Can you train a Husky to be off leash and not escape or wander away?
Huskies have got the reputation of being escape artists, so you’re right to wonder about it.
Fortunately, we’ve got a step-by-step guide on how to train a Husky to walk off the leash.
Just keep on reading.
Can You Train A Husky To Be Off Leash?
Look at those piercing blue eyes, muscular bodies, and plumed tails!
It’s easy to fall in love with the wolf-like appearance of a Husky puppy and their charming personality.
However, Siberian Huskies aren’t the best dogs for first-time owners or timid ones.
Huskies are famous for their stubbornness and independence and often do as they like.
They’re such resilient dogs that even an electric fence can’t keep them in the yard.
So, before we talk about training a Husky off the leash, you’ll talk about if it’s a good idea to do so.
Should You Let Your Husky Off the Leash?
By nature, Huskies can run for miles, pulling heavy sleds without getting tired.
They also have a high prey drive and are likely to chase anything that moves without paying attention to your commands or possible dangers, such as cars.
That’s why recalling Huskies isn’t an easy task, and most specialists would recommend that you don’t let your Husky off the leash.
Still, if you still want to train your Husky to walk off the leash, you need to take precautions:
- Secure your yard to contain your Husky, or they’ll run away if something catches their interest.
- Choose a safe, enclosed space for off the leash walking, away from traffic and other dangers. Don’t start training in open fields or forests!
- Don’t start off-leash training until your Husky has got all their shots, or you risk your dog catching a disease.
- Check your state’s laws to determine if and when you can let your Husky off the leash.
How To Train a Husky To Be Off the Leash?
Can you train a Husky to be off the leash? It’s possible if you’re persistent, determined, and stubborn.
However, it’s a big responsibility because your Siberian Husky might get lost, damage property, or bite a person/another dog.
You have to consider these risks before you start off-leash training.
#1 Master The Recall
The most important thing in training a Husky to be off the leash is your ability to recall your Husky:
- Prepare high-value treats to use only during training. The tastier the reward, the more motivated your Husky would be to obey.
- In a distraction-free area inside, tempt your Husky to come to you with a treat/toy. Or call your dog’s name.
- When they do, praise and reward. You can use dog training tools, such as a clicker, to mark the behavior.
- After a few repetitions, add your verbal cue, “Come,” when you see your Husky moving towards you.
- Practice until your Husky comes to you when they hear the command without needing a bribe.
The goal is to make your Husky connect your command with delicious rewards so that they’re tempted to come back when called.
Such positive reinforcement works the best with Huskies since they’re proud dogs and don’t react well to coercive methods.
You can watch this video for a demonstration of “Come” and “Stay.”
#2 Practice Off-Leash Behavior At Home
Once you’ve got your Husky to come inside the house, it’s time to practice off-leash walking in the yard. Your goal is to master the command when they are distractions.
- Take your Husky to the backyard and let them off the leash.
- Wait a few seconds and recall your dog.
- Reward with a treat if your Husky comes back to you and praise them enthusiastically.
- Offer higher value treats if you’re having trouble with the recall and avoid calling your dog over more than once.
- Add artificial distractions to challenge your dog and see how well they respond to your commands.
You can go to the next step only when you recall your Husky successfully every time.
If your Husky ignores you in your yard, there’s a slim chance they’ll listen if you let them off the leash outside.
#3 Go For a Test Run
You never know how your Husky will act when off the leash, even with the best training.
That’s why it’s a good idea to have a test run with a long leash and take baby steps.
In this way, your Husky will have more freedom to move, but you’ll be able to stop them if they make a run for it.
The long leash will also give you peace of mind that you won’t lose your dog:
- Exercise your Husky before going to the enclosed dog park. The more energetic your dog is, the harder it will be to recall them.
- Once in the park, wait for your Husky to get distracted and call them back to you. Reward with a treat if they respond.
- If you’re having trouble with the recall, keep your Husky close and slowly increase the distance.
- Don’t rely too much on the long lead. Your Husky should come back on their own without you pulling the leash.
- Be careful. Your dog might get entangled in the long leash, or other dogs/people might trip over it.
You can watch this great video about recalling a dog. It’s not a Husky, but the same principles apply.
#4 Up the Ante
Don’t move to this stage until you’re able to recall your Husky on a long leash with plenty of distractions around. Move too quickly, and you’ll ruin your progress:
- Go to an enclosed dog park with your Husky.
- Let your Husky off the leash and be prepared for a lot of excitement and running around.
- Don’t let your dog off the sight and recall when your Husky moves too far away. You might shake the treat bag or use your clicker to attract your dog’s attention.
- Always reward when your Husky comes back.
- Keep practicing in a safe environment and be prepared to intervene if your Husky gets into a fight with another unleashed dog.
It helps if you have a friend with a well-trained dog that has an excellent recall for this stage.
Huskies are pack-oriented dogs and are likely to follow the other dog back.
You can also watch this video to watch how to get a Husky entirely off the leash.
#5 Make Small Steps
You don’t need much more than a reliable recall and many tasty treats to train your Husky to walk off the leash.
So, once you’ve mastered the recall in a safe environment, you can go to an open field, a forest, or another desolate area with no traffic.
For your peace of mind, you can use a long leash and see how your Husky does with it before you let them loose.
If you have any doubts about your recall, go back to the previous step and practice.
Take baby steps and don’t rush things. Your Husky is going to be excited to run around freely.
Keep an eye on your dog and have plenty of high-value rewards to make coming back to you more exciting than running away.
#6 Learn How to Deal With Escape Attempts
Sooner or later, your Husky will make a run for it or get so excited that all the training is forgotten.
The biggest mistake owners make is chasing the dog.
Your Husky thinks that you’re taking part in the game and will run twice as hard.
These dogs can run for days, so you don’t have a chance of catching a loose Husky.
Instead, call your dog and run in the opposite directions. Not many dogs can resist a moving target, and your Husky should spring back to follow you.
If that doesn’t work, stay where you are and continue to call your Husky.
When your dog does come back, don’t scold or punish them, or your Husky will connect the recall with negative things. Instead, reward them for coming back!
Moreover, have your Husky microchipped and tagged if you lose them.
Also, spay/neuter your pet because a Husky in heat will be gone in a flash if they’ve got the chance.
#7 Don’t Poison the Recall
One of the reasons owners have problems recalling their Huskies is that they poison the recall.
Using “Come” for negative things, such as bathing your dog, clipping their nails, or getting them to the vet, is a good way for your Husky to hide when you call.
Moreover, avoid saying “come” over and over again.
Your dog will learn to tune you out. Instead, use a firmer voice and higher value rewards.
Can You Trust Your Husky Off The Leash?
People often say that while other breeds obey commands, Huskies consider your orders and get back to you.
That’s because Huskies are less eager to please their owners than other dogs.
So, can you ever trust your Husky off the leash? That’s hard to say because it depends a lot on your training and your dog’s temperament.
But here’s what several Husky owners share on Reddit:
- Karstaang says, “He does very well, and only had one instance of him running off after a squirrel. No big deal, he always comes back, he knows who feeds him.”
- ButchTheBiker states, “My first was a runner, but I never worked with him. My second I worked on as a pup, and it paid. We’d go geocaching in the woods, and I could trust him.”
- amiir1EE7 advises, “Just start as early as you can so he gets used to be off-leash. At the end, he’s a dog too, like all other breeds, he MUST be able to be off-leash.
- HuskyMush mentions, “Even huskies that are well trained from puppyhood are not 100% reliable and trustworthy off-leash.”
- 704sw shares, “After a decade with my two, I wouldn’t trust them off-leash, and I never will with any of the future huskies.”
- Csheppy44 comments, “I’ve had her off-leash since her second set of shots at 12 weeks. I reward her every time she comes back to me, even when I don’t call her.”
While most specialists don’t recommend training Huskies to be off the leash, you can do it with enough patience, confidence, and commitment.
You know your dog the best, and you can judge if you can trust your Husky off the leash.
However, if your Husky is aggressive towards other dogs/people or likely to kill a cat, you should keep them on the leash all the time.