How to Train a Husky Puppy to Stop Biting

Medium
2-12 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

The Husky is a powerful, intelligent breed that has a strong trait towards self-reliance. The Husky likes to think for himself, which can be problematic for an owner, especially if the dog's train of thought is towards roaming or escape. However, self-reliance has other implications for a dog that is prone to biting. He may decide he wants something and be happy to nip in order to get it. 

It's therefore essential to teach a Husky pup how to limit his biting habit when he is still young. When by default he draws away from his teeth making contact with human skin, this means if an accident happened, such as a child treading on the dog's paw, his instant reaction is to stop himself from biting rather than act how he might otherwise. 

Defining Tasks

Teaching a Husky not to bite is NOT about punishment. While it might be tempting to slap or hit the puppy, this is liable to backfire. At best, he may be inhibited about biting you, however, he doesn't generalize the lesson to other people. This means he's still likely to bite the child who steps on his paw. However, in a worst-case scenario, a strong-minded dog like a Husky may decide to match violence with violence and he may become aggressive as a consequence. 

Instead, by understanding dog behavior and how his littermates would react to a bite, you can communicate with the dog in a way he understands in order to correct bad behavior and teach self-restraint.

Getting Started

Teaching a pup not to bite depends on excellent timing and how you react, rather than needing special tools. It's also important that all family members also know how to react, so the pup is sent a consistent message. 

It's also helpful to have: 

  • Tug toys or a ball to encourage play
  • Treats to reward good behavior
  • A room to withdraw to when the pup gets too rough

The Bite Inhibition Method

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Step
1
Why do puppies bite?
The first step to stopping biting is to understand the puppy's motivation. A very young pup is unlikely to be being aggressive, instead, he's just doing what puppies do. (Not that this makes it OK!) In a litter of healthy pups there will be rough and tumble, which includes biting. As part of the learning process, when a pup bites too hard, the other pup will screech and possibly end the game. This is valuable insight for the biting pup, as he learns that biting too hard ends the fun.
Step
2
Bite inhibition in a litter
Let's look at how pups learn to be gentle in a litter. We've already said how they screech and squeal when bitten too hard. This makes the biting pup back off. The game then resumes once the bitten pup has regained confidence in the other one. Since pups want to play, the nipping puppy will be keen to avoid another interruption to the game and be careful to have a softer mouth next time. This process is known as learning bite inhibition and is a valuable tool for stopping a pup from nipping people.
Step
3
Play act being a puppy
Communicate with your Husky pup in a way he understands, by acting the same way a littermate would. If he gets too rough and nips your hand, then immediately let your hand go limp and at the same time squeal and look hurt. Nurse your hand as if dreadfully injured and perhaps even force out a few fake tears. The pup should then and take stock.
Step
4
Nipping means no game
Stop the game until the pup has calmed down and looks repentant! Only once he is calm can the game start again.
Step
5
Walk away if necessary
If the pup doesn't get the message and keeps nipping, say a short sharp "No", get up and walk away. Key here is withdrawing attention so that the puppy realizes that being overly rough stops the fun. Next time he'll try to inhibit himself from biting.
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The Do's and Don'ts Method

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Step
1
Don't: Smack or shout
Punishing the puppy for biting serves little purpose. He may stop biting you, but only because he is fearful of you. He won't generalize this lesson to other people, and could continue to pose a risk to them. Instead, pursue other methods that teach the dog self-control.
Step
2
Do: Act up
It's important the Husky pup learns early on that human skin is fragile and his teeth should never contact it. This means acting up when the pup even lightly nips, so that he receives a message that people are very fragile and must be treated with care.
Step
3
Don't: Use your hands as toys
Avoid games that involve the pup chasing your hands or a finger. This makes the hand into a toy, which in the pup's mind makes it fair game for nipping. Instead, use toys such as balls or tuggers, which don't involve direct contact with human skin.
Step
4
Do: Let your hand go limp
When the pup nips your hand, let the hand go limp (rather than pulling it sharply away.) Rapid movement will trigger chasing instincts in the pup, which make him excited. Whereas a limp hand sends a strong signal that it's 'broken' and can't be played with.
Step
5
Do: Seek professional help
If you in any way feel out of your depth with a pup that bites excessively, then do seek the help of a qualified animal behaviorist or dog trainer that uses reward-based methods. A young puppy is still learning. Act swiftly so that this golden opportunity to get him on the right path doesn't slip through your fingers.
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The Withdraw Attention Method

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Step
1
Understand the idea
Pups don't bite out of malice, but because they are overexcited and get carried away. They also thrive on attention and love to play games. When you understand this it helps to prevent biting. Simply withdrawing attention or getting the pup to calm down gives you another two options when it comes to stopping a puppy biting.
Step
2
Let the pup know he's wrong
If you've squealed and the pup didn't back down, then it's time for a short but sharp "No" or "Uh-oh". This is to mark the bad behavior (biting) so the dog understands why the game stopped.
Step
3
Ignore the pup
Now end the game and ignore the pup. Try folding your arms and turning your back. Wait for the pup to calm down before resuming play.
Step
4
Leave the room
If the pup keeps jumping on you and trying to nip, then quietly get up and leave the room. Again, this ends the game, which is the last thing that the pup wants. Only return when he has calmed down.
Step
5
Restart the game
Return to the game but as soon as the pup shows signs of nipping, say "No" and get ready to fold your arms. The pup will most likely realize what's about to happen and calm himself down in order that the game continues.
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Written by Pippa Elliott

Published: 03/07/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Alexander
Siberian Husky
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Alexander
Siberian Husky
4 Months

How do I stop my husky from biting? My roommates like to play fairly aggressively with him and he’s learning it’s okay to bite and I want to break this habit before it gets out of hand

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1125 Dog owners recommended

Hello Serena, First, the aggressive play from roommates will need to be addressed with them. If the rough play is continuing to be encouraged in other areas you will probably find that progress with training will be very difficult. I find it works best to give alternative ways for everyone to interact with pup instead of just making rough play off limits - such as teaching pup fetch, teaching fun tricks people can practice with pup, or training pup to be a light running partner. Pup can even be taught to bring people things they point to. For the current biting, I recommend teaching pup Leave It and Out. Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out -leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Also useful to facilitate calmness for many dogs. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Step Toward and Leash methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Arya
Siberian Husky
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Arya
Siberian Husky
3 Months

Shes biting alot and shes not following my order as sit go come no yes

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1125 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nour, Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. BUT at the same time, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when she attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if she makes a good choice. If she disobeys your leave it command, use the Out command from the second article linked below to make her leave the area as a consequence. The order or all of this is very important - the Bite Inhibition method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The Out method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just playing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the area, is also a good command for you to use if pup bites the kids. Check out the section on Using Out to Deal with Pushy Behavior for how to calmly enforce that command once it's taught. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Another important part of this is puppy learning bite inhibition. Puppies have to learn while young how to control the pressure of their mouths - this is typically done through play with other puppies. See if there is a puppy class in your area that comes well recommended and has time for moderated off-leash puppy play. If you can't join a class, look for a free puppy play group, or recruit some friends with puppies to come over if you can and create your own group. You are looking for puppies under 6 months of age - since young puppies play differently than adult dogs. Moderate the puppies' play and whenever one pup seems overwhelmed or they are all getting too excited, interrupt their play, let everyone calm down, then let the most timid pup go first to see if they still want to play - if they do, then you can let the other puppies go too when they are waiting for permission. Finding a good puppy class - no class will be ideal but here's what to shoot for: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ When pup gets especially wound up, she probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help her calm down and rest. Practicing regular obedience commands or having pup earn what they get by performing commands like Sit and Down before feeding, petting, tossing a toy, opening the door for a walk, ect... can also help stimulate pup mentally to increase calmness and wear them out. Commands that practice focus, self-control, and learning something a bit new or harder than before can all tire out puppies. Know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep working at it. Once a puppy has been taught a command, they need to practice that command in a variety of situations and around lots of different types of distractions, starting with small distractions first then working up to harder ones gradually. Dogs don't tend to generalize well. They often need to practice what was learning in a calm living space in lots of other spaces and ways before they can do it consistently. Second, you may need to switch some of your training methods now that pup knows the commands and is sometimes choosing to disobey. For example, when teaching Sit I would first recommend using the Treat Luring method from the article linked below. Once pup knows that method well and has worked up to some distractions, I would enforce my command using the Pressure method from that same article when pup chooses to disobey something they know. The pressure method will still reward some but will also give a gentle consequence for disobedience to encourage pup to obey even when they don't find it as fun. Sit - Pressure method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-sit Some other methods to help enforce commands when pup is ready: Reel In method for Come: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Turns method for Heel: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel The Leash Pressure method for down: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-lay-down Finally, check out the Consistency and the Working method from the article I have linked below. You can use everyday things pup wants as motivators to get pup to obey, such as telling pup to Sit before giving breakfast and waiting until they do so before putting the food down. Often you will have to wait pup out pretty long the first time, fifteen minutes being normal. Repeat your command just once every five minutes. When pup finally complies, give the food and praise calmly. As pup sees that you are consistent, calm, and firm, pup should start to obey more quickly as you practice. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you A drag leash can also be kept on pup when you are home to supervise, to ensure it doesn't get caught on things. When you give pup a command like Leave It, Place, Off, Come, Out, ect...You can calmly pick up the end of the leash and help pup follow through with your command, like walking pup over to where you called them from originally, showing pup that you mean what you say and they need to follow through without having to get angry or let pup get away with ignoring you. Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Hapy
Husky
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Hapy
Husky
2 Months

She wouldn’t stop biting us irrespective of giving her toys. She is also trying to bite my other dog (maltese-5 year old) playfully though but this is preventing my already fearful maltese to adjust with my husky and make friends.
Pleaee advise

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

Hello! Here is information on puppy 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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Question
Kalani Ox Reed
Siberian Husky
9 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Kalani Ox Reed
Siberian Husky
9 Weeks

She is having a problem biting and she only has learned sit. Everytime I try to teach her new tricks she just lays down and doesn’t have any interest. I’ll pick her back up or move to another room but she just lays down.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1125 Dog owners recommended

Hello Madison, Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. BUT at the same time, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when she attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if she makes a good choice. If she disobeys your leave it command, use the Out command from the second article linked below to make her leave the area as a consequence. The order or all of this is very important - the Bite Inhibition method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The Out method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just playing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the area, is also a good command for you to use if pup bites the kids. Check out the section on Using Out to Deal with Pushy Behavior for how to calmly enforce that command once it's taught. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Another important part of this is puppy learning bite inhibition. Puppies have to learn while young how to control the pressure of their mouths - this is typically done through play with other puppies. See if there is a puppy class in your area that comes well recommended and has time for moderated off-leash puppy play. If you can't join a class, look for a free puppy play group, or recruit some friends with puppies to come over if you can and create your own group. You are looking for puppies under 6 months of age - since young puppies play differently than adult dogs. Right now, an outside class may be best in a fenced area, or letting friends' pups play in someone's fence outside. Moderate the puppies' play and whenever one pup seems overwhelmed or they are all getting too excited, interrupt their play, let everyone calm down, then let the most timid pup go first to see if they still want to play - if they do, then you can let the other puppies go too when they are waiting for permission. Finding a good puppy class - no class will be ideal but here's what to shoot for: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ When pup gets especially wound up, she probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help her calm down and rest. Practicing regular obedience commands or having pup earn what they get by performing commands like Sit and Down before feeding, petting, tossing a toy, opening the door for a walk, ect... can also help stimulate pup mentally to increase calmness and wear them out. Commands that practice focus, self-control, and learning something a bit new or harder than before can all tire out puppies. Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep working at it. Check out the videos I have linked below, pay attention to the level of enthusiasm some of the owners have getting pup excited about following the treat. Puppy Class videos: Week 1, pt 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnhJGU2NO5k Week 1, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-1-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 2, pt 1 https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-2-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 2, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-2-part-2-home-jasper-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 3, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-3-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 3, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-3-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 4, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-4-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 4, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-4-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 5, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-5-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 5, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-5-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 6, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-6-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 6, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-6-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1-0 Best of luck training, Crittenden Crittenden

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Question
Miska
Shepsky
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Miska
Shepsky
4 Months

Biting and going toilet in the house

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1125 Dog owners recommended

Hello Natascha, Check out the articles I have linked below on those topics. Bite Inhibition method and Leave It method - work on both: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Potty training - crate training method, or crate training method combined with tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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