitches put together. For a Husky to sing, they need to be comfortable in howling often and not out of stress.
There are several “Husky singing” videos doing rounds in social media which have soared to popularity in a short span. However, it is hard to tell what really makes these dogs sing. It could be a variety of factors such as response to another howl, pain, stress, communication, fun, pleasure and so on.
It is quite common for dogs to groan to express pleasure, happiness and satisfaction. They generally moan and groan while being petted, while settling down for a nap or as they are about to relax. It is generally a positive sign and nothing to worry about.
Dogs cannot talk, obviously! Not like humans do, anyway. Huskies are considered to be chatty dogs as they tend to imitate human sounds and can get quite good at it. They can put together a combination of howls, chirps, moans, whines and whimpers to vocalize in a way that sounds like they’re talking.
Barking is more or less self explanatory in dogs. It is one of the many sounds Huskies use to communicate with us and one of the rarest ones. They prefer sticking to more peculiar sounds.
Dogs generally whine to express some form of distress. Siberian Huskies may whine to indicate that they are hungry or that they need to relieve themselves. They also become vocal if they are bored or frustrated.
Huskies are known for their ‘screaming’ – a unique, high-pitched sound they use to communicate emotions like excitement, frustration, or even boredom. While it’s normal for Huskies to scream occasionally, excessive or unusual screaming could signal distress.
To learn more about why Huskies scream, check out our article “Why do huskies scream?“.
The difference between a singing and talking Husky
There is a fine line between a Husky “talking” and “singing” as both of them are variations of a howl.
You can say that your Husky is singing when they let out distinct, persistent howls in different tonalities and volumes. On the other hand, a Husky is said to be “talking” when they attempt to imitate the sound, lip movement and tone of the human.
If a Husky hears “I love you” frequently in the same tone of voice, they may start responding in sounds that sound similar to “I love you.” This is the prime example of a talking Husky.
Similarly, a Husky howling in low to high pitches at the sound of a piano or a musical instrument, it could be considered as an act of “singing.”
6 tips to teach a Husky to talk
Here are tips for learn how to train a Husky to talk.
1. Figure out what gets your Husky talking
Some Huskies bark at the doorbell, some of them may bark at a squeaky toy whereas some may bark at something else. If you’ve lived with your Husky for a few months, you may have observed a few things that set your Husky’s vocal cords on fire. You may want to have these things around when training a Husky to talk.
2. Use hand signals and a clicker
It is a universal fact that dogs can respond amazingly well to body language; even chatty breeds like Huskies grasp body language cues better than words. Use hand signals while teaching your dog to talk. This will make it easier to communicate in highly distracting environments and eliminate the need to repeat verbal cues.
A clicker can be helpful to get the timing right, especially while trick training. Click as soon as your Husky starts talking and reward, gradually increasing the frequency of the vocalization.
3. Repeat your words loud and clear
Choose words like “I love you,” “Thank you”, “woof,” etc that are easy to mouth and can become an indirect extension of “awooooo,” your Husky’s natural howling sound.
Repeat them loud, clear and in the same tone every time you attempt to teach your Husky to speak. This should make it fairly easy for your Husky to grasp the concept.
If they still aren’t talking, try saying the same words in a slightly higher pitch. Our Huskies tend to talk more when using a higher pitch.
4. Take the help of another Husky (or another dog)
Dogs learn best through other dogs, for obvious reasons. Furthermore, in the wild, dogs communicate with each other at a distance through howling and barking.
Chances are, another dog howling may awaken your Husky’s natural instinct and may make him want to respond back through a howl or imitate the other dog’s tone.
Our Huskies will often compete with each other to see who can sing at the highest pitch. So, once you get one Husky going, they will take care of the rest for you! In fact, it can be hard to stop them from talking and singing!
Once your pup starts howling, click and reward repeatedly to teach them to do so on cue.
5. Try the musical touch
Piano sounds are popular for making Huskies sing. If you don’t have one at home, you can always scout for some classical piano instrumental music on Youtube. Other audio clips that would help are
- Ambulance sirens
- Dogs barking
- Dogs howling
- Dogs whining
- Babies crying
- Opera singing and so on
6. Make sure your Husky is not vocalizing out of distress
Teaching a Husky to vocalize is a fun trick as long as your dog is having a good time doing it. Dogs also howl when they’re in distress. Closely observe your dog’s body language while learning the trick.
If you notice signs of stress, stop immediately and try again later. If your dog always seems stressed while vocalizing, consider changing the technique or the primary motivation being used to make the Husky talk.
Training a Husky to stop talking
A Husky’s ability to talk to us is one of the most endearing qualities about them. But it can soon become a reason for vexation, we have no idea how to stop them. The “talk” and the “quiet” commands go hand in hand. Train your Husky to “calm down” or “be quiet” immediately after because once your dog figures out that they get treats for talking, it will be hard to stop them.
To teach your Husky to stop talking, just wait for a few seconds of absolute calm, add a command to it and reward your dog for it. Avoid teaching it at the same time as talking as it may end up confusing your dog.
Final thoughts about teaching a Husky to talk
Teaching your Husky to talk is an excellent way of incorporating fun tricks into your Husky training sessions. It’s also really good mental stimulation for huskies. Teaching them to sing and talk will help keep them mentally sharp and alert and foster a trusting and reliable relationship with your pet.
Were you successful teaching your Husky how to talk?
Share your experience below.