Having a high energy dog is no joke for the busy dog owner. For breeds like Huskies especially, who are bred for plenty of long working days, being able to provide sufficient exercise can pose a daunting problem. How do you ensure that your dog is getting the exercise he needs to be happy and healthy, and help prevent any unwanted behaviors in the process?
While walking may be the activity that most owners go to, Huskies are much more fond of high-intensity exercise like running. This makes them the perfect pet for frequent runners or joggers, as they’re fully capable of keeping pace and going for long distances without an issue. Being able to run with your dog also provides ample bonding time and a foundation for which to later train other obedience commands in order to have a well behaved and well balanced canine companion. If you’re interested in learning how to run alongside your Husky in order to improve the quality of exercise that he’s receiving, rest assured that there are certainly harder things to learn.
Because running is a fairly intense physical activity, it can be more demanding exercise and thus should be utilized with dogs that are not too young or too old. Exercise is generally no good if you’re putting too much pressure or damage on your Husky’s joints or muscles. Running is also done best when you’re able to take gradual steps. Asking too much may be a recipe for disaster.
To get your Husky up to running at a reasonable pace for longer distances, expect to take at least two or three months for an adult dog to work his way up to that level. You’ll be working on not only his ability to keep pace, but also his stamina and endurance, as well as his awareness of the road you’re on. Traffic and other pedestrians are always a possibility, so be prepared for every possible circumstance.
To start your run training, have your Husky evaluated by a veterinarian. Be sure that there are no evident illnesses or injuries that could affect or cause damage to your dog during a run. Conditions like arthritis or hip dysplasia can cause pain in an overactive pup and you want to avoid causing any further degradation of joints.
Once you can get a clean bill of health, your next tools are a reliable leash and collar. Choose a leash with reasonable length. Six feet is probably ideal, in case your pacing is off in the beginning. Other than that, bring a couple of small treats along with you for your initial work in training a good ‘heel’. Being sure that your dog can stay by your side will make your run training much easier.
Aya is beautifully behaved on lead but off lead and running, she won’t come back. It is nerve wracking. What can I do?
Hello Sheila, Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Reel In" method. Once she can obey Come in calm locations without having to be reeled in, take her to more distracting locations and practice on the long leash there. Start with less distracting locations first and gradually work up to harder and harder locations. Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall More tips on training around distractions and transitioning to off leash: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Best or luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Puppy in seceral ocassions just wants to go outside to go pottyband then go back in. She doesnt want to go walking or running. She will sit down or lay down and refuse to move. Any ideas/ suggestions for why she would be doing this?
Hello Vida, First, are you having a hard time getting pup to exercise with you present - such as through a game of fetch or taking pup for a walk on a leash, OR is the issue that pup isn't playing by themselves in a fenced in yard. If the issue is that pup isn't playing by themselves, that is completely normal and most dogs would rather be with the people inside. About half of all dogs won't exercise themselves outside alone - even with a yard you still have to go out there with pup to play fetch or take them for a walk to give them exercise. If the issue is that you can't get pup to walk or play with you, check out the video and article linked below on teaching pup to fetch and how to motivate them to want to do it - many non-retriever breeds aren't naturally interested in fetching at first. They have to be taught to be interested and see it as fun. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-uUQE32FuU Article on fetch: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-to-fetch/ If pup won't walk on a leash, first, take some small treats or pup's dog food pieces with you in a small ziplock bag in your pocket. Every time pup takes a couple of steps, give a treat. Keep your energy excited and confident. When pup stops, tell pup "Let's Go" in a calm and business-like tone of voice (it's not a question it's a confident, calm command), then tug and release the leash several times in a row until pup takes a couple more steps - at which point give another treat. The leash tugs should stop as soon as pup starts moving. Keep your walking goals short at first. If pup won't leave your yard - your first goal is just to leave the yard. When pup reaches that goal - go home as an additional reward for pup following you - even if a lot of leash tugs were involved. When pup will go to the end of the yard easily then walk to the next house. Gradually increase your walk distance overtime. If you make your goal something huge like the whole neighborhood at first you are less likely to succeed - work up to distance overtime. Also, do not continuously pull pup on the leash. Doing so can harm pup's neck, but also dog's have a natural tendency to pull away from something - so if you pull pup in one direction, she will just pull back in the other direction, budging even less. This is why you do the quick tug and releases so that not following is uncomfortable with the tugs but not a continuous pull. You want pup to choose to walk to get away from the annoying tugs and to receive treats. Pay attention to pup's body language and the environment. Some pups don't want to walk because they are afraid of a neighborhood dog in a fence barking, construction workers, funny objects (like Christmas decorations), and things we would never think twice about. If pup isn't familiar with something (no matter how normal it may seem to us) it can feel scary to pup and be a reason why they don't want to leave the safety of the yard. If pup seems nervous or something might be bothering them in the environment, work on helping pup overcome that fear first by using play and treats to distract pup and then reward pup for any confidence, calmness, or tolerance they shows around the fearful thing. Practice this further away from the scary thing first and very gradually work up to pup being able to pass that thing as her confidence grows with your help. Finally, make sure pup isn't in pain or sick, causing her not to want to exercise in any form due to feeling bad. If you have reason to suspect pup is ill or injured, definitely see your vet. (I am not a vet) Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog used to love running on a leash and love leash walks. She has terrible recall so she can’t be Off-Leash anymore and she loves running free and being independent. I am trying to run with her on leash and walk her daily but she drags behind me and doesn’t seem interested. I have tried carrying treats, feeding her as a reward after, running to the dog park, everything! I don’t know what else to do:( she seems bored but I can’t excite her! She’s been to the vet and has no injuries and bloodwork is clear. HELP :( I loved running with her!
Hello Rachel, First, make sure that you are using comfortable equipment. Running can create a lot of friction and harsher leash feedback. If she wears a harness while running it's quiet likely that the area under her arm pits is being chaffed or was in the past - so now she is worried about it happening. If she is wearing a no-pull type device, such as a gentle leader, prong collar, choke collar, or no-pull harness - those things can all become uncomfortable during running - they were designed to not be felt while walking without pulling, but running is different. Pup needs the correct type of padded back clip harness (like ruffwear - many chaff so it needs to be a good quality one designed for active sports) or something like a buckle and martingale collar for running. Make sure the leash it's catching her and jerking at times. If it is, invest in something like a bunglee leash that will have some give to it. If she needs a no-pull device or normal leash due to training and behavior issues - focus on her learning to stay with you well and not pull before starting the running. Finally, is there still snow or ice where you live? If so, her paws may be getting ran running on it, especially if there are roads that have been salted that you run on. You may need to wait for warmer weather or invest in something like paw wax or very comfortable doggie hiking shoes - many don't stay on well during running though, so sleddog paw wax might be a better initial thing to try. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My Husky is a bit of an enigma when running; she'll be fine to run for 10 seconds, but then she wants to turn around and jump on me. I've tried harnesses and normal leashes, but the result is always the same.
Hello Hunter, It sounds like she thinks you are playing when running - and is trying to wrestle - like she would if playing with another dog and chasing each other. I suggest working on teaching the command Heel first Heel -Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Practice Heel until she is very good at it. When she knows that command well, command Heel at the beginning of runs. Start with a slower running pace - like a jog. Whenever she jumps up, give a downward tug with the leash and act as boring as you can - not engaging in anything she may mistake as play, but reminding her to Heel. Practice at that slower pace - keeping the running more focused and less silly, until she can simply jog along with you. When she can do that, gradually increase your speed until you have worked up to a normal running speed. If she is very strong, you may need to use a gentle correction device temporarily, that doesn't inhibit running at the same time, to help give feedback and keep you from being pulled over when first working up your speed - then later phase it out once she can calmly run with you without jumping. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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