Siberian Husky Training Tips
The American Kennel Club of America (AKC)
recognizes one-hundred fifty-eight different breeds of dogs, each breed having its own unique traits and
history. Often times a dogs past and breeding stock can greatly influence their overall behavior and how
receptive they are to basic and advanced training.
As an example, there is a definite reason
border collies are often used to herd sheep, or why German Sheppard’s are used by law enforcement as canine
officers. For a moment, stop and think what comes to mind when you think of a guard dog. Are you thinking or a
large Rottweiler? The traits these individual breeds were endowed with often shape the roles they play in our
Aside from the breed of dog, the individual
style of training can also influence the effectiveness of a person’s training. How often have you watched a
famous trainer on the television tell you how to command your dog, and then on an alternate channel see a
trainer get down on their hands and knees and act like a dog? These varying styles often have more and less
effeteness depending on the dogs overall reception to the style of training.
With that being said, to truly determine the
proper style of
training you must first understand what
the dog was designed for. Let’s look at the Siberian Husky. This breed was first developed in the harsh climate
of northern Asia buy the ChukChi People of Siberia. They developed them for a specific purpose, which was as a
form of transportation.
About three-thousand years ago the ChukChi
people realized that there were great challenges in trying to cross the frozen tundra in search of fishing holes
to feed the village. They saw the great versatility and intelligence of the wolf. From that came the idea to
take the domesticated dogs and breed certain traits into them. As time went on and selective breeding initiated,
they developed what we know today as the Siberian Husky.
One trait they instilled in the breed is the
desire to work and pull, this was obviously very important to the men of the tribe since they used teams of dogs
to pull them across the ice from one fishing hole to another. This being said, they also realized a need to
ensure the dogs were social with both each other and their masters. There would be no use for a pack of dogs
that would not act as one and follow commands.
As pups they were raised by the women and
children of the tribe. This made the dog very gentle and good with children. During the summer months, the dog
was not needed to pull the men across the now thawed ground and the tribe realized that it would be futile to
feed and support a dog with no purpose. Because of this, they set their packs of dogs loose allowing them to
fend for themselves during the warm periods. This unique action had a profound influence on the breed’s
Unlike most breeds, Siberian Huskies
retained many traits their ancient ancestor the wolf posses today. Since they were left to fend for themselves
they also kept their instinct to prey on smaller animals to feed themselves. They also ran as packs keeping
their Alpha instincts. Another byproduct of this freedom was the ability to think and problem solve for
themselves. This was found to be a great asset to a lost musher in a frozen ice storm. Often his pack of dogs
had the ability to direct themselves back to the fishing hole or to the village when the musher otherwise might
not be able to do so.
Any experienced husky owner will tell you
stories of their dog’s ability to open locks, doors and other acts that can only be replicated by Houdini
himself. It is this intelligence that keeps husky owners on their toes always trying to second guess their
escape artists. This same trait makes training a Siberian Husky more of a challenge then your average
Because of their development huskies have a
strong free spirit and can often be stubborn. Their strong packing instincts makes it essential to establish
yourself as the pack leader when ever attempting to train or even own this unique breed. Often times a husky can
become “bored” with repetitive styles of training and simply refuse to do the command that in their mind they
already know how to do and have no need to reassert to you the trainer.
Many a potential husky owner has found
themselves in an out and out verbal argument with their huskies. It is worth mentioning that the breed has a
tendency to make “wooing” sounds or howling instead of barking, and can be often seen “talking back” to their
owners when they feel they do not need or want to do what they are being told.
Since they have such a desire to run and
pull, it is very difficult to train a husky to walk off leash. This combined with their often high prey drive
can cause a husky to bolt from a quick movement of a squirrel of unfortunately the neighbor’s cat, oftentimes
with disastrous results.
The use of heavy handed training methods
often have opposite affects then what were originally expected. Their high intelligence, strong will, and primal
instancts, make them less likely to respond to borderline abusive forms of training and can make them less
likely to respect the trainer and the end result being an unmanageable dog.
Food is a great motivation tool when
training huskies but even this can prove to be more difficult than first expected. Although they respond the
best to treats, they are also very picky eaters and have been known to turn their nose up at various rewards
until the one to their liking is discovered.
As with humans, each dog is unique in its
nature and personality, but to get the most out of training your
dog, one must truly understand the
underlying traits that form the breed as a whole and work with these to maximize the
I hope this was helpful to you and happy