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 Bark Method

Effective
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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 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 Boundaries Method

Least Recommended
1 Vote
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
Ali
Siberian Husky
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Ali
Siberian Husky
3 Months

Hey I’m training my husky to be a protection dog and I need help because I don’t know if he will be one or he will never get it.
He already barks on command but not every time.
What should I do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ali, I suggest starting with a good foundation of obedience if that is not already in place. Obedience can help build respect and trust between you and him so that he is more likely to want to protect you and to pay attention to what's going on with you. It's also incredibly important for any dog who you will be encouraging any form of guarding or protection work in. Second, if you want pup to alert to strangers, teach a "Speak" command and "Quiet" command. Point out strangers who in locations (within a certain distance to you or on your property for example) and command "Speak" when he notices those people. Reward with a toy or treat for him barking, then command "Quiet" and reward that response. You may need to recruit friends your dog doesn't know to pretend to be strangers entering your property for this. Watch pup and whenever he displays behavior that can help with protection - such as watching people pass by, noticing unusual things, paying attention to your whereabouts, ect...Reward those things with a treat to encourage the focus to increase. I do NOT suggest rewarding any true form of aggression. If you with to go past pup learning to be more alert, to warn you, be more responsive to you, and appear intimidating to others, and teach pup true defensive behavior, the next step is to join a club or seek professional training where those activities are taught by experienced trainers with the use of things like bite bags, sleeves, protective padding, ect, and include a high level of obedience for control and safety reasons. True protection work is primarily taught through forms of positive reinforcement - via drive training, and encouraging certain breed's natural defense drive. You absolutely do not want to encourage true aggression or fear in a dog or the dog becomes a danger to you and friends and not a protection. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Kim
Sabierian husky
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Kim
Sabierian husky
2 Months

When can I start training him and do I meed help from ppl or no. What treats do u recommend?

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

Adorable pup! It is never to early to start training! As soon as you have the okay from the vet that Kim's vaccines are up to date, enroll him in puppy classes. This will give him confidence, socialize him well with other dogs, and help the two of you develop a wonderful bond. In the meantime, start training Kim with obedience skills like Sit: https://wagwalking.com/training/sit/ Down: https://wagwalking.com/training/perform-the-down-position/, etc. As well: https://wagwalking.com/training/obedience-train-a-husky-puppy/. Good luck and happy training!

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Question
Maverick
Siberian Husky
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Maverick
Siberian Husky
2 Years

Hi i want my husky to protect me while i'm by myself. He knows how to bark sometimes but when someone is coming up the drive away he does not let me know.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
666 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ianna, First, I suggest teaching pup to bark on command. Check out the Speak article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-speak Once pup knows that command, recruit friends pup doesn't know to practice coming up the driveway. Each time someone goes onto your driveway command pup to Speak and reward pup for doing so. Practice often with lots of repetitions and different people. When pup is good at doing this and even barks before you give a command sometimes, practice more, but now wait seven seconds before commanding speak, to see if pup will bark on their own. Reward extra and give extra enthusiastic praise the times pup barks before being told speak. Practice until pup will consistently bark before you say speak, when they simply see someone walk onto the driveway from outside or in your home from a window. Now, keep treats handy by the window or door where pup watches for people. When pup barks when a stranger walks toward your home, like a delivery person dropping a package onto the porch, then reward pup with one of those treats to help pup apply the training to everyday scenarios and learn to keep an eye out for people approaching. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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

Hello , I’m trying to train my dog to be more protective and I can’t seem to get her to stop running to strangers wanting rubs. She’s so playful and friendly which isn’t a problem, but I just don’t think she’ll get it. Does anyone have any suggestions

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