How to train a husky in 6 simple steps

With their luscious coats and bright blue eyes, huskies are undoubtedly one of the most stunning dog breeds in the world. They also happen to be one of the most stubborn. Expert dog owners and husky aficionados alike often caution first-time dog owners against adopting this high-energy breed. That being said, training a husky is doable if you know where to start. Consider this your guide to husky training for dummies. We’ll walk you through the ins and outs of the husky’s physical traits, temperament, and — most importantly — how to train a husky.

Husky physical traits

Huskies are medium-sized members of the working group. Their average height is 20–22 inches for females and 21–23.5 inches for males. Females weigh around 35–50 pounds, while males are slightly heavier, 45–60 pounds. Relative to their size, huskies have a fairly long life expectancy, roughly 12–14 years. Genetically, huskies are a member of the spitz family, making them well suited to frigid weather. Huskies are also known for their versatility. If they have access to ample shade, a cooling fan, and plenty of water when it’s hot outside, huskies can thrive in any climate.

A Siberian Husky standing in sand at the beach.

Husky personality traits

Friendly and good-natured with people of all ages, huskies are a fantastic option for those who want affectionate, family-oriented dogs. They’re also ideal for anyone who lives an active, outdoorsy lifestyle. However, their sweetness extends to strangers and other dogs, so they’re not the best choice if you want your pup to serve as a guard dog. Huskies require a minimum of one hour of exercise, but their high-energy demeanor isn’t limited to physical stimulation. Huskies are also prone to boredom. If they’re left alone all day without some form of stimulation, they can easily become destructive. Huskies are independent dogs, sometimes to the point of stubbornness, but they’re also intelligent. With patience, consistency, and a strong will to rival your dog’s, you’ll be able to train your husky in a few simple steps. Let’s find out how it’s done.

1. Establish a hierarchy

Bred to pull sleds in harsh arctic climates, huskies are pack animals by nature. It’s ingrained in them to follow the leader. In this case, it’s vitally important to establish yourself as the leader while your husky is still young. While training an older husky is doable, hard-headed dogs like huskies are easier to train if you adopt them when they’re young. However, leadership isn’t about aggression or domination. Be firm when you give commands but don’t shout. (We know it’s hard to stay cool when your pup eats your favorite shoes.) Speak to your dog using a calm tone, and make sure you praise them when they obey your commands. They’ll be more likely to repeat behaviors that earn rewards like treats or attention.

2. Avoid punishing your pooch

Punishing your dog when they misbehave seems like the right thing to do, but it can actually make things much worse. When you punish your dog, you’re still rewarding them with something they want — your attention. Instead, distract them from the behavior you want to correct (chewing your shoes, barking excessively) by clapping. The sound will get their attention, and then you can redirect their attention. Try offering them a toy, and make sure you heap on the praise when they play with it.

3. Stick to positive reinforcement

Training your husky depends on consistency and positive reinforcement. As we mentioned, punishing your dog can make behavioral issues worse. Instead, you should reward your dog when they obey your commands. Start off with basic training commands like “sit” or “stay.” It may take several repetitions, and you should reward your dog each time they complete the task. Give them a treat, or be generous with praise and affection. Dogs have limited attention spans, so try to keep training sessions short and sweet. Around 10–15 minutes is ideal, especially for a young, hyper puppy.

A Siberian Husky puppy jumping around outdoors.

4. Consider crate training

Leaving a husky unattended is a surefire way to come home to a mess, but the thought of crate training strikes many pet parents as cruel. However, as long as your dog’s crate is large enough to accommodate them comfortably, crate training gives your pup a sense of security. Not only is crate training a great way to potty-train your dog, but it will also prevent them from getting into potentially dangerous situations while you’re away from home.

5. Get your husky a martingale collar

Unlike old-fashioned choke collars, martingale collars are comfortable for dogs to wear. They’re also effective for training your puppy, particularly during walks. Please note that you should never leave your dog in their martingale collar, as it still presents a choking hazard when dogs aren’t being supervised.

6. Consistency is key

Dogs learn best from consistent, repetitive training, which means everyone in the family has to be on board. For example, if you don’t want your husky sleeping on the sofa, it won’t do any good for you to tell your pooch not to climb on the furniture if your spouse allows them to do it.

A Siberian Husky lying outdoors in the grass.

Huskies are notoriously tough to train. They’re also gentle, playful, and relentlessly good-natured. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you’ll be able to train your husky to obey your commands. Start off with basic commands, be consistent, use positive reinforcement, and you’ll be able to focus on your dog’s friendly temperament instead of their stubbornness.

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