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How to Train a Siberian Husky 

How to Train a Siberian Husky 

Welcoming a Siberian Husky into your family requires a commitment to meeting your dog’s extensive need for an outlet for their energy. Siberian Huskies are extremely active dogs that were bred to pull sleds, which requires peak endurance and enthusiasm to run vast distances in harsh weather. Siberian Husky pet parents also need to be up for the challenge of motivating a Husky to do what you want them to do. Huskies are intelligent dogs, but they have been developed to have a strong, independent thinking mindset. 

The key to teaching your Siberian Husky is making training into a game that they are eager to play. Spend time figuring out what your dog’s most favorite things and activities are and use those as leverage to get what you want. Does your husky want to chase a toy? Ask them to sit, do a hand target, or lie down prior to tossing it. Basically, anytime you are about to give your husky something they want, ask them to do a little something to earn it. These are working dogs who love having a job. So, make it your dog’s job to be a master player of the training game.

Hierarchy of Rewards for Your Siberian Husky

Most Siberian Huskies love to run. So much so that it can be a daunting task to find rewards that effectively compete with the joy of running. However, Huskies also tend to love food, toys, and attention from their people. Figure out which foods and toys your dog most loves and plan to use them primarily when teaching a new behavior and when practicing a known behavior in a more challenging environment. For example, if your dog’s most favorite treat is tiny, chopped up bits of cheese, reserve those for when you are practicing outside. This was you are using a higher value reward to compete with higher level distractions. When practicing known behaviors indoor home you might choose to reward with something your dogs likes, but isn’t their most favorite.

Siberian Singers

Siberian Huskies have a beautiful howling vocalization that can carry long distances and carry on for long periods of time. This is a useful attribute for their original environment and purpose. But, inside a home, especially an apartment, this skill can be less than appreciated by neighbors. 

  • Be careful not to inadvertently reward vocalization when your dog is a puppy. 
  • Give your husky lots of outlets for their energy so they aren’t inclined to vocalize due to boredom or stress.
  • Teach your husky good overall responsiveness to requests so that they are cooperative.
  • Practice very brief alone time sessions starting when your husky is a puppy so they don’t suffer from separation issues as an adult, one of the symptoms of which may be howling and barking.

Come When Called

Huskies were bred to run, and run, and run. Teaching your Siberian Husky to come when called is a high priority for their safety and your peace of mind.

Hand targeting is a terrific way to teach this vital skill. Hand targeting is teaching your dog to  touch their nose to your flat palm after you say the cue/command and present your hand for them to ‘target’ to.  

Hold your hand, flat palm facing your dog, about 3-6” from them. Your dog is likely to touch your hand out of curiosity, Say “yes” or “good when they do and then give them a tiny treat. Repeat this about 10-15 times and you’ll notice a couple of things:

  1. Your dog is more purposefully touching your hand with their nose.
  2. Your dog is looking to you for the treat reward right after you say “yes” or “good.” because they’ve made a connection between the word and the reward. The word is now useful as a way of telling your dog that what they did at the exact moment they heard it was what earned them a reward. This is called a marker word. Think of it like a way of taking a sharply focused picture of the behavior for your dog. The marker is a very important tool in positive training as it allows you to give precise feedback and therefore more effectively communicate with your dog.

Once you’ve given your dog the opportunity to practice hand targeting at a close distance for a few brief sessions and they’re doing it reliably, you can add the cue/command word of “touch,” “here,” or “come” right before you present your palm. This way they learn to respond to a verbal request in addition to the hand signal of your presented palm.

Gradually increase the distance you move away from your dog before asking them to hand target. Keep in mind that as the distance increases the task becomes more challenging for your dog. So, be sure to read below about hierarchy of rewards so you’re using the most effective ones at the appropriate times.

Gracious Greetings 

Siberian Huskies tend to be full of enthusiasm and a well socialized husky loves to meet people and make new friends. Just be sure that enthusiasm is contained so that greetings are a joy for all. Starting from puppyhood, teach your husky that the one and only way to greet people is by keeping four paws on the floor. That means they can stand, sit, or lie down. The moment a paw comes off the ground, the person should cease interacting with your dog. When all four paws are on the floor again, the interaction can resume and you can also offer your pup a tiny treat. This feedback is clear and precise and makes it easy for your dog to learn how to greet people politely. Be careful not to allow your husky puppy to greet people by jumping as this will quickly become a habit. And note that when your dog is a puppy, some folks won’t mind the jumping. But, your pup needs you to help them learn good manners. So, you will need to guide people who interact with your pup. If they aren’t able to control their enthusiasm to play with your pup even when they’re jumping then use your leash to gently guide your pup away for a moment or pick them up (if they aren’t yet too big).

Husky Chewing

Siberian Huskies can be intense chewers, especially if they aren’t given appropriate outlets for their energy. Discuss with your veterinarian what they recommend for your dog and be sure to rotate chew toys so as to keep your dog’s enthusiasm high. Just as with people, novel toys tend to peak interest and enthusiasm for engagement.

If you catch your dog chewing an inappropriate item, try not to scold them. This might cause the unfortunate side effect of teaching your dog to be a closet chewer. That is, to hide from you when they want to engage in they normal and natural dog behavior. Instead, consider that the behavior of destructive chewing is a sign you have given your dog too much unsupervised freedom for this time. Go back to better employing the use of management tools like on leash supervision, a crate, and/or a long-term, puppy-proofed confinement area to prevent the practice of this type of behavior. 

Of course, you also need to consider evaluating the appropriate chew toys you have provided for your dog. If they are choosing a carpet over two or three toys at their disposal, then the toys need to be upgraded to newer, different models.

How to Potty Train a Siberian Husky

Housetraining your Siberian Husky comes down to being a terrific dog time manager. That is, knowing when your dog needs to potty so you can get them to the right spot at that time. How do you know when your dog needs to potty so you can be a good time manager?

  1. Use a crate for short periods of time (see carte training instructions below).
  2. Keep your dog on leash in the home so you can prevent them wandering about and making mistakes before they are house trained.
  3. Have your pup on a food, water, walk, and play schedule so you know when stuff goes in and when it is most likely to need to come out. You husky will need to potty right after waking from a nap, about 30-60 minutes after eating and drinking (depending on their age), and right after an exuberant play session (because physical activity makes potty activity happen).

Supervise Potty Breaks

Be sure to accompany your dog outside for potty breaks, even if you have a safely enclosed yard. This way you can confirm they have eliminated and reward them for doing so.

How to Crate Train a Siberian Husky 

Giving your pup the gift of learning to rest calmly and quietly in a crate will serve you and them well throughout their lifetime. Crate training is especially important for Siberian Huskies as they tend to be highly vocal dogs and are prone to separation issues. When introduced and used properly the crate can help prevent excessive vocalization and separation issues.

During puppyhood and adolescence a crate can be used for short periods of rest to prevent inevitable destruction in the home, potty mistakes, and future separation issues.

Once your dog is an adult, you won’t need the crate for house training or chewing related issues (because you will have focused on teaching your dog good home skills already). But, you may find the crate very useful for safe travel and should your dog’s veterinarian ever prescribe crate rest for a medical issue you will be thankful it is a skill your dog already has.

Start with the crate very close by to you and then you can work on gradually moving it into other areas of the home so your pup learns to be comfortable resting in it regardless of their proximity to you and the activities in the home. Remember that a crate should only be used for short periods of confinement. Leaving a dog in a crate for hours on end is unkind and may lead to behavior and health (like a urinary tract infection) issues.

  • Choose an appropriately sized crate. Your dog should be able to comfortably stand up, turn around, and lie down.
  • Introduce the crate when your pup is most tired and place the crate right next to where you are seated.
  • Place your pup in the crate and give them a food stuffed chew toy to play with.
  • After a brief bit of time, take your pup out of the crate and to their potty spot, reward them for going in the right spot, and then have a play/training session. 
  • Repeat the above and very gradually increase the length of time they rest in the crate.
  • You might also consider feeding your pup their meals in the crate so they make a positive association.
  • Once your pup starts attending puppy group training class, puppy play groups, and puppy day school you can use the crate when they arrive home after one of these activities. This is a time when they will be very tired and even more receptive to resting in the crate.

Husky Stages 


At this stage your pup has just arrived in their forever home, are developing a bond with their new family, and are absorbing loads of information about the world around them and their place in it. This is prime time for training since your puppy is like a sponge waiting to absorb new information.

This is also a stage when your pup is teething. As a result they spend much of their waking hours chewing on whatever is in their line of sight. This is to alleviate gum pain, but also because chewing is one of the ways dogs investigate items and alleviate boredom and stress. 

Good management using a crate, on leash supervision, and durable chew toys will help prevent destructive chewing. When they nip during play you can use the leash to hold them at arm’s length. After a brief break, offer them an appropriate chew toy.

Adolescent Angst

At around 5-7 months of age your Siberian Husky will be moving rapidly into their teenage stage. This is a period of development that pet parents may find extra difficult to maneuver through. Much like with human teenagers, adolescent dogs tend to be hormonal, sensitive, and challenging. Watch for possible changes such as fearfulness, resource guarding, and potty mistakes and address them promptly.

One of the most important things is to remain calm, cool, and collected and to maintain a plan for diligent use of management tools to prevent the practice of unwanted behaviors. Additionally, you will need to up your game in regards to making time for training sessions throughout each day and providing adequate outlets for your husky’s increased needs regarding outlets for their energy.

If you haven’t already, this is a great time to sign up for a group training class to work on fine-tuning behaviors you set the foundation for during puppyhood. You might also consider attending a class for a dog sport such as agility, or scent work. These types of classes can be a great way to keep both you and your dog motivated to play the training game.


At around 1.5-2 years of age, your Siberian Husky will reach full adulthood and will have greatly benefitted from your efforts to help guide them towards best behavior during their puppyhood and adolescence. Of great importance is to remember that the only constant about behavior is that it is constantly changing. So, no resting on your laurels in regards to your dog’s behavior. Maintenance is required and this includes continuing to reward behaviors you like. Make an effort to use as many things as you can to reward daily good behavior. This includes praise, toys, food, and life rewards like being invited up on a favorite resting spot with you. Your adult Siberian Husky will enjoy their best life when they are guided towards ongoing good behavior. 

By this stage you’ve mastered the art of effectively motivating your Siberian Husky to play the training game, and you can engage them in ongoing activities that serve as an outlet for their mental and physical energy and as a means of further bonding and maintaining a cooperative relationship.

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