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Gracie_6

Hard time feeling close to my Husky

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Hi all - new to the forum :)

hoping for some encouragement and/or advice. I adopted a 6 month husky (female) from a friend who is a breeder (pup was returned to her for being “difficult” owners didn’t want her anymore). She came to us with no manners & a very bad attitude. We hoped our super well behaved German Shepherd would rub off on her, and some gentle positive reinforcement would do the trick. It’s been almost a year and no amount of treating or “good girls” can get her to do what I ask. Even a simple sit is a struggle every time. She is walked twice a day for at least 40 mins. I’m home most of the time. She’s destroyed 4 dog beds, 1 sofa, and 1 mattress (the one we sleep on - which she’s not allowed on). When I feed her she barks and howls at me as if to hurry me up. If I go to pat her on the head she ducks or runs away from me. Recall is 0% unless it’s food in my hand. Walks are often a nightmare because she pulls and pulls (even on an 8m lead). I feel so disheartened - like this dog will never love or respect me. I’m firm with her but have never hurt her. She is well cared for but seems to just not be interested in me or pleasing me at all. She is not spayed yet - I’m hoping this might calm her down a bit when I take her to get it done? Any other words of advice or encouragement ? :( 

 

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Huskies are very stubborn and have very selective hearing!

Can I just ask at you only giving treats when she does what you ask? And are you giving her the food even when she’s barking at you or do you wait for her to stop? If you are giving her food when she’s displaying the bad behaviour she will think she’s being rewarded for it. If you’ve not done already, wait for her to calm down before giving her the food. Just calmly ignore her and start doing something else like washing up until she’s calm, then make her sit and wait before she gets the food

Regarding destruction, she may be bored or have separation anxiety if it happened while you were out. Huskies are working dogs and do require a lot of mental stimulation! Do you play games with her at home?

Not many dogs like being patted on the head as they can’t see where your hand is. A tickle on the tummy usually goes down a lot better

Recall is 0% with all huskies! They just don’t have recall, which is why they should never be let off lead unless in a secure area with high boundary fences

Regarding the pulling, it is a huskies instinct to pull no matter how long the lead is! For training her not to pull I would take the long lead away as this gives her to much freedom and you can’t control a dog on an 8m lead. Get a simple slip lead and put it as high up her head as possible, just behind her ears. You’ve got control over her then, if she starts to pull tug on the lead and make a sharp ‘tsk’ noise. Don’t let her walk in front of you while you’re training her. When she’s learnt some better manners, try a walking belt as if she does pull then it’s a lot less strain on your arms & back

Huskies don’t want to please humans, it’s just not their nature as a breed! They will do what they want, when they want unfortunately. They do have a what’s in it for me attitude and they are very independent. But that’s what I live about them!

I’ve only ever had boys so I can’t say whether spaying will help

You will get there, huskies don’t really reach adulthood until they are about 2 so she’s still a pup at the moment. Keep going with the positive reinforcement, but don’t get frustrated as she will sense it


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Agree with Rachael... get her mentally tired as well with games or training...

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Sorry to hear you’ve had a hard time with your husky. I’ve only had mine for 6 months and I’ll admit that I felt the same way as you for a while. It will get better but you have to put in the work. 

 One thing I think that works in your favour is having another dog. Huskies are pack animals. 

It sounds like your husky may need some more mental stimulation. Do you spend time at home every day doing ‘training sessions’? 5 minutes (if that), here and there with treats that she loves is a good start. The treats are super important - if they’re not high value to her then she won’t be interested in listening to you. I make my own treats because of my pup’s allergies - they’re super easy to make and he loves them.

Recall-wise - I agree with the others. Huskies have terrible recall! It can be improved but it starts at home. For example, I always call mine in from the garden with some kind of reward. 

Also, is she left alone a lot? I’ve heard that some huskies need more supervision than other breeds during the first year or so of their lives. It could be a separation anxiety thing so to keep her busy when you’re not around, you could leave Kongs for her filled with interesting treats. It also sounds like she likes to chew - mine is an aggressive chewer and the only thing that stems this is giving him a deer antler, so you could try that perhaps? 

With regards to pulling, i’m sorry to say but that’s a long road. Because huskies were bred for that purpose it takes a lot to train it out of them. I would suggest a double-ended leash (one end goes on the harness and other end on the collar) and perhaps even a Halti if it gets really bad (you will have to positively reinforce the Halti as some don’t like this). In the mornings my dog will have a ‘training walk’. So he will be taught to walk on ‘side’ which is walking next to me. Every time he pulls or goes ahead of me, I turn and go in the opposite direction, or pull the Halti slightly to the side to correct. 

Huskies always look up to the Alpha. At the moment she doesn’t see you as the Alpha. That walking exercise is good as it reminds her who is in control. 

Huskies are hard work but they say if you put all the work in now, it really pays off. Sorry for the essay! Be reassured that I have experienced your feelings. You’re doing the right things in being patient with her and reinforcing positively, but huskies need someone firm and who doesn’t take any nonsense. 

Be confident. You can do it. 

Good luck :) 

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Testing boundaries all seems part of the fun. We adopted Solo when he was approx 2 yrs old and it has taken time, 3 years on a head collar with double ended lead to get him to be pleasant to walk with but we got there X he still has moments when he's a complete pain but mostly he is a lovable rogue with great personality xx it will get better x

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I have a brother and sister. Got them at 7weeks and they are now 16 months.

Boy is a complete love, his sister on the other hand is a handful. Complete opposites.

I could not touch her, leash her, she could have cared less about anything. Completely out of control!

 I have gone through 4 trainers. LOL

I have gone through sooo many dog beds, I have holes in my carpet, blankets, she eats the fence and pavers, and has started on the side of my house. She busted a tooth and it had to be surgically removed.

The vet bills have been completely in sane.

Do not give up! There is hope.

About a month ago I found a trainer that is taking me into a hole new way of dealing with her.

She now loves attention❣️Wont take her eyes off me as I move around the house, has an 80% recall, and has perfect house manners. In only three training sessions. To the point were she will be starting agility in two weeks. 

This is how I worked with her...

She was not allowed to free roam the house. Created or on a leash. She was not rewarded for bad behavior by free roaming. 

I stopped traditional feedings. She ate only during training and out of my hand. If kibble was dropped, she was not allowed to pick it up off the floor. She had to wait for me to pick it up and hand it to her.

Training - LOTs of mental challenges. Stop the training while they want more. I did 4 training sessions about 10 minutes at a time.

One is created while I work with the other. I just keep switching them out.

Place training (find a spot, towel, dog bed bed, whatever you want and train her to go to that spot and stay there) door training * impulse control* (open door and they cannot go through until you allow it) creat duration (open door and they cannot come out until you give release command) heal (walking by your side no sniffing or pulling) You can google all these for step by step.

Then there is proper play. This helps with destructive behavior.

Have a toy, once she grabs reward by letting her have it. Once she goes to “chew” take it away and play again until she fully grabs it. Do this a couple of times and when done you keep the toy. The grab is the reward, the chewing is the take away. But not keep it away. Hard to explain.... I didn’t see how it would work but what a huge difference it has made...

Stay consistent. Lots of praise when she has earned it.

 Impulse control Training will help with the bossy vocalness during feeding.

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14 hours ago, 2Huskyfun said:

I have a brother and sister. Got them at 7weeks and they are now 16 months.

Boy is a complete love, his sister on the other hand is a handful. Complete opposites.

I could not touch her, leash her, she could have cared less about anything. Completely out of control!

 I have gone through 4 trainers. LOL

I have gone through sooo many dog beds, I have holes in my carpet, blankets, she eats the fence and pavers, and has started on the side of my house. She busted a tooth and it had to be surgically removed.

The vet bills have been completely in sane.

Do not give up! There is hope.

About a month ago I found a trainer that is taking me into a hole new way of dealing with her.

She now loves attention❣️Wont take her eyes off me as I move around the house, has an 80% recall, and has perfect house manners. In only three training sessions. To the point were she will be starting agility in two weeks. 

This is how I worked with her...

She was not allowed to free roam the house. Created or on a leash. She was not rewarded for bad behavior by free roaming. 

I stopped traditional feedings. She ate only during training and out of my hand. If kibble was dropped, she was not allowed to pick it up off the floor. She had to wait for me to pick it up and hand it to her.

Training - LOTs of mental challenges. Stop the training while they want more. I did 4 training sessions about 10 minutes at a time.

One is created while I work with the other. I just keep switching them out.

Place training (find a spot, towel, dog bed bed, whatever you want and train her to go to that spot and stay there) door training * impulse control* (open door and they cannot go through until you allow it) creat duration (open door and they cannot come out until you give release command) heal (walking by your side no sniffing or pulling) You can google all these for step by step.

Then there is proper play. This helps with destructive behavior.

Have a toy, once she grabs reward by letting her have it. Once she goes to “chew” take it away and play again until she fully grabs it. Do this a couple of times and when done you keep the toy. The grab is the reward, the chewing is the take away. But not keep it away. Hard to explain.... I didn’t see how it would work but what a huge difference it has made...

Stay consistent. Lots of praise when she has earned it.

 Impulse control Training will help with the bossy vocalness during feeding.

Thanks everyone for your valuable advice and support. I've picked up a few gems here which I'm going to try - namely giving her plenty more mental stimulation, as aside from her daily walks and play with her brother, I don't know much in the way of that. I'm also going to try the gentle leader for heeled-walks as many people have recommended this to me (so long as harness and additional lead also attached in case she slips out of the head leader).

At the moment I do crate her when I leave the house (Which I Never do for more than 3-4 hours at a time and her crate is actually a large but empty room in the house which I leave both dogs in with only a water bowl and a rug/few blankets) to minimise destruction. Most of the damage she's done has been when I've been naive enough to let her free roam parts of the house while I've been out (mostly because my GSD has always been such a good boy when I leave him I foolishly believed the Husky would be the same! haha). 

Many thanks

T

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Always use a secondary line when starting.

My female flipped out of her prong 2x. I didn’t have it tight enough.🤣

I can not use the gentle leader. My male  gator rolls and has gotten the chin strap wrapped around his bottom jaw. Then grinds his teeth. 

 I started the walk training in the house, then slowly moved to the front yard, and then only one street at a time. A lot of stop (with a sit) and turns. Every time she looks at you (checks in) tell her good and give a high value treat.

The object is calm and controlled not distance. 

I have a friend that is having issues with her pup and asked me to videotape my sessions for her. I can post them here too if you would like?

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