How to Train a Husky to Run with You

Medium
2-3 Months
Fun

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.

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.

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.

The Heel Method

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Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
3
Walk a few steps
Take a few steps forward with your dog in that position. Let him follow the treat as you walk.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The Speed Method

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Step
1
Use ‘heel’ to match a slower pace
Use the ‘heel’ command to help your Husky keep up with your initial running pace.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The Distance Method

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0 Votes
Step
1
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.
Step
2
Increase distance over time
Every run session, increase the distance that you’re running. Do this gradually so that it is mostly unnoticeable.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Aya
Husky cross retriever
One Year
0 found helpful
Question
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Aya
Husky cross retriever
One Year

Aya is beautifully behaved on lead but off lead and running, she won’t come back. It is nerve wracking. What can I do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
494 Dog owners recommended

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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Question
Delilah
Siberian Husky
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Delilah
Siberian Husky
5 Months

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?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
494 Dog owners recommended

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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