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There is something almost mesmerizing about the majestic Siberian Husky, and the breed has become more popular in recent years all over the world. For anyone with one of these gorgeous animals at home – training should be prioritized from an early age, as Huskies are known to be prone to some bad behaviors when not educated properly.
Learn what methods to use and how to approach unwanted doggy manners and see for yourself how it sets you up for a successful experience with your wolf-like fur friend.
Nobody is an expert right from the start, but the more you know before bringing your fuzz ball home, the more likely you are to prevent behavioral issues that might be difficult to correct later if left undealt with.
Common Issues & How to Tackle Them
The strong-willed Siberian Husky is known for wanting to do things their own way, and while they can be wonderful family dogs – they can also be something out of a nightmare for an untrained and unprepared dog owner. Being an intelligent- and high-energy dog, the Husky tends to develop bad habits and unwanted behavior when not receiving proper stimulation, or when not being shown how you wish for them to behave.
There are very few bad dogs in the world, and behavioral issues are almost always a result of bad training or inadequate guidance from the owner. It is a good idea to engage in preventive- and correctional training to avoid serious problems developing in your Husky household. Below are some common behavioral issues are often seen in Huskies:
+ Running off
The Husky is by nature an escape artist, and many are surprised how they seem to be able to escape the yard no matter what you do. The smallest hole in the fence will be enough for them to squeeze through, they know how to jump high and climb the seemingly most impossible surfaces, and digging is their specialty. Learn how to keep dogs from jumping the fence here.
Many Huskies also have trouble being off-leash, since their independent personality enables them to stray far from their owner, often with no evident intention of coming back. It is important to teach a command that tells your Husky to come to you and to work hard on having your dog respect the command despite distractions. Setting up wireless dog fences could help with the running-off problem too.
+ Barking and howling
Anyone who has ever met a Siberian Husky probably knows how vocal they can be, and while it is in the nature of the breed, it can become an issue if they are making noise for the wrong reasons. It is normal for them to be vocal when excited; like when you are tying your shoes to take them out for a walk, or when their favorite person comes home from work, but they can also develop the habit of barking obsessively when left alone or when bored, which should be corrected with training.
Don’t confuse vocalization with destructive behaviors like obsessive barking; because while Huskies are naturally vocal (and needs to be allowed to be), it does not mean that they should be allowed to bark all day until they drive the neighbors nuts. The best thing to do is to teach a ‘Stop barking’ command, and work with having them be quiet when you instruct them to, and it is always best to do this before they develop a bad habit, if possible, as it is easier to prevent than to resolve at a later stage.
+ Socializing with other dogs
Siberian Huskies are very pack oriented, and it is believed that they thrive when getting to have one or more other dogs as part of their pack. It might be beneficial to consider two huskies instead of just one, and otherwise spend a lot of time socializing the dog from an early age.
The reason for this is that many Huskies don’t get along well with other dogs from outside their own pack, but this is likely a combination of poor socialization in the early puppy stages and a genetic disposition to wanting to protect their own pack. Proper preparation and socialization can prevent this from happening and keep dog aggression and antisocial behavior at bay.
For Siberian Husky owners, it brings out a laugh every time the breed’s stubbornness is brought up. The Husky is extremely strong-willed, proud and a little mischievous, and they will almost always try to get things their way before they finally (and hopefully) succumb to your wishes.
As an owner, the best thing you can do is to work not to give in to their doggy demands (because oh yes, there will be some), and stand strong with confidence and patience. It is not a question about leadership, necessarily, and many professional dog trainers today promote a softer and positive reinforcement method, which has its base in mutual dog/owner respect.
Your challenge instead becomes to show your dog what is right and what is wrong; what you want him to do and what you prefer he does not do. Be consistent, and don’t give into those big and often hauntingly beautiful eyes of the Husky, as you won’t be doing them any favors.
+ Aggression and food protection
A strong pack mentality, intelligence, and territorial tendencies mix together in an unpleasant way, and it is your job as a Husky owner to make sure that aggression is never allowed or in any way encouraged. The Siberian Husky is a fantastic dog, but it can tend to guard their belongings; such as food, toys or even people.
If this happens, or if you notice signs of aggression, it is extremely important not to sink to the level of responding with any type of violence. Trying to physically dominate your dog can have the opposite effect – making any aggression worse and more difficult to control – and you should seek advice from a professional before proceeding, to avoid worsening the situation.
Quality Dog Food and Training Impact
Perhaps you have never thought about the enormous impact your dog’s food has on his or her ability to learn and make use of training. A low-quality product is often packed with unhealthy fillers, sugar, artificial flavors and more, and these may cause an imbalance in your Husky’s level of energy, which makes it difficult for your pup to focus during training. Too much sugar has the same effect on dogs as it has on humans, and it might send them into a sugar rush where their energy level peaks rapidly, then drops, then peaks again – something that is far from ideal when learning new things.
Bad food could make it difficult for your dog to concentrate, it may affect the short-term memory and it could also have a negative impact on your fur friend’s overall learning capacity, so make sure you are feeding a quality dog food with natural ingredients. Learn what food to feed for your Husky to thrive and stay away from commercial low-quality brands if you want to achieve maximum training results.
Starting Early – The Puppy Years
Dogs all ages can learn and change their behavior, even the Siberian Husky, but it is always better to start early if possible and make training a part of your daily routine with your dog.
The more you train, the stronger your bond will be, and the stronger of a bond you have the less likely are you to run into trouble later.
Puppies are very eager to learn, so take advantage of that and start with your training already from the start.
The Importance of Exercise
For an active Siberian Husky, exercise and physical- and mental activation is everything, so before you start experimenting with training to correct undesired behaviors – consider whether you are providing your Husky with enough exercise. Many dogs are perfectly fine with a couple of walks around the neighborhood every day, but the Siberian Husky needs more. They need to run, work and they need an outlet for all that energy, or the energy will present itself as destructive behaviors.
Going for runs, biking, playing fetch at the park and hiking are all good options to tire out a Husky, and while swimming is recommended for high-energy dogs, many Siberian Huskies are not too fond of water. Look for challenging ways of exercising your pup, and you might end up noticing a difference in behavior right away. If your pup is into it, make sure they wear a life vest to keep them safe.
Help & Guidance
There are many ways for Husky owners to get help with training, especially now with endless information available with only a click. Dog training is not necessarily difficult, but everyone needs guidance in the beginning and pointers for how to best train a dog. With a strong-minded breed like the Husky, it is even more important to know what you are doing, or you could end up doing more harm than good. Here are a few ways to seek help and advice on how to properly train your Siberian Husky:
+ Puppy classes
Learn the dos and don’ts already from the start and give your Husky a chance to socialize with other dogs, as it will help to prevent future dog aggression problems. A puppy class held by a professional trainer is a great way to build a strong training foundation, which you can then continue to work with on your own.
+ Professional Trainers
An experienced trainer can be of great help with adult Huskies as well, and they can guide you in how to best work with your dog. You can participate in obedience classes, activities like agility, or you can seek their advice for how to deal with unwanted behaviors. Nothing compares to hands-on help but remember to be critical and to choose your trainer carefully, so that you don’t end up wasting time and money on someone whose methods are ineffective.
+ Training Content
Many successful and knowledgeable dog trainers get book deals and publish training books, so why not have a look to see if your favorite dog trainer has a book out? Training books are usually well researched, structured in ways that make it easy to follow every step, and you can read it whenever you have a free moment! On the bus on the way to work, while taking a hot bath or when waiting in line at the supermarket – you can read anywhere! With books, you can usually be sure that all the fuss has been cut in the editing process, and that you will get to the good stuff right away.
+ The Internet
The worldwide web also offers great dog training tips; both in form of text and as practical video tutorials, and you can find almost anything with a couple of clicks. The downside is that you must be careful with the tips you choose to trust, due to the internet being a public domain where anyone can upload dog training suggestions – even those who don’t have any experience at all. Analyze everything you find, use common sense and get out there and start training your Siberian Husky!
So yes, the Siberian Husky is an amazing dog, but it needs to be trained properly to avoid problems and uncomfortable (and potentially dangerous) situations. Try to turn dog training into something fun and exciting – both for yourself and for your Husky – and practice patience since the Siberian Husky has a mind of its own, and a stubborn personality that will either make you laugh or cry.