How to Train a Husky as Guard Dog

How to Train a Husky as Guard Dog
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Time icon1-6 Months
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Introduction

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.

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Defining Tasks

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.

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Getting Started

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!

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The Day One Method

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1

Start early

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’.

2

Encouragement

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.

3

Obedience classes

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.

4

React

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.

5

Avoid punishment

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

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Morning march

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.

2

Evening walk

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.

3

Long leash

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.

4

Bark

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.

5

Reward

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

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Monitor

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.

2

‘Bark’

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.

3

Reward

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.

4

Stranger approach

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.

5

Reward

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

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Rocky

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German Shepherd Husky Mix

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1 Year

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Rocky is not much of a guard dog, and he still pees and poops on the floor. We’re trying to get him to be a guard dog but he loves everyone.

Nov. 1, 2021

Rocky's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Air Col, For the alerting, first teach pup to bark on cue by teaching the Speak command. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-speak Once pup knows the speak command, recruit friends pup doesn't know to step onto the property or come to the door while pup watches from a window or inside somewhere. Command speak and reward with a treat when they do. Practice with telling pup to speak each time the person is there, until pup barks on their own when the person tries to enter without saying speak. At that point, have the person come onto the property, wait seven seconds to see if pup will bark on their own, reward if they do, and command speak if they don't - then reward but give a smaller reward when you tell pup opposed to when pup does it on their own. Practice until pup will bark each time someone enters the property. Practice with different people you can recruit, that pup doesn't know so that pup will learn to do this with anyone who enters the property and not just that one person. Draw pup's attention to people outside or people on your property, and reward pup when you see them watching someone in general - so that pup will begin watching people and staying more alert as a habit. Pup doesn't have to bark to reward this one - just reward when pup is watching someone and you notice that. I also recommend teaching the Quiet command, so that you can tell pup when to stop barking after they alert. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark For anything that would involve bite work, you would need to pursue training with a professional protection trainer who knows how to utilize pup's defense drive, build confidence, utilize rewards like a bite bag and tug, and have the right staff and equipment to practice things like arms holds - this training should only be done with a professionals help and should not encourage fear or true aggression when done correctly - it's more like teaching pup a task, teaching alertness, obedience, building confidence, and encouraging a natural defense drive - opposed to poorly done training that encourages suspicion and fear to get a bite from the dog. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Nov. 1, 2021

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Esco

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Husky

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8 Months

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I got him at this age and he doesn’t respond to anything, I would to train him as a guard dog

June 22, 2021

Esco's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Melissa, Guard dog training will start with simply teaching pup Basic and Intermediate Obedience to lay a good foundation with you. Once pup is good at that you can teach the Speak command, reward for automatic alerts and attentiveness to build on that, and if you want to pursue bite work, I would then hire a professional protection trainer to do the bite work with you. For the obedience, you can either teach Basic obedience commands on your own, then work those up to an intermediate level as pup improves, or join a Basic Obedience class, then after pup completes that, an Intermediate Obedience class to gain obedience even around distractions. The following commands are some good ones to teach if you plan to work on this on your own. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Quiet method (this will also allow you to teach Speak for future use if you give pup a Speak cue when pup barks): https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Sit: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-sit Heel- Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Come - Reel in method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ Drop It – Exchange method: https://wagwalking.com/training/drop-it For an Intermediate Obedience level, check out trainers like James Penrith from TaketheLeadDogTraining from Youtube, and Ian Dunbar from dogstardaily. When looking for a high quality class for your purposes, look for one with a trainer who also is experienced with off leash, advanced obedience, who understands what a dog's defense drive is, and has some experience with things likeSchlutzhund, protection training IPO, French Ring, or other bite sports, so that even though you will just be pursing training through them for basic and intermediate obedience at first, they will have a good understanding of where you want to go with pup in the long run, so can help you modify the early points of training to prepare pup for the more advanced stuff you will pursue in a few months. I also always recommend finding someone who comes well recommended by their previous clients. Other's referrals are great additions, but its their previous clients that you want to check into, since they are the ones who have been helped by that trainer, especially those who were wanting similar training as you are.. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

June 22, 2021


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