Husky Training Advice needed!!

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Husky Training Advice needed!!

This is a discussion on Husky Training Advice needed!! within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello everyone I have quite a few things I need some advice with. I have been put off of forums for a while due to ...

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Old 11-14-2015, 03:18 AM
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Exclamation Husky Training Advice needed!!

Hello everyone
I have quite a few things I need some advice with. I have been put off of forums for a while due to people being out of order, judgmental and haven't given me any advice and just shame me - so would appreciate helpful advice
I have searched google but I find it'll be better actually speaking to people!

(sorry this post is so long just want to make sure I can start working on this- heres some background)

Maximus is 3 years old husky X GSD. He is from a rescue and he is my world & more. We've had him 2 years and no problems up untill recently with changes in his behavior.

**He is looked after very well and loved very much & gets a great variety of walks**

He is always fine with me.. ALWAYS. I have a very strong bond with him but lately he seems to be having issues with everyone else. He came from a bad background, abused by the man of the household, separated from his brother and I was told he had a bad experience with his castration (not sure exactly what though)
He used to be cuddling with everyone.. getting on laps..playing with his toys more..wouldn't grumble very much atall..

I'll whack the things i need advice with in numbers:

1. He snaps & growls at my partner over almost everything. This occurs only in the daytime. (rarely in evenings) He is also fine with my partner on walks - always wants to play with him. Admittedly my partner did try and wind him up by tickling him in his personal space etc which I stopped as Max was showing signs of fear aggressive traits. My partner used to wind him up with his food by reaching by his bowl and making aeroplane noises. Now Max only lets me near him near his food when before anyone could stroke him as he was eating. I have stopped my partner from doing this also as obviously these things are big no-no's. I encouraged my partner to feed him evenings - this helped lots for a while. My partner hasn't done any winding up for months.. Max was starting to be fine and everything was rosy & perfect for a few weeks.. but max has slipped a little and has began getting irritated with him eventhough my partner isn't doing anything like that anymore.
**would like tips to tell my partner please**

2. When company is over, Max is fine most of the time. But sometimes he goes over for fuss, and sits under legs etc, puppy dog eyes and all..but then when stroked sometimes he gets grumpy and starts growling. This is only a recent thing.

3. I'd also like Max to learn to listen better. Being a typical stubborn husky at times it can be hard to get through to him. He is treat-orientated so would like some recommendations on some healthy tit bits I can give him too that isn't going to be harmful for his health and full of additives (cheap)

4. Big question;; is it possible to train an adult dog to be off of the lead when it's never been an off lead dog before? he has escaped a few times but he never goes far and surprisingly isn't hard to catch. Also, we take him to this paddock where dogs can go off lead in a secure acre area, he stays close to us even without any treats. He could go gallivanting away but he likes to remain close & loves playing catch and running with us.
My previous dog was off lead and nice to see them have freedom, but if its too dangerous and high risk I certainly wouldn't attempt it with Max. I'd never have him off lead by roads or on paths- only in open areas / on the beach - would love him to be free at the beach! He needs his listening skills to improve before considering this seriously if it is possible like through practice recall in the paddock.

5. How to keep him calm around sheep & horses... With his high prey drive he's so excitable around sheep and horses in particular. We went on holiday and there were sheep EVERYWHERE. He was very hard to control and I worry about his back. I think again, his listening skills need improving.

6. On dog walks many dogs see him as a threat, he is 100% fine with other dogs and has put up with alot including dogs off lead bounding over and trying to bite his face.. i even nearly got bit myself once.
(owners have even laughed at us when we got surrounded by 6 dogs at once
and couldn't move anywhere and the small ones were trying to bite him) This affected Max for a little bit and he became suspicious and anxious. He's O.K now but im scared that one day hes gonna have enough of it, retaliate and he'll be put to sleep as many judge the breed as it is. I know some of the people to avoid and have tried saying to them to put there dogs on lead if its going to be aggressive to another but they wont listen to me. Iv'e even hidden in someones front garden with Max so the dalmatian doesn't see us.

We had a house fire 7 months ago which was traumatizing for us all. Our house changed alot and he started to change his behavior a little around that time which is totally understandable.

Think this is all.. I love my dog to pieces.. and want to ensure he's happy. His happiness = my happiness. I have all the patience in the world for Max and will put my all in for training him and getting him better. I'll take all advice on board and try different things to see what suits him best. (unless I dont agree with it like choke chains/biting his ear hard/pinning him down etc which some people have previously recommended on other forums & Facebook sites - vile is an understatement, its cruelty)
I have also spoken to the vets dog trainer and he just said that people just shouldn't have huskies.

Thank you so much in advance.

Last edited by freespiritwonder; 11-14-2015 at 03:19 AM. Reason: change of title
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Old 11-14-2015, 05:11 PM
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Your vet's dog trainer sucks and doesn't know what they're talking about-but at the same time, a lot of what you've said here shows you haven't read the stickies (go do that! You'll answer most of these on your own!) and have shown you have an un-socialized and untrained dog, which could make someone more prone to saying dumb things (everyone has there own levels of what's tolerable or not, anyways).

I recommend looking for a new trainer that uses reward-based methods as there are quiet a number of things here to work on, and an in person assessment might help show you what's realistic for timeline and energy, and show you where to best focus your efforts.

Some key words/resources to look up: Reactivity, resource guarding, barrier frustration, trigger stacking, separation anxiety (not for him per say, but for yourself maybe...I had it bad), impulse control, its yer choice, control unleashed, clicker training, how to motivate your dog without force (some examples are toys, treats, everyday rewards...you should easily be able to come up with a list of 15 things your dog finds rewarding), and last but almost most importantly, calming signals (dog body language/communication).

The list might be long but some basics that will get you started will be researching those topics specifically. You can see why a trainer will be faster and worth the money
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Old 11-14-2015, 06:08 PM
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I recommend looking into some training, and if you can, look specifically for a trainer that uses positive reinforcement.

I also suggest you spend a lot of time doing some respect training-- this is key to having your dog listen to you. If your dog trusts and respects you, I think you will see these problems fade away. He sounds fearful. I suggest you watch some videos on youtube, particularly Zak George's Dog Training rEvolution. He has some content.
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Old 11-14-2015, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freespiritwonder View Post
1. He snaps & growls at my partner over almost everything. This occurs only in the daytime. (rarely in evenings) He is also fine with my partner on walks - always wants to play with him. Admittedly my partner did try and wind him up by tickling him in his personal space etc which I stopped as Max was showing signs of fear aggressive traits. My partner used to wind him up with his food by reaching by his bowl and making aeroplane noises. Now Max only lets me near him near his food when before anyone could stroke him as he was eating. I have stopped my partner from doing this also as obviously these things are big no-no's. I encouraged my partner to feed him evenings - this helped lots for a while. My partner hasn't done any winding up for months.. Max was starting to be fine and everything was rosy & perfect for a few weeks.. but max has slipped a little and has began getting irritated with him eventhough my partner isn't doing anything like that anymore.
**would like tips to tell my partner please**
Seems like you've already got this covered, but absolutely no more "winding up". If Max is food-motivated, it'll be easier to associate your partner with something positive. He can use a really high-value treat like real meat or cheese, something Max seriously loves, and just give the dog the treat. No expectations from the dog. And your partner should learn and pay attention to body language. Perhaps Max is giving earlier signs of discomfort that nobody is noticing? I would suggest consulting with a behaviorist before trying to deal with any resource-guarding behavior on your own, but it is entirely possible to teach Max that your partner is not a threat around his food bowl.

Quote:
2. When company is over, Max is fine most of the time. But sometimes he goes over for fuss, and sits under legs etc, puppy dog eyes and all..but then when stroked sometimes he gets grumpy and starts growling. This is only a recent thing.
Again, pay attention to body language. He may just want to be around people, and not necessarily be petted or fussed over. Though how is he growling? Our Husky makes a really silly growly-groaning noise when he is really enjoying being petted. Huskies make odd noises and both they and German Shepherds are very vocal breeds.

Quote:
3. I'd also like Max to learn to listen better. Being a typical stubborn husky at times it can be hard to get through to him. He is treat-orientated so would like some recommendations on some healthy tit bits I can give him too that isn't going to be harmful for his health and full of additives (cheap)
That just takes a ton of patience and training. With a more stubborn breed like a Husky, I've found it's easier to get them to enjoy training and for it to stick with them when your sessions are shorter (5-10 minutes each) and maybe a small handful spread throughout the day. Don't focus on one thing for too long, either, or he could get bored and frustrated with the training session (and the same could go for you as well). You can try different food items and gauge what he likes and will work for. I personally like having a few various types of generic training treats that the dog likes, and then having one treat type that the dog goes ga-ga for... usually something smelly like meat or cheese, and use that as a "jackpot" treat for when the dog does really well. Our Husky really likes cheese. If he hears me opening even a small gouda cheese for myself, he comes running.

[quote]4. Big question;; is it possible to train an adult dog to be off of the lead when it's never been an off lead dog before? he has escaped a few times but he never goes far and surprisingly isn't hard to catch. Also, we take him to this paddock where dogs can go off lead in a secure acre area, he stays close to us even without any treats. He could go gallivanting away but he likes to remain close & loves playing catch and running with us. My previous dog was off lead and nice to see them have freedom, but if its too dangerous and high risk I certainly wouldn't attempt it with Max. I'd never have him off lead by roads or on paths- only in open areas / on the beach - would love him to be free at the beach! He needs his listening skills to improve before considering this seriously if it is possible like through practice recall in the paddock.[quote]
It is possible, but Huskies are notorious for being escape artists and running off so I would actually say never try to train a Husky to be off-leash. My only exception would be having the dog off-lead in an extremely controlled environment for recall training as a "just in case" if the dog ever winds up getting loose. You don't want him getting loose and ignoring recall, ending up running away and potentially into dangerous situations. Other than using off-lead for recall training, I would never have a Husky off-leash, no matter how reliable you think he is.

Quote:
5. How to keep him calm around sheep & horses... With his high prey drive he's so excitable around sheep and horses in particular. We went on holiday and there were sheep EVERYWHERE. He was very hard to control and I worry about his back. I think again, his listening skills need improving.
He should likely be desensitized to these animals. I do not personally have experience with this, as our Husky has yet to be introduced to my horse. However, I would probably think of it similarly to training the dog to ignore distractions on a walk. Kikopup on Youtube has a good tutorial video on that specific training (leash reactivity; ignoring distractions). You could probably use those methods as well, in a more controlled situation, to train Max to ignore these animals by default.

Quote:
6. On dog walks many dogs see him as a threat, he is 100% fine with other dogs and has put up with alot including dogs off lead bounding over and trying to bite his face.. i even nearly got bit myself once.
(owners have even laughed at us when we got surrounded by 6 dogs at once and couldn't move anywhere and the small ones were trying to bite him) This affected Max for a little bit and he became suspicious and anxious. He's O.K now but im scared that one day hes gonna have enough of it, retaliate and he'll be put to sleep as many judge the breed as it is. I know some of the people to avoid and have tried saying to them to put there dogs on lead if its going to be aggressive to another but they wont listen to me. Iv'e even hidden in someones front garden with Max so the dalmatian doesn't see us.
I wouldn't necessarily say "threat". A lot of dogs are not trained very well and may simply be reactive to other dogs in general, and many dogs can also be leash-reactive (depending on the dog, an off-lead dog could be reactive to an on- or off-lead dog or an on-lead dog could be reactive to an on- or off-lead dog). It is not your job to train other peoples' dogs, and unfortunately most people seem to be stupid about training. Again, you can train him to have good behavior. Default leave it, default ignoring distractions while walking. If you feel like other dogs are a threat to you while walking, you can most certainly carry pepper spray (they make a dog version, I believe) to ward them off.
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