Are Huskies Easy To Train? (5 Key Points To Consider)

Are you curious about whether huskies are easy to train? We’ve got the answers you’re looking for.

Unfortunately, huskies are not easy to train by any means. In fact, they are often listed as one of the most difficult breeds to train of all and are not recommended for beginners due to this.

Want to learn exactly why huskies are so difficult to train and what you can do to make it easier? Keep reading to uncover the details!

5 Reasons Why Huskies Are Not Easy To Train

Many people know that huskies can be hard to train, but not all of them understand specifically why they are.

Here are five reasons that contribute to why huskies are so difficult to train.

1. Not Eager To Please

The main reason why huskies are difficult to train is that they don’t have much of a desire to please their owners.

Unlike other popular breeds like the golden retriever or German Shepherd, huskies are notorious for not listening to their owners or caring about making them happy – especially when it comes to training.

This comes from their personality, and it’s one of the best (and worse) parts about owning a husky. Huskies are quite happy on their own, and training them can be challenging because they will not be motivated to please you.

2. Stubborn & Independent

Huskies are notoriously stubborn and independent, which obviously doesn’t bode well for training them.

There are several reasons why huskies are stubborn, but the main ones are due to their genetics and history as sled dogs.

Huskies were domesticated by the Chukchi people of Siberia and became very independent during that time. As sled dogs, it was crucial that they were able to use their own judgment to make quick decisions.

3. Not Food Motivated

Another key problem with training huskies is that a lot of them are not food motivated.

A lot of the time, snacks or treats are used during training for positive reinforcement. For example, if your husky were to sit after you say the command, you would reward them with their favorite treat.

But what if your husky isn’t motivated by food?

The only option you have now is to use praise or offer them a toy, which does work in some cases, but if your husky is particularly stubborn, even this can be ineffective.

4. Lots Of Excess Energy

Huskies have more energy than most other dogs, and this is one of the reasons why they can be so hard to train.

Not only are they not motivated by food or pleasing their owners, but they’re also likely to have excess energy most of the time, which can make it difficult to get them to focus during obedience training.

A husky with an angry facial expression on a beach

Huskies are often easily distracted, and they would much rather go for a walk or run than sit around and practice obedience training.

5. Escape Artists & High Prey Drive

The short attention span of the husky is also made worse by other factors.

Huskies are very intelligent and are constantly scanning the environment for ways to explore and possibly escape.

They are also very easily distracted by other small animals due to their prey drive, which can make it difficult to hold their attention during training.

Do Huskies Need To Be Trained?

Obedience training, as difficult as it is for huskies, is essential.

Huskies are prone to not listening to their owners as it is, so if you don’t put in the effort to train them, they won’t listen to you very much at all.

They also have a strong pack mentality, which means that they need a strong figure to be the head of the pack, and if you don’t fulfill this role, they can take over the home pretty quickly.

It’s also crucial because it is mentally stimulating for your husky to take part in obedience training, even if they are struggling to learn the basics.

What To Focus On During Training

When training a husky, it’s important to focus on the basics first, such as the ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ commands.

We’ve covered training a husky to sit in an article previously, and much of the same applies to the stay command as well.

The basic idea is to use positive reinforcement, which means rewarding your husky when they follow the command and repeating this process until they associate the reward with obeying the command.

There is debate about teaching a husky recall, and in our opinion, it is definitely worthwhile but should be practiced in a secure environment.

The issue with trusting your husky off-leash is that they have a very high prey drive. This means that even if your husky has a very strong recall if they spot a small animal, there is a high chance that they will chase it and not listen to you at all, regardless of the training.

Some people opt to use shock collars to prevent this, but this is not something that we would recommend.

Teaching recall in your yard (assuming it is secure), for example, is a great way to stimulate your husky mentally and can have some benefits if your husky is off leash for whatever reason.

Tips For Making Training Your Husky Easier

So, we’ve established that training your husky is pretty essential, but how do you actually train them if it is so difficult in the first place?

Meet Their Exercise Needs

The first thing you need to do is make sure you are exercising your husky enough.

This requires at least 2 hours per day of intense exercise, so consider adding activities like hiking or running to your weekly schedule to change things up.

If your husky is full of energy, it will be more difficult for them to concentrate, so tiring them out before obedience training can be a great way to increase your chances of success.

A happy husky sat on a grass field wearing a metal leash

Use Positive Reinforcement

Yep, we’re circling back to positive reinforcement once more.

Positive reinforcement is key to having any kind of success with training huskies. You need to reward them for following your commands rather than punishing them for doing the opposite.

It’s also great for strengthening the bond between you and your husky, which works well with their pack mentality.

Figure Out What Motivates Them

Okay, this one is a lot easier said than done, but if you can figure out what motivates your husky, you will have much more success in training.

It’s always a good idea to experiment with lots of different dog treats and even human food like rice or chicken (fed in moderate amounts) to see if you can find what your husky likes.

You can also opt to give them access to their favorite toy, or some huskies may simply be happy enough with praise (although this is rare).


Don’t stop trying to train your husky.

It’s going to take a long time to see any results with a breed as difficult as the husky, but if you stick at it, you are very likely to make some breakthroughs.

10 to 20 minutes a day is all it takes, and you can easily adjust this time depending on how much your husky enjoys it.

When To Get Support

Huskies are a particularly challenging breed, and if you are struggling to train your husky, it might be time to get some extra support, especially if they have developed destructive or other unwanted behaviors, such as attacking other dogs.

Don’t feel ashamed for reaching out for help – huskies are probably one of the hardest breeds on the planet to train, and that’s no exaggeration.

Animal behaviorists/dog trainers are the best options if you need some help, but you need to make sure that you choose somebody who is properly certified, as the field is quite unregulated.

The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers(CCPDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) are two organizations that provide certifications, as well as the Animal Behavior Society (ABS), which work with people who have degrees in related fields as well as completing the certification.

If you decide to go down this route, I recommend reading through the AKC’s guide first to learn all about hiring the right person to help you.

In Summary

Huskies are an incredible dog breed, but they are not easy to train.

Training should still be a part of your daily routine as it is a great way to stimulate your husky mentally, so try out the tips in this article and see what kind of results you get!

If you are struggling to train your husky, then don’t be ashamed; even experienced dog trainers will struggle with huskies. If your husky is particularly problematic, then reach out to a certified behaviorist or dog trainer who can point you in the right direction.

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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