Last Updated on August 19, 2021 by Marco
If you are reading this, then chances are you a) like Huskies, and b) know that they are not the easiest dogs in the world to train.
If this sounds like you, then read on to find out everything you need to know about Husky training for dummies! We will discuss why this zany character of the canine world is hard to train, and offer you some tips to help you on your own journey if you are a novice Husky owner.
Are Huskies Hard To Train?
There is no way to sugarcoat this. Yes, Huskies are notoriously difficult to train.
In a nutshell, this is because it is in their nature to be independent, headstrong, and stubborn.
But why are they like this? Why would anyone want to selectively breed a dog with this type of personality?
Keep reading to find out.
As the old saying goes, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Therefore, before bringing a Husky into your home, learn all you can about this unique breed.
Huskies were bred thousands of years ago by the Chukchi people of Siberia, to pull sleds of heavy cargo over snowy and icy terrain. These dynamos worked in teams with other dogs and were led by one human master driving the sled. If they did not work together as a team, they could die due to the tough environment.
So from this, we can take away the following: they need strong leadership, and in order for them to obey their leader they need to trust that you, their pack leader, is the smartest, strongest, and most capable being in the group.
We can also take away the notion that these dogs need to work, and they thrive in a team environment.
Husky Training Tips
Huskies were also used by the British during their exploration of Antarctica at the turn of the 20th century. It was not only their physical attributes but their mental toughness that enabled them to work and live in such a harsh environment.
So potential Husky owners really need to bear this in mind, that this mental toughness that is perfect in a sled dog may turn into headstrong behavior in a pet Husky.
This breed belongs to the working class category which means it absolutely needs a job to do. A bored Husky is a destructive Husky.
Learn more about: How Much Weight Can A Husky Pull?
Tip 1: Start Training Young
Enroll your Husky at puppy school. The great thing about puppy school is that your dog will experience crucial socialization with other dogs from a young age, thus decreasing the likelihood of issues when they are older. It was not uncommon for Huskies on Antarctic expeditions to fight each other. This “survival of the fittest” mentality may still be present in some of today’s Huskies.
Another great thing about puppy school is that you are working with a professional dog trainer who understands dog psychology. To that end, ensure you do your research and find a reputable trainer and school.
Tip 2: Invest In Good Gear
You will need an adjustable collar, a leash with a sturdy clip, and a harness. When it comes to collars, a good rule of thumb is that you should be able to easily slide two fingers beneath it, which ensures the collar is neither too tight nor too loose. You may also need a halti (which is like a muzzle) if your dog is ‘mouthy’. Huskies have a strong prey drive, meaning that they will chase (and possibly harm) smaller, furry animals (such as a cat), so you will need the right gear to go out for a walk.
Teaching any dog to walk on the leash takes patience and practice. Once you have established the “sit” command, get your dog to sit before you clip their leash to their collar. This can be hard because once the dog associates the leash with a fun walk then they automatically jump up with excitement. Refuse to clip the leash onto the collar until the dog has settled down and is listening to you.
When you are out walking, the very second your dog tugs or strains forward, then correct them. This means making them sit, or heel, before walking on. Huskies are one of the hardest dogs to teach this to since they have been bred to strain and pull. But if you can teach your dog this then you will save your shoulders and keep you both safer in the long run.
Tip 3: Use Positive Reinforcement
Healthy food treats are always a winner that you can use in your training to reward the correct behavior. Tiny pieces of treat are enough, otherwise, you could end up with a fatty on your hands!
Do not bother shouting at the dog if you get frustrated because a) this is not nice, and b) this dog will lose respect for you and basically ignore you anyway. NEVER hit your dog. This is cruel, plus it could backfire on you and you could get bitten.
Tip 4: Start With The Basics
This includes sitting and walking politely on the leash (no pulling!) This dog is easily distracted by external stimuli, so to make sure they are entirely focused on you, train in shorter sessions and start off in a place where there is not too much going on (your own backyard, for example).
Tip 5: Fake It Until You Make It
Not feeling super confident? Well, don’t let your Husky know that! Show them who’s boss right from the start, be firm but kind, and be consistent. You must be the alpha and you must be consistent. Let your voice and your body language show the dog you are confident and in control of the situation.
Tip 6: Watch Training Videos
There are literally hundreds of YouTube videos online that can give you some really good visual references about how to train your Husky. A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say. There are videos on teaching your Husky to sit, walk on the leash, and many more.
Hopefully, these basic tips will help get you and your Husky started on your training journey. These dogs need lots of mental stimulation, so change things up from time to time with your training sessions, and keep it fun.
This is a playful breed that will love a game or two incorporated into their lessons.