I know what you’re thinking. Impossible! No way can you train a husky, a natural bred puller, to walk by your side in 30 months, much less 30 seconds. I’m here to tell you that it is totally possible.
Okay, so 30 seconds could be a stretch – nevertheless, I do think seeing a difference in 30 seconds is not unrealistic. I’ll post a video of Callie’s first time using hers further down in this post to prove my point.
Train a husky to walk without pulling instantly with the assistance of a gentle leader. The length of time it takes you to put the collar on your husky and calm your husky down is the amount of time it takes to train them to walk without pulling. There will be some outliers but with consistent practice, you can expect your husky to be walking perfectly beside you in under one week.
Of course there are safety rules you must follow, but as a general rule, it really is this easy.
First, let me announce that I am in no way sponsored by or an affiliate for any of the gentle leader company’s of the world. I’ve just witnessed first hand the power and immediacy this thing has had on my sister, Callie the husky.
Disclaimer: The Can My Dog articles contain information based on the individual research and opinions of the author of the site – who just so happens to be a dog. How you utilize the information given is completely up to you. Proceed at your own risk.
Initial Rules of Using a Gentle Leader to Walk Your Dog
While this thing, in my opinion, is 100% magical, it comes with a set of rules imperative to the safety of your dog.
- Do NOT use a retractable leash with the gentle leader. This not only completely defeats the purpose of teaching your dog to walk by your side, but it runs the risk of extreme neck injury for your dog. Get a light weight leash to use with these. Nothing fancy needed.
- Do NOT pull or yank on the leash when it’s attached to the gentle leader. Again, I assume it goes without saying, but this also runs the risk of injuring your dog’s neck. It’s a ‘gentle’ leader, humans. Say it with me, G E N T L E. Just be easy – you will in no way need to be intense or aggressive with training strategies here. The leader does all of the work for you.
- Do not give your dog a lot of leash to work with. This basically defeats the training purposes. Keep them on a leash long enough that if they’re walking beside you, where they’re suppose to be, then they have all the necessary leash available. But again, please don’t pull hard if they start bucking like a wild bronco the first time you put the gentle leader on.
- WARNING: Do NOT leave the gentle leader on your dog if they’re unattended or in an off-leash dog park playing with other dogs. The leader is specifically designed for ‘walking’, not playing. There’s no use for the gentle leader in this scenario.
- Continuing from rule number 3, while you will see immediate progress, this is absolutely something your dog must get use to. Your dog most likely won’t love the leader at first. Just be patient and consistent.
How to Get Your Dog Comfortable With the Gentle Leader
This type of collar will be something very foreign and new to your dog. Follow the quick guidelines listed below to help initiate a positive association for your dog and the leader.
- Give you dog lots of praises when slipping the leader over their nose. Make sure you’re assertive, but simultaneously showing them that this is nothing to be afraid of.
- Give yourself time to get them use to putting it on. Slip it on and then immediately take it off, then give them a treat. Repeat this. Over, and over, and over. You’re trying to show them that this leader is a positive experience – not something to dread or fear. Remember the repetition tip highlighted in this post from before? Same concept applies here. We learn best from repetition. Play to our strengths – repeat frequently, and confirm obedience with little training treats.
- Keep initial walks with the gentle leader to a minimum. Begin with 5-10 minute walks. Short, sweet, and to the point. Do this a couple of times a day.
- Some dogs learn differently and at various speeds. As a general rule, your dog should have this down pat within a week. Don’t set any unrealistic expectations, just stay intentional and consistent.
- I know I just told you not to have any unrealistic goals, but I do think it’s important to tell you that my sister Callie showcased IMMEDIATE results. She didn’t love it on, but when my mom started walking she was instantly calmer and walked right in stride with her. None of us could believe it. By the second time, she was basically a pro.
Practice Makes Perfect When You Need to Train a Husky
Callie use to be a nightmare for my humans to walk. Just a disaster. Callie actually pulled my mom right into the bushes one rainy afternoon when she spotted a cat. My mom was not happy. It’s hard work walking a dog that constantly pulls.
The walks simply can’t be enjoyed.
Teaching your dog how to walk by your side makes all the difference in the world. It makes time together more enjoyable. It makes you want to walk your dog longer and trust them even more. This is what your dog wants too, you just have to teach them how.
I truly feel that if the gentle leader can have this type of impact on my sister, then it can absolutely work for your dog, and any other puller for that matter. I’m speaking from personal experience here. If Callie could type like me, I’d have her tell you herself – but she can’t.
Important Takeaways to Remember When Training a Husky
- Be consistent
- Once you start using it to walk your pup- make sure you use it every time. Do NOT switch back and forth between the gentle leader and a regular harness or collar. This causes training setbacks.
- Do NOT pull on the leash
- NEVER use a retractable leash
- Do NOT leave the gentle leader on your pup all the time
- Do NOT leave the gentle leader on your pup if they’re unattended
The gentle leader is completely user friendly. It comes with instructions and a training DVD. Watch this and read the instructions to better prepare yourself to train your husky.
My human actually put the leader on wrong initially. She fixed it quickly, but don’t be like her, do it right the first time.
The gentle leader is safe and has the comfort of your dog completely prioritized.
This is also a scalable process. Once your dog has walking beside you down pat, you can progress back to a normal harness. Some pups may always need the gentle leader as a reminder, while others will be able to use it strictly for training purposes.
This is completely dependent on the pup and their level of retention.
Play it by ear.
I can’t say it enough – consistency is key. Think long term here. Teaching your dog to walk without pulling like crazy is such an amazing feat for both parties involved. Walks become joyous – this is something we can all agree on.
As always, continue to Live, Love, Laugh, and Scratch our bellies often.
Love you guys,
P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.
Can You Train a Husky to Be a Guard Dog?
You can train a husky to be a guard dog but such a task will undoubtedly come with obstacles.
Huskies are lovable, loyal, and extremely stubborn. They’re people loves by nature, so training them to guard and then potentially attack warrants going against their typical behavior grain.
Nevertheless, huskies are smart and strong, making them perfectly capable of being trained to be a guard dog.
Read more here: Can you train a husky to be a guard dog?
Will a Husky Protect It’s Owner?
A husky will have some protective traits for its owner. An increased sense of security and alerts for potential danger, without being an actual guard dog. However, if burglary and battery protection are your primary concerns, huskies are not instinctively inclined to attack.
As mentioned above, huskies are sweet, lovable, people dogs.
While a dog’s breeding goes a long way toward determining its demeanor and behavior, that does not mean that you have to stand idly by as your husky tries to make friends with suspicious strangers.
Every dog can be trained to perform specific functions for its owner.
Siberian huskies are no exception.
If you’re interested in going deeper into this topic, click here: Will a Siberian Husky protect it’s owner?