How to Train a Husky to be Protective

Medium
2-8 Weeks
Work

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.

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.

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!

The Natural Instinct Method

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Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The Bark Method

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Step
1
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The Boundaries Method

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2 Votes
Step
1
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Walter
Alaskan Malamute
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
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Walter
Alaskan Malamute
1 Year

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

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1094 Dog owners recommended

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

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Question
Bella
Siberian Husky
6 Months
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Question
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Bella
Siberian Husky
6 Months

Hi, my husky refuses to pee or poop outside whoever we take her on walks. She instead holds her pee or poop and uses the bathroom on her mat. We’ve also noticed that she won’t pee or poop on her mat more than once.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1094 Dog owners recommended

Hello Bella, What mat are you referring to? The doormat to go outside, a pee pad still being used for pup, or something else? I would start by removing the mat if it's something like a door mat or a pee pad. When pup doesn't go potty during a walk, as soon as you bring pup home, I would crate pup for one hour, then take pup back outside on leash, leashing pup while still in the crate so you can quickly lead her outside without letting her stop to pee in the house on the way. Check out the Crate Training method from the article I have linked below. Since pup is an older puppy, you can adjust those times to taking pup potty every three hours, taking pup back outside every hour if pup didn't go when you first took her, and crating her while inside after it's been two hours since she last went potty. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If you are punishing pup for accidents inside I wouldn't punish harshly and not at all if you don't catch pup mid- pee, instead focus most on preventing accidents inside via the crate and a potty schedule, rewarding pup with a treat hidden in your pocket when pup does go potty outside. Some dogs won't pee in front of you outside because they have been punished in the past and they think they were punished for going in front of you, instead of understanding that it was for going in the home. For more severe cases of this, you can also try taking pup potty on a 20 foot leash in a safe area, so pup is able to wander away from you a bit to avoid what they expect will be a punishment for going. When pup goes potty praise pup genuinely and toss a larger treat over to pup in a pesticide free area, to help pup understand that you are okay with them going potty in front of you if outside. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Leah
Husky
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Leah
Husky
6 Months

How do I get my dog from biting or nipping at me when I'm around?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1094 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ryan, Is pup biting to try to get your attention or play, like they would when trying to rough house with another dog, or does the biting appear to be aggressive in nature? If aggressive, I recommend hiring a professional trainer to work with you in person, who can evaluate pup and see what type of aggression and evaluate pup's overall temperament and your relationship with pup. Look for someone who specializes in behavior issues like aggression, and who comes well recommended by their previous clients for work with aggression. Check out the two articles linked below. If pup is biting to try to get your attention, opposed to true aggression, then I would work on teaching pup Leave It command and Out command to build their self-control and understanding of what you want to help with the biting. If pup is invading your space a lot or especially jumping, I would also check out the Step Towards method to move into pup as soon as they are about to jump, or the Leash method when you have a leash on pup. Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Step Toward and Leash methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Out: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Depending on how hard pup is biting, you may need to desensitize pup to wearing a basket muzzle in general so that tool can be used until the behavior improves too. After pup is desensitized, then set up scenarios that normally get pup excited and lead to biting practice your commands. When pup doesn't nip, when you do exciting things, like jump up and down, turn away from them, hold a toy, first get home, ect...then reward pup with a treat hidden in your pocket through the muzzle's holes. A basket muzzle should allow you to do this, opposed to a standard muzzle. Don't ever do things to intentionally tease or cause pup to bite defensively though, that will make the situation worse. You are simply practicing situations where pup gets excited, starting with a lower level of excitement at first as you practice self-control commands with pup, then slowly working up to more excitement as pup's level of self-control increases with practice. This is also referred to as the Jazz Up Settle Down game, commonly used by trainer Ian Dunbar if you want to look him up. In some cases you may also need to use an interrupter like a Pet Convincer, but this also needs to be done in combination with obedience practice to increase wanted behaviors and pup's impulse control skills, as well as rewarding calm behaviors, like pup sitting, greeting you nicely, or obeying your commands like Leave It, so pup is actually learning manners in place of the nipping, instead of just being corrected a lot. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcwvUOf5oOg Again, if you believe there is aggression present, I would hire a professional trainer to work with you. Much of the above advice isn't geared toward true aggression, which is different than the adolescent overly excited nipping that's common with a puppy this age. With true aggression additional safety measures will need to be put in place and more foundation work done and counter conditioning done. Muzzle introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJTucFnmAbw&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=6&t=0s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Rain
Husky
5 Months
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Question
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Rain
Husky
5 Months

Hello Rain has a hard time with eye contact with me when I tell her to look at me . But only happen when she see the cat and or next door they have a dog and I just recently put her out there but the both bark . She a quarantine dog has seen much ppl or out side till now .

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1094 Dog owners recommended

Hello Damion, I would start by practicing her looking at you to receive a treat without distractions first, and working up to the cats and dogs. To teach pup to respond to her name better or respond to a certain look at me cue, like "Attention", practice saying her name or the command and holding a treat next to your eye. When pup looks toward your eye, praise and give a treat. Practice often until pup consistently looks at your eye when you say her name. Next, pretend to hold the treat by your eye with your hand but actually have it hidden behind your back in your other hand. Say pup's name and praise and reward pup with the treat from behind your back when they look at your eye. Practice until pup looks consistently. Also, practice at random times throughout the day when pup isn't expecting it. Next, simply point to your eye and do the same process until pup is good at looking at your eye then even at random times during the day. Finally, simply say pup's name without pointing at your eye and reward with a treat hidden in your pocket throughout the day at random times of the day - you can also use pup's meal kibble as treats kept in a ziploc baggie in your pocket. When pup does great inside, practice this outside, gradually working up to more distracting locations as pup improves with practice, avoid cats and dogs during practice at first. When pup can obey in a variety of locations, like parks, your neighborhood, ect...then choose locations where you know a cat or other dog will be around, but you can put a lot of space between them and you. Practice this with that in the background, with the other animal far enough away that pup isn't completely absorbed by the distraction. At first, you will probably need to stand in front of pup and get more at their eye level, and use a really exciting treat like freeze dried liver or plain real chicken. Bring the treat to pup's nose to get their attention through scent, then up to your eye if pup is struggling to look. Praise and reward the second pup glances your way, even if it was brief. You will work up to longer looks gradually with practice. If you still can't get pup to look, increase the distance between you and the other animal more and when pup won't look on command, calmly tell pup "Ah Ah" and give a quick and gentle tug and release on their leash. Do not continuously pull. Simply give little tugs that are a bit annoying to pup and start to get their attention after a few repetitions. When they finally look up to see what you are doing, then praise and reward. As pup improves at that distance and can focus on you when other animals are around at the far distance, then slowly decrease the distance between them and other animals during training sessions as pup is improving, until pup can finally look at you even when the distraction is very close. This will take practice because of how distracting the cat and other dogs are. I highly recommend enrolling pup in a puppy kindergarten class as soon as possible, potentially one outside for your safety, to help with socialization more as well. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Kahlaa
Husky
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Kahlaa
Husky
4 Months

She holds her Pee or poop until she can do it in the living room. How can I break this habit?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1094 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mustafa, I highly recommend crate training pup and temporarily pup should always be either tethered to you with a hands free leash or in the crate while learning, unless you know she has just peed AND pooped and you have eyes on her 100%. 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 her. Make sure the crate is only big enough for her to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that she 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 smell 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 an older puppy you can adjust the times and take her potty less frequently. I suggest taking her potty every 2 hours when you are home. After 1-1.5 hours (or less if she has an accident sooner) of freedom out of the crate, return her to the crate while her bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since her last potty trip. When you have to go off she should be able to hold her bladder in the crate for 4-5 hours maximum - less at first while she is getting used to it. Only have her wait that long when you are not home though; take her out about every 2 hours while home. If she hasn't gone poop yet during that half of the day, she needs to be tethered to you or returned to the crate, then taken back outside again in 30-45 minutes if you know she likely needs to go, less frequently if she likely doesn't need to poop. Pooping outside equals more freedom. Less freedom now means more freedom later in life. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If she is not already used to a crate, expect crying at first. When she cries and you know she doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give her a food stuffed hollow chew toy to help her adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. Work on teaching "Quiet" by using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell her "Quiet" when she barks and cries. If she gets quiet and stays quiet, you can sprinkle a few pieces of dog food into the crate through the wires calmly, then leave again. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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