Did you fall for a Siberian Husky and their wolf-like looks not found in other domestic dog breeds? Whilst you love your dog to bits, this is a challenging breed to own, not least because their reason for living is to escape, and run and run and run! Indeed, there’s little downtime when you share your home with a husky, because of their seemingly endless supply of energy. For this exact reason, Siberian Husky training is very important. Properly trained Huskies make wonderful pets, but it’s important that you make an effort to train a Husky puppy from a young age to ensure they reach their full potential!
The Siberian Husky is a strong, energetic dog that needs lots of exercise but is prone to running off. This means that they are a challenge for even the most dedicated of pet parents. This is why training is so important with Huskies, something we understand here at Royvon. To give you a helping paw, here are our top 10 training tips for husky owners.
Few people would deny the Siberian Husky, with their distinctive markings and pale eyes, is a dog with a presence. Indeed, it is perhaps this wolf-like allure wrapped up in a friendly dog that first attracts many people to the breed. However, the Siberian husky is a classic example of ‘look before you leap’ because the Siberian husky is a whole handful of dog. Siberian Husky training is an important consideration that no owner can afford to ignore.
Siberian Husky puppies are adorable, but require lots of consistent training
How can we develop pups into trained Huskies?
First, let’s get some practical considerations out of the way. Huskies don’t drool so there’s no fear of your walls being redecorated with slobber. When it comes to shedding, it’s a mix of good and bad news. The Siberian Husky doesn’t shed much as a rule, except (and it’s a big except) for once a year when their hair sheds in the same way that snow forms a blizzard! Neither does the coat need trimming or clipping, although a slick over with a brush can help reduce matting and tangles.
Siberian Huskies are active and fun dogs to own
For the active person requiring a dog to accompany them whilst jogging or hiking, look no further than the Siberian Husky. Originally bred as working sledge dogs, they are up for all-day activities and are never happier than when running…and running…and then running some more. Amongst the many positive joys of Siberian Huskies is their love of life and of company. These highly sociable dogs are unreserved when meeting people. Of course, this could prove a little galling if you seek a one-person dog with eyes only for you, as they’re liable to ‘adopt’ any likely person who gives them attention.
Hand-in-hand with this sociability goes qualities such as being eager to please, adaptable, friendly, and affectionate. All of which sounds like Siberian Huskies are the perfect dog, so why do they have a reputation for being a handful?
Even trained huskies are escape artists!
Go back to the huskies love of the outdoor activity, to glimpse why these dogs are not ideal for first-time owners. Selectively bred to work hard and pull sledges, over the generations they developed an insatiable appetite for exploration. Translate this into a modern lifestyle and you end up with a determined escape artist who makes short work of scaling six-food vertical fences. While you can train a Husky puppy, you can’t remove this instinct!
But they don’t limit themselves to escaping from enclosed places. No. A husky off-lead in a park is liable to think the grass is green in the next field along and make a bolt for freedom. Indeed, many a Siberian Husky has taken off and not been seen for dust…until that is he gets hit by a car and hospitalized or worse. So, it’s important that Husky owners are confident and know how to handle such breeds.
Don’t forget the Siberian Husky is also an intelligent breed, but inclined to use that brainpower to get what they want- which is usually freedom rather than food! What’s more, they need bucket loads of mental stimulation (or entertainment!) and if you don’t provide it they make their own mischief. This means trying their paw of landscape design (digging up the garden) or recycling (chewing the house), and whatever their outlet for energy it’s going to be messy.
Surprisingly for such a strong dog, even trained Huskies don’t make particularly good guard-dogs. They’re more inclined to make friends with a burglar than bark at him. Plus, they can be a bit of a drama queen and scream when you tug on the lead. All in all, there’s never a dull moment when you own a Husky, but be sure your life needs brightening up before you make the commitment!
Huskies that are properly trained can make wonderful pets for experienced owners
Siberian Husky Training: Our Top 10 tips
You can only train a Husky puppy so far…
Know that a Siberian Husky is hard-wired to run off. In truth, even impeccably trained Huskies are a flight risk, although the training definitely reduces this. That love of running free, plus a strong chasing instinct, means a squirrel crossing your path could spell disaster which could, unfortunately, end with the dog being killed on the road. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by keeping your husky on a longline whilst exercising. This gives the dog freedom to roam and you the security of knowing you can get them back no matter what. And don’t worry that you’re limiting the dog’s freedom, because when a longline is handled correctly, most dogs forget they’re attached to it.
Exercise is essential for proper Siberian Husky training
A quick walk around the block doesn’t cut it for a Husky. But how do you exercise a dog that is prone to running off? One idea is to get a hands-free waist lead and take up jogging. That way your get fit at the same time as the dog (plus if you get tired the dog can tow you home.) In a fenced yard or even on a longline, play highly aerobic games such as Frisbee or fetch. Know that your dog needs a minimum of 45 minutes energetic activity twice a day, and that’s just the basic essentials. If all else fails and you’re struggling, consider investing in a dog treadmill so he can pound the pavements in the comfort of your own home.
Ensure you stay in control of your Husky when you’re out and about
Train a husky puppy to be properly socialised
In an ideal world, you’d source a puppy from a good breeder who takes puppy socialisation seriously. This means the pup has already been exposed to people, places, sounds, and smells before you take him home. You should continue this socialisation program, once he is home with you. Take your adult Husky out and about, and give praise or a tasty treat when they’re calm in the presence of others. If they are over-anxious or aggressive, divert their attention, change direction, and in the longer term seek the help of a professional trainer to overcome the problem.
Siberian Huskies are super smart
A Siberian Husky is not a dog for beginners because they have a habit of out-smarting their owners. The remedy to this is to get one step ahead of the dog by becoming knowledgeable about dog behaviour and, of course, specific Siberian Husky training. Read books by the experts and register with a dog trainer who knows what they’re talking about. When you have a wider knowledge base and have a plan in place to tackle problem situations, you will feel more confident. In turn, this new attitude feeds back to the dog who is more likely to respect you and take notice.
The secret to trained Huskies is rewards
Dominance theory is disproven, so do away with harsh punishment and train your dog by rewarding good behaviour. The rules are easy, you use a treat, praise, or play to reward the dog when they correctly carry out a command. They then learn that the way to earn goodies is to be a good dog and training becomes fun… This is the basis behind Royvon’s training techniques which are proven to work with this majestic breed.
Use the 3 clear consistent cues
Clear: Have a clear set of commands that everyone uses. Remember, English is a foreign language to your dog so using “Down” and “Drop” for the same action will confuse him. Decide on command words and stick the list on the fridge door so the family know the correct cues to use.
Consistent: Apply all house rules consistently. No feeding from the table means just that 7 days a week, with no exceptions at the weekend.
Cues: Use the tone of voice to guide your dog and give verbal cues to mark good and bad behaviour. Let your dog know he’s about to make a wrong choice with a short, sharp, “Uh no”, followed by a happy “Good boy”, when he does as asked.
Train a husky puppy by taking control
It’s important to button-down the basics from a young age by teaching a rock-solid “Sit”, “Stay”, “Come,” and “Look”. This will put you in control in so many different situations. Don’t underestimate the power of “Look” to focus your Husky’s attention on you, rather than a passing cyclist. This avoids a nasty confrontation and can make walks a pleasure again.
Keep things consistent
Your Siberian Husky can be stubborn as a puppy and as an adult – but so can you! Be sure to make training fun, but also make it regular. Lots of short training sessions spaced through the day helps to instil the understanding that he has to listen to you and get into the habit of obeying.
Mental stimulation is vital for Siberian Huskies
Stave off bad habits with mental stimulation. A Husky’s independent mind needs to be kept busy as they’re easily bored and they will make their own fun at the expense of your home, garden, and possessions!
Asking for help can save your Siberian Husky training
And finally, Huskies are strong, demanding dogs. If the training isn’t going to plan don’t be afraid to call in the professionals. It’s much better to get a plan put in place sooner rather than later, before bad habits become deeply entrenched and hard to correct.
Siberian Huskies are undoubtedly amazing pets and suit a lot of people’s lifestyles. But, it’s important to remember that they’re not a first-time pet, and they need an experienced owner who understands their unique needs and personalities. Having said this, with proper training, the rewards can be great, with a dog that loves spending time with you and encourages you to be active too!
Here at Royvon, we love training dogs of all breeds, including Siberian Huskies. We offer a range of training options at our three locations in Esher, Rugby, and Merthyr Tydfil. This includes everything from puppy classes to residential training stays. Simply visit our website to learn more about what we offer!
Darren is the Managing Director of Royvon Dog Training & Hotels. The business has been in his family for over 60 years! Darren uses this blog to share knowledge and information about dog training and more.