Training your husky is the next most important thing other than exercising him. Training is not optional when it comes to huskies, so in this article, I’ll be covering 7 golden rules to know and understand that will definitely make your training efforts more successful.
Please note, this isn’t a how-to routine guide, if you’re needing specific routines I have a great training article here.
Before getting into the 7 golden rules, let’s go through a quick introduction below!
A trained husky is a happy husky
Just before we get stuck in, it goes without saying that a trained husky is a happy husky.
Siberian huskies are pack dogs, and for thousands of years lived the pack life. This means huskies, in particular, have a strong sense of hierarchy and they need to be guided throughout their whole life from a leader who is always setting a good example. A strong-minded working dog like this needs an equally strong-minded owner.
It’s very easy to glance over at your innocent-looking husky puppy (or adult) while reading this, and think, “no way” this doesn’t apply to him! But you’d be wrong. This is pretty much ingrained into their DNA.
That may be one of the most important pieces of information to understand, but it’s not one of our 7 golden rules!
So let’s get into it!
1. A working dog must be worked.
Siberian Huskies are working dogs, their primary role for thousands of years was to pull sleds for the Chukchi Tribe as a means of transporting goods and people. They were also used sometimes for hunting.
All huskies would have had a specific role in the pack. And still to this day your husky requires a role, or in other words, requires a job to do. He needs to be “put to work” both physically and mentally.
The more training you go through with your husky, the more he’s being put to work. He’ll feel useful and valuable in your family. That’s one of the amazing benefits of training, you’re training your husky to be obedient and respectful, and he’s receiving the mental stimulation that he needs so much.
A great way to ensure you are “working” your husky on a daily basis, is to hammer home the basic commands like sit, stay, come, lay down, and leave it. Even once your husky can sit when you say sit, keep doing it, change it up, and make games of it. Basic command training should be practiced every day alongside potty training, crate training, recall training. It all helps.
2. Be consistent, and set good examples.
Earlier I mentioned setting a good example, and that’s what rule no.2 is all about!
By setting a good example, and being consistent, it means to not just sometimes be a good leader, and other times not.
It’s important to know that dogs in general, see things in black or white (not literally). Things are either right or wrong, easy or hard, confusing or not confusing.
If you don’t want your husky up on your couch, then don’t let him up sometimes, when you feel like it. Once you set rules and start showing your husky what you do and don’t expect of him, it’s important that you never confuse the situation. Be a good leader and stick to what you set in the beginning.
It’s easy to do things in front of your husky that will likely encourage a response that you already knew you didn’t really want in the first place! Let me explain… This usually happens when playing. For example, it’s best not to sometimes encourage your husky to jump up (even when playing a game), if you actually hate him jumping up at all other times. Remember it’s black and white for dogs, if you sometimes allow things, it becomes very hard for him to know what’s right and wrong. You’ll think he’s being disobedient, when actually it may be because you’ve confused rules in the past.
So, try your best to be consistent, and set good examples of only behavior you do want.
3. Train during the most appropriate times of the day.
I remember once, my maths teacher was trying so hard to get us to concentrate on learning a rather unappealing new form of algebra. But to our excitement, a harmless fight broke out between two students outside of the window. My teacher had lost the attention of everyone, and even after the fight had stopped, it still had most of us flustered and talking about it throughout her lesson. It’s safe to say, we learned absolutely nothing. We were distracted, and we weren’t concentrating.
Training your husky at the correct times of the day is rather important, but often not thought about. I don’t mean specific hours of the day, but more so during the most appropriate times, and this depends mostly on your daily routine.
If you try training him when he has more pressing issues on his mind, it’s going to be very hard for him to get things right. If you try training him when it’s getting close to his mealtimes or try having him sit and stay patiently when he hasn’t yet had his daily exercise, it’s clearly going to be hard for him to succeed. These are just a couple of examples, but there are many more.
Always choose an appropriate time of the day to carry out training routines, set your husky up for success, make his training as easy for him to get correct, so you can reward him, and build that positive link.
Avoid busy times when many people are inside your home, don’t try to train him when friends are over, avoid distractions, put the toys away (apart from the ones you may be using) and you’ll have his full attention ready to learn.
4. Set him up for success. Break each training session down.
Setting your husky up for success is something I mentioned last section. You see, dogs learn so much easier when you implement positive reinforcement whenever they get something correct, whether that’s responding to a command, or not doing something you don’t want them to do. Whatever it may be, when you can capture the moment your husky has just correctly followed an instruction, you must pounce on the opportunity and praise him heavily. The link between receiving positive attention (and even a tasty treat) with the action he just did, is a powerful technique.
So, the more times you are able to “capture that moment” and reward him after he gets something correct, he’ll learn faster and have a solid understanding of commands in a short amount of time.
So, you need him to succeed in as many different training attempts as possible. You must help him get things right.
This means, taking baby steps with training. Set him up to succeed by making the training very easy, especially in the beginning! In the beginning, he’s going to have no idea what you want, so break each training session down into small milestones, and as soon as he makes even a tiny amount of progress in the right direction, use it as an opportunity to reward him. This will keep his interest, he’ll be more accepting of training, and eager to continue the training. You’ve just created a good student.
An example of breaking a training session down would be teaching your dog to wait patiently inside your house at the front door, while it’s open. You wouldn’t just bring your husky to the front door of your house, open it and say “stay” he’s going to see all of the distractions outside and run right out of your house. So, you would make him sit at the door before it’s open (success 1) then ask him to stay, while you slowly open the door a crack, if he remains seated (success 2) then continue, opening the door wider each time, for a small amount of time, if he remains seated (success 3). Always build upon previous successful milestones.
5. Always use the same commands!
This happens a lot! It goes back to many things previously said. Like I mentioned earlier, dogs see things in black or white. So when it comes to commands, “come here” is not the same as “here”, just like “stay” is completely different to “stay there”. Your husky will get confused.
Even a slight change of the phrase could be completely throwing your husky off and confusing him. This would be setting him up to fail, rather than setting him up to succeed as we discussed just above.
This golden rule is particularly important when you have multiple people trying to train your husky. You and your husband, wife or partner, even kids, all need to agree on what commands you want to use for what purpose. And then stick to them!
It’s so easy for one person in your family to say “sit”, then another person says “sit down”, then another says “sit ya butt down” I’ve heard it all. Hopefully, you can see how this is confusing for your husky. So try sticking to the same commands within your household.
6. Remain calm and positive.
The worst two things you want to hear when you aren’t calm or positive, right! However difficult it may be to remain calm when your husky doesn’t follow the training session as you had expected, it’s still very important.
Dogs often choose a person they want to listen to the most, it just happens. This is because they will choose one person they deem to be their leader. It doesn’t mean other people can’t successfully train them, but it does make it a little harder.
If you want to be seen as his leader (if he hasn’t already chosen your partner!) then you must be like a leader you would want to have. A good leader is calm, positive, confident, and helpful, at all times (even if you get things wrong!)
If you act calm and positive around your dog, not just when you speak to him, but make it your overall demeanor, your husky will absolutely pick up on this and he’ll naturally want to follow you and listen to you.
This, of course, has a huge impact on training sessions and his willingness to obey your commands and cooperate will be greatly enhanced.
7. Quality time and building a strong bond is essential.
The last golden rule is to just spend as much time as you can bonding with your husky. I know you love your dog, of course you do, but you would be surprised how easy it is to get caught up in training and exercise, that you forget to just have fun with him.
If you spend a lot of time having fun with your husky, playing with him, being an active part of the game with him, your bond will become extremely strong. A strong bond will have a huge knock-on effect on all other aspects of his life and yours, let alone training will certainly be easier.
Making sure your husky is happy, is the key to success. As long as you put the work in from all angles, and do your best to have an enjoyable, healthy, fun lifestyle with your husky, he will be the obedient dog you want him to be.
Remember to play just as hard as you work!
So there you have it, 7 extremely important lessons which will certainly help you with your training efforts. Huskies aren’t the easiest of breeds to train, so it certainly won’t be a walk in the park. But try your best, following proven methods whilst remembering the rules above, and you’ll be well on your way!
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