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Siberian Husky training book

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by AngelLight, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. AngelLight

    AngelLight PetForums Newbie

    Mar 7, 2009
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    I am looking for a book about training a sibe puppy which book should I get?
    Thank you


  3. raindog

    raindog PetForums Senior

    Jul 1, 2008
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    There are a few books out there (including Siberian Huskies for Dummies) but unfortunately no amount of book learning can really prepare you for the reality of a husky puppy. I would make contact with husky owners in your area and spend some time with them to get a real insight into what it is like living with and training the breed. As a start, here are some basic Husky FAQs:

    Q. - I’ve heard that you can’t let them off lead and they will run away if given the opportunity. Is this true??

    - They don't actually run away - this would imply that they are trying to get away from you, which is not the case. What they are doing is obeying an instinct which is hard-wired into them - their prey drive. The Chukchi Inuit people, who first developed the breed were summer village dwellers and winter nomads. In the winter, they would put the whole family onto their sleds and follow whatever game was available to hunt. In the summer, they would let the dogs loose around the villages and would rarely feed them, leaving them to hunt and feed themselves. As a result, they have an awesome prey drive and extremely good hunting skills. When they "run away," they are usually following this drive. The answer, is to exercise them in harness if possible and always walk them on lead in unenclosed areas.

    Beware over-confidence however, many Siberians will be very clingy and obedient as young puppies, then when adolescence hits—everything changes and the plaintive cry of “He’s always come back before” is heard from the distraught owner.

    Q. - I’ve heard they will chew everything in sight and will destroy my house

    - Puppies of all breeds will often chew all sorts of things - especially when they are teething. Adult dogs much less so, although all of them may act destructively if they are bored or distressed. They also seem to find ripping things into small pieces therapeutic. If we leave a kitchen roll or toilet roll within their reach, our dogs will shred it into tiny pieces in seconds. If you have a lifestyle where the dog will need to be left alone for long periods of time, then a Siberian is definitely not for you! They love and need human company.

    Q. - I’m told they are not obedient and will never listen

    - I don't think that sibes are any less likely to listen than other breeds. The difference is that they will listen and then make their own minds up as to whether they are going to obey you. Siberians are more pack oriented than many breeds and they are more likely to obey you if they accept you as the pack leader. On the other hand, bribery (especially with food)works wonders with 99% of sibes.

    Q. - Apparently they will chase and kill cats and any small animals

    - Yes and no! This relates back to their high prey drive as explained opposite. The Siberian’s natural instinct is to regard any small animal (and some larger ones like sheep) as a combination of sport and food. This is hard-wired into the breed and is difficult, if not impossible to change. Having said that, many Siberians manage to live affably with cats - as long as they regard the cat(s) as part of their "pack" - other cats will still be fair game. It is sensible however, not to introduce any new non-canines to the household once the dog is established (unless you can keep them very securely separated—remembering that huskies are extremely efficient at breaking and entering.)

    Q. - Will they ruin my garden?

    - Guilty as charged - they can dig huge holes and miraculously make the dirt disappear so that you always have more crater than earth. If your idea of an ideal garden is a recreation of World War 1 battlefields, then the husky is your ideal dog. If you want a wonderful garden landscaped to your plans and not your dogs, either (a) don’t get a Siberian; or (b) ensure that the dog has an escape-proof dog run of its own. The ideal husky garden is a concrete enclosure with 8 foot husky-proof fences all round.

    Q. - I’ve heard they are not very intelligent and impossible to train

    - They are frighteningly intelligent! As far as training goes, it depends what you mean by training - they are actually very easy to teach - it's the obedience that is the problem. Sibes are very independent and will weigh up the pros and cons of a situation and act accordingly (which does not mean automatic obedience). If you throw them a ball, they might bring it back the first time, but if you throw it again, they’ll just give you that look which says, “You threw it, you go and get it! Do you think I’m stupid?” (Or they will just eat the ball!)

    Q. - Do they need vast amounts of exercise each day?

    - Husky exercise is a strange one. They seem to be equally happy running 20+ miles each day in harness or sleeping 20 of every 24 hours. The trick is to vary their daily exercise. If you walk them for five miles every day at 6.30am, then on the day you want a lie in, they will be howling for their walk at 6.30am!!

    Don’t walk them too much as puppies—five minutes per day for every month of age is a good rule of thumb.


    So - many of the things you have heard about Siberian Huskies are true, BUT - there are exceptions to every rule. It is just not sensible to assume that your dog will be that exception.

    Hope that helps

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