How to Train a Husky to Get Along with Other Dogs

Easy
1-2 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Winter is a Siberian Husky who is great with people and with the other large dogs in his home. However, when out on a walk with his owner, a little unleashed terrier comes bouncing over, barking and putting up a fuss. Much to his owner's shock, Winter lunges at the little dog, teeth bared.  Fortunately, Winter's owner stops him before any harm is done to the little dog.  

Winter's sudden aggression to the little dog came as a surprise to his owners, as he gets along well with other dogs in his house. But, any dog who is confronted with another dog invading his personal space or territory and presents anti-social behavior, can react with aggressive behavior. Because Huskies are large dogs, they can present more of a danger to other dogs if they don't get along with them. Also, Huskies are one of those dog breeds that has a high prey drive. Perhaps because indigenous populations that use them as working dogs have not breed this tendency out of them, as it is useful for hunting and defending against other predators in regions where Husky dogs are commonly bred. 

Because Huskies are well known for being highly socialized with people and living in packs, it is often not anticipated that they would show aggression toward other dogs. It is possible though, even the usually laid-back Husky may not get along with other dogs if they are not introduced properly, feel threatened, or if their prey drive is triggered.

Defining Tasks

A well-socialized dog that gets along well with other dogs will behave calmly and not show aggression when introduced to another dog, or with other dogs in their home. Because Huskies are accustomed to living in packs and are usually calm, relaxed dogs, they usually can be trained to get along with other dogs without too much difficulty. However, introducing dogs in an appropriate manner to your Husky is important, so that he doesn't feel that his territory or space is being intruded on, and to ensure that he does not react aggressively or misinterpret the other dogs' behavior. A Husky is a large dog, and if they pounce on another dog or bite they can cause significant damage. Counteracting prey drive by ensuring that other dogs are introduced as pack mates, not prey or rivals, may be important when introducing other dogs to your Husky dog.

Getting Started

Introducing dogs to your Husky on neutral territory, if possible, will help reduce territorial behavior from either your Husky or the other dog, which could quickly escalate. If you are training your Husky to get along with other dogs, finding other dogs that are well socialized to model appropriate behaviors is extremely useful. Introducing two unsocialized dogs leaves a lot of room for errors in body language and communication to occur.  Also, using very high value treats to reinforce positive social behavior with other dogs will be important, as you need a reinforcement that is more salient than any drive to be aggressive with the other dog. As gradual introduction is often employed, having barriers or markers to help introduce dogs slowly will be helpful.

The Be a Pack Method

ribbon-method-3
Most Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Walk with another dog
Find a friend with a calm, well-socialized dog. Put both dogs on leash and walk them in an open area, several feet apart, to give your Husky space if he is not yet getting along with other dog.
Step
2
Pull to side
As the dogs walk along, pull your Husky to the side to correct him for fixating or being antisocial with the other dog. Do not create tension by pulling back.
Step
3
Praise calm
Praise your Husky for moving along and not focusing on the other dog.
Step
4
Increase proximity
Gradually move the dogs closer together, and continue to travel in the same direction. Talk calmly to the other person, other dog, and your Husky.
Step
5
Practice
Continue to walk with the other dog frequently, until your Husky starts to relax and walk right next to the other dog calmly.
Recommend training method?

The Gradual Approach Method

ribbon-method-1
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Approach another dog
Have an assistant stand with a well-socialized dog on a leash. Proceed towards the assistant and dog with your Husky on a leash.
Step
2
Mark when your dog notices other dog
As you approach, pay attention to your Huskies behavior. When your dog notices the other dog, mark the location place with an object, such as a rock.
Step
3
Mark when antisocial behavior occurs
Continue approaching the other dog. When your dog starts to show signs of antisocial behavior, stop. Note the location just before behavior started, and place a marker like a rock or a cone there. The area between the two markers is your Husky's reactivity area.
Step
4
Return to start
Go back to where you started and proceed to the first marker. As soon as your Husky notices the other dog, stop and give him great high value treats. When your dog focuses on you and the treats and not the other dog for several treats, leave the reactivity area and go back your start location.
Step
5
Repeat approach
Enter the reactivity area again. See if you can get closer to the other dog before your Husky reacts to him, then stop and give treats again. Repeat getting closer each time to the other dog, so the reactivity zone becomes closer and closer. With each progression your Husky should react less and less to the other dog, until you are able to get within a few feet of the other dog without your dog reacting in an antisocial way.
Recommend training method?

The Be Approached Method

ribbon-method-2
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Wait for other dog to approach
Put your Husky on a leash and have him sit next to you while holding a bag full of high value treats. Have an assistant approach with another well-socialized, calm dog on a leash.
Step
2
Stop approach
When your Husky reacts to the other dog, have the other dog stop and sit. Wait until your Husky is calm then give him the high value treats.
Step
3
Reinitiate approach
Have the other dog leave and approach again, this time hopefully your dog will remain calm and social for longer while the other dog approaches closer. Have the other dogs stop when your dog reacts. Again, wait for your dog to stop reacting then give your dog treats while the other dog sits and waits.
Step
4
Repeat until adjacent to other dog
Repeat as many times as necessary until the other dog is only a few feet away from your Husky, and your dog does not react antisocially.
Step
5
Practice
Start practicing this exercise with other dogs of different temperaments when out on walks. When you see another dog approaching, ask your dog to sit and be calm. Provide treats if your Husky is calm and social. Remove him from the situation if your dog shows signs of anti-social behavior and go back to practicing with a calm social dog in a controlled environment.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Laurie Haggart

Published: 02/07/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Yuki
Husky
9 Months
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Question
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Yuki
Husky
9 Months

We just brought her home today as a companion for our 4 month old pomsky girl that we already have. Every time our puppy even walks near Yuki, she growls at her or lunges and nips at her. Obviously it’s a bit concerning do to the size difference. Is this something she can get over?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1106 Dog owners recommended

Hello Olivia, Often this type of behavior can at least be improved through management, such as strict obedience commands practice, boundaries at home, and consistent rules about how the dogs are allowed to interact, but without knowing her history with other dogs and observing pup in person I can't guarantee that this wouldn't always need additional management and would be safe. She may not have been socialized around other dogs as a young pup and that could be effecting her reactions toward other dogs now. I would hire a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression and reactivity to evaluate the dogs together in person and best guide you. The size difference is concerning. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Nora
Siberian Husky
7 Years
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Question
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Nora
Siberian Husky
7 Years

Our rescue husky of approx 4 years has been very social and friendly to all dogs for as long as we had her. We recently combined homes and recently added a puppy which she is very amicable to. But recently the other adult dog in the house and her have experienced tension that resulted in vet visits for both. I know she is very food driven but there is no threat there, as they are fed separate, its in other than feeding situations she tends to be agitated with the other adult dog. all dogs are female and fixed. Just curious if the home being combined has caused some sense of turmoil for her.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1106 Dog owners recommended

Hello Stephen, Were both adult dogs previously in the same household together, or when the puppy moved in was the other adult female also new? I could be several things. 1. If the other adult dog is also new, even though she got along well with outside dogs, there is resource guarding and competing that's only showing up at home now that she is having to live with an adult. This is especially common with dogs of the same sex, and even more so if they are not spayed, and even more so when one is having their cycle due to the hormone shift. 2. If the two adult dogs were already living together and previously fine and the puppy is the only new animal addition, she might actually be possessive over the puppy, which is a form of resource guarding, where the dog doesn't want someone, like another dog or sometimes person coming near the puppy because she sees the puppy as hers. 3. There could be increased tension simply because of the new people and animals in the home causing stress. That stress is leading to more stress hormones and tension or possibly anxiety in her, and she is taking it out on the other dog, even if the two of them were fine before. I would provide more mental stimulation and structure to all the dogs, especially her. Avoid soothing and petting when she is tense and aggressive, but instead giving clear boundaries, practicing obedience commands with some rewards to challenge her mentally and calm her mind more, and have clear expectations of who is allowed where and what the rules of the home are for all the animals. A long Place command can be useful in these situations. Walks being structured with heeling, and commands like Leave It, and Out - leave the area, and Off for managing space. 4. If the adults in the home are suddenly overly harsh or overly laid back and there is less calmness or leadership or consistency, the dogs also could be responding to that by trying to control each other to establish their own structure and rules for the other housemates. 5. Illness or injury could also be a factor. With a new puppy coming in, pup could have brought something like parasites if they hadn't been fully weaned. I suspect this is behavioral, but if you notice anything else off about the dog's behavior, how they seem to feel, their stools or urination, or anything medical, I would see your vet. These are not all the possibilities, but these are the most likely ones in my opinion with what little I know about the situation. The stress of the move, the two adults not living together before, or a lack of leadership and security from humans, puppy being guarded, or a medical issue. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Wao
Siberian Husky
2 Years
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Question
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Wao
Siberian Husky
2 Years

He's not castrated, and not very socialised with other dogs, since i normally take him out to to our construction side to run. so i went to get him another a friend, a female, but he snarls. That was the first day. The second day, we took them both for a walk, and during the walk, at one point, they were closer to each other and he bit her on the face. We continued with the walk and they were close, but not to close to the point that he would continue snarling.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1106 Dog owners recommended

Hello Laina, I highly recommend seeing if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area you can attend, which is a class for dog aggressive dogs, where they dogs are intensively socialized together in a structured environment while wearing a basket muzzle. I would also start desensitizing him to wearing a basket muzzle. To introduce the muzzle, first place it on the ground and sprinkle his meal kibble around it. Do this until he is comfortable eating around it. Next, when he is comfortable with it being on the floor with food, hold it up and reward him with a piece of kibble every time he touches or sniffs it in your hand. Feed him his whole meal this way. Practice this until he is comfortable touching it. Next, hold a treat inside of it through the muzzle's holes, so that he has to poke his face into it to get the treat. As he gets comfortable doing that, gradually hold the treat further down into the muzzle, so that he has to poke his face all the way into the muzzle to get the treat. Practice until he is comfortable having his face in it. Next, feed several treats in a row through the muzzle's holes while he holds his face in the muzzle for longer. Practice this until he can hold his face in it for at least ten seconds while being fed treats. Next, when he can hold his face in the muzzle for ten seconds while remaining calm, while his face is in the muzzle move the muzzle's buckles together briefly, then feed him a treat through the muzzle. Practice this until he is not bothered by the buckles moving back and forth. Next, while he is wearing the muzzle buckle it and unbuckle it briefly, then feed a treat. As he gets comfortable with this step, gradually keep the muzzle buckled for longer and longer while feeding treats through the muzzle occasionally. Next, gradually increase how long he wears the muzzle for and decrease how often you give him a treat, until he can calmly wear the muzzle for at least an hour without receiving treats more than two treats during that hour. Muzzle introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJTucFnmAbw&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=6&t=0s Keep the dogs separated when you are not directly supervising them together. All interactions should be structured, like heeling during walks, staying on separate Place beds (with back ties to ensure he can't lunge for her or the basket muzzle on), rewarding tolerance and calmness around each other, but with distance between them so they aren't competing for the treats. Crating when you are away, sleeping, or not supervising, heeling walks but with a basket muzzle or two people walking the dogs the same direction but with space between. Check out the Walking Together method in this article: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs The goal now is peaceful, safe co-existence. Don't expect or push friendship or playing right now. His lack of socialization and dog aggression needs to be addressed first. Keep her safe. If he attacks her regularly she will likely develop fear aggression too. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Cody
Husky
11 Months
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Question
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Cody
Husky
11 Months

My husky lives in a cage outside our house and we just bought a new golden retriever puppy. My husky is agressive towards the puppy. How do i get my husky to like our new dog?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1106 Dog owners recommended

Hello Andrei, To really address this you will need to build the older dog's relationship with you so you can provide consistency and direction for both and the older dog trust and respect your calm, trustworthy leadership. One of the best ways to do this is through regularly practicing lure reward type training with obedience commands with the older dog, to develop a relationship of working with pup and providing the mental and physical exercise and stimulation they need. Next, you would work on commands like Leave It and Place and Heel with the older dog, to start being able to have them in the same area with a leash, Staying on Place and walking at a Heel to provide some boundaries and rules for both. I would desensitize the older dog to wearing a basket muzzle and recruit a second person so you can keep distance between the two dogs to ensure safety. If you can find one in your area, I would join a G.R.O.W.L. class with your older dog to address any general aggression or reactivity that's due to needing more socialization. Those classes are structured environments where all the dogs in class were basket muzzles for safety and are intensively socialized together. I would never leave the older dog and puppy unattended together, like outside in the same kennel run without supervision right now. I would consider hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues to help in person with this as well. Preferably someone who has access to other well mannered dogs, like a training group's trainers' dogs, so that if your dog's overall attitude toward other dogs is behind their attitude toward the puppy, that can be addressed in training sessions with the help of other dogs and a controlled setup environment to practice socialization in, initially from a distance. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Freya
Siberian Husky
2 Years
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Question
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Freya
Siberian Husky
2 Years

She has never done this before but today she was on her walk and picked up a small dog in her mouth my mom told her to let it go and after a while she did
I’m worried for both of them
any advice

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1106 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kiersten, Was the small dog another dog in your family or one she encountered on the walk? For this need I do highly recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues to work with you in person. The trainer will probably need to evaluate whether pup is prey driven toward small dogs, trying to play roughly, or behaving from another type of aggression. Whether she lives with other small dogs or not effects how serious this is. I would start by teaching a lot of commands for self-control, like Leave It, Out, Watch Me, and other commands to help pup disengage from a small dog and give space. I would encourage you to learn a lot about canine body language by watching visual examples if you haven't already, so you have a good base to be able to anticipate when pup is engaging with a small dog in a way that's about to turn into something unsafe. Determining why pup is picking up the other dog will effect where you go from here. If there is prey drive present toward the other dog, this is a very serious issue with some very strict management and high level obedience commands and supervision between them at all times needed. If pup is simply playing and being too rough, that will be far easier to address with some obedience and boundary training with Leave It, to teach pup that picking the other dog up is never acceptable. Look for a trainer who specializes in behavior issues and has a lot of experience with aggression, prey drive and high level obedience training. Most likely you will need someone who uses both positive reinforcement and fair corrections both, comes very highly recommended by their previous clients, and has access to other small dogs for training session practice. Always setting up training very carefully to avoid any dog from being harmed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Success
Gunner
Siberian Husky
4 Years

Our Siberian Husky, Gunner, is a neutered purebred, with papers to prove it. He came from a top breeder in AK. Breeder told my son he'd been thoroughly socialized with other non-Husky dogs & many people, while still a pup, stressing that was very-important to having a well-behaved household member. He loves all people & tries to love all other canines, but he's killed 2 dogs who attacked him, very-swiftly. One was a Chi who stupidly attacked a much-bigger dog. Gunner simply crushed it with one bite. The other was a beagle who charged & attacked him in the street when I was walking him. He grabbed the beagle's neck held him with his paws, & ripped the throat open in a split-second. Gunner is abnormally-large, 30"tall & 120 lb. He's in perfect health, enormously-strong. We feed him Dr. Marty's, Blue Buffalo, & raw fish & chicken guts. (No intestines!) We wonder why he grew so large, as his parents & littermates are normal-size. Our vet, who's also a trainer, said it's normal for a Husky to fight back lethally if another dog attacks, as they're the nearest relative to wolves, with corresponding bite power & killer instincts. His advice is for us to simply be careful about exposing Gunner to potentially-hostile dogs & to never leave him alone with a cat, as , of all dog breeds, Sibes are about the least-tolerant of cats. So, we just act accordingly, as he gets along fine with several other dogs in the 'hood. Also, he has a strong prey drive, which the vet said is normal for Sibes. Once he escaped from me & ran down an adult rabbit, while he was trailing our Flexi-Leash through brush & scrub, quicklt catching & killing the rabbit. He then carried it around, not knowing what to do with it. we just let him keep it til he tired of it, then disposed of it. We can't really complain about Gunner's behavior. He's a good companion, loves to play, especially "tug of war", is very quiet, well-housebroken, very clean, etc. I just have to remember his POTENTIAL. He's yanked me down a couple of times wanting to go after a rabbit or a squirrel(I weigh a good 235), goes his own way when being walked, & would run off if he got loose. I believe it's the same with any other dog-remember their capabilities, likes & dislikes, & as much as possible, let them be Huskies, Labradors, Beagles, or, if curs, whatever breed they resemble. (Some of the best dogs I've ever seen were curs !)

2 years, 5 months ago
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