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With their lush coats in wolf-like colors, their light colored or blue eyes, and their alert pricked ears and bushy curled tails, the Husky is one of the most strikingly beautiful of all dog breeds. Husky puppies are irresistible, all cuddly fluffy bodies and full of personality. Your Husky puppy probably tells you how she's feeling in so many words, as Huskies have a distinct way of "talking" to their people, vocalizing instead of barking. She is likely to make you laugh constantly with her silly antics, and impress you with her intelligence and problem-solving skills. Huskies are an old breed, closer to wolves than other breeds. This gives them more independence and less willingness to depend on humans for direction than other breeds. That said, generations of pulling sleds have made Huskies eager to please and work-loving.
To obedience train your husky puppy so she will grow into a dependably obedient dog, you will need to build trust in her that you have desirable rewards and that her obedience will be worth it to her. A Husky is clever enough to realize when she's getting a bad deal, and independent enough to make up her own way of doing things if she doesn't like your way. Be patient with your Husky in training. Remember that while she has been bred to work for people, she has not been bred to look to people for help. Huskies have traditionally lived among themselves when not in harness, sleeping buried beneath the snow. Your Husky puppy may rather do her own thing than figure out what you are asking, so be patient in training.
Find out what motivates your Husky pup and have lots of it available. Remember that your Husky loves work and adventure, sometimes more than food and toys. Think of ways to motivate your Husky using her natural desires to help instead of hinder you. Your Husky may be unwilling to learn to sit for a treat, but might sit in exchange for being allowed to explore something new when released, or even to get to sniff something new while in a sit.
Keep in mind that your Husky is still growing. While she may want to go until she drops, you should limit her activity to what is safe for growing bones.
The Work and Train Method
If your Husky pup is already work driven, dedicating herself to whatever she does with everything she's got, you can use that drive to use work as a reward for obedience training.
Give her a job
Pulling is what Huskies were made to do, and while your puppy shouldn't pull any weight while she's young, you can harness her and attach her to straps to imitate pulling.
Work as reward
If your Husky likes walking in the harness, use this as a reward for obedience. Ask your Husky to 'sit', 'down', 'watch' you, etc. while out walking in harness. When she performs the behavior, she can be allowed to go back to pulling.
Internalize obedience in your Husky so that she responds instantly to commands as being natural in the line of the work she enjoys.
In and out of harness
Practice obedience in and out of harness, and make sure to constantly add new behaviors to keep your Husky sharp and interested.
The Obedience as a Game Method
If your Husky is a constant clown, always playing, and loves her toys, then using play to teach obedience may make sense.
Part of the game
Make obedience part of the game by eliciting behavior using toys, naming the behavior, and then reward with more play.
Elicit behaviors, name, reward
Draw your Husky pup into a position. To draw her into a 'sit', pull a toy up over her head. As soon as she sits, say "sit" and reward with the toy.
Ask for behavior
Once you have repeated a behavior and name several times, try asking for the behavior to see if your Husky knows what you are asking for.
Keep it fun
Reward with toys as soon as your Husky performs desirable behavior, and keep varying and adding new behaviors to keep her interested. Repeating a behavior multiple times will bore your Husky.
The Learn From the Pack Method
Huskies are a very social breed, since they work closely together in harness when pulling and live together while out of harness. You can utilize this social nature by letting your Husky learn from other dogs.
Start with a simple behavior and ask all dogs to perform it. When the trained dogs perform the behavior, reward them.
Your pup will wonder why the other dogs got a reward and will watch them. If she makes any move towards doing what they are doing, reward her.
Repeat a behavior many times before moving on to another behavior. Once your puppy has learned several behaviors, try mixing them up, stepping back if your Husky gets confused.
Once your Husky seems to understand what you are asking of the group, try working with her alone to see how well she has learned.
By Coral Drake
Published: 02/21/2018, edited: 01/08/2021