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Your Husky may look big and strong with fierce eyes, but you know they are cuddly and soft inside. In fact, your big fuzzball spends most evenings cuddled up with you on the sofa, barking whenever another dog appears on the TV screen. As much as you love your Husky's companionship, you'd like to put him to work keeping an eye on things around the house. To help you do that, you want to put your Husky to use as a guard dog.
Training your Husky to be a guard dog will do more than just the obvious of keeping your house and belongings secure. It will also assert your position as pack leader, giving you control that you can use to address any problematic behavior. This type of training is also a great way to stimulate and challenge your dog. Finally, training will make for a fantastic way to bond.
Training any dog to be a guard dog is challenging and unfortunately, Huskies are no exception. However, the earlier you start and the more consistently you train, the sooner you may see results. Training will consist of setting boundaries and showing them that what you want them to protect falls within their territory. You will then need to use positive reinforcements to bring out the types of behavior they need to be an effective guard dog.
If your Husky is just a puppy then they should be a fast learner. This means you could see results in just a few weeks. However, if they are older and not such a great listener, then you may need a number of months. Stick with training and you will be able to sleep easy at night knowing your house, family, and possessions are safe and secure.
Before you can start training, you will need to gather a few items. Stock up on tasty bite-sized treats or break your dog's favorite food into small pieces. You will also need a short training leash and a friend to help you for one of the methods.
You’ll of course also need the item or space you would like your Husky to protect. Then set aside 15 minutes each day for training.
Once you have all that, you just need enthusiasm and a positive attitude, then work can begin!
The Day One Method
The earlier you can start training your Husky, the sooner you will see results. They are most receptive when they are puppies. So start teaching them basic obedience commands, such as ‘down’ and ‘wait’.
You need to encourage any promising behaviors they may need to be a guard dog. That means handing over treats and verbal praise whenever they bark or take an interest in strangers.
It’s also important you take your pup to obedience classes. This is a great place for them to socialize with other pets and people. It is important they learn not to be defensive and bark at everyone.
If they bark at people or pets they know, then you need to react. Take them calmly by the collar and remove them from the situation. It’s important the defensive behavior is controlled and only aimed at strangers.
Don’t punish your Husky when they do something wrong or fail to defend against strangers. Fear could make them aggressive and then dangerous. Positive reinforcements are the most effective way to train a Husky.
The Boundaries Method
Each morning, secure your Husky to a leash and walk them around the perimeter of the area you want them to guard. If you do this each day it will show them where their territory begins and ends. They will naturally want to defend anything within that space.
Do exactly the same thing in the evening. Walk quietly as you go, you want them to concentrate and take in their surroundings. After a couple of weeks, this will soon feel like their space to defend.
In the daytime, secure the dog to a long leash. Make sure they have enough space to roam around the area you want them to guard. Also make sure they have access to water and are given meals.
Whenever a stranger approaches, point, talk and draw their attention to them. It may take a while, but eventually they will catch on. Continue to get them worked up until they bark.
As soon as your Husky barks, hand over a mouth-watering treat and give them some verbal praise. You now just need to repeat this each time, until they naturally get into the habit of barking at strangers.
The ‘Bark’ Method
Spend a couple of days monitoring your Husky. You’re looking for situations that naturally trigger a bark. This could be when you are about to feed them or take them for a walk, for example.
Once you have found such a situation, give a ‘bark’ command just before or as they start to bark. Give it just once in a playful voice. Note you can use any word or phrase you like for the command.
As soon as they do indeed bark, hand over a treat and some verbal praise. Now practice this for a few minutes each day, until you can get them to bark with a quick instruction.
Now secure your Husky to a leash at the place you want them to guard and have a friend they do not know that well approach. As soon as they get close, point and issue a ‘bark’ command to your dog.
Have your friend shout and run away and then hand over a treat. It’s important your Husky knows they need to bark until the intruder runs away. Now practice this several times a week and try to use different people each time. Soon enough they will naturally bark at anyone that approaches.
By James Barra
Published: 03/21/2018, edited: 01/08/2021