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How To Discipline A Husky (Without Being A Bully)

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How To Discipline A Husky
How to discipline a Husky

Wondering how to discipline a Husky? Well, there are essentially 2 ways to discipline your Husky. The 1st one is a simple 4-step process – 1) Politely ask them to stop.  2) Yell at them.  3) Yell 57 times more.  4) Give up and drink.

The 2nd way is a little more elaborate and more likely to set you and your Husky up for success. Let’s chat about that.

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What does “disciplining” a dog really mean?

The word “discipline” may have a harsh ring to it, but is crucial to raise a puppy into a well-behaved dog that is an absolute delight to live with. It takes a lot of sense and sensibility to train a Husky into a ‘disciplined’ dog without being a bully to them.

Dogs aren’t born with the ability to differentiate between good and bad or right and wrong. They behave in a way that comes naturally to them in any given situation.

So, if your Husky is a flight risk anytime the door opens or becomes an avid jumper when you have visitors over, it is because that is the only way they know. Disciplining a dog without being a bully essentially means teaching them a civilized way of life, one that is easy for humans to live and cope with.

While it is often misconstrued as punishment, disciplining a dog the right way is less to do with hurting the dog and more to do with teaching the dog. 

What does disciplining a dog mean?
Mishka having a rest after ripping up a pillow!

Difference between punishment and discipline

Punishment and discipline are often wrongly used interchangeably.

Disciplining a dog is the practice of teaching them a code of conduct so they make better choices in terms of behavior displayed in any given situation. Punishment is inflicting pain and/or suffering on the dog for an action already performed. 

Difference Between Punishment And Discipline For Dogs
If you don’t smile for the camera, you’ll be in trouble! 😂 Image from @fitnessfergi

Disciplining without punishment focuses on teaching and reinforcing desirable behaviors whereas punishment focuses on reprimanding the undesirable behaviors without teaching the right behaviors. 

The problem with punishment is that even if it may look like it is getting the desired results, it may create something known as learned helplessness in dogs. It happens when the dog suffers from a sense of powerlessness, arising from persistent punishment and failure to succeed. It is one of the underlying causes of depression and shutdown in dogs. 

Always choose discipline over punishment, especially when potty training your Husky.

How to discipline a Husky (7 tips)

1. Set a consistent routine for your Husky and follow it

It is rightly said that ‘dogs are a creature of habit.’ They catch on to routine better than anyone else. If your Husky has been living with you for more than a few weeks or months, there is a good chance they can tell it’s time to eat/walk/play/sleep without you having to prompt them for it.  

Forming a routine and thereby a habit is one of the best ways to streamline your Husky into a certain way of life. The reason why it works so well is that you may just have to put in the initial effort of setting the schedule and after a few days, your dog will gladly take over for you. 

2. Correct undesirable behaviors but heavily reinforce good ones

Notifying your dog in some way or the other whenever they display an undesirable behavior is crucial. This notification could be in the form of saying “No” or using the leash to communicate or anything else. However, “no” is not a behavior. 

It is easier for our dogs to perform an alternate behavior than respond to corrections. For example, while attempting to discipline a Husky for jumping at visitors, instead of just saying “No Jumping,” use the leash to get them to Sit and calm down with treats.

How to use the leash to communicate with your Husky

Dog owners usually end up doing leashes only for walks, but in reality, it can be used for so much more. One of the simplest and most effective pieces of advice for puppy owners is to have the dog on the leash even inside the house 24×7, except when the dog’s sleeping.

Having a leash gives better control and also helps us follow through with every command we give our dogs at home. It ensures 100% success and a follow-through rate with cues.

I had the leash on my dog even inside the house at all times for the 1st four months of raising her. So when she became hyper, I used the leash to quickly calm her down.

When we have guests over, the leash helped me make sure she’s not jumping up on anyone. Plus I also ensured that every time I gave her a cue, she completed it and not walked away from me.

How To Use The Leash To Communicate With Your Husky
This is Rohan being a good calm Husky before going walkies! Image from @rohan_thehusky

3. Timeouts

A quick time-out is one of the most humane forms of punishment and ways to discipline a Husky. When a Husky is getting out of control while playing, it is usually because they are super excited about a stimulus such as a toy or human or another dog, or the environment. 

A time-out would take the source of the excitement away from the dog, thereby giving them time and opportunity to calm down. This is primarily the reason why time-outs work beautifully while dealing with puppy biting. Make sure to keep time-outs short and resume play after to prevent anxiety in your Husky. 

How to give your Husky a time out

Giving your Husky a time-out is basically removing the dog from a particular situation and providing a few minutes of isolation to help them calm down.

E.g. when a puppy bites uncontrollably, or when your Husky is overly dramatic, and no amount of correction works, you can either put them in a playpen or tether them to a spot away from everyone for a few minutes. This will help them calm down.

How To Give Your Husky A Time Out
Sure, I’ll have a time-out, but I’m just going to have a snooze. 😂 Image from @loki_husky_of_mischief

It’s also used as a pseudo punishment as you’re taking all the exciting stimuli away from the dog and isolating them. It’s a way to create boundaries to let them know which behaviors are unacceptable and will result at the end of the play. It’s important to resume play after a few minutes of the time out.

Extended timeouts (more than 30 minutes) can actually create anxiety.

Further reading:

4. Timing is key

One of the most enviable traits of a dog is that they live in the moment. If they display undesirable behavior at 10.00 AM and you reprimand them at 10.03 AM, they have no idea what they got reprimanded for.

It is crucial to correct the wrong behavior and reward the right one exactly when they take place, else, whatever you do will only end up confusing your dog. 

5. Redirections

Redirection, in simple words, means giving an alternate outlet to your dog to harness their instincts and learned behaviors. The most classic example of redirection is giving a puppy a toy to chew on when they try to bite into your skin. 

A biting puppy cannot be disciplined in a matter of minutes, hours, or even days. In such cases, redirection works as a temporary solution, all while providing your pup an appropriate outlet, keeping you safe, and buying you more time to work on the particular behavior. 

6. Patience and consistency go hand in hand

Your dog’s responsiveness to your training will be as consistent as you are. Any behavior you attempt to teach your dog will require you to be patient enough for your dog to learn and understand your expectations and consistent enough in terms of follow it through every single time. 

For example, if you want your Husky to not bolt out at the sight of an open door, it is imperative that you practice impulse control training with your dog EVERY TIME you open the door. Make sure to stick with your training and reinforcement even if your dog may not get it right the first few times; be patient and consistent especially then. 

Inconsistency will not only keep reversing all the training and discipline you have been working hard to imbibe in your dog, but it will also thoroughly confuse your dog, thereby making the problem at hand worse. 

Further reading: How to train a Husky to come when called

How To Discipline A Husky - Patience And Consistency
This is Emma. She likes rewards for her good behavior! Image from @dysfunctionalcanines

7. Get to the root cause of the behavior

Punishing a dog with squirt bottles, rolled up newspapers or using tools like prong collars, e-collars, etc, to discipline a dog may make you believe that you are getting the desired results, but may end up blinding you towards the underlying root cause of their behavioral issues.

With the help of a professional, try to understand what is causing your dog to behave the way they are behaving. E.g., if your fearful dog is barking at another dog, using an e-collar may stop the barking momentarily, but it does nothing to deal with your dog’s deeply-rooted fear. If anything, disciplining through aversive techniques may only make the fear worse.

Signs you might be bullying your Husky while trying to discipline them

  • You’re constantly trying to establish dominance over your dog
  • You use physical corrections to discipline your dog
  • Your Husky is fearful around you
  • You are only focusing on eliminating the behavior and not understanding the underlying reason
  • You get easily angry and frustrated while training your Husky
  • You’re looking for “quick fixes” 
  • Your Husky has started to seem less playful around you
  • Your Husky is not free to make their own choices
  • Your Husky starts screaming more than usual
  • Your Husky starts howling more than usual

Further reading: How to deal with an aggressive Husky

Final thoughts

There is no doubt about the fact that every Husky is unique. Their quirks and natural behaviors are what make them super endearing.

While teaching them good behaviors is imperative, keep in mind that the technique you implement has a direct impact on your relationship with your dog.

Every time you communicate with your Husky, you are making a choice of either being an excellent pet parent to them or an outright bully.  

How do you discipline your Husky?

Let me know in the comments below.

FAQ

What is the correct way to discipline a husky?

The best way to deal with bad behavior in your husky is to use positive reinforcement techniques. Punishing your dog may lead to more unwanted behavior.

Should I punish my husky when he does something wrong?

It’s something that you shouldn’t do. Punishing your husky may lead to more unwanted behavior and can make him fearful of you.

Is there a big difference between punishing and redirecting unwanted behavior?

Yes, there is. Redirecting unwanted behavior involves guiding your husky towards good behavior while punishing may lead to fear and anxiety.

How should I praise my husky?

Positive reinforcement is the best way to praise your husky. Use treats, verbal praise, and physical affection to reinforce good behavior.

What should I do if my husky has bad behavior?

The correct way to deal with bad behavior is to redirect it towards good behavior. Use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior and withhold treats or attention for unwanted behavior.

Are huskies known for being stubborn?

Yes, huskies are a stubborn breed that requires a lot of attention and exercise. This may make them more difficult to train than other breeds.

How often should I socialize my husky?

It’s important to socialize your husky as early as possible and throughout their lifetime. This will help them to interact well with other dogs and people.

Is it okay for my husky to bark excessively?

It can be normal for huskies to bark, but if they are doing it excessively it may be a sign of anxiety or boredom. Redirect their behavior towards an appropriate activity or provide more exercise and mental stimulation.

What are some good training sessions for my husky puppy?

Training sessions should involve positive reinforcement techniques and focus on teaching good behavior. Use treats, verbal praise, and physical affection to reinforce good behavior and redirect unwanted behavior toward good behavior.

What is the best way to keep my husky chewing on the right things?

Redirecting their chewing behavior towards appropriate toys and bones is the best way to keep them from chewing on inappropriate things. Provide plenty of chew toys and supervise your husky to prevent them from chewing on anything harmful.

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Author
Siddhika Bhat

Siddhika is a certified dog trainer, behaviorist, and professional pet writer. She has the qualifications and experience in the theoretical as well as real-life applications of science-based dog training techniques.

With the expertise to write about a plethora of dog-related topics and a personal interest in dog cognition and behavior, Siddhika is an out-and-out canine nerd. To learn more, visit the team section of the about page.

2 thoughts on “How To Discipline A Husky (Without Being A Bully)”

  1. This is my first husky I would like to know what a husky would like to sleep on. And the information I got from you is very good. I need to learn as much as possible. Hopefully I can find more websites that can teach me what I need to know about my husky.

    Reply

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