How I Trained My Husky Puppy

Puppies have a lot of hyper energy and very short attention spans.

They are also infinitely curious and want to put everything that they see in their little mouths. This can make puppy obedience training something of a challenge.

When it comes to puppy training, we want to get our puppy to repeat good behaviors, and stop bad behaviors. The more a puppy practices a behavior, the more likely she will repeat it. Therefore, by encouraging good behaviors, we ensure that she will have a good repertoire of people friendly actions to draw upon when she grows up.

Here, we deal with the 3 primary elements of puppy obedience training –

  • How to communicate consistently and effectively with a puppy.
  • How to encourage good puppy behaviors.
  • How to discourage bad puppy behaviors.

Puppy Obedience 1 – How to Communicate with Puppy

The first two words I teach my puppy are “Yes” and “No”.

“Yes” is used to mark a desirable behavior and “No” is used to mark an undesirable behavior.

Yes is usually followed by a positive consequence (e.g. a food reward, affection, toys), and No is usually followed by a negative consequence (e.g. withdrawal of attention, timeout).

In fact, we do not need to use the words “Yes” and “No”, and can pick whatever mark-words we want. The best mark-words are unique, and do not frequently come up in normal conversation. This helps to prevent confusion with our dogs.

For my dogs, I use Ack-Ack as a no-mark and Good-Boy or Good-Girl as a yes-mark.

  • When my puppy does something good, I say “Good-Girl” and present her with a small treat reward.
  • When my puppy does something bad, I say “Ack-Ack” and redirect her into doing something positive.

Consistency is very important while communicating with our dogs. We want to stick to the same yes-mark and no-mark.

In addition, we also want to establish very consistent rules and a fixed routine. This helps our puppy understand what is expected of her, as well as what she can expect from us.

One of the first things that I do with a new puppy, is set up a fixed routine. My puppy schedule includes playing time, training time, walking time, feeding time, and the ever important sleeping time. I try to keep the schedule consistent, so that each of these activities happen at around the same time every day.

Keeping a fixed schedule is good for me, and good for Puppy. It allows me to be more efficient about getting things done, and it sets aside some me-time while Puppy is sleeping and resting in her crate.

It also helps get a puppy accustomed to a new environment, without being overly stressed. In the beginning, everything is new, foreign, and possibly scary for a new dog. A fixed schedule helps to reduce stress, increase trust, and quickly integrates her into the existing family rhythm.

Similarly, a consistent set of rules will help to avoid confusion, and hasten the puppy learning process.

Puppy Obedience 2 – How to Encourage Good Behaviors

Puppy obedience training and even adult dog training is centered around two key areas-

  • How to encourage and get puppy to repeat good behaviors.
  • How to discourage and get puppy to stop bad behaviors.

It is important to recognize though that what we see as good and bad behaviors may not coincide with what our dog considers to be good and bad behaviors.

Dogs, even puppies, think for themselves and have needs of their own.

Therefore, we want to use our newly established communication system to teach our puppy what is good and bad for us. In addition, we must also motivate our dog so that she actually cares about our human values, which very likely, make little or no sense to her.

We encourage good behaviors by using the yes-mark, as soon as our dog finishes doing something good.

For example, when our puppy finishes doing a Sit we say “Good-Girl!” and then present her with a reward. The yes-mark is very helpful in training because it allows us to immediately mark the behavior that we want to reward.

To effectively train our puppy, we want to clearly indicate which action she is being rewarded for. If we wait too long, she will have moved on to something else, and we may inadvertently reward the wrong behavior.

Therefore, quickly use the yes-mark as soon as our dog finishes a good behavior. Then, we can take more time to present Puppy with her reward.

Puppy Obedience 3 – How to Stop Bad Behaviors

When it comes to stopping bad dog behaviors most of us think of applying a physical punishment, for example spanking the dog, jabbing the dog with our fingers, or giving the dog a collar correction.

These techniques apply pain to the dog, at which point the dog may stop her current behavior in order to avoid further pain and stress.

However, such pain based techniques are risky. If they are not executed with exactly the right force, timing, and redirection, they may cause more behavioral issues down the road; even aggression. It is especially risky to apply such techniques to puppies because of their young minds, and still developing bodies.

How then can we stop bad puppy behavior?

I have found that the best way to stop bad behavior is through the control of resources. *We* naturally control everything that a puppy wants, including food, toys, freedom, affection, and play.

To encourage good behaviors, we motivate our puppy by giving her something that she wants.

To discourage bad behaviors, we motivate our puppy by taking away something that she values, for example her freedom, or our attention and affection.

Note – This does not mean that we should tease our puppy and take away food while she is eating, or forcibly remove a toy that she is playing with. Doing so can encourage food aggression or resource guarding behavior.

What works best is to withhold something that my puppy wants, but does not yet have. Another possibility is to take away a privilege, such as withdrawing my attention or restricting her freedom.

When my puppy bites at my hands, I give her a no-mark (Ack-ack) and then redirect her to do something else, for example, chew on a toy. If Puppy redirects, I give her a yes-mark (Good-Girl), and reward her with something that she really wants, such as a yummy treat.

If Puppy ignores the no-mark and continues to bite at me, I withdraw my attention by standing up, folding up my arms, and turning away from her. In this way, she loses a valued play-mate, and no longer gets to engage in something fun.

If Puppy escalates her behavior and starts to jump on me or bite my clothes, I take away an even more important privilege; her freedom. I do this by calmly saying Timeout, and then taking my puppy to a boring but safe timeout area.

Puppies often bite at us to initiate play or to get our attention. We can effectively stop puppy biting by teaching her the following-

  • Biting = No attention and no play,
  • No biting = Attention, play, and treats.

How to Train a Puppy

To stop bad behavior, I have found that it is important to –

  • Start by redirecting Puppy into doing something positive. In this way, we turn a negative situation into a positive one. We not only get our dog to do what we want, but also teach her that following our commands, is the fastest way to get to her heart’s desires.
  • Make the punishment suit the crime. I always start small and give my puppy many opportunities to choose a path for success. If she continues or escalates her bad behavior, then I slowly escalate her punishment.
  • Stay calm at all times. Puppies have high energy and are easily distracted. If we get angry or frustrated, we will only inject more bad energy into an already volatile situation. This will likely cause our puppy to lose focus, become more hyper, and behave in an even more erratic fashion. If we want our dog to be calm, we must stay calm ourselves.
  • Set Puppy up for success. Carefully manage our puppy and only expose her to situations that we think she can handle. For example, start by introducing her to new objects that are not moving, then slowly move on to moving objects, then objects that move and make noise, and so on. Start small and slowly move up to bigger things. The more successful a puppy is, the more confident she will become, and the more balanced she will be when she grows up.

Goal of Puppy Obedience

The goal of puppy obedience is to learn how to communicate with our puppy, and teach her how to live well and harmoniously with us.

Obedience training can also help to protect our puppy from inadvertently harming herself and others, or from engaging in activities that may be detrimental to her health (e.g. over-eating, walking on glass).

Obedience training is *not* for acting out our anger, or venting our frustrations when our puppy poops on our furniture, eats poop, and spreads garbage all over our expensive designer couch.

We are not perfect, and Puppy is not perfect. In the initial stages, mistakes will be made, some of which may lead to chewed up designer shoes, scratched kitchen cabinets, and stained carpets. However, this is all part of the learning process.

Puppies, and indeed all dogs do not perform bad behaviors just to piss us off, make us angry, or exact revenge.

Puppies Acting Badly

Puppies or dogs act badly because …

  • They do not know that something is bad because we did not teach them properly.
  • They were stressed and started chewing, digging, or even pooping in order to relieve that stress (displacement behaviors).
  • They felt threatened and thought it was necessary to protect themselves, or their belongings.

The key to puppy obedience training is in learning to see things from our dog’s point of view.

Once we understand what motivates our puppy, we can prevent undesirable actions and encourage desirable ones.

Dogs spend a lot of time observing us, understanding what makes us tick, and making us happy. The least that we can do, is try to return the favor.

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Comments

    • shibashake says

      There are some things that can be a more difficult to train for a Husky. Both my Huskies have high prey drive, so their recall only goes so far. Leash training can also be more challenging because of the breed trait to pull.

      I use reward/resource based training and that works well with my Huskies. More on Siberian Huskies.

  1. Maxine says

    Hi! I have a one year old husky named Thor, i love him and he loves to run! When i call him to come back he doesnt always come to me. I tried different treats but nothing works! Any advice????

    • shibashake says

      This ASPCA article has a good list of recall training techniques-
      http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/teaching-your-dog-come-when-called

      Huskies usually have high prey drive though, and as you say, they love to run, so their recall is not always reliable. Big hugs to Thor! :D

      There is one final characteristic of the Siberian Husky which we must point out — their desire to RUN. There are many breeds of dogs which, when let out in the morning, will sit in the front yard all day. Not the Siberian Husky. His heritage has endowed him with the desire to run and his conformation has given him the ability to enjoy it effortlessly. But, one quick lope across a busy street could be the last run that he enjoys, ever. Because of this, we strongly urge that no Siberian Husky ever be allowed unrestrained freedom. Instead, for his own protection, he should be confined or under control at all times. Sufficient exercise for proper development and well-being may be obtained on a leash, in a large enclosure, or best of all, in harness.
      ~~[Siberian Husky Club of America]

  2. Chanel says

    Hello we have a 1 year old husky names Beau. Hes generally a really good dog and knows most commands however the park i walk him at there is an enclosed pen where he can run free and interact with other dogs which he loves but when trying to recall him back he doesnt listen as other dogs are far more interesting that me any tips on how to make him return to me when needed. Thankyou!!!

    • shibashake says

      Here is a good article from the ASPCA on a variety of recall training techniques-
      http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/teaching-your-dog-come-when-called

      However, the dog park situation is a very high level recall challenge because as you say, there are a lot of distractions and interesting playmates.

      What I currently do with my dogs (at home) is to call them to me every so often during play. I make sure to reward them very well with high priority items, and then I let them go back to play.

      In this way, they learn that –
      Coming to me = get some great rewards, and then they can continue playing.

      These “breaks” are also a useful way for me to manage their excitement level, by redirecting their focus back onto me and doing some quick commands to calm them down.

      A common mistake that I made early on, is to call my dog to me when I am ready to leave, leash him up, and then go home. When I do that, my dog starts to associate me calling him with an end to fun and an end to play. Therefore, next time I call, he will probably not come because it signals an end to something that he really enjoys.

  3. ZHasan says

    Hey! So we just got husky puppy and three days back and she is only 3months old. We are keeping her inside the house. She lives in my room and we have set a routine for her which she follows but the concerns I’m facing is that taking care of her and being with her is disrupting the whole house (we own two cats also) since someone or the other has to be with her. Plus we don’t have a crate for her right now so what would you suggest as an alternative? Another issue is that she gets ticks, maybe it’s cause when we take her outside to play or to poop. Given all these things, my mum is saying we should return her but me and my sister really want to keep her. Right now both of us are on holidays so we have all the time in the world but when they get over in a month and half it might get a bit challenging so within that time do you think we can get her trained enough so she adjusts almost perfectly?
    Looking forward to your reply! Thank you!!

    • shibashake says

      Siberian Huskies generally have high prey drive and a lot of energy. Both my Sibes need a fair amount of daily activity and structured/supervised exercise. Because of their high prey drive, I keep them on-leash when in non-enclosed spaces.
      Here in more on Siberian Huskies.

      Puppies require a lot more training and supervision, but I still spend a lot of daily time with my adult Huskies ~ for daily walks, grooming, training, etc.

      My Sibes sometimes get ticks as well. I make sure to check them thoroughly after going out on trails or places where there may be ticks, especially during tick season.
      More on ticks and other skin parasites.

      Plus we don’t have a crate for her right now so what would you suggest as an alternative?

      That would depend on what you plan to use a crate for.

  4. Ryan says

    Hi

    I got my first husky a week ago. I am constantly trying to train her. At 9 weeks old today she’s already managed to chew out of her run twice. Shes in a large run with two other dogs (labs) but she still seems keen to escape and seems very uninterested in her training.

    Really need some help!!

    Thanks

    R

    • shibashake says

      How are you trying to train her? What is her daily routine like? How much time does she spend in the run? Are the labs full grown? Is she supervised while out on the run? When puppy escapes, where does she go?

      When I got Husky puppy Lara, she was very small compared to my two other dogs. Because of the big size difference, play can be risky and also scary for the small puppy. In the beginning, I supervised my dogs very closely, and still Lara got hurt when my Shiba (who is only about 32 pounds) accidentally ran over her. A small puppy cannot outrun adult dogs, and will often get rolled, and may get accidentally stepped on.

      After that, I always had Lara on lead so that there is no running/chasing games. If I cannot be there, I put her temporarily in her crate or enclosure so that she stays safe. More on the first 10 days with my Husky puppy.

      How is your puppy’s interaction with the two labs? She may be escaping to try and get out of their way.

      Escaping is also a self reinforcing behavior. If a dog tries to escape and succeeds, then she is rewarded with a fun trip outside with lots of freedom. This reinforces the escaping behavior, which makes a dog more likely to keep trying it in the future.

      When I get a new dog, I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules. I make sure that my puppy does not overly pester my adult dogs and similarly, that my adult dogs do not get too rough with my puppy. When Lara was still small, I keep her separated from my adult dogs, unless I am there to supervise and have her on-lead so that she cannot start a chasing game. I try to maximize positive, calm interactions while minimizing bad encounters.

      More on how I introduce a new dog to my existing dogs.

    • Ryan says

      Hi

      I am training her with treats and attention when she does something good. When disciplining her I try to tell her off by saying no and sometimes a tap on the nose, but she never seems to pay attention and just thinks its be messing around with her.

      Currently I get up at let her out and let her run around outside with the other dogs for about 45 minutes shes then goes into the large dog pen with the two labs. At the moment she gets let out at midday but this will eventually stop and she will be in there for the whole day. The labs are fully grown, and she was supervised at first but there isn’t someone around all day to keep an eye on her. When she escapes she just stays in the yard as there is no way for her to get out from there.

      Generally she is supervised with the other dogs (we also have two dashhounds) none of the other dogs haven’t taken very kindly to her and snap at her over every thing shes does or try to avoid her entirely. At night she sleeps with the two dashhounds as we’ve heard the huskys like company & at night shes as good as gold.

      She also cries a lot even when shes outside with the other dogs or even when by herself. She only stops when I go out to her.

    • shibashake says

      Puppies generally have very short attention spans, so I motivate my puppy by keeping training sessions very short, fun, and extremely rewarding.

      If the other dogs are snapping at her, the puppy may be escaping to get out of their way.

      Both my Huskies love the company of people, and they also have a lot of energy. I make sure to provide them with enough people time and daily structured activity. More on the Siberian Husky temperament.

  5. Jean says

    Hello!

    I just got a 2 months husky and I need some basics training tips. this is my first husky and I’m not very familiar with the breed.

    I’ll appreciate your help!

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new Husky puppy.

      Some things that helped with my Husky Lara-
      1. I set up a fixed routine and a consistent set of rules. I slowly teach my puppy what the rules are and I motivate her to follow rules by following the Nothing in Life is Free program.

      2. I make sure to include a lot of positive structured activity in her daily routine. Puppy Lara had a lot of energy, so I had to direct that energy into good activities.

      3. I also spent a bunch of time desensitizing Lara to grooming, e.g. fur brushing and teeth brushing. Huskies have a lot of fur, so getting them comfortable with brushing is a very good thing. :D

      4. I also did bite inhibition training with Lara, to teach her to control the force of her bites.

      5. One big mistake that I made with Lara was that I did not socialize her enough. As a result, she is now somewhat reactive to people and other dogs. If I could do it over again, I would try to socialize her a lot more, in a positive and structured way. Here is more on dog socialization.

      I write more about my training experiences here-
      http://shibashake.com/dog-training

      Big hugs to your Husky puppy!

  6. David says

    I recently adopted a 10 month old husky pup. I am the 3rd owner so he is lacking in training. The main problem is that he starts to bark in his crate at around 5 am every morning. He goes into the crate happily at night and I never use the crate as punshment. I’ve been trying to ignore this behavior but he doesn’t stop. Typically I let it go on for about 30 minutes then I get up and take him for a walk. Any suggestions to get him to sleep late?!

    Thanks in advance.
    David

    • shibashake says

      One thing that helps with my dogs is to set up a very fixed routine, and to schedule a pee-break right before bed. In this way, they do not need to go as early in the morning. Still, I wake up at around 6 or 7 to let them out. Dogs are crepuscular, so they are most active during dawn and dusk.

      Does your Husky go right away when you let him out in the morning? Is he vocalizing because he needs to go or because he is ready to start the day?

  7. Allie says

    Hello, I’m getting a 8 week old Siberian Husky in one week. Her name is Luka. It’ll be my first husky, but I’m worried about introducing her to our 3 and a half year old White German Shepherd and Lab mix. His name is Bones. He’s male, and we’ve introduced him to other female dogs before, and usually he takes it well. But I’ve noted that he takes the dominance stance. He’s not that aggressive, and hardly barks at all. But he has snapped at other dogs if they get too close and they bark or bite at his face. Should I be worried for Luka? And do you have any helpful tips to introducing them?

  8. Maria says

    Hi, I’m getting a Miniature Goldendoodle puppy in 2 weeks. It’s my first dog… do you have any tips for me?

  9. Stephanie Sarac says

    Hi, We have an 8 week old Siberian husky and we also have 3 cats. (I know not the best mix) but we talked to a trainer and a vet before getting her and they said as long as she’s raised with them she will be fine. My question is, How to stop her from playing with them to rough? She really loves to play with them but she likes to bite everything including them and myself. Thank you!

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new Husky puppy!

      I don’t have any cats so I don’t have any firsthand experience in that area. I find the ASPCA to be a great resource for my dogs though, so here is their article on introducing a cat to a new dog –
      http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/cat-behavior/introducing-your-cat-new-dog

      When I introduce a new dog to my *existing dogs* –
      1. I put my new puppy on a leash so that I have good control over her and can teach her what the dog-to-dog interaction rules are. I can also stop her from pestering them when they do not want to be pestered.
      2. I manage my puppy’s excitement level. When my Husky Lara was young, she would get over-excited and then play starts to get out of control. Therefore, I throw in many play-breaks so that play doesn’t get out of hand.
      3. I try to create as many positive experiences as I can between the new puppy and my existing dogs, and at the same time I try to minimize bad interactions.
      4. I set up a very fixed routine and consistent interaction rules. I supervise puppy very closely when she is out and about. When I cannot supervise, I put my puppy in her enclosure. In this way, she can’t start anything with my other dogs when I am not watching.

      Big hugs to your puppy!

    • Melanie says

      My husky pup (just turned a year old) surprisingly learned that he can be rough with a larger dog, and has to be gentle with my smaller dog & cat pretty much on his own.
      Obviously observing and correcting when things go too far is important, but other than that I let him figure out how much others can handle, much in the same way that a gentle grab of my hand when he wants something is okay vs biting.

  10. Martin says

    Hi, I happend to become a husky owner by faith.. A while ago ago a puppy somehow stumbled into my yard.. I have seen it a while ago walking around, but i thought the owner was somewhere around.. day after i realised it is lost and some kids were playing with him.. it came to my yard by its own will.. gave him food, water and I set up a temporary dog house for him. The owner hasnt looked for him.. So I decided to keep him. I dont really know how old it is but I think he is a few months old. The dog looked really healthy when I found him, wasnt skinny at all and his furr looked really well. I have some experience with dogs but never with a husky. I would appreciate any advice, on how should I check how old it is, traning, food etc. Tnx :)

    • shibashake says

      What a clever puppy to find a good home for himself. :D

      In terms of age, I think a vet would be most equipped to estimate that based on his teeth and possibly other physical characteristics. When I get a new dog, I usually bring him to the vet for a check-up anyway, to make sure he is in good health and for his shots if necessary.

      As for food, both of my Huskies have pretty sensitive stomachs so I try to limit the number of ingredients that I give them and stay away from most grains (with the exception of rice which they seem good with). I am currently giving my dogs Wellness CORE which is a grain free, high protein kibble. During puppyhood, I was using the Wellness puppy formula. More on how I picked my dog’s food.

      For training and day to day care, my Huskies are pretty independent and high energy so I try to provide them with consistent rules and a fixed routine. I try to focus their energy into doing positive, structured activities with me, and I supervise them well, especially initially so that I can teach them what the house rules are and redirect undesirable behaviors. I also follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs. More on my training experiences with my dogs.

      Congratulations on your new puppy!

  11. husky owner says

    i have a 1 month old Siberian husky cross breed with a Labrador she used to bite the electric wires inside the house, what should i do? i don’t have any experience in taking care of a dog it’s my first time of being a dog owner can you help me on how i can teach her a potty train? and i’m even scared in playing with her because i’m afraid that she might bite me

  12. Elizabet says

    HI, my name is Liz
    So, my boyfriend and I are getting an 11 month old Siberian Husky this Saturday! I am so excited, I am making sure that before I bring this new pup home I have pee pads, a bed, food, etc. I have never had a husky before and am just wondering what to expect, how to start off training him, and also, is it too late to change his name??

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new furry family member!

      In terms of training, I also follow the Nothing in Life is Free program, and I talk about my other training experiences with my dogs here.

      As for my dogs’ names, they really are more for me than for them :) I mostly use their names as markers for good and bad behavior. As such, teaching my dogs to “know” their names is really just a matter of consistency and training.

      Give your Husky a big hug from me on Saturday! :D

    • Anonymous says

      Do not use pee pads, all it does is give the dog the okay to soil in the house and add an extra step to learn

  13. Maddi says

    I have a 13 week old husky, how old would you recommend she should be before taking her for walks? The vet said Huskies get hip problems if you walk them too early?

    • shibashake says

      I only took my Husky puppy out on neighborhood walks *after* she was fully vaccinated. As I understand it, puppies have developing immune systems and are a lot more susceptible to catching something bad such as parvo or distemper. Puppies are also very curious, so they are more likely to go smell poop from other dogs or other animals that may be contaminated, or drink contaminated water.

      As for the hip issues you mention, is it concern over hip dysplasia or is it something else? It is perhaps best to follow-up with your vet on it, especially since he is the one who mentioned it. Here is an article from the ASPCA that has some good information on hip dysplasia.

    • Madd says

      She is now 18 weeks old – fully vaccinated, can I take her for walks? She has soooo much energy and while she does run around the back yard most of the day she is still very hyper.

      Can I talk her for 30 min walks? IS this too much or not enough?

  14. Kadee says

    Hi, I love how much information you have about huskies. I can spend hours reading all the different posts. However, I do have some questions more specifically towards my 9 month old husky. First, a little background info… We got Koda when he was only 6 weeks old. (Bad situation with the breeder.) Potty training was a breeze; as well as simple commands like sit, down, shake, crawl, etc. When he got bigger, he started showing dominance to our 2 year old son. He (Koda) was aggressive and I consistently had him in timeout in the kennel. Once he became bigger than our son, he left him alone and started showing dominance to our 7 year old daughter. Still does. He will randomly nip at her for no reason. Koda has been pretty good with my husband and I. Not too aggressive. The last time he nipped my daughter I went to put Koda on his back, look him in the eye, and tell him no. He freaked out! He showed teeth, bit and kicked me; hard! I had a cut across my face from his nails. It scared me. He went to time out and started behaving better. (That was a week ago maybe.) Until today. I took him to a groomer to have the whole bath, brush, nail clipping treatment done; and they called me 10 minutes after I left. They couldn’t do anything to him because he was growling and showing teeth to them! I picked him up, took him home, and my husband and I gave him a bath at home. He was doing better and had calmed down. Just before bed my son went to hug Koda (he always does), and he growled and showed teeth to my son. My husband said no and spanked him. Koda went nuts again. He bit my husband 3 times, drew blood; it was like a completely different dog. I don’t know what’s happening. The past week has been a nightmare and he’s getting worse after we thought he was doing so well. Please help!! I care a lot about him but I fear for our safety now and question whether or not we should get rid of him. Sorry for the novel, I thought maybe a little background info would be helpful. Thanks.
    -Kadee

    • Seth says

      If the dog is kenneled a lot and you are using kennels as negative re-enforcement, any time you put him in the kennel he will think you are upset with him. Stop using kennel as punishment. It should be the puppy’s/dog’s happy place.

      From personal experience, I would guess inadequate exercise/attention. My dog was acting out at that age, it was at it’s worst in the 14-16 month and at a year and a half I stopped kenneling all together and all most all the issues disappeared.

      My dog at that age probably would have had to been run 8-12 miles to really get her worn out, I wasn’t able to wear her out physically till she got arthritis at around 7. An old adage is a worn out dog is a well behaved dog is very true, but sometimes near impossible to get with a young husky.

      It will get better if you can figure out the trigger, (my guess inadequate attention from head of pack, so acting out against pack member just above himself to try to improve pack postion and get more attention)

      Huskies are definitely a challenging breed with their need for daily brushing and their constant need to push boundaries, but they are great jokesters. I hope you figure it out.

      If you haven’t done a professional training class, do it. An average trainer is a million times better then a great book. Involve the kids, and it can be a lot of fun. Petsmarts and petcos do them. just over 100$ But definitely talk to a trainer before you do anything drastic.

    • shibashake says

      The last time he nipped my daughter I went to put Koda on his back, look him in the eye, and tell him no. He freaked out!

      I had a similar reaction with my Shiba Inu. Using the alpha roll and other physical based techniques ended up making him a lot more aggressive towards me, and I also lost a lot of his trust. Losing his trust made a lot of things very difficult, including grooming.

      Here is more on my experiences with the alpha roll.
      Here is more on why I no longer use physical based techniques with my dogs.
      Here is a UPenn study which shows that physical based techniques have a high risk of actually increasing aggression in dogs.

      After Sephy’s aggression increased because of my use of alpha rolls and other aversive based techniques, I became quite afraid of him. My fear only made his behavior get worse.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/afraid-of-your-dog

      I considered giving him back to the breeder, but the truth is, she was not a very good breeder and would not have accepted back an aggressive dog. No-kill shelters have a temperament test that they put dogs through before acceptance, which Sephy would not pass. I quickly realized that the chances of an aggressive dog getting adopted is almost none, which means that Sephy would essentially be put down. His temperament is such that being in a shelter environment would also cause him to suffer greatly.

      I decided that I would do my very best to help change Sephy’s behavior. I started reading up a lot on dog behavior and I also contacted several professional trainers for help. We did individual sessions to troubleshoot particular issues. Group classes mostly focus on training commands, and were less helpful for us in terms of Sephy’s aggression.

      I also did more research on Shiba breeders, and we went to visit several who gave us advice on the breed and their behavior. No one person helped to fix all of Sephy’s issues, but each person helped a little. The more I learned, the more I was able to understand what was truly causing Sephy’s behavior, and to come up with safe ways to manage him and help us both get to a better place. Here is a bit more on my experiences with Sephy-
      http://shibashake.com/dog/pack-leader-to-an-aggressive-dog
      http://shibashake.com/dog/zen-dog-training-tips
      http://shibashake.com/dog/my-shiba-inu-story

      For cases of aggression, it is usually best to get help from professional trainers. In addition, reading up on dog behavior helped me to better understand Sephy’s behavior, and find better trainers. I also totally stopped using risky physical based techniques.
      http://www.apdt.com/pet-owners/choosing-a-trainer/

  15. Cherie says

    Hi there. I just found your website. I’m learning a lot from it. You mention having a schedule for your dog. I was wondering if you could share your schedule? I really need help in setting one up for our puppy! Thanks!

    • shibashake says

      My schedule for when Lara was a puppy was pretty simple. I had about 1.5-2 hours rest time, followed by 1.5-2 hours interaction time and so on. I would take her out for potty as soon as she wakes up, and then we would play outside as a reward for doing potty. Then we would come in, and she would have supervised play with my other dogs, we would do obedience, grooming exercises, etc. Finally, I would sit with her and help her work on her Frozen Kongs. The frozen kongs helps to engage her in something calm, then she usually drops off for a nap after that.

      She is more active in the evenings, so I would lengthen play-time then, and shorten rest time.

      At night, she would sleep for about 8 hours or more, with potty breaks outside as necessary.

      My schedule was a bit different for each of my dogs though, depending on their energy level and temperament. I try to observe each dog and then adjust things to work well for their own particular idiom. :D

  16. Arafat Khaskheli says

    Hi! I have been visiting your site for sometime and it has helped greatly. There is a problem with my dogs which I have been unable to solve. I have a Rat Terrier and a Chi mix. My Rat is a rescue dog whom I trained to the point that he would not go in the house until I would get home to take him outside. Two months later I got him a playmate (Chi Mix) She barely weighs 7lbs. She was utterly fearful of everyone when I picked her up at SPCA but Jose warmed up to her immediately, hence the reason why I chose her. Sadly she pees and poops in the house and when left in the Kennel too long, she would poop in there and be completely uneasy. I associated treats with the Kennel so now she loves getting in there but still pees and poops in the house. Now my Rat Terrier is doing the same thing. Everyday I come home from work I spend two house cleaning up the house before I can even sit down to eat. I could really use some advice or good pointers.

  17. Rachel says

    Hello!

    My boyfriend and I got an adorable Shiba pup named Win about a month ago. We got him from a pet store and within a week he was diagnosed with pneumonia and put in the hospital for 3 days. He’s made a full recovery now but his illness delayed getting the rest of his shots and, since we live in NYC, it has unfortunately meant that he still isn’t able to go outside. My boyfriend and I also both work odd schedules and he often accompanies one of us so he’s not left alone for too long if we’re both working. Since he is unable to go outside, we have been pee pee pad training him and he does fairly well (he seems to recognize the pads and his crate as consistent no matter what environment he is in) but he has taken to urinating on the pad and then running off somewhere secret to poop in the split second someone takes an eye off him. He has also taken to running away when we come to pick him up which we’d like him to stop.

    We have another dog (an extremely well behaved pit mix) who he adores and we hope will rub off on him a bit. But in the meantime, do you have any recommendations for training a shiba on the go? We’re slightly concerned he won’t be able to figure out how to go potty outside now that he’s been doing it inside for so long.

    A few other concerns:
    -He’s inconsistently good about being left alone. In the crate he tends to go to sleep, but in the playpen (unless the other dog is in there with him) he screams and pushes it across the floor and poops everywhere
    -he eats EVERYTHING. Paint chips, poop, tape, dirt…literally anything he can find. Sometimes stuff we can’t see until he has it in his mouth. Then he runs when we try to get it from him.

    We’ve tried to be positive and calm like you recommend. Most of the time we are but we’re not sure if we’re then affirming bad behavior by being too calm…and there are some grey areas. for example when he does something right and we go to reward him, he jumps up on us which is a bad behavior. He will sit amd wait for treats but he always jumps up first so we’re not sure if he thinks we’re rewarding that and not the good thing he did before it.

    Luckily, he’s very social and kind and doesn’t really bit us (he sometimes nibbles gently). He’s definitely a fan favorite but potty training is a big issue for us right now. We’d love a sweet AND well behaved shiba!

    Sorry about the novel…We plan on taking him to puppy training when he finishes his shots but we have to wait another few weeks! Any advice is much appreciated. You sound like the shiba whisperer.

    Thanks so much!

    Rachel

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your Shiba puppy!

      In terms of potty training, I was able to train my Husky to first go on potty pads, and then later to go outside. Shania had to go for multiple surgeries when she was young, and it was necessary to use pads so that she did not have to keep going outside. After the surgeries were done, I started retraining her to potty outside, and with consistent supervision, she quickly picked-up that going outside was a lot more rewarding than going on her pads. :D

      I made sure to reward her very very well for doing her potty outside with her favorite food, affection, games, and more. I also set up a fixed schedule and consistent rules so that her potty schedule is more predictable and I can anticipate when to take her out. More on what I did to potty train Shania.

      In terms of running away, that was also a favorite of Sephy. He really loves to play chasing games, so when people started chasing him, it is a *very big reward* for him. He used to steal the t.v. controller, because he learned that whenever he did that, people would chase him, and a fun game ensues. In this way, I was inadvertently rewarding him for his stealing and running away behavior. Instead of chasing Sephy, I put a drag-lead on him. I *only* use a drag lead when I am around to properly supervise him, and I use it with a flat collar or harness, *never* with aversive collars. In this way, I can prevent Sephy from running by using the lead from pretty far away. I always make sure *not* to cause a hard stop so that he doesn’t hurt his neck.

      In terms of alone time, I helped Sephy become more comfortable with being alone through desensitization exercises. I first started with very short periods of alone time (seconds) and then slowly built up from there. More on separation anxiety and desensitization.

      In terms of rewarding the right behavior, I establish a yes-mark and no-mark with all of my dogs. In this way, I can accurately mark the good behavior with a consistent verbal cue, and then my dog knows that a reward will be coming. If my dog performs a bad behavior in-between, I no-mark it and tell him what to do instead. As soon as he performs the command, I mark the behavior and then reward him. I *never* reward during or right after an undesirable behavior. I talk more about this in the article above.

      As for being calm, that is very important for all of my dogs, especially my Shiba. Sephy is very sensitive to my energy, so if I am not calm in any way, he will pick up on that and get even more crazy. I am calm when rewarding Sephy and I am calm when correcting him. If I am calm, then he has an easier time staying calm himself and listening to me. Being calm does not mean there are no consequences. It just means that I am in control of my own energy, so that I can respond to my dogs in a fair, consistent, and decisive manner.

      I have a bunch more Shiba Sephy stories here –
      http://shibashake.com/shiba-inu-tips-information-care

      Bigs hugs to your Shiba puppy and Happy Holidays!

  18. KD says

    I recently adopted a husky pup, she’s a little over 10 weeks old and everything was going fairly well, she would whine to go outside, she was affectionate and playful, and she listened for the most part. Up until yesterday. She had numerous accidents in the house, and I attribute this to me trying to clean and not paying close enough attention. She started to do the “kill shake” with my cat, where as previously they’d just play, she refuses to even acknowledge when I speak to her. Not even glancing at me when I say her name. She won’t even look at my face or let me pet her. She actually got up and went to her crate when I tried! This has not happened before. She would never leave my side actually, choosing to play or sleep right at my feet. This is not the case with my boyfriend, however, she responds to him, plays with him and let’s him pet her. So I am very confused as to what is going on! Do you have any suggestions?

    • shibashake says

      Hello KD,
      I went through a similar thing with my Shiba Inu when he was young. In our case, a lot of it was due to my own energy. Sephy is a very sensitive dog, and he would very quickly pick up on how I was feeling. If I got frustrated, anxious, or stressed, he would pick up on that, become stressed himself, and act out of character. He was also a lot more affectionate with other members of the family.

      Since I was the one that mostly took care of Sephy, this hurt me pretty deeply, which made me get even more frustrated and anxious around him. This in turn made him get more stressed around me, and he would often avoid me.

      Once I started controlling my own energy and being more calm around Sephy, his behavior toward me improved significantly. Being calm and in-control was very important with him. I set up a fixed routine, consistent rules, and followed the Nothing in Life is free program. This calmed him down significantly, and I also started to gain his trust.

      A bit more on my difficult beginning with Sephy-
      http://shibashake.com/dog/build-a-strong-bond-with-your-dog
      http://shibashake.com/dog/my-dog-training-mistakes
      http://shibashake.com/dog/my-shiba-inu-story

  19. Vanessa says

    My husband and I are picking up our husky on Thursday. This will be our first husky. We had a German shepherd a few years back. Till we moved and could not bring her so she lives with his parents now. She’s 8 weeks old and although excited I’m very nervous. I do have a 1 1/2 year old daughter an I’m worried about training. Do you have any advice? I’m feeling over whelmed but have already paid for my pup so can’t back out now. Is there any advice you can give me to ease my mind? Thank you for your time.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Vanessa,

      Congratulations on your upcoming bundle of fur! Husky puppies are absolutely adorable and a lot of fun. They do need a lot of supervision tho, especially in the beginning. What helped with my Husky puppies –

      1. A fixed schedule. In this way, puppy has some consistency in a time of change, and also starts to learn her boundaries. It also gives me some time to do chores, and take a much needed break.

      2. Consistent rules and supervision. Supervision is really important during the potty training period. After my puppy was potty trained, things got a lot easier, and I got to sleep normally at night.

      3. Occasional puppy sitting help. In the beginning, it helps to have others around who can puppy-sit. Husky puppies can be pretty energetic.

      I’m feeling over whelmed but have already paid for my pup so can’t back out now.

      In my experience, most club registered breeders will take back their pup if things don’t work out. In fact, the Shiba and Husky breeders I have met also take back adult dogs from their kennel, if conditions change, and there is a need. I would discuss this with the Husky breeder.

      I write more about my new dog experiences here.

      Good luck and big hugs to puppy! Please share some puppy picture links with us if you have the time. :D

  20. anonymous says

    I am adopting a 2 year old husky this weekend from a bad situation. She had spent most her life chained and used in a puppy farm scenario. She has burns on her neck from a constant bark collar and is very timid and will shy away if you try to touch her. She has had no training whatsoever so my question is where do I start? Do I train her as I would a puppy or would you recommend doing things differently?

    • shibashake says

      Bless you for helping out a dog in need.

      This article from the ASPCA has some good information on adopting a puppy mill or timid puppy-
      http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/adopting-puppy-mill-dog

      What has worked well for me with my more timid Husky is to go slow, and give her space to get used to her new surroundings. I try my best to always make things positive, slowly earn her trust, and let her come to me on her own accord. The more positive experiences my Husky has, the more she trusts me, and the more confidence she gains. Negative experiences will undermine her confidence, so I do all that I can to go at a pace that she is comfortable with, keep things quiet, and to only introduce her to new things when I am sure she is ready for them.

      I also do desensitization and counter conditioning exercises to help her deal with her fear triggers.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/how-to-calm-a-fearful-reactive-dog

      Happy Holidays and big hugs to your new Husky (when she is ready for hugs :))

  21. New owner says

    Hello, I’m getting a husky puppy soon and I’d like some advice on housebreaking, as I live in an apartment and I’ll be leaving for some hours during the mornings. Is there any best way to teach him to wait till we get downstairs to eliminate?
    Thanks

    • shibashake says

      When she was really young, my Husky puppycould not hold in her pee for very long, especially when she was excited. Sometimes, she couldn’t even hold it long enough to get to our backyard door, so I usually tried to anticipate when she needed to pee and I take her out before she *really* has to go. For example, I observed that my puppy frequently had to go after about 15 minutes of play with my other dogs, so I take her out after about 12 minutes or so.

      I also set a fixed routine, so that her potty routine became more regular. Here is more on what I do to potty train my dogs.

      When Puppy has to go, Puppy has to go. :D

  22. Levi says

    Hi there
    first off thanks alot for your comprehensive articles, very helpful.
    My partner and I have just brought home a 10week old Blue Heeler named Jake.
    hes a beautiful pup and very energetic.
    He is now biting but ill try your methods, but my question is, whenever we let him in the house he will pee any advice besides rubbing his nose in it like everyone suggests?
    also He has started humping on occasion, is that a sign of problems to come ie. dominance issues
    thanks again and look forward to your reply

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new puppy!

      Here are some of my experiences with potty training my dogs.

      What I have observed with my dogs is that they usually hump in play. It can sometimes be seen as a dominance move, especially between dogs who are not familiar with each other. Whatever the case, it is not a behavior that I want my dogs to practice, so I institute a no-humping rule. If they hump each other, I no-mark and temporarily stop play.

      If my dog humps a person, I no-mark and ask him to do something else, e.g. Sit or Down (something simple that he knows very well). If he ignores me and keeps on humping then I calmly say “timeout”, and put him in an appropriate timeout area for a short period. In this way, he learns that –
      Humping people = Don’t get to be with people and lose freedom in the house,
      No humping = Get attention and play.

      Here is a bit more on dog dominance and bad dog behavior.

      Big hugs to Puppy!

  23. Anonymous says

    Hi,
    My husband and I just bought an 8 week old, all white, Siberian husky. We named her Laney and LOVE having her. But for the first two weeks, I think that I got to shower..maybe 4 times? I can’t leave her alone for a second-literally. She is so cuddly, and I love it. She even tries to sit on my lap with her chew toy. This has been harder than a newborn baby.

    We live in a 3rd floor apartment. We have a fairly large, gated deck. So using puppy pads, we have trained her to always do her business outside and on the pads. But the problem is that 1. I am her only company the majority of the day. 2. She needs to run and we only have so much space…

    Laney loves to play with other dogs and we do that 2 times a week and I take her for walks 2xs s day, sometimes more. We know that she is going get bigger, and quickly, but we plan on being in or own house within the next year. But until then, I really am worried that she is getting depressed. I play with her A LOT, I have a variety of toys, I play music for her, take her to the park, etc. but again, it’s just me until my husband is home from work.
    We have a good and consistent schedule, which includes 3 naps- 45-90 mins long each time, 2 walks, 4 feeding times (just smaller amounts. We are up 6am-11pm), lots of cuddling and playing. But she even looks depressed sometimes and just cries. And her tummy has been bothering her and I seriously think that it is because she is depressed and feels like she is being held captive.

    What kind of advice do you have for an apartment environment with only 2 people? We will have kids within the next couple of years too, but wanted to make sure we had a good, solid, well trained dog before we start that! I grew up with a large Samoyed and have had experience with huskies before, but not puppies… We are active, we are healthy, we feed her healthy foods, she has not had human food once, we give praise and discipline appropriately (firm voices, no treat, withhold cuddling, never hitting), I just don’t know what else I can do for her to help her be happy with us.

    Thank you for all of your advice, I have been on your site for her whole 90 min nap!

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your Husky puppy!

      I play with her A LOT, I have a variety of toys, I play music for her, take her to the park, etc. … 2 walks, 4 feeding times (just smaller amounts. We are up 6am-11pm), lots of cuddling and playing.

      Laney is a very lucky girl. :D

      But she even looks depressed sometimes and just cries. And her tummy has been bothering her

      My Husky Lara also had upset tummy when she was young. Both my Huskies have sensitive digestive systems, and they also have food allergies, especially to grains and strangely, some types of fish. What is Laney currently eating? Does she have soft poop or gas? When did her tummy start bothering her? What kind of upset tummy symptoms is she showing? Has she been to the vet for an initial check-up?

      When does Laney cry? What is the surrounding context? Is it in response to not getting to do something or not getting something that she wants? Could the crying be from her upset tummy?

      From your description, it sounds like she has a very active schedule. Is she energetic during play? What makes you think she is depressed or unwell?

      Also, you probably already know this, but I am very careful about where I take my puppy when she is young and before she has gotten fully vaccinated. Puppies still have developing immune systems, and are infinitely curious about everything, so they are susceptible to infection.

      http://www.thelabradorsite.com/?p=1151
      http://www.dogforums.com/first-time-dog-owner/14886-when-start-walking-puppy.html

    • Anonymous says

      @shinashake
      Thank you for your reply! Her tummy has settled so much in the last week, all solid poos in healthy amounts and only a couple farts when she’s in deep sleep:) we ended up switching her dog food and I add a little water to her dry food to make it softer and she really likes that. The depression seems to be getting better too, which leads me to think that her bouts of just laying there whimpering and looking misterable were probably related to her tummy aches and bloating.

      She also seems to want CONSTANT attention. No matter what i am doing, she wants to be touching. Sadly, this mist isnt always possible, do leaving her alone more than 10 seconds is devastating to her and she cries, barks or acts out. This is partially my fault, as I have given her attention 24/7 since we have had her. So I am trying to get her to be ok with being alone even for just a fee minutes at a time. It’s hard though because she literally looks so sad when you don’t play with her!

      We are making a large “porch potty” for her so hopefully that will help with stabilizing her potty area vs her play area, allowing her to feel like she has more space to run and play. Now it’s just getting through the MUST CHEW EVERYTHING phase.

      Thank you again for your reply and all the great nfo on your site!

    • shibashake says

      It is great to hear that her tummy is much better. :D

      It’s hard though because she literally looks so sad when you don’t play with her!

      Haha – yeah, it is very difficult for me to resist my Husky’s ‘look’ as well. They use it to great effect.

      Big hugs to Laney!

  24. Bonnie says

    Hi,
    We just got out little boy a week ago and he’ll be 10 weeks tomorrow. He is nipping and even intended to bite my stepdaughter yesterday. She was only trying to divert his attention from something he couldn’t have. What are the best suggestions you have for this. We have 6 people living here ages ranging from 14 to 20 for kids and my Husband and I. Butch, our Siberian Husky, seems to listen to me and my Husband fairly well considering the short time we’ve had him, but the kids not so much. I spent all day yesterday working and playing with him and he seemed fine most of the day, he challenges me, but I don’t back down in my direction and he does end up getting the praise as he will change action. Once the kids started coming home keeping him reeled in got more challenging. I feel Butch and I are developing the Alpha, but not sure what to direct the kids to do?

    Thank you :)

    • shibashake says

      Puppies are energetic and easily excitable. Running, fast movement, loud noises, excited physical interaction, and more will get a puppy even more hyper, which is when they will start to bite even more because they want to join in on the fun, play, and interact with the people around them.

      The best way to keep my puppy calm is to direct others to be calm around him. I also set up a fixed routine for my puppy and consistent house rules that everyone implements in the same way. Consistency is very important in dog training.

      In the beginning, I also found it useful to keep a leash on my puppy (only with a flat collar and only under supervision). With a leash, I can more easily control my puppy and prevent her from jumping on people, rough play, and more. If necessary, I can clip the leash onto my belt to keep my puppy with me so that I can properly supervise her, manage her excitement level through play-breaks, and teach her how to interact with others.

      More on what I do to train my puppy not to bite on me and others-
      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-biting-tips-solutions
      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-biting-how-to-stop-puppy-biting#timeout

      I also do bite inhibition training and follow the Nothing in Life is Free program.

      Given that there are many people involved, including children, it may also be helpful to consult with a good professional trainer. Dog behavior is very context dependent, so having a professional see things first-hand was very helpful for me, and helped me to resolve issues more effectively with my dog before they escalate.
      http://www.apdt.com/pet-owners/choosing-a-trainer/

  25. Bryan says

    Hi I recently got a Siberian husky puppy and all he does the majority of the day is sleep is this common? He’s 9 weeks already so I’d accept him to be more active. When I try to walk him he just stays there and won’t move.

    • shibashake says

      That does sound somewhat unusual for a Husky puppy.

      When I get a new puppy I usually take him to the vet for a checkup as soon as possible. In this way, I can make sure that he is in good health, and I can also get him started on their recommended vaccination schedule. I do not walk my puppy outside until he is fully vaccinated. Puppies still have developing immune systems, so they may be susceptible to parvo, distemper, and more.

      Where did you get your puppy from?

    • Bonnie says

      I have also noticed this with Butch, our Siberian. He will play and such, but he seems to nap often. He has been given a clean bill of health with the exception of fleas, which we bathed him in dawn and used puppy frontline and I haven’t seen a flea in 3 days now. I thought maybe they were getting the best of him, but the frequent napping continues. He does have another appt with out Vet on the 26th.

  26. Anonymous says

    I have a husky puppy, and most of his training is going well. However, recently he has started becoming extremely aggressive while running. I have tried ack-ack, shaking a can of pennies, and ending the walk. He continues to bite me and the leash but only when i try and run with him. Any ideas?

  27. Annie says

    Hi,
    I recently got a shiba inu puppy and is currently teaching him to stop biting me, but it’s not working!
    He only bites/nips when he gets excited or if there is a lot of people around. How do I get him to stop this?
    He tends to bite my hands when I am playing with him and when I am standing he bites at my legs.
    I tried hand-feeding him and it has worked for him to have a soft mouth up until recently and he bit too hard and drew a bit of blood.
    I’ll say no and walk away but he’ll bark and continue to bite!

  28. Jayd says

    Hey. I just got a husky puppy. I want him to spend the majority of the day time outside and night time inside. When I put Loki outside all he does is cry and howl and bite at our security door. I’m afraid he’s going to break his teeth. Some people say to ignore him and some say to squirt him with water. I don’t want to do either of those as they seem to be on the nasty side. How would I go about training him not to do it?

    Also how would I go about teaching him to “go to bed” when it’s sleep time and not want to play and get into everything?

    Thanks =)

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new Husky pup!

      Puppies, especially Husky puppies are very affectionate, and they like being with their family most of the time. Husky puppies are also very high energy, so they need structured activities to keep them occupied.

      I train my dogs to get used to alone time by doing desensitization exercises. I start by doing only very short periods of alone time, and then I *very slowly* build up their tolerance.

      When separated from their people, puppies may cry, chew, or paw at doors, because they are stressed and want to get back to their people. Because the behaviors are symptoms of stress, any kind of aversive punishment (e.g. water squirt) will *not* help and will probably make things worse.

      A bit more on dog anxiety.

      I also set up a fixed schedule for my puppy and a consistent set of home rules. My puppy’s schedule includes a lot of training, play time with me, supervised play time with my other dogs, and grooming exercises. Structured activities help to teach my puppy play rules and house rules, as well as gives her many positive outlets to drain her energy.

      A couple of hours before bedtime, I start to slow things down and keep puppy calm. Then, I let her work on a frozen Kong before bed.

      Here is an article about the first ten days with my Husky puppy, Lara. It was difficult and very tiring – but worth it in the end. :D

  29. Sophie says

    Hi,
    I have a 6 month old husky named Aro.
    He is a well behaved dog, follows commands and is very calm ‘most’ of the time.
    However, whenever he gets something he is not supposed to have such as socks, human food etc. or when he is eating his dinner or is given a new chew toy such as a pigs foot he gets uncontrollably aggressive.
    I try to stop him by saying no and grabbing it out of his mouth but sometimes this is impossible. He shows his teeth, growls, and lunges towards me. I have been too fast for him to bite me although he has latched onto my shirt once.
    I know the answer is to put him in his timeout zone, which eventually I do, but sometimes it is too dangerous for me to grab him to be able to put him in there.
    Is there a way of getting him out of this habit and getting him out of this aggressive zone in his mind?
    Thank you

  30. Kirsty Jean Pienaar says

    Hi thanks for the articles they have given me hope I have a 6 year old male siberian (Jack) and we have now got a 6 week pup ( Sasha) Jack was raised outside and Sasha is being raised inside (due to the swimmimg pool until we can teach her to swim) she lets us know when she wants to potty and whens shes hungry or thirsty but also her biting has just started as well as her magic escapism tricks(houdini) she seems to just wiggle her way out of any area weve created inside the house, she is proving to be more enegetic than Jack and doesnt respond well to the word no. I need to set boundaries for her to help her feel safe and secure because at the moment she gets too excited and then the biting begins and takes a while before it subsides. My husband does the tug of war game with her but she expects me to be as rough and when im not she gets annoyed and starts “attacking”me. I dont recall Jack being like this, she is so tiny and doesnt seem to follow commands yet not does she seem to recognise her name, any advise?

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, my Husky Lara also had crazy energy and the attention span of a gnat during puppyhood, which makes training a bit more of a challenge. :D

      With Lara, consistency is very important during training. We set up a consistent set of rules, which we both enforce in the same way. For example, there is no hard-biting on people and no rough-play. If we sometimes allow rough play and sometimes not, a puppy will have a difficult time understanding what we want from her. As a result, she may keep trying to play rough, because the next time she tries, we may give in and play with her without any rules.

      To make things clear and to facilitate learning, I try to be very consistent with house rules and play rules.

      As for biting, I first no-mark the behavior, then, I tell my puppy what to bite on instead, for example, a toy. Sometimes, I give her an alternate pre-trained command. If she redirects, then I reward her well with a fun game and food. In this way, she learns not to bite on me, *and* she also learns what to do instead, e.g. bite on the toy. Here is more on what I do to stop my puppy from biting on me.

      Here are a few more puppy biting tips that helped with Husky Lara.

      I also follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs. It is a great way to motivate them to follow house rules, and to build trust.

      With my Huskies, it is always the most difficult in the first few weeks. Then they get better, and I forget what a pain in the ass they were. :D

      Lara is now over 2 years old and she is a big sweetie, but here is a record of her first puppy days.

      Big hugs to Jack and Sasha!

  31. Cindy says

    Hi ShibaShake my dad and brother keep on putting my 8week husky maya outside in this area where we are supposed to put her but everytime they leave her she starts to cry,whine and weep and I don’t know what to do because we recently got a trainer and he told us his opinion about where we should put her and etc. I don’t know what to do and every time she crys I feel sorry for

    • shibashake says

      Hello Cindy,
      Is placing her outside for potty training? What behavior/problem is the trainer trying to address?

  32. Grasiela Artiga says

    Hello i have a 10 week old husky and his name is rocky. Now i also have a 3 year old lab-retriever named casper. I feel rocky looks up to casper alot although very differen’t personalities casper is very calm. Now when i try to train rocky he is very stubburn and if you keep repeating a command you lose his attention. Also he tends to bite us alot i hold his mouth close gently and say no and it only seems to aggrevate him more, i’ve also tried to say no and tell him “pow pow” and hell get more aggresive and want to bite more. When training his good on his training pads but doesn’t go poop on them he decides he reather go somewhere else. I was very good at training my 3 year old but i dont know how to go about training rocky to become a little bit more like my 3 year old dog. I would really appericiate some help

    • shibashake says

      Here are some things that I do to control my Husky puppy’s biting –
      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-biting-how-to-stop-puppy-biting#timeout
      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-biting-tips-solutions

      I find that any physical interaction (e.g. holding her mouth) will only get her more excited, because she thinks I am playing a fun wrestling game with her. When my puppy bites, she is usually trying to initiate play or get my attention. Therefore the best way to control her biting is to teach her that –

      Biting and jumping = No attention and no rewards,
      Sitting and being calm = Attention, a fun structured game, and other rewards.

      I also do bite inhibition training with all of my dogs to teach them to control the force of their bites when they are interacting with people.

      As for commands, I first start with hand signals. I find that my puppy learns visual signals much faster than verbal commands. Once she learns the behavior and associates it with the visual signal, then I start to associate the behavior with the verbal command. In the beginning, I say the verbal command *one time* and do the visual signal at the same time. Then I wait for the right behavior from my puppy and reward her very very well for doing it. Each success will reinforce the behavior and teach her to associate the verbal with the action. Once she is doing well, I *very slowly* phase out the visual signal.

      Here is a bit more on how I taught my puppy some simple commands –
      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-biting-tips-solutions#look

      I also follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs to motivate them to follow house rules and do work for me.

      Good luck and bigs hugs to Rocky and Casper!

  33. Ceci says

    Hello!
    First, I love your articles, they are very useful!
    But, I have a question:
    How can I prevent my husky from digging soooo much in my garden?
    Thanks!

    • shibashake says

      Haha, yeah my Sibes also love to dig. Two things helped with them –

      1. No-dig training.
      When Lara starts to dig in a “no-dig” area, I no-mark, and get her to do something else. If she keeps going back to digging on the unsanctioned area, I take her inside the house and she temporarily loses her outside privileges.

      In the beginning, I also watch her when she is alone outside, so I that I can no-mark and correct the behavior. In this way, she learns that the no-dig areas are off-limits even when I am not around.

      2. Other outlets for their digging energy.
      It also helps a lot to have other outlets for their digging energy. For example, we left a big area of our backyard unlandscaped so that Lara and Shania can have fun digging there. When I take them out for walks, we often go to areas where they can have fun digging.

      Instead of just suppressing the behavior, this gives them positive outlets for enjoying their need to dig. :D

  34. Arlene H says

    So obviously there is no one all-encompassing method of training, but would you do anything drastically different for a Shiba pup than what you did for your Husky pup? i.e., something specifically geared toward a dog with a (possibly) dominant personality? I’m planning to get a Shiba pup in about a year or so, so I’m preparing myself for the little hurricane :)

    • shibashake says

      Heh, Shiba Sephy is a lot more stubborn and more frequently tests his boundaries, so he has more rules and I am a lot more strict with him. He also requires more patience and calm energy because he is very sensitive to the emotions of the people around him.

      My Huskies are more easy going, so they get rewarded with more freedom.

      Here is a bit more on dealing with a dominant dog.

      It is awesome that you are getting a head-start on Shiba training. I didn’t look into things until after I got Sephy, and as a result, had a very difficult beginning with him.

  35. Dannielle Panuccio says

    Hi how are you! I have an American Staffordshire Terrier and as we all know pit bulls have a bad reputation as a breed. He is only 11 weeks old but I am terribly afraid he might become an aggressive adult. I am trying to train him well but every time I try to give him a stern command he barks at me and he’ll bite and my hard, arms, anything. He also will never let me walk him with a leash, He’s chewed through two leashes. He will listen better if I have him ‘come’ while we’re on a walk(without a leash), but then he will get distracted by people walking by and run up to them. Obviously as he gets older he’ll need to learn the importance of a leash because he is a pit and people will be intimidated by him. I had another pit before him and he was nothing like this. He had a perfect demeanor and never bit anyone. I am afraid with this puppy because little kids love pups and they’ll run up to greet him and he whips out his teeth to start playing with the kids. I love your articles they are very helpful. I have been trying to teach him that for biting he gets no reward I always scream OUCH! and turn my back on him, sometimes though he’ll just start biting at my pants or continues growling and biting at me. I dont have a place for him in my apartment for a ‘time out’ so I use his crate but when I put him in there he barks a few times then falls right to sleep so I wonder if that is even working. I feel like each day gets worse, not better. Help Please!!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Dannielle,

      In general, it is best to use someplace else of timeouts. This is because we want the crate to be a positive place, and we do not want our dog to associate it with punishment.

      I put my dog’s crate in the family room, so that he can still see and be around his people when he is in there. He also gets to work on special interactive toys while in his crate. My dog goes into his crate at night, when he travels, and for other management activities – so it is important that he sees it as a safe and positive area.

      On the other hand, my timeout area is far away from people, boring, and very low stimulus. This will help my dog to calm down. He also learns that if he does not behave with people, then he temporarily does not get to be with people. My dog’s crate area and his timeout area serve very different purposes, so it is important that they be in different locations; appropriate to their intended purpose.

      I also had a difficult time training Sephy, my Shiba Inu in the beginning. Some things that helped me turn things around with Sephy-
      1. Control my own energy. To get Sephy to calm down, I also had to be very calm. If I am angry, frustrated, or fearful, Sephy will pick up on my energy, get stressed himself, and act even more crazy.

      2. House rules. I set up a routine and a consistent set of house rules for Sephy to follow. I make sure to be very consistent about enforcing house rules, so that Sephy learns what his boundaries are, understands what he can expect from me, and also what I expect from him.

      3. Identify motivators. I observe Sephy closely so that I understand what things motivate him most. Then, I make sure that he works for all the things that he wants, by doing simple commands for me. This is also called the Nothing in Life is Free program.

      Here are a few more things that I do to control puppy biting.

      Finally, I also visited several professional trainers to help me with Sephy. With dog training, timing, technique, and energy are all very important. It was very helpful to have someone right there to explain Sephy’s body language to me, and correct my timing and technique in real-time.

      Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes.

  36. Alisha says

    I loved this article! It was immensely helpful, AND has shown me what mistakes I have been making, but also what I have been doing correctly! :D Thanks!

  37. Anonymous says

    I have a serra de aires puppy now 14 weeks old. She is beautiful but very unbelievebly strong willed and does not listen to me at all. She chases my legs biting as I walk and gets mad half hours where she gets so excited running around mad and if I am anywhere near her she just leaps on me and bites my clothes, hands etc and just wont leave go and it hurts as she is not gentle at all when biting and I worry she is not playing as she gets so rough. It is not through lack of excercise as I live by the beach so spend at least 2 times each day on the beach with her. When she is calm she is adorable and she is the perfect dog but I just cant play with her as she gets so rough and then the biting starts.

    I am starting obedience classes with her this weekend so I am hoping it will help us both.

    I had 2 german shepherds previously for 13 years and neither one of them behaved like this so I dont know if it is the breed as she is a sheepdog but I cant have her biting as I have family with small children and I worry she will bite them also.

    Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated as I am getting worried as she is getting bigger and her biting is getting worse.

    Many thanks in advance.

    • shibashake says

      Some things that help with my dogs for biting –
      1. Bite inhibition training.

      This teaches them to control the force of their bites.

      2. NILIF program.

      I follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs. This teaches them that the best way to get what they want, is to do something for me first.

      3. Calm energy.

      I try to stay very calm and use a calm voice. If I am angry, fearful, frustrated, or stressed, my dog will pick up on that energy and get even more crazy.

      4. Clear and consistent communication.

      When my puppy bites, I no-mark and then either redirect her onto a toy, or ask her for an alternate pre-trained behavior, e.g. Sit. If she redirects, then I mark the behavior and reward her well for it with play and attention. If she does not listen, then I totally withdraw all my attention by standing up, folding my arms, and turning away from her. At this point I do not give her any attention (not even eye contact) until she calms down.

      In this way she learns that –
      Biting = Get ignored,
      No biting = Play, attention, and other rewards.

      If she escalates her behavior and jumps on me or bites my clothing, then I calmly say “Timeout” and remove her briefly to a timeout area.

      Here is more on my puppy biting experiences.

      I also set clear rules during play time and have many play breaks where we do some simple commands. Play breaks help to manage my dog’s excitement level, so that she doesn’t lose control of herself and learns impulse control. If she does not follow the rules, I no-mark and stop play briefly. When she is calm enough to do some simple commands, she gets rewarded with more play. In this way, she learns that –

      Biting or jumping on me = Play stops,
      Following play rules = More play, attention, and other rewards.

  38. Nicholas says

    Hello,
    I have a 11 weeks old siberian husky, name Baxter. I don’t know what cause it keep on bitting our hands and legs very badly(seems like he is purposely to bite on our skin). I’ve tried out to ignore him when he bite me and stand up and walk away. After few seconds, i bring his toy and let him to chew on but he still choose my hand to bite. It is kinda painful due to his teeth is so sharp right now.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Nicholas,

      Yeah, my Sibe Lara was also very mouthy as a puppy. Puppies are infinitely curious, and they interact and play with objects, with each other, and with us using their mouth. Some things that helped with Lara –

      1. Bite inhibition training.
      This teaches her to control the force of her bites, especially when interacting with people. We have much thinner skins than dogs do, so I needed to teach Lara that she has to be more careful when interacting with me and other people.

      2. Set Lara up for success.
      I always try to set Lara up for success. This includes not just telling her what *not* to do, but also what *to do* instead. For example, if she bites too hard on me, I will no-mark, and then tell her what to do instead, e.g. bite on a toy or do some very simple commands. I make sure to always have a toy ready right there and then, because timing is very important. I want to redirect her right after I no-mark the behavior.

      If she properly redirects, then I can reward her well for her success by giving her treats and playing with her using the toy. If she does not redirect, then I withdraw my attention by standing up and folding my arms.

      In this way, she learns that-

      Biting on a toy = attention, games, and treats, but
      Biting too hard on people = game stops, no attention, and no rewards.

      If Lara escalates her biting behavior and starts jumping or biting on my clothes, then I put her very briefly in a timeout area.

      3. Frozen Kongs.
      Young puppies are teething, which is another reason why they like to bite or chew so much. Frozen Kongs are a great way to keep puppy Lara occupied and to help with her teething pain and soreness.

      Here are a few more things that I do to control puppy biting.
      This article from Karen Pryor’s site has more puppy biting tips.

    • Nicholas says

      Hello,

      Thanks for the information.
      May i know how to determine wether they are attacking us or playing with us?

      Do you have facebook or any contacts?

      I got ton of questions to ask about my husky due to this is my first dog.

      Thank you and will be very appreciate from your help.

    • shibashake says

      In general, to interpret what my dog is “saying”, I observe his body language, environment, people and objects in his environment, and also use what I know about his temperament, past experiences, etc. Dog behavior is very context dependent. This article from UC Davis gives a short but good overview of dog aggression.

      Personally, I would be very surprised to see aggression from a very young puppy. When my Sibes were puppies, they were very curious, energetic, and just wanted to explore and play all of the time. Why do you think your puppy is showing aggression? Is there something else other than the finger biting that would indicate that?

      Do you have facebook or any contacts?

      I do have a facebook account but I am not there much at all. It is best to post questions in the comments section on this site. I check site comments pretty regularly.

      I got ton of questions to ask about my husky due to this is my first dog.

      I would be careful about relying too much on any one source for dog training information (including me ;)). When it comes to dog training, everyone claims to be an expert, and unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there, whether online, on television, or in books.

      Some good places that I go to, to get dog training and dog behavior information –
      1. Articles from top veterinary schools, e.g. University of Pennsylvania, UC Davis, and Columbia University. I just use my regular search terms, and then add in upenn or ucdavis. Articles from these places are great because they are usually based on scientific studies and solid animal psychology principles.

      2. Well regarded organizations that are known for their advocacy of dogs, e.g. ASPCA, RSPCA.

      I have also gotten some good information from breed specific online forums, but in these more public/open to everyone areas, a lot more filtering is necessary.

    • Nicholas Ooi says

      “Personally, I would be very surprised to see aggression from a very young puppy. When my Sibes were puppies, they were very curious, energetic, and just wanted to explore and play all of the time.”

      As what you mentioned above. If he acts like this, he is a very normal and healthy puppy?

      “Why do you think your puppy is showing aggression? Is there something else other than the finger biting that would indicate that?”

      He don’t just bite our finger, even foot etc. While bitting, he will shake his head like somehow pulling.

    • shibashake says

      If he acts like this, he is a very normal and healthy puppy?

      Let me put it this way, if my puppy is low-energy, and doesn’t want to play or explore, then I would get very worried and take her to the vet right away.

      As for puppy health, I always take a new puppy to the vet for an initial check-up when I first get her. I also set up a vaccination schedule with the vet at that point.

      Often, puppies will try biting on lots of things because that is how they interact with their environment, with other puppies, with people, etc. Puppies do not know what is right and wrong, what is desirable to people, and what is not. They are trying different things out and learning what works for them and what does not.

      When I first got puppy Lara, she did not know what the rules are, and what her limits are. Therefore, it is important to set up some structure and rules for her, and then teach those rules to her so that she knows what we expect of her, and what she can expect from us in return.

    • Nicholas Ooi says

      I get it. So, that is how my little boy does. As long as we need to be patient and take the time to teach him. Slowly, when he grows up, he will become more mature and know how to think? Is this what you mean?

    • shibashake says

      That is how it was with my Huskies. As long as I communicated properly with them, and carefully taught them the right thing, they learned pretty quickly what behaviors get them the best results.

    • Nicholas Ooi says

      May i know how to leash train if i have tried out to leash him but he just stood there and don’t move.

    • shibashake says

      That would probably depend, to some extent, on why he is standing still. How did he react to you putting on a collar and leash? Was he afraid? Uncomfortable? Is this inside the house or outside? Is this in a new environment? Is this the first time putting on a collar and leash?

      Sometimes, a dog may freeze because he is uncertain or afraid, especially when he is facing something new. When I introduce my puppy to something new, I always start small, go slowly, and make it very positive. In this way, he will gain confidence, and grow up to be a balanced dog. The process of introducing our dog to new things is also called dog socialization.

      Sometimes a dog may not do anything, because he does not know what we want him to do.

      There could be many other reasons.

      Dog training is very dependent on context. I have found that to train my dogs well, it is not just about the end behavior but also about understanding what led to the behavior, the surrounding context, and more.

    • Nicholas Ooi says

      First of all, i introduced the collar to him and well, he let me wear for him with a very quiet attitude. But whenever put on the leash, he will start bite and pull. I try to heel him and he will just sit there and totaly won’t move at all. Don’t even bite the leash anymore, just sit.

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, it can sometimes take a puppy some time to get used to something new. I try to start small, go slow, and make the experience positive. For example, to get my puppy Lara used to a lead –
      1. I first use a very light lead.
      2. I clip the lead onto a flat collar (*not* an aversive collar) and then just let her move around with it, under supervision. This gets her used to wearing the lead and gets her accustomed with its weight.
      3. Once she is comfortable moving around on her own with the lead on, then I may sometimes pick it up and engage her in a fun, rewarding game, e.g. Find-It. This teaches her to associate me holding the leash with something positive.
      4. When she is comfortable with me holding the leash, then I start to leash train her. I first train her to walk on a loose leash.

  39. Shayla says

    Hello,
    I have been reading your tips and tricks all day. I am curious to see how to properly potty train your puppy. You state that by smacking the dog could cause some aggression later. So i was just curious to see as to what you could do. I have a 12 week old male siberian husky. His name is Nikko, (neeko), he is really good with listening, most of the time. Like “sitting”, “laying down”, “Fetch” and ever “roll-over” or “bed-time”. But what I don’t understand is that he can be really good about going potty outside and then he just hits this really bad streak and I don’t know what to do with him at that point.
    Also,
    When he gets really amped up and excited he becomes mean, biting, growling, lashing at the face and my boyfriend and I just tell him no and put him outside to calm him down but this doesn’t always work.
    Any advice?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Shayla,

      In terms of potty training, I find that the most important things are supervision and consistency. Here are some things that worked well for my Husky Lara –
      1. I set up a fixed schedule and routine. I always take Lara out as soon as she wakes up, and also after active play. When Lara was a puppy, she had to go after about 10-15 minutes of play.

      2. I look for potty signs. When Lara has to go, she will usually go to corners and/or start circling. As soon as I see her going to corners, I call her over, we both go out, I give her the “Go Potty” command, and reward her very very well for doing the right thing.

      3. If I am too late, and Lara has already started, I no-mark (ack-ack) and then interrupt her. Then we both go out, I take her to her potty spot, and give her the “Go Potty” command. Since I just interrupted her inside, she will usually go as soon as we stop moving, so I set her up for success and can reward her well for doing the right thing.

      Very quickly, she learned that
      – Potty outside = Get lots of attention, food, and a fun favorite game.
      – Potty inside = Get interrupted and taken outside.

      The most important thing was to supervise Lara well so that I not only maximize successes, but also minimize mistakes.

      Here is more on how I potty trained Lara.

      Here are a couple of articles on how I trained Lara not to bite on people.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-biting-tips-solutions
      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-biting-how-to-stop-puppy-biting

      For timeouts I use the laundry room. It works well at calming Lara down because it is a very low-stimulus, quiet, and safe, place with very little to see, smell, or do. I let her out after a very short duration, if she is calm. I usually ask for a simple command, e.g. Sit before letting her out.

      When I play with Lara, I make sure to teach her game rules. It is important to teach her that interacting with people is different from interacting with other dogs, and she has to be more careful with her teeth and her paws.

  40. Brooklyn Bennett says

    Hello! I’m getting a little female shiba inu pup soon and I know they can be little devils, so I’m reading the heck out of these training tips! Thanks for all the information! And wish me luck please, I may need it lol

    • shibashake says

      LOL! Good luck!

      Sounds like you are well prepared and have done a lot of research – so you are already ahead of the game.

      Have you decided on a name yet?

  41. Boo's Mom says

    Thank you for a very informative read. I just got a new boston terrier puppy (10 wks old) and found this very helpful. So thank you again!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jenna,
      What do you mean by useless?
      Dogs usually do not know how we want them to behave, and they do not know what we (people) consider to be good or bad behaviors.
      With my dogs, I try to set up a consistent way of communication and teach them my house rules. Similarly, I try to understand what their needs are and help them fulfill those needs.

  42. SusieQ42 says

    I’ve put this on facebook. My granddaughter just got a new puppy so I’ll let her know to read it. Thanks for the helpful info.

    • shibashake says

      Thanks Susie. Glad you enjoyed the article.
      Puppies can be a lot of fun but the first couple of weeks will be somewhat stressful. I usually get very little sleep for the first few weeks, then things slowly improve after that.
      Congratulations to your granddaughter on her new puppy and good luck!

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