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Huskies are active dogs that thrive off of a great deal of exercise, both physically and mentally. Teaching them some useful tricks can engage both their minds and their bodies.
Originally bred as sled dogs in northern Asia, Siberian Huskies are known for their endurance, energy and intelligence. These healthy, active dogs require lots of mental and physical exercise, and teaching them some useful tricks can engage both their minds and their bodies. These outgoing, friendly dogs can quickly learn tricks that play to their strengths. Teach your Husky tricks that relate to this breed's active lifestyle, outgoing personality and chasing instincts.
Siberian Huskies love to run, so agility is a great activity for their natural inclinations. You can start by teaching your dog the trick of hand-targeting, which involves touching the nose to your hand. Holding your hand in front of your Husky's nose, say "Touch." When your Husky's nose touches your hand, immediately give a treat. Repeat this sequence 15 times per day until the Husky responds on command. Later, you can use this targeting trick to guide your Siberian Husky through an agility course of tunnels, jumps and hoops. Most agility competitions don't allow verbal commands, but you can eventually teach your dog to follow only your hand as your agility signal.
While some people might be put off by the Siberian Husky's intimidating stature, these dogs are friendly to strangers. To capitalize on your dog's naturally outgoing personality, teach your dog to shake hands or wave hello. First teach your dog to sit by holding a treat out of reach above the dog's nose, say "Sit," and treat the Siberian Husky when the dog sits. Once your dog is sitting, pick up a paw and shake it, similar to a handshake for humans. Say "Shake," and give your dog a reward. After a few repetitions, your dog will shake hands on command. As a variation on this trick, hold your dog's favorite toy in front of the dog. When the dog reaches for the toy, say "Wave," and reward your Siberian Husky for waving a paw to get the toy.
Many Siberian Huskies have a high prey drive and will chase fast-moving objects. Engage your Husky in a game of fetch to utilize this instinct, teaching your dog to bring you back a toy that you throw. Choose a favorite toy, throw it, say "Fetch," and reward your dog with treats and praise if the dog brings the toy back. Your Siberian Husky requires much exercise, and this is one way to provide it.
Another game to try is hide-and-seek. Show your dog a toy, then hide it while the dog watches. Return to the dog, say "Find," and treat and praise your dog for finding the toy and bringing it back. Make the toy harder and harder to find over time. Try burying the toy in a small patch of dirt or sand, and have the dog find it and bring it back to you. Huskies love to dig, and this type of activity makes use of this natural instinct.
The Siberian Husky has a distinct sing-song howl. To encourage your dog to sing in a natural voice, teach your Husky first to speak on command. Give your dog the command "Sing," and do something that will trigger a howl, such as knocking on a wall or door. When your dog howls, give a treat and praise. Continue training until your Husky "Sings" on command. During training, teach your Husky the "Quiet" command as well. Give a treat and praise when your dog responds to the "Quiet" command by remaining silent for a few seconds. Lengthen the quiet period over time.
Train your Siberian Husky to halt on command. This breed loves to run, and will run for miles if accidentally given the opportunity to be free of a house or yard. This characteristic poses a safety hazard for your Husky. While your dog is on a leash for control, run with your dog. Stop running, say "Stop," and pull on the leash. When the dog stops, give a treat and praise. Teach this command on a leash or in a fenced area to prevent your dog from doing the very thing you're trying to prevent. Even if your Siberian Husky has learned this trick well, do not rely on it as more than an emergency last-ditch chance to regain control of an escaping Siberian Husky. Keep your dog on leash when you are outside of an enclosed area. Some experienced Husky owners and the Siberian Husky Club of America say these dogs want to run, are highly independent, and for the sake of their safety are never to be trusted off-leash outside of a secure enclosed area.