alaskan husky

How To Train Your Pet Dog To Pull

mushing your pet dog

How To Train Your Pet Dog To Be A Sled Dog Lynn Orbison

First things first.

There are as many ways to train a dog as there are to raise a child. My basic philosophy is to take what I like and leave the rest. I invite you to do the same. Every person and every dog is different. We each learn in our own unique way, and we each have different skills and abilities in teaching.

How To Train Your Pet Dog To Pull Lesson #1

First, some contradictions: Be consistent, but be flexible!

This means choose a word, a hand signal, or a whistle blow, and stick with it. But if your dog is not learning, try a different way to communicate the same thing.

How To Train Your Pet Dog To Pull Lesson #2

Clicker training is great because the dog learns that the clicker is a good thing. It is a universal reward. If you have a dog that understands this, great, but beware...it is really hard to click and treat as you are running down the trail!

If your dog understands the clicker as a positive thing, you can click when they do something right. Here's the deal, for the most part, moving is the ultimate reward for a sled dog! Use that in your training and your husky will learn faster and be happier too.

When you click for your golden retriever he may stop, turn around and sit, and be waiting for that treat--that's the Golden thing to do. A husky is going to race by you and try to catch the treat as you toss it. If they miss it they will likely keep on going, although they may circle around for another try at it.

How To Train Your Pet Dog To Gee and Haw Tip #1

I have a musher friend who taught her lead dog to Shake Gee and Shake Haw. This worked for her and her dog. But alas, I'm rather dyslexic and I can hardly remember which is right and which is left. When I am facing my dog, it seems my gee is her haw. She will be confused too, when I start mucking with these words.

What I really want is for both of us to be thinking the same direction when I'm on the sled behind her.

How To Train Your Pet Dog To Gee and Haw Tip #2

Well, let me back up. (That would be a come round...and I teach them come round gee and come round haw too!) Basically, I'll come around to that gee and haw stuff, but before we get there we need to learn some other stuff.

For me, gee and haw are advanced commands.

Learn How To Train Your Pet Dog To Line Out First

I want my sled dogs to be lined out and moving first (before Gee and Haw). With Alaskan Huskies it is not usually too hard! This is why leash training a husky is so difficult...because they want to be lined out and moving.

That is why they drag you in a zig zag pattern endlessly at the end of the leash! They are already advanced in this regard, it is you that needs to get up to speed.

How To Train Your Pet Dog To Pull If You Use A Gentle Leader

Maybe you've spent a lot of time with your husky wearing a gentle leader

That's okay. That's good. Dogs are smart and they can figure out that different outfits require different behaviors. But do not ask your dog to gee or haw wearing the gentle leader.

They are supposed to be out in front of you pulling when they hear these words. You are being unkind to them and confusing them by asking them to listen and respond appropriately when they are wearing the wrong outfit. (They will hurt themselves if they try to comply wearing a gentle leader...)

You could just let your dog walk naturally on a leash and say gee as they zig to the right and haw as they zag to the left. Eventually they might figure out that these words relate directionally. But your arm will be sore.

How To Train Your Pet Dog With A Skijoring Belt

Training Tips: Put them in harness and wear a skijoring belt. Now you have your hands free (to grab a tree to keep from being dragged down the trail!)

Your dog is pulling with the correct tool (the harness). The force of that pull is closer to your center of gravity. Remember, huskies learn faster when they are moving. You want to time your commands so that the dog can be moving into the turn as you say the word.

I usually give my dogs warning on a directional change. I tell them: I wanna go Gee up here... As I get closer to the turn, I say: Ready? I wanna go gee up here... Right when they get to the turn, I say GEE (Just like that...happy, loud, bright and excited!)

My dogs usually are picking up speed and leaning into the turn as I give this official command. They know what is coming and they love it! As we go through the turn I say, Good Dogs! Good Gee! This gives the dogs behind the leaders reinforcement of directional work. Just in case they are paying attention and not just following the butt of the dog in front of them.

Even if you always train on the same trail and there are no directional choices, you can do this silly directional command stuff every time the trail curves to the left or the right.

The goal is to get the dogs thinking and listening while they are moving.

How To Train Your Pet Dog When They Don't Get The Turn Right

What if they don't get the turn? This usually requires a fork in the trail, unless your dogs have gone haw to chase a squirrel up a tree.

This is what the brakes are for.

Timing is critical. If the dog/s choose incorrectly, stomp on the brake or matt immediately. Stopping is considered a correction to most huskies. Their goal, their reward--their life--is built around going. If they get to go, they are happy.

And remember, huskies learn best while they are moving!

As you stomp on that brake say NO with about as much negative force as you said GEE with a positive force. Then say Gee! again...and the instant they even look the right way, get off that brake and say, YES! Go GEE! As if nothing is wrong and the world is a beautiful place.

How To Train Your Pet Dog Requires The Right Timing

Depending on your timing and your relationship with your dog, you might need to do this a lot, or you may have yourself a directional leader by now.

Remember, reward huskies with motion. Stop them and you are punishing them. Now, I admit, I usually stop my team at least once to go up and pet everybody. And yes, some of them consider this punishment! But, well, it is also training because it is not very common to have a perfect run where I never need to stop, and I need to train the dogs to at least wait a little while before they pull the hooks or chew the lines.

How To Train Your Pet Dog With A Skijoring Belt - Training Tip

Oh, I forgot, if you are walking wearing a skijoring belt, you do not need to give as much warning for turns because your dog is not moving fast enough to learn quickly. So just give a ready to get their attention, and a GEE as you walk down the right trail. If they don't take the turn, or they take a wrong turn, stop. As soon as they swing around to the correct trail, give the command again and start moving.

You can teach one dog all alone this way. Be careful training a pair of dogs on foot because sled dogs have a lot of power. If they ever figure this out, well, if the majority rules you're going to get hurt. Consider a helmet, and knee and elbow pads too.

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