Siberian Huskies have a reputation as difficult-to-train dogs. They are extremely intelligent and independent, and while they can be trained to do extraordinary things (such as pulling sleds for miles in ice and snow), it can seem a long road when you first bring home your Siberian Husky puppy.
It is important to start training your Siberian Husky puppy as soon as you bring him home. This will allow you to nip any bad behaviors in the bud and will establish you as the ‘lead animal’ in your household. In order to effectively train your Husky puppy, you will need to be consistent, balanced, and kind in your approach.
If you are able to take a firm but fair approach with your Siberian Husky puppy, his natural intelligence will prove an invaluable asset throughout the course of his training. By committing the proper time and care to train your Siberian Husky puppy, you will not only be able to train him to follow commands but also to be a loving and loyal companion.
The first step: be the boss
Although most old ideas and theories surrounding pack behavior between dogs and humans have been disproven, one thing remains the same: establishing yourself as the leader and provider is crucial in earning your puppy’s respect and their future obedience.
The does not mean you need to be aggressive or violent with your dog. In fact, demonstrating violent and aggressive behaviors towards your puppy can actually be counterintuitive, and may lead to your puppy taking on some of these behaviors himself!
Instead, establishing yourself as the boss of your household means treating your puppy with kindness and compassion, and using positive reinforcement as a motivating technique.
Many dog training guides will tell you that you need to assert yourself over your puppy at all times. Whether this is walking through doorways first, never allowing your puppy to walk ahead of you on the leash, or always eating before your puppy, these techniques are aimed at preventing your puppy from becoming too dominant.
While these techniques may be useful in guiding your puppy towards being well-mannered – by stopping him from knocking over people in doorways for example – many dog behavior experts believe training techniques such as these are overly contrived, and that there are better ways to breed good behavior in your puppy.
Basic interactions: a great training opportunity
If all this sounds a bit wishy-washy, think of it this way: your puppy will very quickly recognize you as the source of all the things he loves most in the world. Food, treats, walks, even belly rubs can’t be obtained without your say so!
If your puppy only receives these rewards after demonstrating good behavior, he will very soon understand that being on his best behavior brings him the best in life.
Once you have this pattern established, it can be used as part of your puppy training.
The best way to go about this is by using commands that your puppy already knows, such as ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘come’. Whenever they obey your command, reward them with a treat, the toss of a ball, or a nice, long pat.
But how do you teach your puppy those commands in the first place? Well, it’s easier than you might think, but will require consistency and firmness on your part, as well as a steady supply of treats!
Teaching your husky puppy commands
Training your Siberian Husky puppy to respond to commands is all about positive reinforcement. As we’ve already outlined, the best way to teach good behavior is by showing that it will be rewarded. This is not about bribing your dog to behave, but rather showing them what they can reap through good behavior.
There are some common commands that are not only easier to teach, but which will also make your life with your new puppy easier. These include ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’, and ‘down’.
Teaching your Siberian Husky puppy to sit
‘Sit’. One of the most commonly heard commands and – thankfully – one of the easiest to teach your boisterous Husky puppy. There are two main methods used to teach the ‘sit’ command: capturing and luring.
Capturing involves standing in front of your puppy with his favorite treat. Wait until he sits, then say “yes” and give him a treat. Step away from your puppy and repeat this process again. Note that we have not yet used the word “sit”!
Repeat the process outlined above a number of times. Once your puppy has this basic routine down pat, start saying “sit” as soon as he sits down. He will soon begin to associate the word with the action (and the treat, of course!).
The luring method uses a similar principle of action and reward, but you will take a slightly more active role in demonstrating the sitting action to your puppy.
Begin by sitting or kneeling in front of your puppy with a treat in your hand, right in front of his nose. Gradually lift the treat up until your puppy is in the sitting position. Give him the treat. Repeat this process a few times with the treat, then just use your empty hand (but be sure to reward your sitting puppy with a pat).
As with the final stages of the capture process, you can begin to say the word “sit” as soon as your puppy begins to sit.
Try both these methods out, and see which works best for your Husky puppy. It is important never to physically force your puppy into the sitting position as this will only confuse him.
Teaching your Siberian Husky puppy to stay
Once you have taught your Husky puppy to sit, you can begin to train him to remain in this sit position until you call or release him. The ‘stay’ command is a duration behavior. In simple terms, this means your puppy will remain seated until he hears the release word.
When selecting your release word, choose something that your puppy can easily understand and stick with it. Consistency is key here. Many dog owners use either ‘OK’ or ‘free’ when teaching their dog to stay.
The first step in teaching the ‘stay’ command is teaching your puppy your chosen release word. You can do this by standing by your puppy while they are seated, tossing a treat on the floor in front of him, and then saying the release word as he steps forward to take the treat. Repeat this process a few times.
Progress by saying your release word, waiting for your puppy to move, then tossing the treat. Your Siberian Husky puppy will learn to associate the release word with moving forward.
Now that your puppy knows when it is time to move, you can begin to teach them to know when it is time to ‘stay’. This part of the training has several key steps, which we’ve outlined below.
- While facing your puppy, command him to sit and give him a treat.
- Pause, then give him another treat for staying in the sit position.
- Say the release word.
- Repeat, gradually increasing the time period between the two treats.
- Once your puppy can sit for several seconds, you can begin to add distance.
- Repeat Step 1 of this process, but take a step back once your puppy has had his first treat.
- Use the command “stay”, then step back to your puppy, give him the second treat, and say the release word.
- Repeat, adding a greater distance between you and your puppy each time.
Teaching your Siberian Husky puppy to come
Pick a quiet indoors area to begin this part of your puppy’s training. To begin with, simply sit with your puppy and say his name followed by the command ‘come’. Every time you repeat these words together, give your puppy a treat.
Now it’s time to add a little distance. Stand up, drop a treat on the floor, and then say your puppy’s name and the ‘come’ command. When he looks up at you, give him another treat. Repeat this process a few times, and then begin to toss the first treat a little further away. Your puppy should eventually have to turn around and come back to you for the second treat when you call his name and say ‘come’.
Once your puppy has the hang of this, you can take him outside and start to play with him, using the ‘come’ command, his name, and – of course – lots of treats!
Teaching your Siberian Husky puppy to lie down
Teaching your puppy to lie down is a very similar process to teaching your puppy to sit. You can either take the command approach, by waiting for your puppy to lie down and then rewarding him with a treat or the lure approach, in which you encourage your puppy to lie down by gradually bringing his favorite treat to the floor.
Whatever approach you take, ensure you don’t confuse your puppy by giving him too much to do at once. Begin by simply rewarding him whenever he lies down, then starts to incorporate the ‘down’ command, along with a treat. Just as when you were teaching your puppy to sit, never force him down into the lying position.
Potty training your Siberian Husky puppy
Housetraining your puppy is one of the most important parts of their overall training. Just as with other parts of their training, you will need to be committed and consistent when it comes to potty training your Siberian Husky puppy. It will make your life easier – and a whole lot cleaner – in the long run!
A general rule of thumb when housetraining your puppy is that a puppy will generally be able to hold his bladder for one hour for every month of their age. This means that a four-month-old puppy can go for up to four hours without a bathroom break.
The single most important part about potty training a puppy is establishing a routine and sticking to it. Be consistent with the times you play with your puppy, the times that you feed your puppy, and the times you take your puppy outside for bathroom breaks.
This routine will make your housetraining a much smoother, easier process.
Other tips that can help make potty training a breeze include:
- Take your puppy outside after they eat or drink and when they wake up.
- Always take your puppy to the same bathroom spot to do their business.
- Reward your puppy when they successfully do their business outdoors. As with teaching commands, this reward needs to be immediate so that your puppy associates good behavior with treats and rewards.
- Feed your puppy on a regular schedule and take away their water dish a couple of hours before bedtime.
Teaching your Siberian Husky puppy to walk on a leash
Taking your puppy for a walk is one of the most enjoyable ways to bond and spend time together. However, if your puppy starts to pull on his leash every time you go for a walk, this enjoyable outing will quickly turn into a tug of war!
As with any form of puppy training, teaching your Husky puppy to walk calmly by your side requires diligence and patience. Follow our step-by-step guide to loose leash walking below, but make sure you are consistent! You will need to pull up your puppy every time he begins to tug, otherwise, you run the risk of confusing him.
- When you are out for a walk and your puppy starts pulling against his leash, stop and take several steps backwards.
- While you step backwards, call your puppy in an upbeat manner and reward him when he comes to your side.
- Start walking again. Reward your puppy every few yards if he continues to walk calmly by your side.
- Repeat the above steps every time your puppy begins to pull at his leash.
Eventually, you will be able to increase the distance you walk backwards and give your dog fewer treats for walking by your side. The key here is to break your puppy’s impulse and instinctive behavior that makes them want to move forward without you.
Training a Siberian Husky puppy: the final verdict
When training a Siberian Husky puppy you must be consistent. Be firm as to what constitutes bad behavior that will not be rewarded, and good behavior that will always be rewarded.
Patience is also key. While it may be tempting to try and train your puppy in several things at once, it is much better to focus on one good behavior (or bad behavior!) at a time. Dogs do not have a strong instinctive understanding of the human language, but by working with your puppy in a consistent and kind manner, you will soon have him coming, sitting, staying, and a whole host of other things, at your command.