Huskies are notoriously strong-willed, and if allowed to, they will make the rules themselves. This is where discipline comes in, and it’s why knowing how to discipline a husky correctly is so important.
The best ways to discipline your husky include withholding attention, reinforcing positive behaviors, identifying underlying issues, and setting them up for success.
In this guide, I’ll break down husky discipline into several easy-to-manage steps so you can start the journey to a happier and healthier relationship with your pup.
- Why Discipline Is Important For Huskies
- How To Discipline A Husky: Step By Step
- Use Discipline Sparingly
- Set Them Up for Success
- How NOT To Discipline A Husky
- Summing It Up
Why Discipline Is Important For Huskies
First, let’s define the term discipline. Discipline is often used synonymously with punishment. However, there’s a big difference between the two.
Punishment is a negative consequence of an action. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, we often think of punishment as being aggressive, violent, or even abusive. This is not an acceptable form of discipline.
So what do we mean by discipline? Instead of punishment, let’s use the word consequences. Every living being has consequences for their actions, either positive or negative.
This is how beings learn. When we get a negative consequence, hopefully we don’t repeat that behavior. When the consequence is positive, we want to do it again.
There’s another meaning to discipline as well. When someone practices or trains very hard at something, we say they are disciplined. Someone with a great deal of self-control has a great deal of self-discipline.
Sometimes we need help to develop this type of discipline. Consequences encourage us to be disciplined in our actions, so we don’t have to experience the negative consequences associated with the other type of discipline.
Discipline means setting healthy boundaries. It means having expectations for behavior. It means not tolerating things that violate your boundaries.
A husky needs discipline to learn where these boundaries are, and what is expected of them. This is how they learn to coexist with us in a way that’s best for everyone involved.
How To Discipline A Husky: Step By Step
Disciplining a husky takes time and patience. You’ll need to be consistent. This means that you react to good and bad behaviors in the same way, each time. If something is ok today, and not ok tomorrow, this leads to confusion.
If they get rewarded for a behavior, and then it’s ignored or punished, they won’t know what to do.
Teach Them Boundaries and Expectations
You can’t expect your pooch to know something you haven’t taught them. You wouldn’t expect them to “roll over” unless you’ve trained them to understand the command.
This is also true for behaviors that you don’t want your husky to do. You’ll need to select your “no” word. “No” is a good choice. You can also use words like “stop” or even “bad”.
Once you’ve selected the command word, you’ll need to use it each time your husky does something you don’t want them to do.
You should use a very stern authoritative voice. This is the core of disciplining your husky. They are intelligent and can read your tone very well.
Never yell at them. You should be in control of yourself, but use a deep voice that lets them know you aren’t happy with them.
Remove or Ignore
Huskies are very social. They will gladly take any attention, even negative attention at times.
How you react will depend on what they are doing. If they are in an unsafe situation, you’ll need to remove them from the situation. If they are chewing on something they shouldn’t remove it by taking it away from them.
In other cases, you’ll need to ignore them. For example, if they are scratching at the floor, you’ll give them the no command, and then ignore them until they stop.
Physically turn away if possible. You’ll need to ignore them until the problematic behavior has stopped. If they try to jump on your or howl, don’t scold them. Just keep ignoring.
Replace and Reward
Once they’ve stopped the behavior, then you can interact with them again. Praise or reward them when they are performing the behavior you want.
This can seem counterproductive, but it actually works well. It goes back to focusing on positive behavior.
For example, if they are chewing on something you don’t want them to, tell them no and take the object away.
Then, give them something they can chew on. When they begin chewing it, praise them. They will quickly learn what they should be doing.
If they are scratching at the floor, giving them a ball can help. Rather than scratching your floor, let them chase the ball.
You should only discipline your husky for what they are doing in the moment. If they get into your trash and you discover it an hour later, it’s very tempting to punish them.
However, your pup will have no idea what they’ve done wrong.
If you don’t catch them in the act, you’ve missed your chance to correct the behavior, this time.
Use Discipline Sparingly
Setting boundaries and having them correct their behavior is an important part of training.
However, this should be used sparingly. You’ll want to focus on positive behavior as much as possible, while still correcting negative behavior.
There are a few ways to do this.
The best way to deal with problematic behavior is to prevent it from happening in the first place. To prevent unwanted behaviors, you’ll need to be aware of when and why they occur.
It can be helpful to keep notes on the circumstances when your husky is acting out.
Prevention isn’t always about the situation. Sometimes it’s about giving your husky what they need before the situation occurs. If they will be expected to be calm for an event, take them for a walk or run beforehand.
Preventing the behavior or completely avoiding the situation isn’t always possible. Sometimes you’ll need to redirect instead.
For example, if they get stressed out and misbehave during vet visits, give them a treat to distract them before they misbehave.
When using redirection, it’s important to intervene before your husky does the unwanted behavior. If you do it after they’ve misbehaved, you are rewarding their negative behavior.
Another method of redirection is to get them to look at you. If they are focused on you, they aren’t focused on doing something they shouldn’t be.
You’ll need to train them to respond to a command like “look”. They should be taught to look at you when they hear the command.
Replacement behavior can also be an effective and positive method of prevention.
For example, if your husky jumps onto you when you enter the room, teach them to sit or lay down. This gives them a positive behavior to perform and prevents negative behavior.
Set Them Up for Success
It’s important to discipline your husky in the right way when necessary.
However, there’s a lot you can do to curb behaviors before they happen.
Train Them Well
Training your husky should begin the day they arrive in your home. You should use positive reinforcement for training.
The more you use positive reinforcement, the more your husky will be willing to obey you.
Huskies don’t have a very strong drive to please their owners. However, they do want you to be happy with them. They are highly motivated by food and praise, so use these to motivate them to perform correct behaviors.
It’s also important to reward them when they don’t do something they shouldn’t, particularly if it’s something they’ve struggled with. If they have a habit of chewing on things when you leave, for example, praise and reward them when you come home if they’ve done well.
Give Them Plenty of Exercise
Huskies require about 2 hours of exercise each day. If they don’t get enough exercise, bad behavior is sure to follow.
You may find it best to split up their exercise into a few sessions each day.
They also need plenty of mental stimulation. In addition to physical exercise, training them, playing games like fetch or hide and seek, and puzzle toys can help keep their minds stimulated.
Give Them Toys
If they are rambunctious or chew on things, give them plenty of toys. Try different types, and see which ones they respond to the best.
You should also rotate their toys regularly to prevent them from getting bored with them. Put toys away for a week or two, and provide them with “new” ones.
Keep a Routine
Huskies are creatures of habit. Maintaining a set schedule or routine can help your husky feel secure, know what to expect, and behave well.
Get Some Help
Training a husky can be difficult, and there’s nothing wrong with getting help.
Obedience classes, working with an animal behaviorist, and speaking with a vet are all great ways to keep things on the right track.
How NOT To Discipline A Husky
Never use physical punishment to discipline your husky. Don’t yell at them, or scold them excessively either.
Intimidating or hurting them is never the correct way to discipline them. This will only break the trust and respect that they have for you. This triggers their stubborn streak and sets up a power struggle between the two of you.
Some owners go in the opposite direction. Instead of correcting unwanted behaviors, they ignore or even reward it. This is also detrimental to training your husky properly.
Lastly, as we mentioned, never punish them for things they did earlier. Discipline them as soon as they do an unwanted behavior, or not at all. If you don’t catch them in the act, you’ll have to wait until next time.
Summing It Up
Disciplining your husky shouldn’t be traumatic for either of you. Use negative reinforcement sparingly, and focus heavily on positive reinforcement.
Your husky will respect and trust you. They will know what you expect and want to comply, because the results are enjoyable for them.