How to Train a Husky Puppy to Come

Medium
1-6 Months
General

Introduction

Once you have brought your beautiful Husky puppy home, it is time to start thinking about training. One of the most valuable things you can teach her is to come when called. This may well save her life one day, not to mention save you plenty of frustration when she gets older and can easily outrun you!

When your dog comes when called, professional trainers call this “recall.” Luckily, the strongest recalls come when owners start working with their dogs as young as possible. As early as 8 weeks old, you can begin to start teaching your Husky to come when called.

A special note about Husky puppies:

Huskies can be trained to have a reliable recall. However, this is an intelligent breed that has an independent streak. Although you should definitely train your Husky puppy to come when called, and working with your puppy early and often is critical, you should always be very careful about letting your Husky off-leash anywhere near traffic or other dangerous conditions. 

Defining Tasks

For the best results when training your Husky puppy to have a strong recall, follow these guidelines:

No chasing – If you chase your puppy when she fails to come when called, you are rewarding her. Instead, run away from her excitedly. When she catches up to you, ask her for another behavior, such as a 'sit' before rewarding.  

Add distractions – After your Husky puppy has mastered his recall inside your home or in a fenced yard, practice with a long line in more exciting environments to “proof” this behavior.

No corrections – It is critical that you never call your Husky to you and then punish her since this can discourage her from coming to you at all, particularly if she senses you are anxious. This can be deadly as it may keep her from coming to you in an emergency situation.

Practice – Recall is not a one-time trick. It is a life skill that needs daily practice for the life of your dog to ensure that it will be there when you need it most. 

Getting Started

What motivates your Husky puppy? Probably food, toys and/or praise. When training recall you can use all three, making sure that each time he comes to you, he gets a satisfying reward.

Huskies are inquisitive and intelligent. The best way to keep them engaged in any training session is to keep things fun and exciting. When you are the most exciting thing around, your Husky puppy will be sure to have her focus on you!

The only special piece of equipment you need for training recall is a long line, a leash or rope measuring 25’-50’, so that during certain stages of training, you can have the power to enforce the command you are trying to teach.

The Basic Recall Method

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Step
1
Set up
Start with this method to train your Husky puppy to come when called. Set up with your rewards ready to go in a room that is very familiar to your young dog.
Step
2
Run away
With your puppy nearby, run away from him in an excited way. Your Husky puppy, sure that you are about to include him in a very fun game, will bolt after you. Once he does, say his name followed with the command “Come!” Touch his collar when he gets to you, followed by a great big reward. Repeat 10-20 times.
Step
3
Add distance
Over the course of the next few weeks, continue repeating the last step, but add some distance to this fun training game. Remember to always touch her collar before rewarding. For now, just ignore failures. Say your recall command only once, and focus on rewarding success.
Step
4
Outside
At about 4 months old, your Husky puppy is ready to take it to the next level. Now you can use your long line to take your training sessions outdoors. Follow the same process that you did inside – adding distance over time. Start to reel your dog in if she fails to come when called, but for now, do not add any punishment.
Step
5
Add consequences
Only once your Husky puppy has a great deal of positive reinforcement history with his recall, will you want to add a consequence for failing. In this case, if your pup does not come when called, use the line to reel her in and then give her a 3-5 minute “time out.” You can use a crate or a small room to give her some alone time. Most Husky puppies will hate this, and will soon get the idea that not coming when called is no fun. Move on to the 'Proofing' method for some tips on advanced training to make your Husky puppy’s recall even stronger.
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The Practice Game Method

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Step
1
Set up
This is a fun game that is an excellent supplement to the 'First Skills' method. It will help your Husky puppy get excited about running to the person that is calling him. Start with a few people in a circle with some treats your pup really loves.
Step
2
Take turns
The name of the game is to alternate calling him using his name, followed by the recall command “Come!”.
Step
3
Hold back
Once he goes to the right person, they should make big praise, give a reward, and then hold him at the hind quarters. When the next person calls him, being very exciting, hold him until he is tugging a bit in excitement before releasing him to the next person for his reward.
Step
4
Add distance
Increase the size of the circle as your Husky puppy gets better at this game. You can even go into separate rooms to really add a fun twist!
Step
5
Outside
Once your pup clearly understands and loves this game, take the game outside. Be sure to use a long line for safety.
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The Proofing Method

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Step
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Why proofing is critical
The last stage of training any behavior is called “proofing.” After your dog has the basics down, it is time to make sure she will give you the behavior in any circumstance. The following steps are all different ways to add some challenges to your recall drills so that your Husky puppy will learn to come when called, no matter the situation.
Step
2
On the road
Take your training on the road to some new places. Make sure to continue to use a long line in cases where a loose Husky could get into trouble, such as near livestock or traffic.
Step
3
Add distraction
Add some distractions to your recall drills to really teach your pup that coming when called always pays more than other things that she enjoys. Make sure your rewards are more valuable than the surroundings!
Step
4
Add people
To teach your Husky puppy to come when called no matter who is calling her, have some friends do some recall drills with you to practice this behavior.
Step
5
Fade rewards
Begin to get picky about only rewarding the fastest recalls your puppy gives you. Eventually you will decrease your rate of reward to about 1 in 20, making sure that only the most impressive runs back to you are the ones that get the big rewards.
Step
6
When NOT to recall
Stop using your recall command unless you are pretty sure your pup will come running back to you, hoping for something great. If you use the command, and he fails to come, you need to enforce it or over time your recall command will become ineffective.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Sharon Elber

Published: 01/22/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Lexi
Husky
18 Months
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Lexi
Husky
18 Months

Is it too late to train. I've been lazy and just enjoying having her. but she is too smart to waste. What to do

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Thunder
Siberian Husky
2 Months
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Thunder
Siberian Husky
2 Months

Hi, we just got a puppy yesterday and we began feeding him Instinct raw boost and today he threw up all the food. Before we got him, he would get fed a brand named Proud Paws Ultra select and we are struggling to find that brand of food. Which food would you recommend to feed him? should we switch up the food again? or continue feeding him the Instinct raw boost?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Adorable! Please call the vet for a recommendation of what type of food to feed Thunder. When a dog tries a new food it is always necessary to transition them slowly. I understand that you could not find the food to do that - perhaps contact the dog food company and explain your dilemma and see if they can recommend a comparable food. Also, can you ask the people that you got Thunder from for several portions so that you can transition him? Where were they able to buy the food? Perhaps inquire. But check with the vet right away too. All the best!

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Micah
Siberian Husky
8 Weeks
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Micah
Siberian Husky
8 Weeks

My little Micah is obviously at that stage where hes learning to be potty trained. I want to say he’s about 90% sure of where he is supposed to use the bathroom. Any how there is times where he would use the bathroom in the living room, Kids room etc. How do I punish that ?

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SKY GREEN
Siberian Husky
2 Months
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SKY GREEN
Siberian Husky
2 Months

This is my first husky how would I start the training process

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
842 Dog owners recommended

Hello Keila, For a 2 month old puppy I recommend following the Run Away method from the article I have linked below when its just you practicing. You will start like the article mentions, by running away excitedly from pup while wiggling a toy for pup to see, somewhere safe like your home or a fenced in yard. When there are others to practice, I would also play the Round Robin method with pup using treats and toys. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Once pup is a bit older and ready to practice around distractions and in other locations, then I would switch to the Reel In method for better reliability - also found in the article I have linked above. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Sukaya
Husky
2 Months
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Sukaya
Husky
2 Months

How can I teach her to stop biting? I replace my hand/arm/clothing with a toy and also tell her stop or no. She still does it.
Also wondering how I get her more comfortable with her kennel. I feed her in there and give her treats and toys for going in it, but she still throws a fit every time she's in there. I've even tried sitting next to her with no eye contact.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is information on nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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