If your husky seems to bark at nothing a lot, you might be wondering why and what can be done about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why it might bark at nothing and what you can do to stop it.
So, why does my husky bark at nothing? Possible reasons are that it can actually hear something, it has an injury, it’s being territorial, it wants attention, it does it compulsively or that you have inadvertently reinforced the behavior.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your husky does it. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it will become a lot easier for you to get it to stop.
Why your husky barks at nothing
Each of the different reasons that your husky barks at nothing will likely come with some clues.
Below, I will show you some reasons why it might be doing it and what would make them more likely.
It can hear something
Huskies have much better hearing than humans do and the reason that it barks at nothing could be that it did actually hear something.
This would be more likely to be the reason if it does it when there are noisy things going on such as when there are people are outside or when there is thunder.
Often dogs will hide being in pain but sometimes they will show some signs of being in pain. The reason that your husky might have been barking at nothing could be that it is in pain. This would be more likely if it has started barking more suddenly and if it has been showing signs of being in pain such as by limping or being much less active.
In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Huskies are a breed that are meant to be getting lots of exercise on a daily basis. The reason that yours barks at nothing could be that it is bored.
Generally, it is recommended for them to get an hour of exercise per day. If yours is not getting that much then it would help to make sure that it does.
The reason that it does it might be because it is protecting its territory. This would be more likely if it does it at home when there are people and other animals outside.
It’s seeking attention
It could be the case that it does it because it knows that it would get attention from you. This would be more likely if it does it when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
It could be the case that it does it compulsively. This is where your husky has an irresistible urge to bark and it does it repeatedly. This would be more likely if your husky has been doing it constantly and repeatedly.
In this case, the best option would be to seek the guidance of a vet.
You have been reinforcing it
It might be the case that you have been reinforcing the behavior by giving it things that it wants when it does it. This would be more likely if you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or attention when it does it.
Instead of rewarding it when it does it, try to recognize when it is about to start doing it and to redirect its focus.
Consider when it first started doing it
It would help to consider when your husky first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that triggered it to start barking at nothing.
Things to that might have changed could be:
- If you moved home
- If someone moved away
- If another pet died
- If someone mistreated it
Consider when and where it barks at nothing
It would also help to consider the timing and location of the barking.
If you notice that it tends to do it at a certain time during the day then it could be that there are noises outside that you cannot hear or it might have developed a habit of doing it at that time.
If it does it at random times then it could be that it does it due to being bored, it does it for attention or that it does it compulsively.
How to get it to stop barking at nothing
Below, are some options that you have when getting your husky to stop doing it.
Get it to pay attention to you
One option would be to train it to follow your command and to do things such as to come to you when you call it. By doing this you would be able to call it to you when it starts barking so that it stops thinking about barking.
It would also help to learn to recognize when it is about to start barking so that you can redirect its behavior when it is about to start barking.
I have written more about how you can train your husky to come to you on command here.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you reward the behaviors that you want to see with attention or treats.
To use positive reinforcement training to get your husky to not bark at nothing you would give it a treat whenever it stops barking or it shows signs of not barking.
You can watch how it is done in the video below:
Avoid negative reinforcement
As mentioned above it could be the case that you have inadvertently trained your husky to do it.
Instead of giving it things that it wants when it does it, try to redirect its attention, to use positive reinforcement training and to reward it when it is well behaved.
Barking is natural
Something to consider is that barking is a natural way that huskies communicate. To stop a husky from barking completely would be very difficult to do and it wouldn’t really be a good thing since it will make it harder for your husky to communicate with you when it wants to.
However, it will be possible to get it to bark less, if that is what you want, by following the tips above.
See a vet, dog behaviorist or trainer
If you cannot figure out why your husky barks at nothing, you cannot get it to stop or it is concerning you then it would be best to get an expert to look at it and to get their opinion your local vet would be a good start.
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