How to Train Your Husky to Sit: Step-by-Step Guide

The old saying goes, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, but training your old, or young, husky is actually quite easy and rewarding. Combine that with its usefulness in dangerous situations, and you can see why teaching the “sit” command is usually a dog’s first trick.

Although teaching a husky to sit isn’t always the easiest, it’s essential for their development and safety. Doing so will not only give them more obedience but also grow your relationship with your husky!

Even though huskies offer unique challenges, like their tantrums and stubbornness, training them using the clicker and hand gesture method can be super simple.

Read on to learn how to train your husky to sit, common complications, and why it’s so important.

Why Train Your Husky to Sit?

So many dogs are trained to sit as their first command, but is there actually a reason for this?

It turns out, yes.

First, it’s the most basic command. The “sit” command is the starting ground where all other commands start, including stay, lay down, shake, etc. So, if you want your husky to learn any of these other tricks, “sit” is the place to start.

On top of that, it improves your husky’s obedience. Since huskies are a stubborn breed, obedience will come in handy throughout their lifetime.

Frequently, there are two reasons that huskies get rehomed:

  1. They are too much energy.
  2. They are too challenging for the owner.

Teaching basic commands like “sit” decreases the chance of you wanting to rehome your husky, as it allows them to learn boundaries, behave, and stay mentally stimulated.

On that note, learning commands is an excellent tactic for mental and physical stimulation. Huskies are energetic and extremely intelligent, so keeping their minds challenged and activated is crucial for their health.

Most importantly, though, training your husky to “sit” allows you to control them in inconvenient, or even dangerous, situations. Sometimes you might walk your husky on a small walk space where others need to pass. Other times, you might find yourself close to a dangerous situation where you don’t want your husky to leave your side. Whether on a leash or not, your husky knowing the “sit” command will make all the difference in these types of situations.

Things to Remember When Teaching “Sit”

Before you go into training your husky blind, there are a few things to remember.

First, huskies can be stubborn. As an intelligent and independent breed, they aren’t always the best listeners. This quality is amplified by “puppyhood,” where your husky will likely want to play or run off rather than sit.

Secondly, and on that same note, puppies have a very short attention span. Just like children, husky puppies are still developing their minds and learning about the world around them. Because of this, training will need to be done after exercise and in smaller doses.

With puppies or with adult huskies, consistency will be key. If your husky isn’t getting it at first, don’t give up altogether. Training to “sit” is very important and will be very rewarding once accomplished.

Lastly, remember that you need to practice the command in different environments. Even if your husky has mastered how to sit at home, they may never listen to you in the middle of a Saturday Farmer’s Market. Training them to listen to the command in various environments will both:

  1. Give them confidence and calmness in different settings.
  2. Enhance their obedience.

Remembering these little things while training your husky will make all the difference.

Clicker Method

There are many methods to train your husky. While all versions of positive reinforcement are good, the clicker method has proved to be the most effective. The basics of the clicker method involve using the sound of a clicker to get your husky to do what you want. Coupled with a reward, the clicker method makes the dog associate the command with something good, like a treat, praise, toys, etc.

The clicker method is also effective because it’s like a game or challenge for the husky. They have to use their brains to figure out what they should do to get the treat, which keeps them engaged, making the clicker method so effective.

Here is how to do it:

1. Gather your reward, clicker, and leash.

What reward you give your husky depends on their personality. While some dogs are very food-motivated, others may be more into praise or toys. You’ll want to grab a leash to keep your dogs attention, although this may not always be necessary.

2. Wait for them to sit naturally.

If your husky is calmer and/or exercised, you can start the training by waiting for them to sit down naturally. If they don’t, use the guidelines below on how to use hand gestures to get and keep their attention.

3. Once they sit, “click” and reward.

Once they begin to sit down, click the clicker and reward the behavior.

4. Toss a reward away.

Once the dog naturally performs sit, reset the situation. Toss the reward so that they have to stand up, get it, and return to you.

5. Do it again.

Once the husky has returned, do the same thing again. Repeat as necessary.

6. Perform in small doses.

Repeat this training a couple of times a day for 5-10 minutes each time. This ensures the husky is engaged and doesn’t get bored or distracted.

Hand Gesture Method

Sometimes it isn’t always an option to wait for your husky to sit naturally; they may be distracted in a new environment, energetic, or a combination of the two. This is where the hand gesture method is useful – it will keep your husky’s attention and train them to do the command without you having to say anything.

diagram showing training an alaskan malamute to sit

Here is how to do it:

1. Signal movement by waving the treat around their nose and lifting it straight up. 

First, they will smell the treat and look at your hand. Then, once you begin to raise your hand, they will begin to look up. Raise your hand around a foot above their head.

2. Move the treat from above their head to between their ears.

From the raised position, move the treat back behind the husky’s ears. Since they want to see where the treat is, they will follow with their eyes, forcing them to sit.

3. “Click” and reward.

Use the clicker method above to help teach the command. As they begin to go into the sit position, “click” and reward the behavior.

4. Repeat in small doses.

As stated previously, perform training in small doses to keep the husky engaged.

Adding the “Sit” Cue

Once your husky stays in the seated position after you give a reward, they have figured out the command. Here is where you will introduce the word “sit” to the command.

As you continue to train them, begin saying “sit” as they get into position. Same as before, click and reward once they successfully get into position.

You will want to repeat this addition to the training for a little bit before they get it down. You can tell your husky understands the cue once you can say “sit” while they are standing and they perform the action. If not, go back a few steps and keep trying to add the cue.

Fading Treats Out

Obviously, you won’t always have to perform this command with a treat in hand. However, you will need to slowly fade treats out instead of getting rid of them altogether.

To successfully fade treats out, you’ll first want to practice the command in different environments. Doing so will help the husky to understand that the command isn’t just an at-home game and that they need to understand it wherever they go.

Once they’ve got it down in different environments, try to give other rewards at home instead of treats. Other rewards can be praise, toys, petting, etc. As they continue to perform the command successfully, practice giving praise alone after the command at home.

From there, you can take the praise method in different environments and test its success. Once your husky performs the command successfully without a treat, they’ve mastered the trick.

Possible Reasons Your Husky Isn’t Listening.

There may be some times when your husky isn’t listening to the “sit” command, even when you thought they mastered it. These reasons are common and expected.

First, they may be nervous or stressed. Use other body language, like tucked ears, raised hair, panting, or tucked tail as signals that they are too focused on something stressful in their environment.

If this is the case, take them far enough away from the stimulus and practice the command. Doing so will help them build confidence and obedience in stressful situations, which may be very helpful.

Another reason they might not listen is that they are testing their place in the pack. Most common amongst the “teenage” development phase or when another dog is introduced, huskies begin to test your authority. While obnoxious, it usually can be solved with extra treats and training.

Final Remarks

Remember throughout the process that consistency is key, and hopefully, your training will be quick and rewarding!

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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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