How to Train a Husky to Run with You

How to Train a Husky to Run with You
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Time icon2-3 Months
Fun training category iconFun

Introduction

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.

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Defining Tasks

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.

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Getting Started

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.

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The Heel Method

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1

Use a motivator

Use a treat to get your dog’s attention. Hold it in front of his nose to encourage him to follow it.

2

Get into position

Lure your Husky into the appropriate position at your side. A proper ‘heel’ is generally done on your left side, but unless you plan on working on competitive obedience later on, you can go with whichever side you’re more comfortable with.

3

Walk a few steps

Take a few steps forward with your dog in that position. Let him follow the treat as you walk.

4

Reward

Reward your Husky with the treat after a couple of steps have been taken at your side. He only receives the reward for walking at a heel.

5

Increase distance over time

Increase the amount of steps you take before rewarding each time. If your pup struggles with a longer distance before the reward, go back to the last time he was successful and try again.

The Speed Method

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Use ‘heel’ to match a slower pace

Use the ‘heel’ command to help your Husky keep up with your initial running pace.

2

Start steady

Start at a light jog. Don’t expect your dog to break into a full sprint right away. She will need time to work up to a faster pace.

3

Take breaks

Take some time in between runs to drink water, sit and rest, or have slower periods of walking. This can help prevent fatigue.

4

Speed up

As your dog begins to adapt to your running pace, feel free to quicken it gradually over time. This can go until you’re at your ideal running speed.

5

Pace in interval

Interweave runs with some gentler jogging or power walking. This can prevent burnout and give both you and your dog opportunities to catch your breath before breaking out into another run.

The Distance Method

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Start off small

When it comes to training stamina and endurance, you can’t ask your Husky to go for several miles the first time you run. Start with just a simple run around your neighborhood block or even down the street if you’d like to start smaller.

2

Increase distance over time

Every run session, increase the distance that you’re running. Do this gradually so that it is mostly unnoticeable.

3

Watch for signs of fatigue

Even Huskies can get tired. If his panting is excessive or he is slowing down, take the opportunity to rest or even end the run entirely.

4

Take a step back if necessary

If your dog is struggling to go for longer distances, go back and shorten your runs. Never push your Husky any further than he is able to go. This can cause injury or conditions like heat stroke in the wrong season.

5

Change up the terrain

Once he is able to endure longer runs, try going up or down hills or running over grass or dirt roads. Watch for any hazardous items in your path like sharp rocks or bits of debris.

By TJ Trevino

Published: 03/13/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Luna

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Husky Malamute Mix

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1 Year

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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.

April 22, 2020

Luna's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

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

April 22, 2020

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Millie

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Husky Shepard

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2 Years

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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!

March 10, 2020

Millie's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

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

March 10, 2020


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