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
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
946 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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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
946 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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Question
Cali
Husky
4 Years
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Cali
Husky
4 Years

Adopted Cali when she as already a year old from another person. Not entirely sure if she was totally socialized as a puppy, but now it is starting to seem like she may not to have. There were never any issues between her and our older dog (malamute) B. But with our younger dog Izzy who we recently adopted this year, she has become aggressive. Never seen her act like this towards any other dog. Issues seem to occur when Izzy jumps on me (working on training her to stop) but other incident seemed to happen at random? I cannot pinpoint the trigger. They were just both at the front door and Cali seemed to snap. Now that they have already been around each other, I am not sure where to start.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alexa, I would hire a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression and will come to your home to evaluate the dogs in person. You want someone who is well recommended by their previous clients for similar needs. Cali may be redirecting their general arousal and aggression toward Izzy in certain situations - like if they were both excited and aroused while barking or watching something at the door. There could be personal space issues Cali isn't tolerating well with Izzy. With pup being young, many young dogs simply don't respect other dog's boundaries well, even in subtle ways we might not recognize - like an older dog giving a pup a stare to say don't do that, and the pup missing the cue and doing it anyway, leading to a fight. Most older, well socialized dogs will be patient in these situations and give additional warnings, but a dog who lacks impulse control or proper social skills might go straight to a harsh aggressive response. Figuring out exactly what's going on by having a trainer qualified in this area observe the body language of each dog around each other, how both dogs interact with you (to see if something like possessiveness of you is part of the issue, and how relationship with you being improved might benefit them), and working on skills like impulse control are all important pieces of working through this, with the right help. Not all trainers work with aggression or have the experience you need so check referrals and reviews and ask a lot of questions about how they train and experience with these types of training needs to ensure you find the right trainer. This is an issue I would be picky about who you hire. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Link
Siberian Husky
3 Years
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Link
Siberian Husky
3 Years

Link (Right) was exposed to other dogs on a regular basis as a puppy and into adulthood. He was notably picked on though, pushed over and stalked by other dogs. He did well to take this with stride and when he got older and bigger did start to push back until there was an equilibrium. We even got a second husky puppy (Navi) when he turned 1 and he has been nothing but loving and tolerant to her.

When he turned about 2 though there was an incident at the dog park where a dog was attacking Navi and Link stepped in without too much force but a third dog attacked him from behind which resulted in Link escalating his aggression and snipping the third dogs ear. Everyone was okay and the other owners accepted that no one was at fault and we all left to discipline our pups.

That's when we started seeing issues. Even though it was a short incident and Link had previous been great at the park and with other dogs he started showing fear and aggression towards other dogs he didn't know. This is not growling or running away its him acting calm until they get within range and then he snarls and lashes out almost immediately. We have continued to try and socialize him with more good experiences but it has gotten to the point where I'm afraid to bring him around any other dogs because the level of aggression is violent as he doesn't hold back at all lunging at dogs that come anywhere near him. He has even broken muzzles we put on him to reduce the danger of him hurting other dogs.

This behavior does not come up at all with humans as he is nothing but loving and friendly to people and certain dogs he has already built a relationship with.

How can we help him feel comfortable around other dogs when we can't go to the dog park to help him because it is so stressful for us and Link that it feels like it is only a matter of time before he hurts someone's pup.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jared, Hello Shelbie, For what you are describing, I recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues. Look for one who comes well recommended by their previous clients, and has access to well mannered dogs to practice around. Check out trainers like SolidK9training online. I don't recommend working on the aggression by yourself. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Fenix
Husky
3 Months
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Question
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Fenix
Husky
3 Months

How to make him stop bitting and how to make him get along with my 6 yr old shih tzu.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
241 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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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 !)

1 year, 10 months ago
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