Are Siberian huskies easy to train?
Well, this all depends on a few factors. Each dog is unique – some may be more placid and trainable than others. This is true of any dog breed.
Another factor is the person doing the training. If they are an experienced dog owner, then perhaps they may find a Siberian husky easy enough to train.
For the novice and inexperienced dog owner, training a husky will certainly present some challenges.
In either case, consistency, firm leadership, and patience are crucial in order to successfully train this breed.
The Husky Mind
Huskies are smart dogs. But just because they know what you want them to do, does not necessarily mean that they will do it. They may be wondering what the point is?
Huskies are working dogs and they need a job to do. This is the key to training them.
Husky Prey Drive
Another thing to take into consideration is the prey drive of the husky. Prey drive refers to a dog’s interest in chasing other animals. Some breeds have a stronger prey drive than others.
For example, any of the sighthounds – whippets, wolfhounds, staghounds, etc., have an incredibly strong prey drive.
Huskies do have a strong prey drive too. And because they are constantly ‘on the lookout’ for action, they find it hard to focus their attention on one person. So the trainer really needs to be in control.
Huskies As Pack Animals
Dogs are pack animals, meaning that they always need to have an alpha. This relates to how their brains are hard-wired, and it is in their DNA. All dogs share some DNA with wolves, the ultimate pack animal.
So if you are not showing good, strong leadership (meaning that you are firm and decisive and clearly in charge), then a husky will literally walk all over you. Someone has to be the alpha. And if it’s not going to be you, they will make sure it is them. They don’t do it to be naughty, it is so that they can feel secure in their world.
Talk To A Professional
Talking to a professional dog trainer before embarking (pun intended) on the journey of husky ownership is a good idea. They can tell you what to expect, and also provide some guidance.
In fact, if you have your heart set on a husky but honestly do not think you have the skills to train one, you can always send your dog away to a professional dog trainer who can set them up with some great skills, which they will also teach you so that you can continue training at home.
Learn more about: Husky Training For Dummies
What Can Huskies Be Trained To Do?
Trained huskies are very useful, particularly as sled dogs. Huskies are still used in the northern hemisphere for sledding work and recreation.
However, if you do not live somewhere with snow, and you only really want a household pet, be prepared to give them an outlet for their boundless energy. This not only means vigorous leash walks twice a day but taking them somewhere safe and secure, like a fenced dog park, where they can run their husky hearts out.
If you are serious about owning a husky and have decided that you want to train them yourself, then how you train them ultimately depends on what you want them to do – are you after a jogging companion, for example?
Huskies do well walking and running in a harness, so any sporting activity that requires a harnessed dog may suit.
Things that huskies are not particularly suitable for is guard dog work (because they love strangers), and service dog work (they are too headstrong and boisterous.)
Husky Puppy Training Basics
As with any dog breed, your best starting point is to teach them obedience and socialization. This needs to start at a young age. Enroll them in puppy school, so that they can learn the basics – sit, stay, heel, come, etc.
The puppy school experience will get them used to being on a leash, and this is where teaching them to walk politely on a leash, and not pull, begins. This can be tough, teaching a husky not to pull, because it is their natural instinct to do so!
Puppy school is also great for getting huskies used to other dogs of all shapes and sizes. They love to chase and catch (and potentially hurt) anything small and fluffy, and with all of the toy breeds that are popular today, you and your husky are bound to encounter one at some point. So they need to know that the neighborhood Pomeranian is a friend, not food!
Sometimes it isn’t possible to train them as pups – you may have adopted your husky as an adult from a rescue group or a shelter. If this is the case, take the time to talk to their handlers to glean as much information as you can about their behavior before you start a training regimen.
Husky Training Gear
You will need to invest in some equipment to help train your husky, including:
- Collar (make sure it is neither to loose nor too tight, you should be able to fit two fingers beneath it comfortably)
- Leash (with a sturdy metal clip)
- Dog food treats to use as a reward, to reinforce correct behavior
- Dog whistle (this can help get their attention)
- Dog training books/manuals – these books will explain how to teach the dog how to associate a particular action with a particular word, i.e. ‘sit’
Other Husky Training Advice
- You will need somewhere safe and secure to run training sessions, with no distractions. Somewhere in the home is ideal.
- Do not overdo it. Try to keep lessons fairly short, otherwise, the dog will get bored and their mind will wander. To that end, try and make lessons fun and reward the dog with plenty of praise, pats, and some food treats in moderation.
- Remember never to punish your dog. Do not smack them or yell at them. This will just make them lose trust in you, and then they will never fully obey your commands. If you are getting frustrated then your dog probably is too, so take a break.