Proper leash training is vital for any dog, regardless of breed. However, the size and power of a Husky make proper leash training especially important. The last thing you need is to have your dog lose control in an environment where it can put itself in harm’s way. The following 10 tips will help you to leash train your Husky the right way, ensuring that your walks are happy and safe.
The Right Time
The most important element of leash training is timing. It is absolutely critical that you start training your Husky at around 8 weeks. This is when they are most impressionable and, more importantly, still small enough to handle easily. Additionally, this is a great time to start teaching them vocabulary.
While most people start using a leash right away, the fact is that the first step to leash training is getting your dog used to wearing a collar. Many puppies fight a collar at first, trying to rub or tug it off. Therefore, let your puppy get used to the collar before you begin regular leash training.
Start at Home
Once your puppy is used to the collar, it might be tempting to throw a leash on and go for a walk. Unfortunately, this can be the worst thing to do. Instead, you need to start leash training your dog in your backyard where dangers and distractions are at a minimum. This keeps them safe and helps them to focus on the training itself.
Build a Vocabulary
Since they are intelligent, Huskies can learn a wide variety of words. It is important to pick your words carefully, however, as you want to cover all possibilities while not confusing your dog. Keep words distinct, making sure not to use similar sounding words. Also, make sure you incorporate all the words you need. ‘Stop’ and ‘go’ are important, but so too are ‘drop’ and ‘leave’ as your dog will be interested in everything it comes across.
Focus on Attention
One way to keep your puppy from being constantly distracted is to keep them focused on you. Constantly talk to them so as to get them to make regular eye contact with you. This will help them to lose interest in anything around them and stay focused on the walk itself.
Discourage Bad Behavior
Another critical factor to proper leash training is to always punish bad behavior. If your Husky pulls on the leash, always stop walking. Any time you continue walking you essentially reward the behavior. Also, be sure to use verbal reprimands as well as actions.
Just as important as punishing bad behavior is the act of rewarding good behavior. Huskies require constant feedback in order to validate their actions. Therefore, be sure to commend them often whenever they are behaving well. Consider taking their favorite toy Sketch TM with them, giving it to them as a reward when obeying commands. This will help to reinforce good behavior as well as make them feel appreciated.
Because your Husky is large it might be tempting to use a harness when going for a regular walk. Unfortunately, this can send mixed signals. Huskies, by nature, are bred as sled dogs; therefore they will respond to a harness as a signal to pull. This will make leash training very difficult to say the least.
No matter how docile your Husky is, other dogs and people will be intimidated by it. Therefore, always keep your dog on the inside when walking, away from the road and other foot traffic. This will keep him calm and safe.
One way to ensure that your walks are happy ones is to only take your Husky for a walk when he is calm. If he is excited or stressed, he will be more distracted and difficult to handle on the walk.
For more on leash training your dog, check out our E-Book for 10 Tips to Training Your Dog with a Leash