If you don’t know how to train a Husky to walk on a leash, you’re going to end up with what amounts to a fuzzy fish on a hook.
Just a flopping, pulling, overly-excited Husky that takes you for a walk rather than the other way around.
Today, we’re going to talk about leash training a Husky including why they pull, how to stop it, and how to get them to walk nicely on a leash.
Let’s get started!
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How to Train a Husky to Walk on a Leash
Just like training a Husky to come, you’ve probably searched this term if you own one of these beauties.
If you haven’t, believe me, you will. Huskies are very inquisitive.
This breed loves to explore new places, greet new people and other dogs, and chase pretty much anything that’s smaller than they are.
Like I said above, without proper training, you’ll end up getting walked rather than doing the walking.
So, part of leash-training is learning how to train a husky not to pull!
Let’s start with why Huskies are so prone to pulling, then we’ll go from there!
Why Do Huskies Pull?
Huskies pull because they’re interested… in everything.
Huskies are a working dog, so they have a lot of energy.
That means that what would be a generally standard walk for most other breeds becomes a playground of sights, sounds, and smells for a Husky.
Whereas other breeds will occasionally stop and smell something interesting or gently try to pull you toward another dog or person, the Husky will enter what I like to call “sled mode.”
Basically, he will simply drag you, the weight, along with him to his chosen destination!
In general, a Husky will pull for any of the following reasons.
- He finds an interesting scent.
- He spots another person.
- He spots another dog.
- He wants to chase a smaller animal like a cat or squirrel.
- He’s a natural puller. Pulling back on him will only encourage him to pull more.
- He’s just excited to be out adventuring.
How to Train a Husky to Walk on a Leash – The Basics
So we know that knowing how to train a Husky to walk on a leash is important, but how do we do it?
When do we do it?
There are a few basics to know before you being training a Husky to the leash.
When Can You Begin Leash-Training?
You can begin leash training a Husky as early as four to six weeks of age.
Obviously, you probably won’t have a Husky that young unless you’re a breeder.
However, what that tells us is that you can begin leash training your Husky pup pretty much as soon as you bring him home.
Huskies are incredibly smart, and all puppies are little knowledge sponges in their early months, so it’s the perfect time to begin teaching your Husky to walk on a leash.
What do You Need to Start Training?
All you need is a collar and a leash?
Basic leash training is not complicated, and as you’ll see later, it’s mostly a matter of redirection.
There are no special tools involved at all.
Other than a leash and a collar, all you need is patience and consistency.
How to Train a Husky Puppy to Walk on a Leash
The best way to train a Husky to walk on a leash is starting when he’s a puppy.
He soaks up knowledge easily at this age, and frankly, he’s not nearly as strong as he will be as an adult when he can effectively drag you almost anywhere if he gets excited enough.
By the way, if you want to know how to train a malamute to walk on a leash, these tips will work for that breed, too.
However, keep in mind that- as discussed yesterday- malamutes and Huskies are NOT the same dog.
Mals are a good deal larger and, ergo, stronger. Still, the same general tips below work for pretty much all stubborn working dog breeds.
Getting Used to the Leash
I often see people say that their husky puppy won’t walk on leash.
Well, you can’t just pop a lead on a dog and expect them to know what to do.
You have to get them used to it first. Here’s how:
- Start with a small, lightweight leash a collar.
- Attach the leash to the collar and let your puppy simply roam around the house as he normally would. This gets him used to having a leash trailing behind him. Of course, you should never allow him to do this without supervision.
- While he drags around the leash, give him treats and praise so he knows that the leash is a very good thing.
- If he begins to appear bothered by the leash, remove it and attach it again later in the day or the next day. Remember to go only as fast as your puppy is comfortable with so the process remains positive.
The Follow Game
- Choose a training spot that is distraction-free and allow your puppy to see that you have treats in your hand.
- When he sees them, move away a bit. If your puppy follows you, give him a treat and praise him liberally.
- Move in another direction while you encourage him to follow you to get another treat.
- Repeat this step several times to get him used to the idea that being near you while you walk gets him treats. However, be sure to stop before your puppy begins to lose interest.
Transition to the Leash
Once your puppy is used to having a leash on his collar and he’s learned that following you gets him treats, put the two together.
- Attach the leash to your puppy’s collar and walk around the house when it’s free of distractions.
- Gently guide your Husky on the leash so he follows and stays near you, giving him treats to reinforce this behavior.
- If your pup pulls, immediately stop moving.
Take it Outside
Once your Husky has walking with you indoors down, head outside.
While outside, you’ll be able to practice leash-walking in an environment that has some distractions.
This is a great way to help reinforce that staying near you is what gets him the good stuff.
Encourage him to follow as you did inside the house, giving him treats and liberal praise as he does so.
How to Train an Adult Husky to Walk on a Leash Nicely
Chances are your Husky already knows the concept of walking on a leash.
After all, you have to take him to go potty, to vet appointments, and other places.
What most Husky owners really want to know is how to train a Husky to walk on a leash nicely.
What that really boils down to is stopping your Husky’s incessant pulling.
Before we get started, let’s look at some tips to make the process easier.
Tips to Help Stop Leash-Pulling
- Never Reward Leash-Pulling: Never, ever let him get to where he wants to go while he’s pulling.
- Consistency is Key: Always be consistent with training, and be sure everyone who walks the dog understands what the expectations for your dog are.
- NEVER Pull Back: Huskies were bred to pull. If you pull back on your Husky, you’ll most likely engage that pulling instinct, and he’ll only pull harder.
- Start as Early as Possible: As I said earlier, it’s better to start early. Leash-training a puppy properly removes almost all issues down the line.
- It Takes Time: If you’re trying to stop an adult Husky from pulling, understand that it will take time. He’s developed bad habits over the course of years or months. It will take some time to undo them.
Techniques to Stop Leash-Pulling
There are three excellent techniques for teaching your Husky to stop pulling that we’ll cover here.
Start with the first and then build on it with the second and third to really get your Husky used to walking nicely.
Stop and Go
- Take your dog for a walk calmly and without any fanfare. The idea is to keep your dog as calm as possible prior to the walk.
- If he pulls, immediately stop walking.
- Once he stops pulling, begin walking again.
- Immediately stop again if he pulls.
Be prepared for going nowhere fast in the beginning, as your Husky will most likely try to start pulling again.
That’s okay. All you’re doing here is teaching him that if he pulls, he goes nowhere.
Slowly, he’ll begin to understand that if he follows your lead, it’s a lot more fun.
At least he’ll be going somewhere.
Be advised that this method requires some strength.
After mastering Stop and Go, you’ll move on to the Random Walk.
This is exactly what it sounds like – random walking – but it teaches an important lesson to your Husky.
- Calmly take your Husky for a walk.
- While on the walk, randomly stop for about 10 seconds then begin walking in another direction.
- Continue walking even if you feel resistance. You probably will, as your dog is simply used to walking in a straight line.
- Reward your Husky with praise and treats when he follows along.
- After a few sessions, your dog will begin to pay more attention to you and move in the direction you do.
At this stage, your Husky should be learning not to pull and that it’s good to go where you go.
Now is the time to further reinforce this with verbal cues and properly timed treats.
- Calmly take your dog for a walk as before.
- If he pulls, say something like, “Uh uh” and stop moving forward.
- When your dog stops (and he should by now) give him a verbal “Good boy!” and a treat.
- Begin walking again.
- When the leash has slack in it, give a “Good boy” and a treat.
When you combine the three approaches above, your dog will learn over time that pulling gets him nowhere, going where you go gets him treats, and walking at your pace (keeping the leash slack) gets him even more treats.
Knowing How to Train a Husky to Walk on a Leash Makes Life Easier for Both of You
When you know how to train a Husky to walk on a leash, it makes life so much easier.
Your arm stays firmly in its socket, your Husky gets to explore, and he also gets treats.
It’s a win all the way around. If you start training your Husky early, he should have leash walking down in no time.
That said, if you need to break an adult Husky of pulling, be aware that it will take some time.
However, if you practice patience and consistency, you’ll find that your Husky will get it – and sometimes faster than you thought.