Huskies are irresistible; you’ll love them at first sight. But as they say, love alone is never enough. Before you fall for the looks, you need to find out if indeed this breed is a fit for the kind of pet you’re looking to bring under your roof. One of the most critical areas is the ease of training the dog.
Are huskies easy to train?
Huskies are an intelligent, energetic, and outgoing breed; always seeking to lead the pack and so they’ll tend to come out as being stubborn. This makes them hard to train, but it’s something that’s achievable if you’re a strong owner.
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In this article, I share with you the insights I’ve gathered about training huskies so that you know beforehand what you’re getting yourself into.
However, you’ll need to be intentional about the process. You’ll also need to be guided by a dedicated training schedule so that you stand higher chances of turning your husky love into a champ within the shortest time possible.
Here’s what makes it hard to train a Husky
The first step towards successful training is to know their personality and temperaments. This breed has massive energy levels. They’re also curious and so I always advise the owners not to mistake their curiosity for disobedience.
Most of the time, they’ll insist on having their way and so you’ll need to be firm for them to listen to you.
However, that doesn’t mean yelling at them as that will only hurt it’s ego and make you spend a longer time in training than is necessary. Whatever happens, I need to emphasize this, don’t yell at your Husky.
The original purpose for breeding huskies was so that they could pull sleds in the cold and icy regions of the far North. That manual nature of the dogs required that they harden up so that they can handle whatever the harsh Arctic climate throws at them.
The breed functions best as pack animals. In such a pack, there must be a leader who provides direction to the rest. The leadership of the dogs isn’t handed to any of them by chance.
The ideal candidate for this position must demonstrate their power and energy, sometimes with a fight from the other potential contenders. The one who manages to become leader will have the following of up to 22 dogs.
Fear and weaknesses are things you won’t easily find in the leader of the pack. Such a dog is often resolute and controlling.
The same principle also applies to you.
If you want to successfully train your husky, you need to get it to a point where it can take orders from you. That means you need to have strong leadership skills so that you’re the “lead dog” of some kind.
If you’re the kind of person that hesitates, you’ll be met with a lot of “insubordination” as the breed can’t stand commands from someone they consider not to be astute (as they are).
The Huskies also have high energies which demand that they find the right way to engage them. If you’re interested in taking home a potato couch dog, the husky isn’t your best shot.
You’ll have to find a way to ensure they burn off the extra energies. I’ve often realized that dog parents who ignore this advice always end up with their dogs having destructive behaviours. The dogs end up being termed as “mischievous, destructive, stubborn” and more.
As a matter of fact, your dog isn’t any of those things, it’s only that it’s not found the right expressions of energy and strengths. In other words, be creative and find a way to be active throughout so that they aren’t accumulating a lot of unneeded strengths.
If you’re looking to have a husky as a furry friend, don’t feel intimidated. Don’t let fear grip you nor should you give too much thought to the many negative reports out there concerning this breed.
If I had given room to fear and a lot of propaganda flying out there about this breed, I would have missed out on the endless fountains of love that the huskies have to give.
Of course, before adopting my first husky, I did a lot of research and so I knew that it wouldn’t be a walk in the park, but I was determined to be a husky parent.
In the end, out of persistence and love, I never regretted making that move as my home has never been the same since we had our first husky.
Training a Husky
I now want to show you the basic parts of training a husky that I followed to be a successful and happy parent.
But before we go even further, you’ll need to remember that due to the special nature of the breed, it’s not practical that you’ll achieve your training goals in a few days.
My first question to any person seeking guidance on the breed is to ask them why they want a husky.
The second thing is to determine if the person is ready to make the necessary investment particularly in terms of time and persistence in training the dog. If you’re the ever-busy type, it’s probably a good idea for you to be a docile breed.
But if you know what you want; nothing short of a husky, here is what you need to know about this breed.
Another thing to know is that there are three basic parts you must get right during the training of your husky buddy. These are alpha dog training, leash training, and regular commands.
In the following section, I break down each of these three in full detail. Let’s delve in:
The Alpha dog training
As I mentioned earlier, huskies function more like pack animals. At the top of their hierarchy is an alpha male that is the one calling the shots. All the other dogs are loyal to the alpha. If there is a rebellion by another male dog, then the alpha male must be enough.
The breed has a way of smelling out weak leadership; they can’t take being led poorly. They’ll not hesitate to take over with the slightest opportunity that presents itself.
But as you must be imagining, you’re not planning to buy a whole pack of huskies. So you think these insights aren’t applicable to you, right? Well, not quite.
Dr. Pippa Elliot, an animal expert from the Royal College of Veterinary gives some invaluable insights into understanding this breed.
The first thing Dr. Pippa says that the human owner of a husky is to assume the role of the alpha male bearing in mind that if the husky spots you as a weak leader, it will take over that role. You’ll now understand why people refer to the breed as being stubborn, controlling or even untamable.
Becoming a leader of a husky might sound like a daunting task. But let me now show you the tips that will make this goal achievable.
Correct the negative behavior
Huskies have a tendency of running around, digging holes, barking at strangers and jumping on behavior. All these are behaviors that you need to curtail or else, they could get out of hand. Every time the dog does any of these things you need to correct such behavior with a firm and resolute “No”.
Curtail violent behavior
Huskies that aren’t properly trained will not hesitate to bait or engage in other dangerous behavior. I’ve studied these dogs for quite some time and I’ve come to realize that such behavior is intended to establish the dogs as the leaders of the social pecking order.
The power of the “first time”
The Huskies are intelligent dogs and so they’ll test your tolerance to their behavior. The first time your dog displays an unpleasant behavior, you’ve got to be firm and stop the behavior.
If it repeats the behavior, repeat the command so that the dog knows you Don’t ignore or pretend you’ve not seen the behavior of the dog as it would take that to mean that you’re okay with it.
If you’re strict enough, the dog will learn to obey you and there’s nothing it will ever do without your approval.
Husky puppies are easier to train
As is the case with any other breed, huskies are easy to train when they are puppies. You’ll spend less time as compared to when you’re training an adult dog.
Your husky is precious; but not your equal
That sounds too harsh but I must say since it’s the truth. I’ve noticed with disbelief how many dog owners treat their dogs as their peers and so the dog ends up getting away with many things.
Worse still, some dogs are the ones that end up controlling their owners who let them have their way with reckless abandon. One thing to always remember is that huskies will not follow a peer but always follow a leader; so be one.
Confidence has no substitute
Your husky has to know right from the word go that you’re not just confident but more confident. That’s the only way you’ll get the dog to take orders from you. Before following, the dog wants to be sure that you know what you’re doing and believe in it.
Here are some basic commands to ensure your dog is well-behaved:
Rewards & Punishments
Use the following tips to incentivize or discourage specific behaviors that you don’t want your dog to engage in.
Social interaction and praise are your best vehicles to motivating your husky:
Playing games: Do this every time your dog completes a specific task or assignment. Identify the games your dog likes the most and use them. They love playing fetch and so that’s a good place to begin.
Treats: Offer a treat to encourage your dog to do something it feels shy about.
Heap on it praises: let this be your go-to reward system. Huskies cherish a soothing belly rub and other choruses such as “who’s a good girl/boy?”
Use the following to discourage violent or negative behavior from your husky:
- Withhold praises
- Avoid using violence
- Have it spend time alone in a designated “time-out zone”
So yeah, huskies can be trained. But as you’ve seen, you need to be intentional about and be in charge of the entire process.
I want you to succeed as a husky parent so that we can form one large community of husky lovers. Now go on and conquer your husky.