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Training my husky - looking for a third opinion

January 20th, 2011, 12:44 PM
Hey, I'm looking for any advice or tips I can get in regards to training my approaching 7-week old Husky puppy. I am aware that this is a bit early for taking him from his family, but our two adult female Huskies are working hard to provide him with a mother figure - especially in the area of showing him how much playing is too much.

I think he may have some slight dominance issues, perhaps because he is the only male dog in our house. My grandfather who lives with me, and has raised husky and wolf hybrids all his life seems to think all is going well with the pup (named Koru, by the way), but I'd like to hear anyone else's opinions on his current behavior.
His one problem, really, is growling and nipping. I've been using the method of holding the scruff of his neck, and firmly saying no and/or growling, anytime he bites or starts growling a bit too loudly or aggressively, as well as anytime he is chewing on anything he shouldn't be (I then replace that thing with one of his toys, and he will contently move on to play with that). For the most part, this seems to work, but he will often go back to his badness minutes later. Basically, I'm wondering if this is normal, and if I keep up with discouraging the behavior the way I do, if he will learn to stop. Or if there is a way of correcting him for biting/growling that would be better. Very few instances have I seen him do these things in a way I'd consider non-playful, but it is still destructive (especially if he keeps it up when he's big).

Also, when I tell him no, he will generally stop what he's doing and will come lay on his side by my feet. This has been happening more and more since I brought him home (5 days ago). Would this be a sign that my training is working?

Sorry for the long post...Just a worried young mother who's raising her first puppy, lol. :P

PS: Another issue is housebreaking. Now, I've definitely seen pups much worse for this, as he has never peed in the bed (he sleeps with me all night, and wakes me up when it's time to go), and he has never peed on any blankets or objects on the floor, just on newspapers and occasionally beside them. Is this normal, should it take longer than about a week for him to get used to warning me when he needs to go?

January 20th, 2011, 01:34 PM
Hi there,
Growling and nipping is completely normal for puppies, it's how they play. One of the best reasons to keep a pup with his/her siblings is to learn proper bite inhibition, but that is something you can definitely work on too. I would caution against physical or harsh verbal correction (what you describe with him coming to your and laying by your feet sounds like appeasement behavior - meaning that he is afraid of you and is asking you to calm down) instead work on what you have already started doing which is offering replacement behaviors.
When he mouths you say "oops" and end the game for a few seconds, then put something in his mouth that he is allowed to chew on and play tug with him. He is mouthing because he wants to play with you, so play with him in a way that would be acceptable to you when he is full grown :)

Here are some of my favorite resources on dogs and training, maybe some will be helpful to you :)

This is an informative website that addresses using punishment and dominance theory in dog training that also might be worth a read.

On to the housebreaking,
it sounds like he is already doing very well, but it can take up to 6 months for a dog to gain full bladder control so don't worry or be surprised if he has accidents. When they happen, try to interrupt him with a clap or an oops and take him immediately outside to finish and praise praise praise! Dogs are only cognizant of the immediate now so by the time the dog has finished peeing it is already to late to correct them.

Good luck with him - I almost exploded from the cute:goodvibes:

February 1st, 2011, 04:01 AM
Hi maryevaoh,

You are doing the right thing with your pup as far as giving it a toy when it is chewing on something not for him. However, from my experience, the dog really learns if you can stop him before he starts chewing on something not for him. This is one reason for crate training. When you can't be watching the pup 24/7 he waits in there. Especially if you can make it dark and cosy. Especially huskies, they like the dens.

The way I stopped my puppy from doing anything I didn't want him to, including eat from the catfood bowl on the floor next to the water, was to make a medium length 'BAHH' sound and stand tall to face the dog. You can also position yourself between the puppy and the object. Continue to stand and block the object until the puppy gives up or sits down. For a quicker reaction time, you can try just a hand clap or clap+bahh.

For the bitting, you would need to get him calm and put your hands close to him without bitting them. If you need more assertiveness, you could go as far as a bahh but again, make sure you do it before he gets to your hands. If he gets to your hands, I've heard that you can try doing a loud hurt noise to help them learn that it hurts you. My puppy didn't need that so never used it.

For sure though, if he gets to your hands, the game you are playing has to be over and you immediately ignore the dog. The game can continue after your dog has diverted its attention, just call him back and keep playing.

I'd say only play games with toys. Not your hands directly. Make hands an 'off-limits' type boundary.

I've gone through Bark Busters training for my 90lbs lab-husky mix 'Moka', as well as watched countless dog whisperer episodes to get Cesar's techniques. I like to combine the 2, mostly Cesar's but for extra power I tend to use the Barkbuster bahh.

I was able to stop Moka from growling at me when I approached her eating. She is now able to be pet by my 3 children while she is eating. As well as not growling when she has a bone. We then got a small maltese bichon 'Mr Watson' who got this training mentality from day 1 and I tell you, he is the best dog. He's over 1 year and he's just starting now to pee outside.

For peeing in the house, I've heard that when they don't have that pack learning as a baby, they don't learn how to hold it and go outside. Watson we got when he was too young so he learned to go in the newspaper in the cage. It just means it will take them a lot longer to figure out to go outside. Watson is already over 1 year old and he is only now being able to last in the house without me putting him outside every 20 minutes. If you can't be there to watch him, then again,the crate could come in handy. For Watson, we never did anything when he peed in the house besides make him go outside. Of all the times he peed in the house, I only scolded him out of my own frustration maybe 4 times. I think now he's caught on. I don't have to watch him. You can tell when they have to go, they start to walk around fast and sniff everywhere.

Let me know if you have questions or need something explained.