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So, you’ve decided to adopt a husky. The fun is just beginning…
One of the most important things to work out as a new owner is how to train a husky.
Good training from the get-go will ensure that your husky leads a happy and healthy life, and blends into your family and home easily. A well trained husky will quickly become your best friend — but a badly trained one could lead to destructive behavior and all-round chaos.
But fear not — we’ve compiled this ultimate husky obedience training guide — as well as a boat load of product recommendations — to help you train your new canine companion.
Let’s get right down to it…
- 1 Are Huskies Easy to Train?
- 2 When Should I Start Training a Husky?
- 3 How to Train a Husky
- 4 Husky Training Tips
- 5 Training a Husky: The Shopping List
Are Huskies Easy to Train?
Before you start training a husky, you’re probably wondering how difficult the road ahead is.
The truth is that these dogs are super smart — one of the most intelligent breeds around, in fact: so are huskies easy to train?
Well, thankfully, though they may look wild, their intelligence makes these beautiful wolf-like dogs very easy to train.
The trick is to ensure that you train your husky every single day to ensure that they’re trained quickly and completely.
Training isn’t simply a one-time thing: not with huskies or any breed, for that matter. It’s something you’ll be doing every day for the rest of your dog’s life.
But that doesn’t mean that it needs to be difficult. ‘Little and often’ is the key to good dog training. And we’ve all got time for that, right?
When Should I Start Training a Husky?
Experts are divided on when is the best time to start training a husky, with some saying that you should wait until they’re settled into your home and others arbitrarily advising 3 months.
Recently though, there’s been a change of opinion that we agree with. Ideally, you should start husky obedience training as soon as you bring them home from the breeders or kennels you adopted them from.
Dogs are easiest to train as puppies as they haven’t picked up any bad habits yet. There’s a risk that if you wait until your husky pup is X months old that you keep delaying and delaying until suddenly you’ve got a huge, badly behaved dog on your hands.
But while starting them early is the key to good training, that doesn’t mean that you should carve hours out of every day to whip your puppy into line.
Puppies have very low attention spans and tire easily.
15 minutes of training a day — split into 3 chunks of 5 minutes spread across the day — will more than suffice.
How to Train a Husky
Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty: how to train a husky.
As you’re probably aware, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s more than one way when it comes to training a husky.
Ideally, your training should combine lots of different elements of training. This will keep your husky engaged and progressing, and will make it a bit more interesting for you too.
Here are some of the best training exercises.
Husky Crate Training
Puppies rarely come house trained, and since nobody wants a house full of poop, house training should be started the instant you bring your husky puppy home.
One of the most effective and painless ways to housebreak your pup is crate training.
Here’s a good video on husky crate training:
Giving your husky a crate provides them with a place of their very own where they can feel safe and protected. Your puppy will see the crate in the same way they would see their den in the wild. Would you like to sleep in a dirty bed? No. And neither does a husky, so using a crate will make house training significantly quicker and easier.
Like any type of training, crate training is a case of starting small and building up over a long period of time.
Start as soon as you bring your puppy home for the first time. This will get things off on the right foot and make it easier to establish rules.
Firstly, make the crate attractive to your pup by adding a nice soft blanket inside. This is their den and so should feel homely.
Entice your new furry friend into the crate with a treat or toy. Accompany their entering the crate with a command like ‘inside’ or ‘on your bed’ so that they learn to associate this command with the crate.
Show them that the crate is a fun and positive place to be by praising them once inside.
Don’t shut the crate door — it’s vital that your pup does not feel trapped, frightened or punished. You want to create the impression that the crate is a good place to be, not a place you send them when they’ve done something wrong.
Keep repeating this game until your husky happily enters the crate of their own free will without encouragement.
It is as this stage that you can start closing the crate door. Initially keep the door closed for 30 seconds, then each day increase the time a little more until your husky is content to stay in the crate with the door shut for long periods of time.
Never let them out of the crate while they are crying or howling — always start your countdown once this has stopped. If not, they will see you letting them out as a reward for their crying, thus reinforcing this bad behavior.
When you do let your dog out of the crate, be sure to take them directly outside to go to the toilet. Again, accompany this with a suitable command — they’ll quickly get the idea.
Eventually your little hound will be happy enough to be in their crate even when you leave the house. Be sure to remove any choking hazards like collars or rawhide chews from the cage and leave fresh drinking water.
Again, you should build up how long you leave them alone. For the first time, simply stand outside the door for 30 seconds (or 30 seconds after they stop crying) and build up from there as they get more comfortable with the crate.
Don’t leave them alone for too long — 4 hours is about the maximum that husky-sized bladders can hold on for.
Best Crates for Huskies
It’s important to buy the right size crate for your husky to make sure that they settle easily into their new den.
As well as being secure, the crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in, but not so large that they’re able to apportion a part of the crate for going to the toilet in.
Some crates come with internal dividers that allow you to minimize or maximize the crate size as your husky grows.
We’re starting strong with this bestselling crate. This popular design features a door at the front and another at the end, giving two practical points of access. Once closed, the sturdy sliding bolts keep doors secure. The robust plastic tray is leak proof and can be lifted out for easy cleaning. It also comes with an internal divider which is ideal for letting the crate space grow with your dog.
- Very high quality
- Metal frame is super strong
- Internal divider means the crate grows with your pup
- Easy to keep clean
- Great value for money
- The metal can be a little sharp at the corners and may need covering
A slightly different design by MidWest, the iCrate is made with a slightly lower gauge metal than the Life Stages Model, so it may not be appropriate if your husky likes to chew the bars. This crate also comes in single or double door options, with hard-wearing removable plastic tray and an internal space divider.
The fact that it folds down makes it very portable and suitable for travel.
- Folds down easily
- High quality
- Easy assembly
- Tray can sometimes be tricky to remove
- Stronger dogs may chew down the bars
This popular crate comes in both single and double door styles. Like the MidWest models it has an internal separator to divide the space, and it can be folded away easily for transport or storage. It also has a removable plastic pan in the base. One advantage of this crate over the MidWest models is the closely spaced bars around the base which prevent husky paws getting trapped.
- Resilient construction
- Low price
- Simple set up
- Good quality
- Tray doesn’t come right to the edges
- Latches can be a little awkward
Husky Obedience Training
Obedience training provides your dog with a solid foundation for good behavior for the rest of his life. Successful husky obedience training is all about effective communication between you and your pup.
Teaching your dog to follow commands like sit, stay, come, lie down etc. marks you out as pack leader and your dog will be more confident and show you respect as a result, making him easy to control and trust in any situation.
If you commit yourself to spending a short amount of time every day to train, you will rapidly see great results. We generally allocate 15 minutes per day to training, split into 5 minute chunks over the course of the day.
The distinct and consistent sound of a clicker makes it ones of the best tools for obedience training your pup.
Press the clicker every time your dog performs the action or behavior you want, on command. Combining the click with a treat every time he gets it right will clearly show him he’s doing the right thing. Repeating this process will reinforce the dog’s understanding and keep him motivated.
Clickers are better than using your voice as your voice simply isn’t as clear and consistent as a click sound. Plus, you use your voice regularly for other things than dog training, which can be confusing to your pup.
One of the best clicker training programs we’ve experienced is the Karen Pryor Clicker Training.
Her site has everything from training manuals and tools to how to become a clicker training teacher yourself.
Husky obedience training doesn’t need to be boring — you can combine it with exercise games to really ramp up the fun.
Games like Fetch are perfect to combine with command training. Just remember to bring your clicker!
Husky Training Tips
Luckily, obedience training can be great fun for both you and your dog.
Here are our top tips and tricks for making training a husky easy and rewarding, for both you and your dog.
Top Treats for Training
Just like us, our four legged friends prefer some foods to others, so when training a husky to do something new be sure to use the most delicious treat possible to get their attention.
As time goes on and they start to get the hang of things, you can start only intermittently rewarding them with treats (use praise instead) and interchangeable use ‘lower value’ treats as well — as in, treats they like a little less.
Using an intermittent reward system will keep your husky interested and continuing to obey your commands, while also ensuring that you don’t need to reward them with a high value treat every single time that they perform a command correctly — otherwise this edges from a reward into a bribe.
Keep treats on the small side and as natural as possible to keep training healthy and avoid weight gain.
Everyone takes time to learn, so don’t be angry or frustrated if your husky doesn’t get it right the first time.
Punishing and other negative behavior can actually be a huge setback to the learning process so always keep your tone encouraging and positive. Praising your dog when he gets it right will make you both feel good and he’ll learn much faster.
And never extend training sessions longer than they need to be — your dog’s attention will wear away and you’ll be more likely to get frustrated.
Short and sweet is the key!
Use Puppy Training Pads
While you want to toilet train your puppy as quickly as possible, you need to accept quickly that accidents will happen. Husky puppies have very small bladders and will need to go to the toilet at least once an hour when they’re very young.
This is where puppy training pads come in handy. They’re great for those early months when you can’t take your pup outside all the time but don’t want them to pee on the carpet.
If you use the pads in tandem with crate training, you should quickly be able to train them out of the routine of peeing on the pads and use them only for ’emergencies’ or when you won’t be home to take them outside regularly.
Consistency is one of our top husky training tips.
If your puppy isn’t picking things up quickly it could be you who is the problem.
Choose your commands for each exercise and stick to them. That means if you start training your dog to ‘fetch’, you can’t change it next week to ‘go and get it’.
This is where clickers come in handy — they cement the correct behavior and tell your dog unequivocally that he is doing what he is meant to be doing.
Keep things in order and predictable for your dog with a daily routine. Make sure everyone in the family is using the same dog training techniques. Set clear rules. Decide what you will and won’t allow and make sure it stays that way — your dog will be more confident and responsive as a result.
Proof Your Husky Training
One of the most important things to learn as a dog owner is that dogs can’t generalize.
That means that while your dog may perform his sit commands perfectly well in your kitchen, he can’t do it at the park or in someone else’s house.
In order to get your husky to apply their training to as many situations and scenarios as possible, you will need to proof their training.
Essentially, that means practising your training and commands in as many different environments as possible. By doing this, your husky will be able to better respond to your commands in all manner of places, regardless of whether they’ve been there before.
Training. Never. Stops.
Even though you might have the smartest, most well trained husky on the block, he won’t stay that way for long if you don’t regularly reinforce his training — so don’t let things slide!
Remember to keep your dog interested and engaged with intermittent rewards and constantly proof their training in different places and situations. You can’t go wrong.
Training a Husky: The Shopping List
So now you know exactly how to train a husky, and all the products you need to do so quickly and safely.
What are your best husky training tips?