One of the ultimate obedience goals for any dog owner is the ability to trust their dog to be obedient and loyal while off-leash. Recalling classic canine movie stars like Rin Tin Tin or Lassie paints a fantastical picture of a dog’s loyalty and ability to always be available when needed. But for many dogs, the reality is not quite as brilliant. While dogs are capable of many great feats, there is also the very realistic notion that they are animals and can sometimes do as they please.
One of the breeds who seemingly exhibit grace under pressure is the Husky. As a heavy duty working breed, the Husky is known for his ability to pull sleds along long distances over cold and snowy terrain. While this endurance and strength is excellent when controlled, you may wish to challenge your pup and try to harness that level of obedience off leash. This goal, while rewarding, may prove to be more challenging than you think.
Huskies, while bred for their stamina, also come with one of the more intense prey drives. Prey drive is the instinct to run and chase after small prey-like animals including things like rodents, birds, cats, and even some smaller breeds of dog. This can mean that letting your Husky off leash in an unsafe environment can lead him to placing himself in dangerous situations in pursuit of prey, such as running out the door and into traffic. Because of this, it’s generally not recommended for Husky owners to allow their dogs to go off leash in an insecure environment.
However, if you still wish to train for off-leash obedience, there are methods that can prove to better your pup’s ability to listen when not hindered by the leash. Each of these methods requires caution, but can be started once your Husky is over eight weeks old and vaccinated if you plan on taking him outdoors, but expect to be working with your pup for two to six months on your off-leash training.
You’ll want to gather up a nice quality leash to begin with. While it may be ideal to try to start training off-leash right away, you’ll want to focus on the fundamentals beforehand. In addition to a leash, you’ll want to get ahold of some treats that your Husky especially likes. These will be useful in reinforcing whatever training you choose to begin. Start your training in a quiet, distraction-free area before progressing to the outdoors and remember to never let your dog off leash unless the area is secured and safe.
He's a good boy but I slacked a lot in the discipline and training for both him and I. Just trying to find the easiest way to have him on a leash without hurting me. He's more than half my weight and rambunctious
Hello Tiffany, I suggest teaching him to follow you in a safely enclosed area first, using his favorite treats. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Treat Lure" method". Because of his size, strength, and wolf heritage you will have some extra challenges. Ultimately, you need to teach him to follow you off-leash, even though he will NOT be off leash when you actually take him for walks. If he will follow you willingly, then his size will be less of an issue. Use rewards to teach this, by following the "Treat Lure" method. Practice in a calm fenced in area. When he gets good at it there, then you can take the training to an empty culd-de-sac, field, or your front yard with him on a ten-foot leash that is kept slack most of the time, so that he is depending on your instruction and body language, and not just the leash. You need to train his brain and not just force his body because he over powers you. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel When you do take him for walks, once he can handle the calm environments, if he is highly prey driven, which most huskies and wolves are, then I also suggest using a no-pull device. Your no-pull device options are head halters, front clip body harnesses, and prone collars. I suggest trying a head halter first. Introduce the halter slowly by feeding him treats whenever you show it to him, touch it to him, and eventually put it on him. Make the presence of the head halter really fun, so that he wants you to put it on or at least tolerates it. Many dogs do extremely well with them if they are introduced right with treats, but some dogs that depend a lot of their vision hate them. Take the time to introduce one correctly, gradually over a couple of weeks. If he still hates it after that, then try a front clip no-pull harness next. Your objective should be to teach him to actually follow you though, so that the harness or halter is only being used as an extra backup, in case he tries to chase an animal and his size could over-power you. Don't worry about not being able to take him on long walks right now, as long as you do "Heel" training with him every day, you will be walking and challenging him mentally, that can actually provide the stimulation that he needs just as much as a walk, but you must work with him. You can also create obstacles and play games with him that use his brain, and do not involve wrestling. Those types of things will help with the extra energy. Wolves are extremely smart, but most have less of a desire to please than dogs do. It is a more independent intelligent, where the dog thinks for himself. If you find that to be the case with Norman, then focus on training that challenges his mentally in a good way, is reward and life-rewards based, meaning the rewards are sometimes treats and sometimes other things that he wants, like a pet, toy, or walk, and done with a lot of consistency. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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