Most dog owners, especially those with large dogs, need to teach their pet to walk on a loose leash, but the best way of ensuring your dog walks safety and in control with you is to teach him the 'heel' command.
Huskies are “into" pressure, prey-driven dogs. They have a tendency to respond to tension with tension, which is super handy if he is pulling a sled across the frozen tundra, but not so handy when you are walking through your suburban neighborhood and the neighbor's prized Persian darts out in front of him. It will very useful to plan for the day when physically restraining your Husky puppy will no longer be as feasible, by teaching correct leash manners and the 'heel' command.
The best way to teach any dog to stop pulling on his leash is to teach the 'heel' command. Traditionally, the 'heel' command involves having your dog walk on your left side with his head even with your left leg and often his nose a little in front. The distance between you and your dog in the 'heel' position depends on your activity. Sport dogs often have a little bit more room and are focused forward doing their job, looking for game. Herding dogs check in frequently with their owners, looking for direction. You and your Husky puppy can choose a distance and style that works best for you.
The left side heel position was originally established to allow hunters with dogs to have their right hand free for shooting. If you're not trying to bring down game on your walk down your street, or planning on competing in obedience classes, you can select whatever side is more comfortable for you and your Husky pup. You will want to avoid creating tension on the leash or punishing your Husky, as Huskies do not respond well to these tactics. They are independent minded, sensitive dogs, and positive reinforcement is much more effective in achieving desired results.
Avoid training to heel when you are rushed, impatient or irritated, as your sensitive Siberian Husky puppy will quickly pick up on your mood and it will impede training. Make sure you are in a positive mood and projecting good energy and confidence for 'heel' training. Remember that your dog’s walk is probably the highlight of your puppy's day, you do not want to make it unpleasant for him.
To train the 'heel' command, most methods require a short to medium length lead, although some methods use longer leads. You should have a well-fitted collar; some owners use a choke collar for training 'heel', but any collar can work if used correctly. Avoid pulling back on your Husky during training. Try correcting him by pulling to the side, as pulling back creates tension that can cause your sled dog Husky to instinctively pull back.
My dog tends to tug on the leash during our walks. I have tried the method in which I stop and tell Rocky to sit and wait. She has gotten to be good at that but tugging is still an issue. I have tried applying the 'heel' method but it has been very challenging as she gets very distracted and gives up quickly. My main goal is to make her stop tugging during our walks if you can give me tips on that. thanks!
Hello Sam, Check out the Turns method from the article linked below. Pay special attention to the steps on turning directly in front of pup as soon as their nose starts to move past your leg - don't wait until his head is all the way past your leg to turn in front of him or this will be hard to do. It should look like pup sitting beside you, slightly behind you so that head is behind your leg, step forward and as soon as he starts to move ahead of you, quickly turn directly in front of him. You will probably have to be fast at first and may bump into him until he starts to learn this. Practice in an open area, like your own yard, so that you can make lots of turns easily. You want pup to learn that he should stay slightly behind and pay attention to where you are going and where you may turn, instead of assuming she knows the way and can forge ahead. The turns keep him guessing and more focused. Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel If pup has ever shown any form of aggression toward you, I would hire professional help to work on this. I also recommend switching to a front-clip harness instead of a back-clip one. A back clip harness will actually encourage more pulling when pup feels tension there - it's a natural response for them to pull against the resistance they feel - think about sled dogs. Many backclip harnesses also have a front clip D-ring. If not, something like Ruffwear's front range harness I believe has a clip in both places. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?