How to Train a Husky to be Protective

How to Train a Husky to be Protective
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon2-8 Weeks
Work training category iconWork

Introduction

Ice is your lovable canine, loyal to a fault and constantly cuddly. Then there are the mesmerizing eyes on your Husky that you just can’t help but stare at. It’s fair to say that life hasn’t been the same since Ice came into your life. Gone are the days where you woke up without a wet dog breathing in your face. Gone too are the days where your floors were clean and free from dog hair. Yet despite all this, you wouldn’t swap your Husky for the world. But whilst you may not swap him, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to put him to work either.

If you live in a dangerous area or you have young children that you want to keep safe, you may want to train your Husky to be protective. This type of training will help cement the bond with your canine companion. The obedience commands will also come in handy when you want to teach him other behaviours too.

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Defining Tasks

Training a Husky to be protective isn’t as complicated as many owners fear. Huskies, by their very nature, are quite protective of their owners. Your job will be to reinforce that you are part of his territory to defend. You will also need to use obedience commands to train Ice to react in the correct manner to protect you. Routine and an effective motivator will play a key role throughout training. 

If your Husky is just a puppy, then he should soak up all information and learn quickly. You could see results in just a couple of weeks. But if Ice is older, stubborn, and has never been too concerned about protecting you, then you may need a couple of months. Stick with training and you’ll soon be able to head out late at night, safe in the knowledge that your watchdog is on duty by your side. You’ll also be able to sleep easy at night knowing your first line of defense isn’t far away.

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Getting Started

Before you get to work, you’ll need to ensure that you have some tools. A short training leash will be required. You may also want to invest in a body harness. This will increase your control while reducing the strain on your dog's neck.

You’ll then need to stock up on treats. Alternatively, break his favorite food into small chunks. Toys and a clicker will also be needed as well as some brave friends. Set aside around ten minutes or so each day for training.

Once you have successfully gathered those few bits, just bring patience and enthusiasm, then work can commence!

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The Natural Instinct Method

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1

Start early

The earlier you can start training your Husky to be protective, the faster he will learn and the easier the process will be. So once he is a few weeks old, it’s time to gather some rewards and begin.

2

Take an interest

Whenever a stranger approaches, you need to try and draw Ice’s attention. So point, whisper, and do everything you can for him to catch on. It may take a little while, but eventually he will catch your drift and start sniffing around.

3

Reward

Whenever he sniffs, barks, or take an interest in a stranger, he must be rewarded within a few seconds. Any longer and he may not associate the action with the reward. You can use a clicker too before you hand over the reward. This is an effective way to signal to your Husky when he has performed a behaviour correctly, speeding up the training process.

4

Test

Once he starts to get the hang of it, start testing him out by organising for people to slowly approach. Encourage Ice to take an interest until he barks. Then have the person scream and run away. This is important as it teaches Ice that he must bark until the person flees. Now simply practice this regularly until your Husky starts naturally doing it.

5

Avoid punishment

Do not use any punishment techniques when training your Husky to be protective. Huskies are big and strong and you may struggle to keep him under control if he gets too aggressive. Instead, stick to positive reinforcements.

The Bark Method

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Watch closely

Spend a couple of days watching your Husky closely. You’re looking for situations that causes him to bark. This could be when he's about to go for a walk or when he gets excited for his dinner. You’re going to use these moments to train him to bark on command.

2

‘Bark’

Once you’ve found the trigger, put him in the situation and issue a ‘bark’ command just before or as he barks. Give it in a playful voice. Huskies learn best when they think they’re playing a game. Note that you can use any word or phrase you like for the instruction.

3

Reward

As soon as Ice does indeed bark, quickly hand over a reward. This can be treats, a toy, or simply a cuddle. But the happier he feels, the more likely it is that he will repeat the behaviour again. Now practice this for several minutes each day until he barks as soon as you give the command.

4

The approach

Now secure your Husky to a leash and walk into the yard or down the road. Arrange to have a friend or someone Ice doesn’t know too well bump into you. When they get close, point and give your Husky the ‘bark’ command. As soon as he does indeed bark, hand over a reward again.

5

Practice makes perfect

Now you simply need to practice this a few times each week. Try and have different people approach in a range of situations. Keep practicing until your Husky naturally starts barking whenever anyone approaches. At this point, you can slowly phase out the treats.

The Boundaries Method

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Morning walk

Secure your Husky to a leash each morning and walk him around the perimeter of the place you want him to protect. If it’s a person you want him to protect, keep him on a very short leash and close by. You are showing him what is within his territory. He will then naturally want to defend this space.

2

Evening walk

Take Ice out for exactly the same walk each evening. Again if it’s a person he is to protect, keep him on a short leash and close by for a little while. This routine will soon show him where his boundaries begin and end.

3

Tether

In the daytime, tether your Husky to a long leash so he has enough space to roam around the area or person you want him to be protective over. Again, this further reinforces the space or person that falls within his boundaries, which he will naturally want to keep safe.

4

Obedience classes

It is important you take Ice to group obedience classes so he can socialize with other dogs. If you don’t, he may become overly aggressive around all other people or pets. Socialization is important for any protection or guard dog for this reason, especially for Huskies which have a very high prey drive.

5

Reward

You must make sure you reward your Husky whenever he barks at a stranger that approaches. You can click if you use a clicker, then hand over a toy and play with that for a minute or so. Alternatively, give him a treat and verbal praise. Do this every time and he will soon get in the habit of barking at anyone that approaches.

By James Barra

Published: 05/25/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Sarge

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Siberian Husky

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5years10 months

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Question

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Is there anyway to stop marking behavior. He was neutered 1 year ago and still marking. He also will be outside all day long and come in defecate on the carpet. Is there anyway to stop this behavior or is he to old?

Oct. 23, 2022

Sarge's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello, You will need to crate train him for potty training. Check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for him. Make sure the crate is only big enough for him to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that he can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the small and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. The method I have linked below was written for younger puppies, since your dog is older you can adjust the times and take him potty less frequently than the method suggests. I suggest taking him potty every 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5 hours (or less if he has an accident sooner) of freedom out of the crate, return him to the crate while his bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since his last potty trip - at which time you will take him outside to go potty again. When you have to go off he should be able to hold his bladder in the crate for 5-8 hours - less at first while he is getting used to it and longer once he is accustomed to the crate. Overnight, he should be able to hold it 8-10 hours once he is used to the crate. Only have him wait that long when you are not home though, take him out about every 3 hours while home during the day and evening. You want him to get into the habit of holding his bladder between trips and not just eliminating whenever he feels the urge, and you want to encourage that desire for cleanliness in your home - which the crate is helpful for. Being an outdoor dog, it sounds like he isn't house broken and needs to start fresh with house breaking inside. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Since he is marking, the crate will only be half the battle. During the 1.5 hours he is out of the crate between potty trips he will probably still try to pee to mark his scent - since the issue isn't needing to pee but wanting to "claim" things by peeing on them. To deal with that behavior, use the crate training method, but also keep him tethered to you while he is out of the crate between potty trips using a 6 or 8 foot leash. Have him wear a belly band - which is a sling/diaper for male dogs that catches urine, and when he tries to lift his leg to mark, clap your hands loudly three times. Use a cleaner than contains enzymes to remove the smell from any new or previous accidents - since lingering scent will only encourage more marking and only enzymes fully remove the smell. Look on the bottle for the word enzyme or enzymatic. Many (but not all) pet cleaners contain enzymes. The belly band will keep marking from being fun and successful for him and stop the spreading of the smell - which encourages more marking (and keep your things clean). Attaching him to yourself with the leash will keep him from sneaking off to pee uninterrupted, and clapping will make peeing unpleasant for him without it being too harsh. Reward him with treats when he potties outside so he understands that pottying outside in front of you is good, it's only inside where he shouldn't do it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Oct. 24, 2022

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Walter

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Alaskan Malamute

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1 Year

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Walter keeps digging holes on the yard and he is extremely friendly with guests

April 23, 2022

Walter's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello James, For the hole digging, is pup being left outside unattended? If so, that will need to be changed during this age, where destructiveness is common. I would work on teaching a Leave It command, supervising pup while outside so you can enforce that command when pup starts to dig, and if there is a specific area pup tends to dig over and over again in, opposed to lots of different locations, you can use something like a pet barrier device to enforce the Leave It rule after pup has practiced Leave It with you and understands that digging isn't allowed. Be sure that pup is also receiving physical and mental stimulation. Training, games that make pup think, incorporating obedience into walks and fetch and other games, feeding pup in hollow toys like kongs or kong wobbles or puzzle toys, where pup has to work for the food, and devices like autotrainer and pet tutor, can all be good ways to stimulate a bored dog mentally too. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite For the friendliness, I would work on impulse control building commands, and set up practice sessions where you can repeat guest introductions over and over and over and over again during the same sessions, often, so that guests become more boring and pup gets better at calm responses. Instruct real guests to also ignore pup the first ten minutes after they arrive, so guests arriving is less exciting and pup can manage their excitement more easily. Sit method or Leash method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Leave It and Out for digging also are great commands for teaching pup to give people space. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

May 2, 2022


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