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Cody is the canine companion you could no longer imagine life without. Living up the Husky name, he has a thick coat and ice cool eyes. Everyone always looks on in amazement as you walk by. I mean who isn’t interested in a dog that looks like an arctic wolf? Cody is playful and friendly though, despite his ancestors' roots. However, part of his energy doesn’t half make them difficult to handle. For example, training him to walk on a leash is proving challenging. If you’re injured or disabled then keeping control when they are so strong can actually prove dangerous if you’re pulled to the floor.
To avoid that stress you’d like to train Cody off-leash. This is a good idea for a couple of reasons. Firstly, you’ll be able to keep control without having to worry about managing his strength. But also, if he can roam around off-leash it also means he will get more exercise than if they were stuck on a leash.
As you can probably imagine, teaching your large Husky puppy off-leash isn’t going to be without its challenges. Because they are a puppy they will be keen to run around and explore. Therefore, training will consist of setting some clear boundaries. You will also need to use strict obedience commands to ensure you can keep your dog under control.
If your Husky pup is receptive with a decent attention span, then you could see results in just a few weeks. But if your fuzzy little pal has a mind of his own and is more interested in charging around than following instructions, then you may need a number of months. If you get training right you’ll get the best of both worlds. You’ll have a Husky puppy with leash control who can also have the freedom to roam around off-leash. Not to mention this type of training is a great way for you both to bond.
Before you get to work you will need to collect a few bits. Make sure you have a short and long training leash. You may also want to consider a body harness to start with. This will increase your control while reducing the strain on the dog's neck.
You will also need a generous supply of tasty treats or the dog's favorite food broken into small pieces. You can train when you are out on your daily walks.
Once you have all that, just bring patience and a can-do attitude, then work can begin!
The Recall Method
Throughout the day, call your Husky puppy to you either by their name or with a ‘come’ command. You can use any word or phrase you like. You’re going to build up a dependence in them to stay nearby.
As soon as the dog returns to your side, hand over a tasty treat and give some verbal praise. If you use a clicker when you train, you can also click and treat whenever they return to let them know that was the correct behavior.
After a few days of practicing the recall inside, start heading out into your yard and then local parks. Continue to regularly call the pup over whenever they stray too far. This will help ensure you will always have control even when you are out and about.
If you don’t feel confident to start with, you can try keeping the dog on a long leash or rope. Then once they return regularly without problems, you can lose the leash.
Never use punishment
It is important you never punish your Husky puppy. The recall only works if they associate you with positive consequences and treats. If they are scared of you, then they may not return.
The Leash Start Method
Before you can train your Husky off-leash, you need to make sure they behave on a leash. So secure them for a walk as you normally would and head out. However, keep the leash relatively short so you have control.
Whenever your Husky puppy pulls, issue a firm ‘heel’ command. Give it in a stern voice. Note you do not need to shout or terrify the dog.
At the same time as you give the command, give a quick pull on the leash. Then wait for the pup to return to your side. Be patient, it may take a week or so before they get the hang of it. Just make sure you are consistent and react every time.
Lose the leash
Only when the pup walks calmly next to you should you lose the leash. Then you can start walking as you did before. However, keep a treat or two close by so you can bring them to your side should they decide to wander.
It’s also worth spending some time at home teaching general obedience commands. Teach ypur Husky ‘wait’, ‘stop’ and any other commands that may be useful. This will all help increase your control and your ability to bring them back to your side.
The Games Method
Hide and seek
Instruct your dog to stay in one room or spot and then go and hide somewhere. You can then call them over with a ‘come’ command in a high-pitched voice. You’re going to build recall by playing games. This is one of the most effective ways to teach Husky puppies.
As soon as the dog finds you, hand over a treat or spend a minute or so playing with a toy. Also, make sure they always find you, particularly to start with. It’s important they don’t give up and know there is always something tempting waiting for them.
Another great way to get your pup to return to you when you want is to call them over while you prepare their food. Simply call their name and have them wait there while you put it down. This will get them associating you with their favorite thing - food.
Only call once
It is really important you don’t keep calling your Husky puppy over. If you repeatedly call they may start to think they can wait for you to pester. This is not what you want. Instead you want the dog to respond every time.
After weeks of playing this they should come to you whenever called. At this point you can now start taking them out without the leash. Continue to regularly call them over and reward them. Then once they have the hang of it, you can slowly cut out the treats.
By James Barra
Published: 03/29/2018, edited: 01/08/2021