Here are a few common problems we face with Siberian Huskies and other dogs. As questions come into the rescue, we will add additional sections with some suggestions to help all dog owners.
In all aspects of training it is most important to be consistent. Dogs do not understand ’Sometimes’. You must reward good behavior. Catch your dog doing something right and praise it, even if it is just resting quietly. Never set the dog up to fail. Think about the action and think if it is too great of an opportunity for failure. If the dog fails, you may only have yourself to blame. Finally, be a good leader. Dogs need a consistent and trustworthy leader. Excessive punishment and erratic training will only cause the relationship between you and your Siberian Husky to deteriorate.
Bolting out open doors
Many Siberian Huskies end up as strays because they bolted past a houseguest or delivery guy at the door. It is very important to establish early that the dog is only allowed to cross the threshold when you say it is ok. The best way to teach this is to put the dog on the leash and have it sit. Open the door. If the dog starts to head out shut the door tell it ’no’ and then ’sit’ again. Keep repeating this until the dog learns that it cannot break from the sit position when the door is opened. Be sure to reward to dog for each success. After several successes and waiting when the door is opened, the dog can then advance to the next step. You will now cross the threshold yourself and then tell the dog ‘let’s go’. The command let’s go releases the dog from the sit position and requires no reward since the reward will be to go out the door. Do not get over excited about exiting the door as the dog will look forward to the excitement the next time and may break the sit.
It is very important to be consistent every time you go out the door . It is also important to keep in mind that while this will reduce chances for running out the door when it is opened a squirrel or other interesting object may cause the Siberian to temporarily forget all your hard training efforts.
A dog chews to relieve stress and the behavior is important for oral hygiene. When the desire strikes, the dog will seek out something to chew. It is important to provide things that the dog can chew. Some suggestions are Nylabones, Kongs, and rawhide. Dog toys should be dog toys, not old socks. The dog does not know the difference between old and new. Also, dogs cannot tell the difference between their stuffed toy and a child’s. Provide the dogs favorite chew toys in each room of the house so that they are available when the desire strikes.
Inappropriate chewing targets can be sprayed with foul tasting substances. Some examples are bitter apple, hot pepper juice, lemon juice, and other commercial bittering agents. Crating the dog when you are not home or cannot watch the dog is also helpful to prevent unwanted chewing.
Siberian Husky owners do not often describe beautiful landscaping in their yard, moonscaping maybe.
Digging is a natural behavior and cannot be stopped in many Siberian Huskies. It is best to create an area where the dog can dig and supervise the dog in areas where digging is not appropriate. A sand pit can provide a good area to dig. For some dogs, burying its feces in the holes will prevent digging in the same location.
For the Siberian Husky, digging along the fence line will be the greatest issue of concern. It can take just a minute for an eager Siberian to dig out from under a fence. It is best to walk the fence line and look for signs of digging on a regular basis . Fill fresh holes with feces and cover them with the loose dirt to discourage digging in the same spot.
Chronic digging problems along the fence may require reinforcement. Stepping stones or pavers, gravel, wire mesh, and railroad ties along the perimeter may help. Burying the fence will also slow the potential for escape.
For some Siberian Huskies it seems that all the love and food in the world will not keep them from climbing the fence. Many owners ask, “Why is my Siberian Always trying to climb the fence?” The only answer is “To get to the other side.” To a Siberian, there is always something more interesting in areas where they are not. There are several ways to improve containment. Increase the height of the fence, change the type of fence, add an invisible/electronic fence, or use a kennel with a roof.
The best fence to prevent climbing is a 6foot Wood Panel/Privacy/Shadowbox fence. A chain link fence may be adequate for some Siberians but others find it easy to climb. The addition of an invisible fence to chain link has provided a reasonably inexpensive solution to climbing and digging for many Siberian Husky owners. It is important to note that an invisible fence on its own is not enough to contain a Siberian Husky. However, the physical barrier of the chain link and the correction of the invisible fence works well in combination. Proper training is required for the invisible fence. Seek addition assistance for the training or other fence problems.
It is also important to look at the areas around the fence. Compost piles, wood piles and other items can serve as a step ladder over the fence. This curious Siberian certainly has a lot of chance for escape in this yard!
Take some time to look around your yard for these things.
While cute for some small breeds and puppies, jumping up is a behavior that can be dangerous to small children or the elderly. It is important to understand that most dogs jump up for attention. Some will take any attention they can get – positive or negative. The best way for the dog to learn not to jump up is for the dog to learn that jumping up does not give him any attention. ’Be a Tree’ and ignore the dog if it is jumping up. Dogs do not find trees interested (unless there is a squirrel in it). When all four feet are on the floor say ’good dog’ and reward it with petting. Immediately stop the petting and ignore the dog if the jumping starts up again. Teach your guests to do the same thing. Dogs are smart and they will jump up on every guest if they think some of them will reward them with attention.
For more serious jumping problems, the owner can put a leash on the dog and stand on it so that the dog cannot jump up and corrects itself. This method is only effective if the owner remembers to praise the dog when it settles and stops trying to jump up. More severe jumping problems should be addressed by a trainer who can evaluate the problem and provide the proper solutions. Hitting the dog, kneeing the chest, or squeezing the feet are methods that can backfire with injures to the dog or bites to the handler.
A mouthy dog can be a problem that can escalate to biting if not handled properly. Mouthy dogs may require training assistance and it is suggested you call rescue or a trainer to work on the problem. Mouthy behavior can be defensive or play related – each may be addressed differently. However, regardless of the reason for being mouthy, the first step in solving the problem is to teach the dog to be soft mouthed. The goal of this exercise is for the dog to understand that humans can be hurt by their teeth. Puppies learn this at a young age. A puppy in a litter will play and if he bites to hard, the other pup yelps to say ’ouch’. It is your job to say ouch as if you are injured even if you are not . This teaches the dog that it can hurt you and to stop. You can use the ouch during play and when you say it you should immediately stop playing with the dog.
You can also work on teaching the dog to be careful with its teeth with food exercises. Hold food, such as a hot dog, in your fist and allow the dog to nibble carefully or lick it. If the dog nibbles your hand, respond with your yelp – “Ouch!”. Over time the dog will learn to be more gentle with the teeth. Seek additional training assistance if this method does not help.