Looking for tips on how to train a husky not to run away?
Wondering why on earth they’re so prone to fleeing in the first place?
Find out the answers in our complete guide below!
You may also want to check out: Everything You Need for A Husky Puppy
How to Train a Husky Not to Run Away
Of all the dog breeds huskies are known to be among the most playful, intelligent, and jovial.
It’s no wonder they make such great companions.
On the flip side, they are also known as dog marathoners. They run away more often than any other breed.
It can be depressing and frightening when they one day they just take off and you don’t know where to start looking.
It is even more embarrassing running after a husky that is hastily dashing away from you.
If your husky has run away a few times, then you know how the scenario plays out and the overwhelming feelings that follow thereafter.
Even if you’ve never had an experience, you’ll want to keep reading to learn how to avoid this scenario.
Below, you’ll learn why huskies run away as well as what preventive measures you can take to avoid it.
You will also learn how to train a husky to not run away.
Related: How to train a husky to run with you
Do Huskies always run away?
Well, not all huskies run away but a majority at least try to do so.
Huskies were practically born to run, after all! They were bred to pull sleds.
Back then, people used them during the winter to transport food to their families.
They would cover a very long distance within a very short time, hence their need to run.
Huskies also needed to make quick decisions about potential dangers on the trail, so they developed an independent streak, too.
Today, they still possess those adventurous and independent traits.
When they see, smell or hear something that perks their interest, they will run off to it. It’s the curiosity in them.
So, no, it’s not a myth that Siberian huskies run when they get a chance.
“If they have the opportunity, they are definitely prone to run off on their own,” confirms Gina DiNardi, the Vice President of the American Kennel Club.
They can be a couch dog, a bubbly companion, and a run-away dog all at the same time.
One more thing, they can be perfect marathon-mates, they are said to run up to 100 miles a day.
Why do huskies try to escape or run away?
Before we even get to discussing how to train your husky not to run away, it’s important that you first understand why they do it.
Let’s look at some of the common reasons.
It’s in their nature
Even when you’ve done your best to give your husky everything he needs to be happy and comfortable, he will still run away because it’s in his nature.
Remember, they were bred to specifically for that, after all.
However, with proper training, the episodes will be very minimal to none.
They don’t get enough exercise
Huskies are everything but chill dogs.
They like to be up and down because they are naturally energetic, curious, and adventurous.
The moment they feel underutilized or stuck in a rut, trust me, their next move is to run away to keep themselves active.
Develop a routine and keep mixing up their exercises so that they don’t get bored and under-exercised.
They don’t get enough attention from you
Huskies are like toddlers if you ask me, when they feel they are not getting the attention they need, they start brewing trouble by running away.
They know this is a sure way for them to get your full attention and indeed it is.
Huskies get easily distracted. You will often see your husky running after a cat or even a squirrel that is mindlessly passing by.
Anything that catches their attention, they will run after it and if they don’t know their surroundings so well, they can get lost.
Again, this is why you need to train your husky from an early age to know his boundaries and resist the urge to follow everything that gets their attention.
They are bored
As I mentioned before, huskies are very curious and adventurous dogs, and as such don’t take boredom well.
Being independent thinkers, they will try to find a way to kick the boredom.
And it so happens that running away is such a thrilling activity for them.
Use These Steps to Train A Husky Not to Run Away
If you are wondering whether you can really teach your husky not to run away, know that it’s very possible.
Of course, you will need loads of patience, time, and consistency to get there.
Younger huskies are easier to train than older ones. It can take older huskies up to months to get fully trained.
But don’t panic, it’s doable and may take you less time.
Once your husky is trained, you will both be happy and proud that you did.
To get started, you will need a collar with an up to date tag, and a long leash.
I am assuming at this point you have husky-proofed your yard and home.
You will also need some of his favorite dog treats.
Huskies thrive best on rewards and so you want to reward him for every small win to keep him motivated
Training 1: Front door training
The first thing you want to do is to train your dog not to run off the moment your front door or back door is opened. Here’s how to go about it:
- Put him on a leash and have some treats at hand.
- Walk over to your door and touch the handle and watch his reaction.
- If he sits still reward him. If he gets overly excited, tell him to sit.
- Repeat this step a couple more times. Soon, he’ll learn that he has to sit and be calm whenever you touch the knob.
- Next, turn the door handle and watch his reaction if he still sits undistracted, reward him. If not repeat again.
Now, open the door slightly wider, and take a step out. Watch his reaction, if he attempts to stand, ask him to sit.
Reward him if he obeys.
Lastly, push the door completely open, command him again to sit, and walk a few more steps away.
Reward him if he follows your command.
You will need to do this regularly until he no longer jumps up the moment the door is opened unless you tell him to go out.
It is not as easy as it sounds so gear up for quite a number of trials.
Training 2: Calling out their name
Most huskies will respond when you call out their name, but some won’t.
So before you keep your husky off the leash, you want to be sure, he will come to you as soon as you call him.
You want to practice doing this in your backyard, with or without a leash.
- Have some treats with you.
- Call your husky’s name.
- Once he comes to you, reward him with a treat and praise.
This way he will always respond when you call him as he associates coming to you with something positive.
Next, try this when out on your regular walks but with the leash on. Here is a good resource to help you with name-training.
Training 3: Off-leash training
Now that your dog has learned to only go out when permitted, you now need to train him to stay off the leash without running off.
Take him- and his favorite treats-to a fenced-in dog park.
Start with activities that are already familiar to him like lying down, rolling over, and the likes.
Take a few steps back and ask your husky to either sit or rollover.
Do this as you take more steps away from him.
Take breaks to reward him for every win.
The essence of this is to train him to not run away when they are suddenly free of the leash.
Here is a good video to watch if you want to learn more about how to keep your husky fully off the leash.
When learning how to train a husky to stay in the yard, it is vital that you never punish your dog for not following your instructions to the tee.
This will frighten him and make your training more difficult.
Also, expect that he may actually run away during the training. That’s why it’s best to do it in a secure area.
Don’t forget to keep him occupied with toys to kick off boredom.
Husky proof your yard and home
If you never again want to chase after your run-away husky, then you need to husky-proof your yard and home.
Since you don’t know how long it will take to train your husky to not run away, I would suggest you start with these tips.
Make sure your fence is the right height
First and foremost, ensure that your fences are high enough that your husky cannot jump over it.
You’d be surprised at how high huskies can jump. To be on the safe side ensure your fence is above 6ft high.
Move away any potential “ladders” or “stools”
Also, move away tables, chairs, or any surfaces close to the fence that the husky can use to propel their jump.
If you have a chain-link fence, you might want to consider replacing it with a smooth wooden fence, as it’s significantly harder to climb.
Use baby gates
You can also use baby gates as well as a chain lock on both your back and front doors so that your husky cannot paw it open.
Basically, ensure that all exits that your husky can use are all secure and impossible for them to open.
Don’t forget to dig-proof your yard!
Amazingly, huskies are great diggers, they can dig their way out of a fence.
To prevent them from escaping through the dugout fence, you can use a chicken wire under it.
Cut the chicken wire into strips of about three feet long and attach one side to the bottom of the fence and push the remainder to the ground.
You can cover the ground with stones, pieces of wood, or just grass.
Your husky will stop digging as soon as their paw touches the wire.
Their favorite digging spots are areas with the soft ground, as it’s easier to get through.
Identify all these spots and place some concrete steps.
Also take care of any cracks that are between the ground and the fence, these are also hot spots for these amazing diggers.
Microchip your husky
It’s highly unlikely that your husky will still escape even after all these precautions, but in the event that it does, it will be safe for your dog and helpful for you if it were microchipped.
Along with the dog microchip, ensure that your husky always has a tagged collar on with your contact info so that it’s easy for someone to reach you if they find your dog.
How to catch a runaway husky
If you’ve never run after your husky barefoot and in your pajamas for at least 10 miles then you haven’t seen anything yet with this dog.
The more you sprint after them the faster they run and unless you are in perfectly healthy shape, you will lose your breath very soon and sadly watch him go.
Running after them never works, even calling out their names hardly works unless they have been trained to respond.
So, what works? Try these tips:
Run towards your house
Run towards the house and open the door wide as you call out his name.
If it doesn’t work, open the fridge and get his favorite treat.
Wave it to him and he will come running to get his treat. Grab him by his collar and lock the door.
Run away from him
Run away from your husky.
Yes, run in the opposite direction, this will get him confused and will now want to run after you.
Sounds silly but yes, reverse psychology works on them too.
Curl up into a ball
Drop down and curl up like a ball. This weird behavior will get their attention.
And since they no longer see you as a threat to their fun, they will come to you.
Pretend you’re hurt
If everything else fails, pretend to drop down to the ground and sob loudly.
This will catch their attention and likely make them come to see what’s wrong.
Once they are close enough to you, gently grab their collar.
However, don’t make a habit of doing this so often as they will catch on fast and the next time you have a real emergency, they will just ignore you.
Can Huskies find their way home?
Huskies can actually find their way home if you’ve been using that specific route for their daily walks.
Also, if you’ve given him a good living environment, he will want to come back to you so he will try to find his way back.
However, if he feels mistreated, it is also possible that he may actually just be running away from you (looking for a better home).
It will take you some time to train your husky to not run away so you need loads of patience and a good training strategy.
A good place to start with is to find out why your husky runs away.
Even though it is in their nature to run away, there almost always is a trigger.
However, do not take it personally if you’ve been nothing but a sweet, responsible, loving owner. Your husky still loves you.
With the tips I’ve shared, I am sure you will come back here soon as a happy husky owner.