Sarah Wilson

Dog Expert

Crate Training Problems: Why the “Husky that Says No” is NOT so Funny


Husky dog imageAt least, it isn’t funny to me. Crate training can be a simple task and these guys, completely by mistake, are creating much bigger problems for Blaze and for themselves. Nine million viewers see this and laugh. I see it and say: Watch it again. Please. Watch it with the sound off and your eyes open.

We open the video, Blaze is lying, motionless and “closed face” on the floor. Back leg somewhat up. He’s already confused about what is going on.

(:05) The moment his person touches his back – Blaze vocalizes. His person instantly moves his hand away – and moving of his hand powerfully rewards Blaze’s mild protest.

(:07) Again though this time with both the retreat of the hand and a laugh. Laughter is a powerful reward for our dogs. The message to Blaze: I LIKE your protest – GOOD DOG!

(:11) Blaze now swings his head and nose bumps the man with a slightly open mouth which ends with looking directly at the man. That is a stronger signal to “stop”. Just after that he rolls on his back a little. He is confused by all of this and getting more confused. Man moves his hand away chuckling.
(:19) Again
(:23) Again
(:26) Again
(:29) Again
(:53) The man reaches his other hand under Blaze’s chest. Now Blaze swings his head up and makes direct eye contact. He makes a move with his mouth toward that left hand and the man withdraws it instantly (another huge reward for the Blaze’s protest). Blaze lip licks a few times – he is so confused and conflicted. He has no idea what is going on here.

(1:00) Having tolerated some lifting under the shoulder, Blaze now raises his voice, moves slightly toward the hand under his shoulder and the man instantly retreats again.

(1:04) He makes contact with the man’s hand and the man lets go completely.

Repeats some more.

(1:27) Blaze moves again for the man’s hand who retreats again. Big head swing with eye contact from Blaze who is, after all this careful if unintentional training, growing more confident in his ability to successfully threaten his human.

Counting the exact number of rewarded repetitions here is a bit tough but it’s over a dozen in under 2 minutes. Such a training session (and every interaction we have with our dogs is a training session) will make any dog “better” at whatever is being rewarded. Sadly for Blaze.

If this continues, I would expect Blaze to put his mouth on his person in protest soon. Which will be too bad for everyone, especially for Blaze.

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  1. I watched it with the sound off and without reading your text and it didn’t take long before I thought that someone was going to get bitten. Maybe not this time, but soon.

    • And if that happens, who will be blamed? The dog.

      It is so sad as the guys clearly love the dog, they just don’t know what else to do and can’t seem to image that this could really be a problem. I hope they are right; I hope it never is. Thanks for viewing and for commenting.

  2. I initially thought the vocalizes toon was cute too. But I kept waiting for the man to take control and put the dog in the kennel. It never happened. People must remember that someone must take control. If they don’t, the dog will. And they won’t think that’s too funny.

    • Teri

      You miss the point I feel but perhaps wrongly you assumed this, because the article focuses only about rewards for uncooperative behaviour – therefore you think the human must make the dog get in the crate because the dog cannot be allowed to show uncooperative behaviour (old fashioned make-them-do-it training). Actually I would say the dog is not ok with being picked up or touched. but he is showing A LOT of restraint. It would have been helpful to have shown force-free crate training at its best (eg using positive reinforcement inc clicker training) in this article – and not make the huge implication, that indeed you have picked up on, that the person needed to stop moving his hand away to stop rewarding the dog for his ‘protests’. Now that may have resulted in a bite. The message has not been made clear at all.

    • i thought the same…

    • More than taking control. There are also much more effective means of training your dog to use a crate, than forcing them into it. Just like with anything else, it’s a process. Some take to it instantly. Others you have to gradually introduce and teach them that it’s not a bad thing. One little search online would have given them some guidance on how to introduce their dog to a crate properly.

  3. are you seriously going to complain about this video? DO you own huskies??? because if you don’t you have no right to tell them how to raise their dog and you probably aren’t aware of how stubborn and vocal this breed is. I’m sure this video was meant to be funny not taken seriously! Lighten up!

  4. I see this in a different light. I see a dog thinking this is a game, and 2 humans going along with it. I really can’t see this dog actually biting to the point of hurting. We play little games with our dog and she has never bitten anyone to hurt them. We have trained her to attack anyone who is harming us or our children and we have sessions on what the kids are supposed to do to get her to respond. She is a small 13lb Chihuahua mix and yes she can take down any man or woman within her reach if she feels we are threatened. But she also knows when playtime is, when we are goofing around and never has she used that time to attack us. I believe these men are safe with this dog. I don’t see a threat, I see a dog being playful and wanting attention, just like any teen would do.

  5. Teri why on earth does someone”need to take control” . If the guy really wanted the dog to go into the kennel he could do it in a positive way. No force needed. Bottom line he was provoking the dog and It wasn’t funny.

  6. Sarah, I wonder if tone of voice makes a difference? Maybe Blaze responds to a command toned voice and the guys are using a play or praise tone? Without sound I definitely thought that guy was gonna get nipped if he didn’t stop messing around.

  7. What a good idea “Elizabeth” to watch with sound off. Not that I ever agreed with any of it with sound on, but I could just pick up more SIGNS from the dog without the distracting noises of the HUMANS..This is BAD on so many levels 🙁

  8. I totally agree…and Husky’s are a headstrong breed that are not particularly complacent, unless it’s for something they want…one if these times the dog will say no and mean it…

  9. I have been owned/have owned huskies for nearly 30 years. I did laugh because I’ve had a very vocal husky, and our new pup is just as obnoxiously vocal. But in the end, ALL my huskies knew who was boss.

    This is cute only – and I qualify that strongly – because I love Husky vocalizations. However, in the context of this video, I too was wondering when Blaze would nip. I’d tolerate one wooooooooo and then it’s CRATE and they go. Period.

    I also agree: when (not if) Blaze bites or nips, it will be BLAZE who gets the blame. I admit: I laugh when my husky talks to me. But in the end, she doesn’t get her way. I get mine. As it should be.

  10. I saw this, and as a trainer, instantly thought too, OH NO!!!! Not only is the man reinforcing the protests, but he is toatlly ignoring the clear signs the dog is giving.
    The vocalization, the tongue flicks, the eye contact, the mouth on the hand. Somebody is going to get hurt. And if the man continued, the situation would just escalate.

  11. I definitely see a posible bite about to happen “out of nowhere” The lip licking is a signal that the dog is stressed. The dog is actually being very tolerant of this humans behavior and, you’re right, he has no idea what he wants. If you need your dog to get up, stand up and call him to you, give a reward, then have them go into the crate, reward again.

  12. Lighten up people. They made this video for fun. They know the dog. You are all making too much of a couple of guys making a fun video.

  13. Oh Goodness everyone! *Respectfully disagree* Who here knows Blaze personally? Anyone interact with him? Huskies have wide ranging personalities and traits. They are a very intelligent breed. I play around with one of my babies who will do the same with me, placing his mouth around my arm or hand, and vocalize in a similar manner while we are… Wait for it…. Playing! 😮 Am I scared I will ever get bit? Heck no, not from *him*! Would I do this with a good friends older female husky? Heck NO, she’d bite me! She will growl if you get within three feet of her while she’s eating a snack! *Good owners know there puppies modes operundi!* Looks like Blaze has parents who love and take care good care of the puppy to me.

    Now, I see how your point was arrived to, reading animal behavioral signs, and if the puppy was instead a pure “instinct” reactor, say like a Lion, or a Hyena, then yep. Someone is about to get bit. Here. IMO Blaze is showing his personality off. Yes I laughed. And did it again 🙂

    Disclaimers: I do believe in *some training* with my pups. Each their own yes? Mine knows when I am serious about getting into his crate. He can differentiate in my playful and serious tone. It works with *us*. I make a stink face and say “get yo butt in that crate baby” and he surprisingly goes, without maming me! He may even howl at me. I think it’s cute. My situationally repetitive “get yo butt in that crate” is as effective as a clicker.. Girls think its way cuter too 😉 Also I don’t have a half of a century of experience with Huskies making me a de facto husky God of knowledge, nor have I dealt with 100 plus huskies overseas in a time of war. Yes I have been told I have a sense of humor if that becomes a point of critique shortly and is no new revelation to me; No I’m not a moron but have an intensive biological degree in science,; No that’s not as cool as your PhD, I know :/ (congratulations by the way); No I’m not being agressive or insensitive to anyone’s viewpoint and respect yours as well, just wanted to be pointed and comical enough to get your to see mine (and millllllllions of others who share it); ** I can admit this all comes to personal, subjective stances of how to approach the theme of training vs. ‘laissez faire’ -ish type approach and how far to gravitate to each of the polar-ends of the spectrum** (again I believe in some training!). I get it I do some want theirs to be show-worthy and raise their paw to ask before they go potty; Yes we all know I’m on one end of aforementioned spectrum and your beliefs are at the others; Yes if I get bit it’s my fault; No I’m not going to remind anyone how unhealthy BigMacs are for you and perhaps parental guidance about its inherentantly evil nature and proper correction with brussel sprouts would have circumvented inevitable artery clogs (I don’t feel like steaming brussel sprouts every day either); Yes my grammar is relatively poor when it comes to run-on sentences and proper punctuation; Yes this prolly makes some angry, but I don’t know you.. maybe I’ll get a high-five?; Thank you very much for making it to the end my metaphorical banter. I love my huskies and yours love you and that is a beautiful God sent blessing we can all be thankful for so smile at that. Maybe I need more training? Maybe you should “get yo’ butt in that crate” 😉
    God Bless you all!

    • I completely agree with this. I have a 4 year old husky who also likes to vocalize and put his mouth on me, but is the one of my three who I am least concerned about ever biting. However, my 8 year old husky is one who I would almost be concerned about after he gave multiple warnings.

      I especially agree with those in the responses who have discussed how the different human tones of voice make a difference. My three certainly know the difference between the “I mean business” tone and the “I’m just playing” tone.

  14. This is a great breakdown of the dog’s body language, but I wish you’d included tips or a link to proper crate training within the article.

  15. The video i’m sure was made for us to laugh. He shows no sign that he wants to bite – he is just playing with his dog and being more silly and extending it to show us how many times he says ‘no’.

    You all need to stop analyzing things like a woman and enjoy the funny nature of the video. He didn’t say ‘how to train your dog to go in the kennel’. The focus of the video is for pure amusement. We use to chase our husky around saying ‘bath bath bath’ just to be funny – just like you chase your children ‘i am going to get youuuuu’ for fun and to be silly.

    When it comes to all seriousness – it did note he goes to the kennel himself – so you all just need to remember dogs don’t understand words – we do – and the dog is joining in on the silliness.

  16. I totally agree!
    When I saw the head whip and hand retreat, I was thinking – ‘Mister, are you blind here?? This is a snappy dog in the making!’
    The quick withdraw of his hand along with the rest of his body language says to me “I’m not quite in charge here.” which yes, confuses the dog completely as to who’s running the show.

  17. It’s obvious that they made this video because they thought it was funny. And it is.. to a point. But if one knows dogs, and one doesn’t have to know this one specifically, one would see what is coming down the pike. The whole picture has to be taken into consideration. And I don’t think those who find that this is being taken “too seriously and should lighten up” are seeing that whole picture. Which is to say, it’s starts with a small “no” and becomes a big giant issue when the small “no” is ignored. That from a horse trainer Sarah has quoted and I have read. When we ignore the small “no”… So for those who have not trained 10’s of thousands of dogs and puppies of all breeds, sizes, and behavioral issues, like Sarah has, I would politely request a little respect and some acknowledgment for what this woman does every minute of every day of her life. She has no one but the dogs and their owners best interests at heart, and does not make comments like this lightly. She knows the difference between cute, funny, and not so much. She also doesn’t need me or anyone else defending her, but I couldn’t continue reading without commenting about what is in this video, what she sees, and what those who don’t come close to her level of experience and commitment see. Always an opportunity to learn, and I thank you, Sarah.

  18. That is why I love huskies and mals. They are stubborn have opinions and like to voice them.

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