How to Leash Train a Husky Puppy

Medium
2-3 Weeks
General

Introduction

Husky puppies are some of the more daunting breeds to train, especially when it comes to leash training. Huskies and other similar breeds like the Alaskan Malamute are bred for heavy pulling, such as the pulling that is done by sled dogs in snowy climates. This pulling tendency can lead to issues when adjusting a Husky puppy to walk on a leash. Beyond their issues with leash training, huskies can also be stubborn and aloof and training one is not easily done.

Despite this, Huskies can be hard workers and fantastic companions, though much of that depends on the amount of work invested into their training. A well exercised, mentally stimulated, and properly trained husky can be a great addition to any family.

Defining Tasks

Leash training can be challenging for any dog owner, but it doesn’t have to be. The key to proper leash training is a good foundation in obedience and repetition, tools that are useful for a Husky puppy just learning to listen. An introduction to leashes is necessary for a puppy just starting out, followed by an adjustment to the preferred method of leash walking, whether you prefer loose leash walking or walking at a heel.

A veterinarian will typically ask you to wait at least a week or two after your puppy’s last vaccination before taking him out for a walk. This is to protect him from any airborne illness from other dogs or animals in the area, and at about fifteen weeks of age, a puppy is generally ready to take on the challenge of beginning to learn obedience. Begin early with walks and expect to work on it for a few weeks before he gets a handle on what you require of him. Huskies especially will require plenty of patience from even well-practiced dog owners.

Getting Started

Before anything else, you’ll want to determine which kind of leash you’d prefer to use with your husky puppy. Harnesses can be useful to avoid damage to the throat for a dog who likes to pull, but harnesses can also encourage pulling, as the weight is being directed to the chest rather than the neck. There are other options such as front-clip harnesses, flat collars, prong or pinch collars, or slip collars. Whichever you choose, be absolutely sure that it’s the right fit for your puppy to avoid any unnecessary injury, especially if he has a tendency to pull.

Beyond that, gather up some treats for positive reinforcement, as something tasty and smelly can usually be very encouraging to a dog who is food motivated.

The Heel Method

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Step
1
Fit the collar
Adjust the collar to your puppy’s appropriate fit. It should not be too tight or too loose. For most collars, you should be able to fit two fingers, and no more, in between your dog’s skin and the collar.
Step
2
Start with positioning
Using a treat as a lure, encourage your puppy to stay at your side. 'Heels' are generally done at the left side. Reward your puppy for staying right next to you for any length of time.
Step
3
Put a word to it
While your puppy is in the right position, put a verbal command to the behavior such as ‘heel’. Then reward. He will soon associate the word with the behavior.
Step
4
Take a few steps
Hold the treat in front of your Husky puppy’s nose and take a step or two, encouraging him to follow along with you at your side. Reward if he continues to focus on the treat and stays in the 'heel'.
Step
5
Extend the length of time
Begin to request more heel time from your puppy before you reward him. Take two steps, then reward. Then three steps, then reward. Gradually increase how many steps you take before rewarding. If he falters, go back to the last number of steps he was successful at and try again.
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The Stop and Go Method

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Step
1
Begin in the house
Like many owners, you probably place the collar and leash onto your puppy before leaving the home. Take this opportunity to practice this technique before even walking out the door.
Step
2
Walk on your terms
Move only when you are ready to. Take the steps that you would take whether you had a dog at your side or not.
Step
3
Stop if your dog takes control
If your puppy begins to pull or go a direction that is unwanted, stop the walk altogether. Root your feet in place and do not let the walk continue.
Step
4
Wait until your dog settles
Depending on your preference, this can mean that you wait until your dog is back at your side or until your dog simply sits or focuses on you. You may choose this opportunity to ask her to sit or come to you.
Step
5
Reward good behavior with more walking
Once your puppy settles, then you reward with a continuation of your walk. The walk is the reward and she only gets to continue if she is patient and gives you appropriate behavior.
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The Sudden Switch Method

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Step
1
Avoid straight pathways
The sudden switch method relies on being able to change direction at any time and redirect your puppy into a new one. Try to avoid narrow walkways where there is little room to do this.
Step
2
Begin your walk
Focus on one direction to begin with. This will be your direction until you decide otherwise.
Step
3
Watch for pulling
If your puppy begins to get ahead of you, this is your cue to change things up.
Step
4
Switch direction without warning
As soon as he begins to pull or go too far without you, turn into another direction and start walking. Generally, this will pull your puppy’s attention away from his previous focus and force him to pay attention to you.
Step
5
Reward for good behavior
Reward your puppy if he walks with you without pulling. You want that behavior to continue and should be ready to catch it when it happens.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Winnie
Part husky
1 Year
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Question
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Winnie
Part husky
1 Year

Loose leash walking a challenge, when she pulls, I stop, she turns around looks at me, often circles in front and continues to walk with a pull. Using a Martingale collar. Wrapping leash around her belly helps when she pulls strongly. Took us over 2 hrs to walk 4 miles on a rail trail today. She is exposed to people, dogs and bicycles. Squirrels and chipmunks are a challenge. I hope that she gets it soon, my right arm is 6 inches longer than the left :D

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rose, I recommend practicing the Turns method in an open space so you can also work on how to interrupt the pulling/prevent it/increase focus while still continuing to move forward. Pay special attention to the section on cutting right in front of pup at a ninety degree angle as soon as pup's nose starts to move past your leg. You will have to be quick and this may feel awkward at first, but as pup starts to catch on it should get easier to do when she is hanging back more often. You can still do the stops when you are in an area that's too crowded for the Turns method, but I would proactively look for open areas to practice the Turns method because that will better teach pup how to stay in position while moving and not forge ahead as often. Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Majesty
Alaskan Husky
2 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Majesty
Alaskan Husky
2 Months

She doesn’t like the Leash and she won’t walk Outside when I do try to take her outside . She just doesn’t move and she won’t walk with me . She has been in the house since July 2 2021 and she will be 3 months July 26 . She’s getting huge and she doesn’t want to walk outside she just lays there . Please i need help

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ashley, Pay attention to pup's body language and the environment. Some pups don't want to walk because they are afraid of a neighborhood dog in a fence barking, construction workers, funny objects (like yard decorations), and things we would never think twice about. If pup isn't familiar with something (no matter how normal it may seem to us) it can feel scary to pup and be a reason why they don't want to leave the safety of the yard. If pup seems nervous or something might be bothering them in the environment, work on helping pup overcome that fear first by using play and treats to distract pup and then reward pup for any confidence, calmness, or tolerance they shows around the fearful thing. Practice this further away from the scary thing first and very gradually work up to pup being able to pass that thing as her confidence grows with your help. Simply spending time sitting outside with pup daily in the environment pup is uncertain of - without expecting walking yet - can help the area become less scary or distracting. Next, spend time getting pup used to leash pressure in general if pup's not familiar with coming forward toward you when there is a leash tug. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-accept-leash Next, if pup still won't walk, take some small treats or pup's dog food pieces in a small ziplock bag in your pocket or a favorite toy. Every time pup takes a couple of steps, give a treat or toss the toy a step forward or let pup give the toy a tug. Keep your energy excited and confident. When pup stops, tell pup "Let's Go" in a calm and business-like tone of voice (it's not a question, it's a confident, calm command), then tug and release the leash several times in a row until pup takes a couple more steps - at which point give another treat or play. The leash tugs should stop as soon as pup starts moving. Keep your walking goals short at first. If pup won't leave your yard - your first goal is just to leave the yard. When pup reaches that goal - go home as an additional reward for pup following you - even if a lot of leash tugs were involved. When pup will go to the end of the yard easily then walk to the next house. Gradually increase your walk distance overtime. If you make your goal something huge like the whole neighborhood at first you are less likely to succeed - work up to distance overtime. Also, do not continuously pull pup on the leash. Doing so can harm pup's neck, but also dog's have a natural tendency to pull away from something - so if you pull pup in one direction, she will just pull back in the other direction, budging even less. This is why you do the quick tug and releases so that not following is uncomfortable with the tugs but not a continuous pull. You want pup to choose to walk to get away from the annoying tugs and to receive treats. I suspect pup is nervous or distracted about the environment or not sure how to respond to leash pressure - so don't skip over desensitizing pup to the environment and leash if pup seems at all nervous about those things - freezing and looking like a deer in headlights is one sign of nervousness. Finally, make sure pup isn't in pain or sick, causing her not to want to exercise in any form due to feeling bad. If you have reason to suspect pup is ill or injured, definitely see your vet. (I am not a vet) Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Macy
Siberian Husky
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Macy
Siberian Husky
2 Months

Help with leash she keeps pulling

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Neko, Check out the article I have linked below and the Pressure method to help pup learn to come toward you when they feel leash pressure. Also, know that most puppies weave, pull, and fight the leash when it's first introduced. The Pressure method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-accept-leash Once pup understands the basics of leash pressure, then I recommend following the Treat Lure or Turns method from this article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Finally, check out the videos of puppy class below to see how other pups are learning heel. Puppy Class videos: Week 1, pt 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnhJGU2NO5k Week 1, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-1-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 2, pt 1 https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-2-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 2, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-2-part-2-home-jasper-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 3, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-3-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 3, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-3-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 4, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-4-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 4, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-4-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 5, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-5-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 5, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-5-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 6, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-6-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 6, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-6-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1-0 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Beemo
Siberian Husky
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Beemo
Siberian Husky
3 Months

Hi my name is Ezra.
I have a 3 month old husky named beemo. It's a female. I keep my dog on the balcony and inside during the night with the door open. She's a great pupper and fun to play with but every now and then she will try to escape, and in a very smart way too. Even after a walk on the yard she will still want to go again and then do a little howl or run and jump on me to get me to bring her outside. I try to get her mind off of it with toys or a treat but she is very smart and noticed what I was doing after "3 days". Please advise me, anything that could help me beacuse if she is not in her harness she might slip away.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
257 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. Have you considered crate training her and putting her in a crate when you are not able to keep an eye on her? That might be a good route to go for this reason, as well as overall anxious or hyper behavior. Husky's are denning animals which means they like their own small quiet space. When some dogs are given a lot of space to stay in, it actually makes them more anxious. To us, we often see a crate as punishment because we wouldn't want to be confined to a small space, but some dogs really need and enjoy that smaller, confined space.

Hi Alisha. Thank you for the advice. I'll try to put her in a crate. Hopefully it helps. I thought about a doggy bed and letting her stay in my room but she might poop on my carpet sinds potty training isn't going so great yet.

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Question
Ollie
Siberian Husky
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Ollie
Siberian Husky
4 Months

He is constantly pulling me in whatever direction he chooses and starts jumping around and barking if I try to redirect him. He was doing perfect but now he’s just not listening anymore and I don’t know why

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, very cute picture! If Ollie walked well before, he should be pretty easy to train again. The methods here are excellent. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel/. They all concentrate on having Ollie focus 100% on you and the task at hand. If Ollie is particularly food-oriented, the Treat Lure Method should work well. Here is a good guide on listening, too. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you. You'll see improvements after a few weeks of training. Be consistent, kind but firm, and above all, have fun. Consider enrolling Ollie in training classes for obedience. It's a great way to bond and also helps Ollie stay well-socialized. All the best!

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