With their luscious coat and bright blue eyes, Huskies are among the most popular dog breeds in the US. In fact, according to The American Kennel Club, they are the 12th most popular dog breed. But with that popularity, comes challenges. How to train a husky?
Today, we will talk about the challenges of owning a Siberian Husky puppy and how to avoid dumping it in the shelter later on. According to The Siberian Husky Club of America, an AKC-recognized national breed club, Huskies are among the most common dogs in shelters.
Why is that? Well, prospective dog owners are drawn to their beauty, but they completely ignore their temperament.
Are Huskies Easy To Train?
When it comes to training, Huskies are notoriously tough to train. They are among the most stubborn dog breeds in the world.
If you want to know how to train a Husky, we will give you a lot of pointers, tricks, and ideas. But it will not be an easy road.
If you want to own a Siberian Husky puppy, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to train it. Without proper obedience training, your Husky might be prone to destructive behavior.
Husky Personality Traits
How do you define a Husky? Well, the most common definition is that the Husky dog breed is intelligent, playful, and friendly. Famous for their good nature and love of people, Huskies make excellent companion dogs for active people. But with that in mind, let’s take a look at some Husky personality traits.
- They crave company and love nothing more than spending time with you, making them prone to separation anxiety when you are not at home
- At the same time, Huskies display an independent nature
- They can be mischievous
- Huskies love exploring and will try to escape from an insecure area
- Huskies have a strong instinct for digging and burying
- Because of their sled dog history, they have an instinct of pulling on the leash
- Huskies have a strong prey drive and might run after wildlife and other pets in the home
- While they are not known as barkers, Huskies can howl
- In fact, Huskies are quite vocal and love the sound of their own voice. They will often howl to show you and tell you how they feel about a certain aspect of life
- Huskies are active dogs that need constant exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy. They are best suited for people with an active lifestyle who spend a lot of time outdoors
Challenges When Training a Husky
By looking at their personality traits, you might have guessed some of the biggest challenges of owning a Husky dog.
Well, there are two things that jump out. Their stubbornness and prey drive. Let’s go one by one.
First and foremost, Huskies are among the most stubborn dogs in the world. They are intelligent, do not mistake them for dumb. But you need to put a lot of effort into your dog training session to cope with their stubbornness. Do not expect them to listen to you on the first go. Because of their stubborn, or let’s say independent nature, they will do as they like before they listen to you.
This is not a dog that lives to please you. Do not expect obedience and loyalty like with the German Shepherd here. Yes, Huskies can earn and can be trained, but it will take more time, effort, and consistency.
Do not assume your Husky will be different and listen to you. Huskies will explore, roam around, run around, and then come back to you. Yes, they will eventually come back, but it will not be easy on the first go.
Most Important Principles When Training a Husky
Now let’s talk about how to train a Husky. There are several main principles that you must follow when you are starting basic obedience training with a Husky.
Establish A Hierarchy
As we said before, your Husky has a sled dog history and instinct. This dog will love to pull. Back in the day, Huskies were bred to pull sleds in harsh arctic climates. They are pack animals by nature and follow their leader.
When training one, you must establish yourself as the leader. Now, that doesn’t mean you should beat and hit your dog. Leadership is not about domination or aggression. That is the wrong approach and will get you nowhere. In fact, it might be the reason why your Husky ends up in a shelter.
There are countless ways to establish yourself as a leader and establish a hierarchy. For example, a simple trick is to not let your Husky out of the door until you go out first.
How to do it? Put your Husky in a sit position in front of the door. Open the door, but if your dog runs to come out first, close it. Repeat until your canine companion waits for you to walk out of the door and then comes out.
Punishment is never the answer. Punishing your dog for misbehaving might make things worse. Think about it this way. When you punish your dog, you actually give them attention. And this might be something they want and you reward it.
Yes, balanced training has some punishment. But that is not hitting or anything similar. Punishments like leash correction will help with basic obedience training.
Distracting your pooch from the destructive behavior and putting their focus on you and something you want to do is the way to go.
Positive reinforcement is the way to go when training a Husky. Rewarding your dog for good behavior is the best way to train a dog.
Start off with basic commands like sit and stay. With a Husky, this will take several repetitions. But stick to your positive reinforcement routine and you will get there. Mental stimulation helps as well. When training a Husky, it is good to involve some games in your training. Because your Husky has a short attention span, playing games will keep the focus on the dog training session.
Speaking of the session, keep it short and sweet. Some 10 to 15 minutes and reward every desired behavior you get.
You have to have proper leash manners. In fact, with a Husky, it is even more important. You will rarely see a Husky puppy off-leash. That is because even the most experienced and best owners and trainers have challenges coping with the stubbornness, independence, and prey drive of Huskies.
Loose leash training is the ideal middle ground. Your Husky will get a bit more freedom, but you can still control it.
When it comes to leash rules, it is even more challenging with a Husky. As we said before, these dogs pull. Put a lot of attention and effort into stopping their pulling.
Consistency Is The Key
As we said before, Huskies are not dumb dogs. They are quite smart and intelligent, but their stubbornness makes things more challenging. So, how to train a Husky? Be consistent in your training. That means everyone in the family has to be on board and follow the same rules.
If you do not allow your Husky to sleep and sit on the couch that applies to every member of the household and every house you go in. There is no sleeping on the couch of grandma.
Consider Crate Training
We said before that leaving your Husky unattended can lead to separation anxiety and some destructive behavior. That is why you should absolutely try crate training.
Same with everything before, be consistent and patient. Results will come, but only if you have the patience to walk the long road ahead.
Is Siberian Husky a Dumb Dog?
This is a common misconception. No, Huskies are not dumb. They are not motivated enough to work with their owner. And that is why owners get frustrated with the intelligence of their pooch.
As one of the more challenging dog breeds, Huskies need consistent, firm, and proper mental stimulation to work and train.