Jump to section
Your Husky is the life and soul of the party. He loves being the center of attention and plays up to the role at any given opportunity. He spends his time charging around showing off whenever you have guests over. However, they all see the best of "Lucky", while you are present to witness his shortcomings. His worst bad habit by far is destroying clothes, shoes, your yard and anything else that is around. It was easy to overlook to start with, but now it’s becoming a serious problem.
Training Lucky not to destroy things could save you considerable money in replacing carpets, rugs and more. It will also save you from coming home after a long day of work to have to clean up the mess he has made. Finally, this type of training will make it easier to stamp out any number of other bad habits too.
Training a Husky not to do anything can be challenging, especially if this habit has developed over many years. Although they are intelligent they can be difficult to train. So the first thing you need to do is introduce some deterrence measures to make him think twice about destroying stuff. You will then need to combine that with positive reinforcement. Channeling his energy into something productive instead is also important.
If Lucky is a puppy the habit should be relatively new and he should respond swiftly to training. So you could see results in just a week or two. However, if the habit has been years in the making then you may have your work cut out. It could be six weeks before he gives up destroying things. Succeed and you won’t have to worry about the damage that’s about to unfold as you turn your key in the door.
Before you get to work you will need to collect a few things. Treats or small chunks of your pal's favorite food will be needed. You will also need to get your hands on a water spray bottle and a deterrence collar for one of the methods. Food puzzles and other toys will also be required.
Set aside 10 minutes or so each day for training. The more regularly you train, the sooner you will see results.
The only other things you need are patience and a proactive attitude, then training can begin!
The Deterrence Method
Remove the temptation
If he’s destroying your yard, limit his access to it. Only let him out there when you can supervise him. Alternatively, you could keep him tethered to a spot where he can’t cause any damage.
If you do catch him destroying something you need to react swiftly. Give a loud, firm ‘NO’ so he understands you're unimpressed. You can then take him by the collar and lead him away.
Water spray bottle
You can also give a quick squirt of water near his face when you catch Lucky destroying something. This will quickly make him associate destroying with negative consequences from his owner.
A deterrence collar is an effective way to show your disapproval. You just need to make sure you’re around plenty to use it when you catch him. Simply hit the remote button whenever you see him causing damage and an unpleasant spray of citronella will be emitted.
Get all on board
It’s important everyone in the house reacts when they catch him destroying. If some people laugh or don’t react then Lucky will get confused and the end result will be pushed back.
The Time Out Method
The time out method is a fantastic way to train your Husky not to destroy things. All you need to do is make sure you have a room set up with no toys or anything he might play with.
As soon as you catch Lucky destroying something, calmly take him by the collar and lead him into the time out room. Then shut the door and leave him in there for thirty-seconds. Make sure you don’t scare him as you take him away, stay calm at all times.
Once his time is up, let him out. You can then go back to playing with him or whatever it was you were doing before. However, keep a close eye on him in case he goes back to his previous crime.
Increase the sentence
If he does destroy something again you need to take him by the collar back to the room. Only this time leave him in there for an additional thirty seconds. Continue to add thirty seconds onto his sentence until he gets the message.
To discourage him from destroying after he’s been released from his time out space, gently praise him as long as he remains calm. This combination of positive reinforcement with the time out step will yield results swiftly.
The Focus Method
Huskies are big dogs that need a lot of exercise. His destructive behavior may be a release of pent up energy, so ensure he is getting plenty of walks. You can also play fetch with him to tire him out. Tired huskies don’t have the energy to destroy your stuff.
Lucky may be destroying things because he’s simply bored. So leave him with food puzzles to get through. This should keep him entertained for hours and is particularly useful if you’re going to be leaving him alone for long periods.
Dedicated play time
His destroying things may also be a form of attention seeking. So try to make sure you dedicate a few minutes each day to playing games with him. Even just lying there and stroking him calmly can help.
It’s important he associates being calm with positive rewards. So hand over the odd tasty treat and verbal praise whenever he plays calmly. If he gets too worked up and looks like he might start wrecking stuff, quickly take away any attention.
Spend a few minutes each day teaching him basic obedience commands, such as ‘down’, ‘roll over’ and any other instructions you may need. This will help channel his energy into something productive, while simultaneously increasing your control and strengthening your position as pack leader.
By James Barra
Published: 03/07/2018, edited: 01/08/2021