A Siberian husky is an ideal dog to pull a sled. Huskies were bred in Russia by the Chukchi people thousands of years ago. They used them for transportation and to haul supplies over the frozen lands. The Husky breed can tolerate extremely cold temperatures and endure vigorous exercise. Although it’s in their nature to pull sleds, it will take a bit of patience and consistent training on your part to make your husky a good sled dog.
- Be consistent in what you’re trying to teach your dog. Use one word for a particular command. Multiple words or sounds for the same command can confuse your husky. The same goes for teaching your dog hand gestures and whistle commands.
- Give your husky positive reinforcement when it does something right. Using a clicker to promote desired behavior is a popular technique. The dog will learn that it’s doing the correct thing when it hears the click. Similarly, you can also use treats as a reward when the dog does well.
- Begin training your dog as early as possible. It’s easier to teach a puppy than it is an adult dog.
- Familiarize your husky with its harness. Experts recommend introducing puppies to harnesses at around four months of age. Put the harness on the dog on a regular basis and let it get used to the feel. You want the dog to feel comfortable with it on.
- Attach a long lead to the harness and take your husky out for a walk. The lead should be around 10 to 20 feet in length to simulate the distance it would be if the dog were actually pulling a sled. Announce your command for go and allow the dog to take the lead and run. Huskies naturally want to run so the dog will probably pick up on this one fairly quickly.
- Announce your command to get the dog to stop and pull back on the lead to get the dog to stop. When you want to run again, give your command to go and start running yourself. Your husky will naturally get the clue it’s time to go again. Continue practicing giving your go and stop commands until the dog understands and obeys consistently. Use your clicker and treats as needed for reinforcement.
- Hook your husky up to your sled and give the command to go. By this point the dog should be good with the stop and go command. Now the dog will be learning that it will be pulling some weight and getting used to that.
- Begin teaching other commands such as turn right or turn left in the same manner. Give your command and reward your dog when it does well. With lots of practice, your dog will begin understanding what is expected. After it learns each set of new commands, teach some new ones like slow down or speed up.