Siberian huskies are large proud looking dogs that look most like their ancestors – the wolf. They are sprightly, energetic and good natured and are also highly intelligent being able to often excel in obedience trials. Thus they are the perfect dogs for training and teaching new behaviours. Here we will look at how to go about achieving this.
Stage 1: Going Through the Motions
First of all it is important to take your husky through the motions of whatever action it is you want them to do so that they are familiar with it. If you want your husky to learn to bring you your slippers then you should take them by the collar, lead them to the slippers and place the slippers in their mouth before walking them back to the spot they started at. Here you feed them. You will need to do this a few times in order to get it used to the motion you want it to carry out – you can’t just expect it to guess what slippers means. Associate this with the command by saying ‘slippers’ as you do it. Tone is important here and your dog will focus.
Stage 2: Positive Reinforcement
The first time you take your dog through the motion, you should reward it with a treat or just by patting it on the back and saying ‘good boy’ firmly. This way your dog comes to ‘associate’ the good action with the pleasant reward. In other word it thinks that every time it performs the action it will be rewarded and comes to like the action as well as the reward.
Stage 3: Punishment
If your husky does something it shouldn’t though then you will have the far less enjoyable task of having to punish your pup. This is quite upsetting as it can feel like betraying them but if you want them to be well trained it is a necessity. To punish your pet there are a few options such as shouting ‘no’, smacking the dog gently, rattling keys loudly (they often don’t like the noise), blowing on them or squirting them with a small water pistol. Confusingly this is not what is meant by ‘negative reinforcement’ – negative reinforcement means taking away a negative effect. This would then mean that you would for instance stop blowing on them once they perform the positive behaviour – but this is not generally a strategy used to train pets.
Some More Husky Training Tips
These are the very basics of how to train your husky and the basic process that you need to go through. Remember that practice makes perfect and it will take a while for your pup to learn new tricks – it just takes perseverance. However there are also some tips you can use to improve your chances:
Make sure that, particularly when punishing your husky, that you make strong eye contact with them so that they know your addressing them. This will cause the message to really hit home and will make them more likely to listen. Speaking firmly is also important.
When you command your dog it is very important to use the correct pitch. Dogs understand commands but they can’t understand our language and thus they pay more attention to the pitch of the word and the context to know what it is they’re supposed to be doing. ‘No’ should be firm, while you might choose to sing ‘wee wees’ or ‘din din!’ in a more high pitched tone – but just keep it constant.
Make the Connection
When you punish your canine companion you need to make sure that they know what it is they are being punished for. It is no good leaving the time between the crime and the punishment so long that they can’t make the connection in their mind and don’t know what it is that they did wrong. So if you are punishing your dog do it straight after they are soiling your new carpet or even better while they are doing it. If you miss this opportunity then you can force them to make the connection in other ways – for instance when punishing a dog for urinating on the carpet some people will opt to make them smell their urine while they smack them. If they bite you then hold their mouth closed while you tell them no.
Use Their Name
When using commands, praising or telling off your husky, make sure that you address them using their name. This is a good way of ensuring that they know their name and it will mean they listen to you more when you say it.
Put Yourself First
A lot of problems with dogs come because the dog thinks that they head of the household. This then means that they start trying to push the rest of the family around and it can lead to aggressive behaviour and disobedience. To solve this problem make sure your dog knows you’re in charge – don’t let them sleep on the bed, walk through doors first and generally act like numero uno. It might seem harsh but these are pack animals and they respond to this. They’ll be happier in the long run.
Don’t Reward Bad Behaviour
Just as some people will smack their dog without them knowing why, some people also inadvertently reward their dog for the wrong behaviours. For instance if you have food on you then you might find that your dog jumps up at you a lot to try and get it. The perilous mistake that so many people then make is to try and get the dog to get down by giving them the food. Of course this is a big mistake because what the dog will interpret that as is as them having done well – they will think that every time they jump up they’ll get rewarded. When you dog doesn’t do what you want it to then, make sure to ignore it or punish it – do not bend to its will.
Love Your Dog
At the end of the day though a happy dog is a good dog, and the most important thing is that they are loving and not aggressive. If you love your dog and pay it lots of attention then it will have no need to act out and it will be more intent on pleasing you.