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Your gorgeous Husky is going to need lots of exercise and activity. He is highly energetic and needs to burn off excess energy with play time, running, and walking. You can take your Husky on walks with you for your own exercise and to keep him moving. An important thing to think about when you are taking your dog for a walk is how adept he is at staying beside you while you are walking together. Whether your dog is walking on a leash or off a leash, your Husky will need to be trained to stay with you and walk beside you. When your dog is well behaved on and off leash, he will remain safe, free from distractions, and will have an understanding that his expectation is to stay with you and not run after something of interest. And, in turn, this will protect other animals and people you come across while walking together.
Training your Husky to walk beside you will require some distraction-free walking time on or off leash. You will be showing your dog your expectations as you walk together and rewarding him for good behavior as appropriate. Positive reward-based training works well in teaching your dog to stay next to you while walking together because it's a constant reminder to your pup that he will get a treat as long as he stays near you. Expect to have some redirection as your little guy is learning. If at all possible, try to train leash manners, the 'heel' command, and your expectations while on a walk as soon as you bring your Husky home. Training puppies your expectations is certainly easier than training older dogs because they have fewer bad habits to break. However, you can train an older dog to stay with you on walks.
Decide what your expectations are for your Husky before you begin training. Will you expect him to walk on a leash or to walk without a leash and stay next to you? If you are using a leash, consider whether or not you will also need a harness or collar. Be sure to have these things ready for your walks before you begin training. Considering using high-value treats that are different for this particular training than any other basic obedience training you may be doing. High-value treats include cheese, hot dogs, or even a tasty jerky. If you plan to clicker train, be sure to have your clicker at every training session.
The Off-Leash Method
Know the rules
If you want your Husky to remain by your side as you walk together off leash, you’ll have to work closely with him. Be sure to familiarize yourself with municipality rules in your area.
Have your dog sit and face you. Give him a treat for sitting.
Treats in hand
Place treats in both of your hands and start walking. Your Husky will likely follow if he knows there are treats to be earned.
Every now and then, give your Husky a treat. This will keep him by your side. If you Husky is distracted during these early days of off-leash training, you can put him on a leash but keep it loose. This way, if he pulls away, you can control him.
Ask your Husky to come using a command and treats to get him to walk with you.
Practice walking with your Husky beside you, enticing him to stay beside you by using treats. Make these walks short at first and increase the distance over time.
If your Husky pulls away, goes too fast, or gets distracted, have him sit. Once you have his attention again, start walking, ask him to come, and give him treat to stay by your side. This will take time, so be patient.
The On a Leash Method
Attach a leash to your Husky's collar. If your Husky is overpowering to you or highly energetic to the point where you can't handle him on a leash, you may consider putting a harness on him. This will give you more control and protect his neck from leash pulling injuries.
Give your Husky a treat when you attach the leash. This sets up your training session for positive rewards and good behavior. Make sure you have lots of tasty treats on hand ready to give to your dog as you walk together.
He is incredibly high energy and cannot wait to get out and play. While you are getting his leash on and rewarding him for allowing you to do so, be excited. This will raise his energy levels and let him know that you want to be with him just as much as he wants to be with you. This sets the stage for him to please you and obey your commands.
Start by walking a few steps with your Husky at your side. If he gets too far ahead of you, your leash is too long and too loose. Tighten it up, bring your Husky next to you and give him a treat.
Take several steps with your Husky on a tighter leash next to you and give him a treat every few steps. Let him see your continuous excitement. He needs to know that you are having fun and are as excited as he is. Continue to take these steps and reward him as long as he stays next to you.
Keep practicing with your Husky but extend the distance you walk before giving him a treat. This will condition him to understand your expectations while walking on a leash.
Over time, you should be able to loosen the leash and still expect your Husky to walk beside you. If he pulls away from you, tighten the leash and force him to walk by your side. Go back to basics if he needs redirection, walking him on a tighter leash and treating him every few steps.
The Sit, Stay, and Heel Method
Attach a leash to your Husky and stand on his right side. The heel command is taught with your dog on your left, so keep him on your left side at all times during training.
Have your Husky sit next to you on your left side and give him a treat for doing so.
If you have taught your Husky the basic ‘stay’ command, have him stay and take a few steps forward yourself.
Begin walking as your dog is in the stay position. Call him forward and say the command "heel". He won’t understand the command just yet, but since he is moving with you, saying it will start the word to action connection.
As your Husky is walking next to you, say the word "heel" every few feet and give him a treat. This good behavior, positive reward method will teach him to connect the command with the action.
Continue walking with your dog next to you on your left side. Increase the distance between giving the command to heel and offering him a treat.
Practice each day using the 'heel' command and treating your pup as you walk together. If he pulls on the leash, tries to go ahead, or becomes distracted, stop walking and get his attention again. You may consider high-value treats if he no longer cares to heel with the treat you are offering. Also, if he is distracted often, try to train indoors for a few days.
By Stephanie Plummer
Published: 03/07/2018, edited: 01/08/2021
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