Huskies and mini huskies are some of the most intelligent dogs on the planet — but they still need regular training to learn commands, keep their behavior in check and be the best companions.
We’ve compiled a list of the best dog training tips to ensure that training is fun and rewarding for both you and your mini husky. Let us know your tips in the comments!
1. Start Them Young
There’s lots of online disagreement about when you should start training your puppy, with some ‘experts’ saying that you should wait until they reach a certain age and others saying it’s a good idea to start training them as soon as you get them home.
We believe that puppy training works best when it’s started early — usually as soon as you bring them home from the breeder. Starting them young means that they quickly become accustomed to a training atmosphere and also doesn’t give them any time to pick up bad habits!
One thing to remember is that puppies have much shorter attention spans than older dogs so training should be in short, sharp bursts rather than long, protracted spells. You want to keep your dog wanting more when it comes to training, so they’ll be keen to start again tomorrow, rather than tiring them out with it.
2. Consistency is Key
While keeping mini husky training sessions short — say, around 5 minutes — is a good idea, your mini husky will learn much quicker if you keep training sessions regular and consistent.
By regular, we mean at least once every day. Only by plenty of repetition will your puppy learn training, so give them as many chances as possible to repeat themselves!
3. Learn the Value System
While it’s wrong to think of dog training as nothing more than bribing, when you first start out you will need to have a supply of treats on hand to coax your mini husky into obeying your commands.
But not all treats are created equally — especially in your pup’s eyes! You should become aware pretty quickly what treats your dog absolutely loves and would do anything for, and the treats that they’re less bothered about.
When you first start training, or start teaching a new command, you will need to be at your most persuasive so you will need to use high-value treats. Usually these are moist and flavorful — perhaps a small cube of ham, cheese or chicken. With these delicious treats on offer, your mini husky will be on their best behavior and most receptive to your training as they work to earn their treats.
As the training continues, you can start using increasingly lower value treats, until the point where your puppy obeys your command whether there’s a treat on offer or not. You should still reward them with a high-value treat very occasionally though!
4. Keep Treats Small
It’s best to keep treat sizes small as you’ll likely use them a lot in the first stages of training. Dogs don’t place value on a treat according to its size, rather on its taste, so keep treats to a pea-sized portion.
If you’re treating your mini husky a lot during training, you may want adjust down their meal sizes accordingly. As small dogs, mini huskies can put on weight easily and require a fair amount of exercise to stay trim.
5. Intermittent Treating is Best
Once your mini husky has learned a particular command, you can start to move into the maintenance period. It’s essential that you keep up your dog’s training even when they get older as they will simply forget it. Use it or lose it!
But you won’t want to treat them every single time they perform the behavior correctly — otherwise the treat might lose value in their eyes, not to mention the additional calorie load! So, once they’ve learned the command and you’ve started successfully training them with lower value treats, you can start treating them only every other time they perform correctly.
The treating should then gradually decrease until it’s just an ad-hoc reward as you see fit. Make sure that you do still treat your pup ocassionally though as this will keep them on their toes and motivated to respond correctly.
6. Dogs Can’t Generalize
Mini huskies are incredibly intelligent but, like all dogs, they’re not able to generalize. That means that while they may be able to sit and stay perfectly in your back yard, they might not be able to replicate that behavior in the park, for instance.
This doesn’t mean that they’re disobeying you, just that they are unable to take their training and apply it to different scenarios and environments.
That means that you will need to proof your dog training.
Proofing is the act of practising your dog training in as many different situations as possible. Not just in your home, not just at the park: anywhere and everywhere a training opportunity presents itself.
The more you practice in different places, the better your mini husky will become at applying their training to different environments, and the more prepared they’ll be for unexpected circumstances.
7. Be Kind and Praise
The final tip shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise: your mini-husky will respond best to training when the atmosphere is lighthearted and fun, and when you lavish them with attention and praise for performing as you want them to.
Never shout at your dog or tell them off during training, even if they seem to be taking steps backward.
All your puppy wants to do is to please you so if they’re not ‘getting’ the training, that’s because you’re not being as clear as you need to be.
If your mini husky starts taking backwards steps or getting confused, always remember the golden rule: training should progress at your dog’s pace. Not yours! That might mean going back to repeat steps, using higher value treats and even re-training them from the ground up if you don’t manage to keep their training consistent.
Training isn’t a quick fix: it’s a part of the daily doggy lifestyle! Make it a part of you and your mini husky’s daily life and move slowly.
What’s your top dog training tip?