How to Train a Husky to Not Run Away

Medium
1-8 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Your Husky is an important member of the family who brings you all together. They get you all giggling as they make their way around the dinner table begging for food. They bring a smile to your face when you walk through the door and they’re jumping up, eager to cover you in slobber. That’s why it’s sad when your Husky tries to run away. For the most part, you don’t understand it. You give them food, water, a comfy bed and plenty of love and affection.

Training your Husky not to run away is important for both you and them. If your dog escapes onto roads they could end up in a serious traffic collision, which could result in hefty vet bills or worse. This type of training will also instill discipline that you can use to phase out other bad habits too.

Defining Tasks

Training your Husky not to run away isn’t always straightforward. First, you will need to identify the underlying cause of their running away. Once you know that, you can then start tackling the problem. While you are doing that though, you can introduce a number of preventative measures. Obedience training will also be involved so you develop a need within yourHusky to always stay close by.

If your Husky is a puppy then they should be at their most receptive and you could see results in just a couple of weeks. But if your dog is older, stubborn and got a real taste for running away, then you may need a couple of months. If you get training right you’ll never have to worry when you lose sight of your Husky again. It also means you’ll be able to let them off the leash safely, which will give them more exercise and freedom to explore.

Getting Started

Before you start training, you will need to collect a few items. You will need a long leash. You will also need secure fencing and baby gates for one of the methods. A generous supply of treats or small pieces of your dog's favorite food will also be required. 

Set aside just a few minutes each day for training. You can practice in a yard, in the house or in nearby fields.

Once you have all that, just bring patience and a can-do attitude, then work can begin!

The Come Method

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Step
1
Call their name
When you’re at home, make sure you have a few treats tucked away in your pocket. Then every now and then call your Husky’s name. You can also hold out a treat to tempt them over.
Step
2
Reward
As soon as they get to your feet, shower them in verbal praise and hand over a tasty reward. You want them to associate coming to you with positive consequences. Call your pooch to you several times through out the day.
Step
3
Continue outside
Start with your dog on a long leash when you go out for walks. Then periodically call them over like you have been doing inside and then hand over a treat. Do this regularly throughout the walk.
Step
4
Lose the leash
Once you have done this for several walks, you can then try letting them off the leash and continuing to call them over regularly. Before you know it, your Husky will be in a habit of always staying close to your side and running away won’t cross their mind.
Step
5
Be consistent
You can also have other members of the household call them over and give them rewards. The aim is to build up a dependence in your Husky to be near your family. It may take a while, so you will need to be patient.
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The Prevention Method

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Step
1
Obscure their view
Your Husky may be determined to escape because they can see a world of interesting things out there. So sometimes simply drawing curtains or putting up bushes to limit their view can remove the temptation.
Step
2
Baby gates
If your Husky is easily escaping and running away through certain doors then you may want to consider fitting baby gates. They are quick and easy to install and may prevent him running away entirely.
Step
3
Fencing
If they are escaping from your yard, then think about putting up some fencing. Make sure it is built deep into the ground as despite their size, Huskies can squeeze through remarkably small gaps. If they can’t escape, you will find your dog quickly gives up trying.
Step
4
Tether them
Try tethering your Husky to a long leash. Give them enough freedom to roam around, but make sure they can’t jump over any fences or escape. Again once they realize they can’t escape, they will swiftly give up.
Step
5
Don’t use punishment
If you punish your Husky when they run away, you may only frighten them and make them more determined to escape again. Instead, use positive reinforcement to make home the place where they want to be. This is the most effective way to train a Husky.
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The Meeting Needs Method

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Step
1
Toilet time
Your Husky may be running away for any number of reasons. One of those may be that they are not regularly taken to the toilet and therefore have accidents and are trying to escape punishment. So, make sure you take your dog out regularly to avoid accidents and the drama that follows.
Step
2
Consistent food routine
Your dog may also be running away because they are hungry. So make sure you feed them meals at the same time each day. You need them to know they can expect food and don’t need to look elsewhere for it.
Step
3
Give attention
Their running away may also be attention seeking behavior. Just like humans, Huskies can be needy too. So spend a few minutes each day playing around, stroking them and making them feel loved.
Step
4
Toys
Alternatively, your dog may be running away out of boredom. So make sure they have plenty to do when you are not around. Toys and food puzzles will keep them occupied for hours on end. This can be particularly effective if you leave them in the house all day while you are at work.
Step
5
Boundaries
Secure your Husky to a leash and walk them around the perimeter of the house, once in the morning and once at night. This will drill into them where their territory begins and ends. They will then naturally want to stay within their territory to defend it.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Isla
Husky
1 Year
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Question
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Isla
Husky
1 Year

We rescued our husky about a month ago and this is her 5th home now in a year so we don’t want to send her away again! We don’t have a fenced in yard but she loves to lay in a hole she dug and we give her plenty of attention and she has another dog (full bred German Shepherd) to always be with, but she still runs away!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Chloe, Isla is probably acting on her natural instinct to wander and explore. Huskies are known for being wanderers so it is likely genetic and not because she does not love you. There are two ways to prevent her wandering. The first is to build a six foot fence to contain her. The other is to hire a local trainer with experience using electric collars to teach firm boundary training. For some dogs, the boundary training will be enough and they will respect staying within that area after the training without any form of additional fence. For others, they will need the additional step of an electric boundary system, such as an electric fence, to enforce that training. I highly recommend hiring a trainer to teach the boundaries with a manual remote collar first though. Rather than going straight to the electric fence. Because high quality remote collars have a minimum of 60 stimulation levels and can be specifically tailored to your dog's own level, the lowest possible level that will get a response can be safely used. This level is typically not even painful but simply uncomfortable and odd feeling to the dog. A good trainer will take the time to find the correct level for your dog and to properly fit the collar high on the neck so that the stimulation is consistent and more fair. When you teach a dog using a remote collar instead of just electric fending you can also use your body language and commands to teach the dog where the boundary is, so that the dog only receives a correction for doing something that it knows not to do, and not just correction that seem random until she learns what to avoid. This is much more fair and gentle to the dog. The dog can control whether or not she gets corrected. Good electric collar brands are: Sports Dog, E-Collar technologies, Garmin, and Dogtra. Do not buy a cheap, poor quality electric collar because they can be dangerous and the levels far too high. Only use the collar under the direction of a trained professional also, because the collars are a powerful tool that can be abused when used wrongly. They are quite effective when paired with clear communication and great technique though, and are one of the only effective means for dealing with strong wandering instincts. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Mika
Husky
4 Months
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Question
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Mika
Husky
4 Months

My Mika will not walk on a leash and has a hard time paying attention to me and won't come when called ,like she doesn't even care lol .I have tried many things she also has a major whining problem 🥺 I really need to get these things resolved I have two other dogs that listen amazing her I show no signs of improvement

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kamy, At four month of age most puppies do not have the attention span, mental ability, or amount of practice to be able to perform those commands well yet. Some breeds, like Retrievers and Herding breeds will pick obedience up sooner than other more independent breeds like Huskys. Huskys tend to want to think for themselves more. I suggest joining a puppy class and practicing the commands around distractions once she knows what the commands mean. Start slow and gradually work up to harder distractions as she improves. If you have already been through a puppy class, the next step is an intermediate obedience class - where you will get to practice around more distractions. For the come, check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Reel In" method. Some Huskys are very independent and need extra practice with come. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall For the whining check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Quiet" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Also, work on commands that teach her self-control to help with the whining (anxiousness and excitement). Place is a great command to work on. https://youtu.be/omg5DVPWIWo For the Heel, check out the Turns method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Hachi
Siberian Husky
5 Months
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Question
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Hachi
Siberian Husky
5 Months

Hi. My puppy is 5 months old. He has been to puppy school and he follows all the simple commands (sit, stay, wait, down). However, I can't seem to get him to stay when a vehicle comes in or goes out of my yard. I live in a fenced off property and there is a bus stop in front of my house and some people drop food at the bus stop. Hachi escaped twice already in search of the food at the bus stop. He has three meals a day with snacks in between. Even when I take him on walks he's still in search of food. I think this is the main reason why he escapes from the yard. How do I stop this from happening again? This is very concerning for me as I live on a very busy road.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Virona, Every time Hachi leaves the yard he is rewarded with dropped food and fun new smells and locations. The more you reward a behavior, the more the behavior will increase. You cannot expect him to stay in the yard until he has been through complete off-leash training, unless you are there to supervise him and enforce commands 100%. He needs to be taught boundaries using a long leash, then there needs to be rewards for staying in the yard around distractions, like the bus pulling up, and be given very consistent consequence for disobeying and leaving the yard, and no rewards for disobedience - no bus food. To remove rewards for disobedience, he needs to be prevented from getting to the bus stop - this means using a long 20-ft, 30-ft, or 40-ft leash with him and testing his boundary training on the long leash, once you have taught him where the yard boundaries are. When he tries to go across boundary lines when he feels like he is free (the leash is loose so he doesn't feel it very much), then you can give him a command like "Out" - which means get out of an area, and if he disobeys and keeps moving out of the yard, you can reel him in with the long leash that's attached to him. He needs to create a habit of staying in the yard -meaning he is never able to leave it and is never rewarded for bolting out of it, is rewarded for staying in the yard, and this is done over a long period of time - months. If you do all that, then by the time he is fully off-leashed trained, you can take the leash off and he may not even consider leaving the yard as an option. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Lobo
Husky
2 Years
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Question
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Lobo
Husky
2 Years

I adopted a gentle and well tempered but very fearful husky puppy a year ago from a shelter who had no info on him. While he has made definite progress, he is still very fearful much of the time. This has complicated his training, and also has made his running away harder to remedy since getting him back is twice as hard. He typically doesn’t like being approached, and best case scenario will cower in a corner or at the door waiting to be leashed. He even has trouble waiting me to unleash him once we’re back inside. I believe he may have been abused, and I’m not sure how to train him as a result. He doesn’t respond to any form of treats or physical encouragement, except occasionally from women and strangers. Some people, after observing his relative fear of me compared to strangers, have even asked if he’s been mistreated, which is obviously embarrassing. What can I do? I know he loves me, I see it in tender moments — but he’s clearly still afraid of me for some reason. I want give him the freedom to run, to be off leash, even to run in a yard knowing I can get him back on his leash, but he will not return given the chance, ever. How do I make my boy’s life more enjoyable for him? Right now I have him with me on a farm where I’m working so I have him tied to a tree with a long line during work hours and I walk and run him often for exercise. But when he escapes the house and the farm (I won’t be able to fence the property while here), I’m terrified for his safety and have to wait for a stranger to apprehend him, since he isn’t able to come back to me. Back in the city, we are in an apartment with no yard and at dog parks I have trouble getting him back when it’s time to go. My goal for these reasons is to get him off leash, but it seems impossible. Help! Thanks so much

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Cary, You need to hire a professional trainer who is very experienced with fear and uses methods other than just treats to train. You need someone who can evaluate exactly what's going on here and help you learn how to best manage him by being able to try different things with you and him. A combination of confidence building exercises, a lot of positive reinforcement - using real life rewards not just treats (incorporating the things he already likes, like walks, toys, meals, ect...), and a lot of structure - working him through things that make him nervous to calmly build his respect and trust for you - which can mean more structure not less - but done in a calm, consistent way. Look for a trainer who specializes in behavior issues, uses positive reinforcement, structure, focuses on building relationship and respect, is willing to tell a dog no, but also tells dogs when they are doing something right a lot! Dogs with anxiety often need fair consequences and to be told when not to do something, but they need even more emphasis on rewards, walking them through how to do something, calmness, and being told when they are doing something correctly. Avoid an angry trainer, one who has little experience with behavior issues, or who can't tell a dog no, or doesn't often tell a dog yes or good - when they get something right. For teaching come, check out the reel in method and the premack principle from the article linked below. You will probably need a lot more help in general before I would trust pup off leash, but that's a good place to start. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bella
Husky mix
7 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Bella
Husky mix
7 Years

We rescued Bella in 2013 when she was approx 1-2 yrs old. She kept running away so we put up an under ground electric fence. We have 10 acres and we fenced in approx 4 acres. We trained Bella and everything was great until recently she was chasing a rabbit and ran through the fence. She came back after several hours and now she runs thru the fence whenever she wants and doesn't seem to bother the "jolt". Recently she went to a neighbors house and killed 3 of their chickens. Now she will escape everyday if we don't keep her tied up. Can she be trained again to stay here or is her prey drive too strong?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lori, Because she has killed the chickens I would not depend on the electric fence alone. What you can do is physically fence in a section of your yard (such as an acre) with a wood or similar fence, and bury your electrical fence wire one foot inside your physical fence. Putting the electrical fence inside the physical fence keeps a dog from approaching the wooden fence to even attempt an escape. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Ace
Husky
1 Year
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Question
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Ace
Husky
1 Year

My dog has quiet a bit of problems. He is very loving and energetic but he likes to use his mouth a lot to grab loose clothing or nibble at peoples arms. He also jumps on everyone and every time I try to enforce down he does not listen. He also likes to take off when ever we unlock our big steel rolling gate to pull the car out. I just dont know what I can do to get him to listen. I myself am only home monday-friday but I stay with my family so he's always around people. I dont walk him consistently, because he's afraid of the dark... How do I cure hiom being afraid of the dark so we can walk at night when I get home from work?

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

Thank you for the question about Ace. He's young and he is a Husky - that means very energetic as you know, requiring a lot of exercise. Huskies need a good run every day. It's best if they are exercised a minimum of one hour per day. Can you walk Ace in the morning and after work? Tips for making him more comfortable in the dark: first, I would ask the vet to check Ace's eyes to confirm that he does not have vision problems. Then once that is ruled out, work with Ace on your days off to try and ease the fear. Walk him when it is almost dark and gradually extend the time in the dusk by minutes per day until he is walking with you in the dark. Bring treats along and occasionally stop and have him sit for a treat, and then continue on. Get Ace a collar with a light; this may make him feel better. As for the jumping and nipping at clothes - if you have not taken Ace to obedience classes, now is the time to start. He will learn the commands needed like sit, down, leave it, and come (good for when he tries to run). Huskies need a lot of stimulation both mentally and physically, so engage him in interacrtive toys where he has to solve a puzzle to get a food reward. As well, play fetch and other outdoor games as much as you can after work to get some of the energy out. Take a look at these as the first step to obedience training: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-husky-to-not-jump-on-you and https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-husky-to-stay-in-the-yard and https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-husky-to-not-bite. Good luck!

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Question
Luna
Siberian Husky
10 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Luna
Siberian Husky
10 Months

My dog she is completely wild and untrained, I am not a very good trainer but I want to learn how to make her listen. She constantly runs out of the house every chance she gets and doesn't listen when called to come back, if left on her own even for a small amount of time she somehow breaks out of her cage and completely trashes the entire house, she is very friendly but can be aggressive with it by jumping up and biting out of the sudden. I don't know what to do to even train her out of these habits. Any tips would be very helpful with controlling her behavior.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Angie, I do suggest working with a trainer to address the biting and overall lack of respect. It will be hard for you to do the other training safely until a good foundation has been laid there. Look for a trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression and fear. You may need to desensitize pup to a basket muzzle to be able to practice the other training safely. Muzzle introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJTucFnmAbw&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=6&t=0s Once pup is desensitized to the basket muzzle, check out the article linked below to deal with the jumping. I would have pup wear the basket muzzle during the day and practice your training in short sessions throughout the day and incorporating it into daily life with pup. A basket muzzle will be more comfortable than a standard muzzle and allow pup to open their mouth still, and for you to pass treats through the muzzle for pup. You can also use a straw dipped in peanut butter or liver paste as a reward, poked through the muzzle's holes for them to lick. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Building respect: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Start working on a reliable Come. Check out the Reel In method from the article linked below. Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall While working on Come also work on the door bolting itself. Attach a thirty or fifty foot leash to a padded back clip harness that she can't slip out of. Attach the other end of the leash to something sturdy like a stairway banister (the leash is a safety measure). With the leash slack and only there "just in case", act like you are going out the door. Start to open the door and whenever pup tries to go toward it quickly close it. Your goal isn't to hit her but she may get a slight bump if she is especially pushy. Practice opening and closing the door until you can open it and she will wait until it is open further. I would only do this with pup wearing the muzzle. When she is waiting a bit, then get between her and the door and play goalie with the opening. Opening the door wide enough for you to get through, then whenever pup tries to get through, firmly but calmly take several steps toward her to make her back up. By doing this you are communicating that you own that space and asking for her respect. Once you can open the door and she will stay back and not try to rush through, then you can praise and give a treat. You will gradually practice opening the door more and more and blocking her from getting through and walking toward her to make him back up and wait. Take steps toward her until she is at least two feet from the door AND two feet away from you - those two distances often equal her giving you respect (and not simply waiting to get past you when you move), and waiting at the door (instead of trying to bolt). It will feel a lot like you are a soccer goalie, having to be quick and focused. When you can open the door completely and she will wait, take a step through the doorway. If she tries to follow, quickly move toward her, making her backup again quickly. This serves as a natural consequence and encourages her to stay back. If she waits patiently, then praise and go to her to give a treat. Practice at that distance until she will stay back. As she improves, take more and more steps, moving outside, onto your porch and into your yard eventually. Be ready to quickly move toward her as soon as you see her start to move toward the door, to keep her from getting outside (this is why you back-tie the long leash on her, just in case she gets past you, but for training purposes the goal is to keep her from getting out so she isn't rewarded for bolting). When she will stay inside while you stand in the yard, then recruit others to be distractions outside. Expect to stay a bit closer to her when you first add a hard distraction - like another dog walking past, a walker, kids playing in the yard, balls being tossed. Imagine what types of things she may one day see outside and choose distractions that are at least that difficult to practice this around. Expect to practice this as often as you can, along with Come for several weeks, not just a couple of sessions, until you get to where she is completely reliable with distractions like dogs and kids in your yard and the door completely open. Again, I only suggest that you do this with the safety of the basket muzzle, since it sounds like she uses her mouth to get her way, and there is a good chance she will try that when you set boundaries and teach new commands. Always be safe while training. An additional activity you can practice is walking around places like your yard or a field and changing directions frequently without saying anything while she is on a long leash (be careful not to let her pull you over on the long leash. A fenced - in yard is the best place to practice this even with the long leash). Whenever she takes notice of your direction change (at first because the leash finally tugs, but later just because you moved), then give a treat for looking your way or coming over to you - without calling her; this encourages her to choose to pay attention to where you are and associate your presence with good things on her own, so she will want to be with you. For the kennel escapes, check out the link below. https://www.k9ofmine.com/heavy-duty-dog-crates/ There is additional training that can be done to help with the kennel escapes also, but the easiest approach would simply be to purchase a higher quality kennel, because often that resolves the issue in cases that are more related to boredom and not true separation anxiety. Be sure to give her something safe and entertaining to do while in the kennel also, such as a durable, dog-food stuffed black Kong. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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