Siberian huskies are a beautiful, athletic, independent and intelligent breed. Despite their relatively gentle and affectionate demeanor, these dogs are not easily trained. As pack dogs, they challenge leadership and test their owners' limits, which can lead to destructive behavior if left unchecked. To avoid a bad experience with one of these dogs, it's important to understand their temperament and train them properly for all experiences and situations.
Method 1 of 3: Training a Siberian Husky
Step 1. Establish yourself as alpha
The difficulty of training Siberian huskies is quite famous: because they are pack dogs that follow a hierarchy, these animals are stubborn and independent. Because huskies have natural behaviors that can become destructive if not properly trained, it's important to start minimizing them early to establish the foundation of a well-behaved animal.
- It is very important to be aware of the temperament of Siberian huskies. Willpower and confidence are important qualities that an owner must have for the dog to be obedient. Huskies just respect or obey alpha commands.
- It's not a good idea to treat your pet as an equal, as huskies work with hierarchies and only follow leaders. You must demonstrate that you are the leader at all times, whether it's eating before everyone else, walking through the door before the dog, or getting the animal to move so that you can. Establish that hierarchy.
- Huskies can get aggressive when trying to establish hierarchy. In these cases, it is critical to demonstrate your dominance as an alpha to control this behavior. Allowing the husky to continue will encourage him and cause him to redirect the aggression towards other people and animals.
- The natural behavior of huskies is often unwanted by owners. The alpha position will allow you to have the authority to train the dog not to go jumping, digging and biting around.
Step 2. Reward good behavior
The foundation of a well-behaved dog is good manners. Use an encouraging voice and some delicious treats to convince your pet and repeat the good things you do. This training is known as positive reinforcement.
- Reward the animal quickly so it knows what behavior to replicate. A late reward will confuse you. Once the dog has mastered a command, treats are no longer needed.
- Turn bad behavior into good. Let the animal know what can be done and what cannot be done through discipline.
- The bait and reward system can be used safely as it will not make the animal aggressive or fearful. Instead of acting violently on the animal, you simply shouldn't indulge it with treats it doesn't deserve.
- Keep training simple and set goals. The dog has a learning curve: start with simple commands and increase the difficulty and rewards in stages.
Step 3. Discipline the dog without using violence
In addition to praise and rewards, bad behaviors also need to be disciplined. Corrective action must be taken immediately: be consistent and try to redirect the animal to the desired behavior. Never act with violence, always control the animal through toys, snacks, games and affection until it acts as desired.
- Be firm and use words like "no" and "stop" clearly and firmly, but never violently.
- Maintain alpha leadership by controlling training and issuing commands with authority.
- A given command must be obeyed. If the animal refuses to obey you, ignore it and don't give it what it wants. Try again after a few minutes, being persistent and patient until he obeys you.
- If the dog remains stubborn after several attempts, take him to a corner of discipline, where he can't interact with anyone until he calms down.
Step 4. Establish a vocabulary with the dog
As in human-to-human communication, vocabulary is the foundation of understanding and a good relationship with your animal, making it smart, well behaved and understanding what you want it to do.
- The best option when communicating with the husky is to use simple words like "yes", "no", "sit", "stay" and "come".
- Familiar words and phrases build confidence – the husky is more confident in learning who his leader is and what is expected of him.
- A good vocabulary gives the dog knowledge and, over time, the ability to put together words and phrases to understand more complex tasks.
Step 5. Maintain consistency and balance in your workouts
As smart as they are, good behavior is the result of repeated conditioning in a consistent environment, and routine is the best way to achieve this. The routine is good for both the dog and the animal, as training, games, going to the bathroom and exercises, when performed following a routine, maximize your time together and relax expectations.
- Commit to a daily routine to train the husky effectively: sudden changes in schedule can confuse and irritate the dog, which ultimately encourages breaking the rules established during training.
- Keep food, toys, collars, snacks and cleaning supplies available so you don't interrupt the daily schedule or leave the animal stressed.
- Keep calm at all times. Siberian huskies must identify who is in charge and that the things you say are not just suggestions. Rewards and disciplines must be equal to achievements or infractions. You must always share love and affection with your partner.
Step 6. Establish some rules and stick to them
As smart as huskies are, good behavior is a response to repeated conditioning in a consistent environment, which makes it important to be firm and communicate the rules to family members who come in contact with the animal. It is likely that the husky will not follow inconsistent or confusing commands.
- Decide what environments the dog can access and where he can sleep.
- The dog will likely need to be alone at one time or another. Set limits to protect your properties to protect them from the dog. Consider leaving it in the kitchen, where it is easy to clean up accidents and there is little chance it will be destructive. In addition, people tend to spend a good deal of time in the kitchen, which prevents the animal from being lonely.
Step 7. Exercise the dog at least half an hour a day to burn off excess energy
Remember that huskies have been conditioned for hundreds of years to be sled dogs, which has increased their natural endurance level. Lack of physical activity, in addition to making the animal obese and lazy, will make it try to run away, start to howl, cry and dig around.
- "Going out for a walk" is not enough for a Siberian husky. This breed is conditioned to run for miles a day and therefore requires large amounts of exercise. At the very least, be prepared for a long run or walk each day.
- Huskies prefer to howl rather than bark, and excessive howling often annoys the neighbors. Physical activities exhaust the animal and minimize such behavior.
- Siberian huskies are known for their creative escapes. In most cases, a husky will only try to "run away" if it is bored or not exercising.
- Outdoor activities such as walking or playing with Frisbees will help tire the dog out and are good alternatives to running.
Method 2 of 3: Training the Dog to Stay in the Cage
Step 1. Make the dog comfortable with the cage
Never use it as a form of punishment: keep the door open so he feels comfortable with it. Speak in a soft tone and praise the dog whenever he is inside the cage so he doesn't get scared. Avoid forcing or tricking him into the cage.
- If the dog refuses to enter the cage, lure him in with a tasty treat. Let him find the treat on his own and repeat the process several times a day if necessary.
- Word associations are important. Use the same word whenever the dog enters the cage so that he makes a positive association with that act. The best option is to use a password as soon as the dog enters the cage and eats the treat.
- Repeat the procedure several times on the first day so that the husky recognizes you and is comfortable with the cage.
Step 2. Prepare to close the cage door
At the end of the day, put a treat in the cage and close the door as soon as the dog enters. Leave a toy inside the cage so he doesn't get anxious and keep him company outside until he stops whining. Keep him locked up until he's been silent for at least a minute, resisting the temptation to release him before the minimum time or to say something to keep him quiet.
- Always keep an extra toy nearby if the treat and the original toy don't stop the dog from whining. Try to get his focus off the door as much as possible.
- An alternative is to play with the dog until he is tired and put him in the cage when he is sleepy. If the dog falls asleep inside the cage, let him sleep through the night.
- Don't praise the dog for being quiet in the cage after releasing it, as this conveys the idea that it's better to stay out of the cage. Pay little attention to the dog in the first moments after releasing him to reduce this impression.
Step 3. If the dog is afraid of being alone, put the cage in his room
Because they are pack dogs, huskies like to be close to the alpha, in addition to putting an end to the idea of being abandoned. Talk to the animal or place your fingers inside the cage to comfort it. Unless he needs to go to the bathroom, keep the cage door closed for at least four hours.
- Comfort is the key: if the dog does his needs in the cage, don't scold or discipline him.
- Leave the cage in the room for a few days until the animal becomes familiar with it. When he stops whining or doing needs in the cage, move it to another room.
Step 4. Leave the house without the dog
Don't treat the exit as a special event, try to leave without drawing attention so the animal doesn't feel sad.
- Practice until this becomes a routine. Increase the times you pretend to leave the house until you reach two o'clock. During training, find a way to go to the house or ask a neighbor to release the dog from the cage to relieve himself.
- It's important to let neighbors know that you're training the dog, as it will likely start howling more when it's lonely.
- Siberian huskies are masters of flight. When leaving the house, don't forget to keep collars, unsafe toys, and wires away from the cage so he doesn't get hurt trying to get out.
Method 3 of 3: Introducing Children to Dog
Step 1. Establish mutual respect between the child and the dog
As child-friendly as they are, Siberian huskies need social boundaries – no jumping, grabbing, chasing or pulling. Children must follow similar limits – no teasing, pulling fur, tail, ears, etc.
- Allow children to assist with training, under adult supervision, so that the dog is comfortable with all family members.
- Teach children to touch the dog without pulling the fur or hurting it to establish friendship and affection with each other.
Step 2. Identify possible risk factors
The dog's history should always be taken into account when bringing a dog to live with children. Find out if the animal has been raised or socialized with children in the past – in some cases, the breeder may have trained it to live with children. Observe the animal close to the children to identify any unusual behavior.
- Siberian huskies have an instinct for hunting small animals and sometimes small children. As they see small animals as food, they can confuse babies and attack them by mistake.
- Keep a new dog on a leash when you are around children to avoid injury.
Step 3. Learn to read the animal's body language
Few children will understand dogs' body language unless they are taught to recognize aggressive behavior. When nervous, dogs tend to bark, growl, bark their teeth and stare at the "target." Children should never go near a dog under these circumstances. Teach your children to stop, stand with their arms and legs close to their sides, and avoid eye contact with the dog. If the dog attacks anyway, the child needs to drop to the ground and bring his knees to his chest, covering his head with his hands.
Step 4. Prepare the husky for the arrival of a newborn
Begin training weeks or months before birth. Obedience training – sit, stay, lie down, etc. – must be started immediately and continued until the dog can be trusted.
- Simulate situations, smells and sounds with a doll so the dog knows when it's essential to obey a command. Don't be fooled by a false sense of security. If the dog is not obeying commands completely, it is best to take him to a professional trainer.
- To prevent the dog from misbehaving, the mother should say hello whenever she gets home without the baby for a few minutes until he calms down. This is also a good opportunity for the dog to sniff her clothes for new scents. When he is relaxed, introduce the baby.
- It's natural to give your baby more attention, but don't neglect the dog or make him jealous. Reduce your dog's attention gradually in the weeks before the baby arrives.
- Babies are different from children. Dogs usually recognize children as humans, but that doesn't always happen with babies. Identify the dog's "standard" behavior and reactions around the child and see if he repeats this around the baby.