Perhaps best known for their role as sled dogs, Siberian huskies were bred to pull loads in Arctic temperatures. Siberian huskies are independent and energetic. When they are bored, some huskies can become destructive. If your husky has mastered the basic obedience commands, continuing its training with tricks can help keep its mind engaged. This intelligent breed will learn quickly when it wants to, but be warned that huskies have a stubborn streak and sometimes decide to obey in their own time. Training can take patience.
Perhaps it is their resemblance to their wolf ancestors, but many huskies howl rather than bark. You can turn this natural instinct into an entertaining trick if you reinforce it. Whenever you hear your husky howling, say “sing!” and then praise it for singing so well. Give it a treat (huskies love snacks). If you do this consistently enough, your husky will soon learn to associate the word “sing” with a howl, and will start to do it on command. Gradually phase out the use of treats as a reward, but always continue to praise your husky for singing when you ask.
You will have to rely on a positive reinforcement training technique to shape this behavior. To shape a behavior, simply reward your husky for doing something close to what you are asking. Gradually show your dog what you want it to do by requiring it to get closer and closer to the actual trick before it gets its reward. For example, to teach “shake,” show your husky a treat. Hold your open hand in front of the dog, with a treat tucked between your thumb and your hand. Say the verbal command “shake” and wait. Your husky will try to get the treat. If its paw leaves the ground at any time, reward it immediately with the treat and praise. Do this until your husky consistently raises its paw when you say “shake.” Next, require it to get closer and closer to completing the trick before giving it its reward. Soon it should place its paw in your hand.
If your husky knows how to lie down, you can teach it to crawl. Ask it to lie down and hold a treat just in front of its nose. Slowly move the treat away from your dog, keeping it at nose level, or even dropping it lower toward the ground. Speak the command “crawl” and wait for your husky to try and get the treat. If it starts to shuffle forward, still in the down position, reward it instantly. If it stands up to try and follow the treat, gently tap its rear end and say “down” to show it that you want it to stay on the ground. Start by rewarding your husky for crawling forward even an inch, and then gradually require it to crawl farther and farther before giving it a treat and praise. Once it can do this consistently, start to eliminate the use of treats by rewarding it every other time, or every fourth time (and so on) it crawls correctly.
This trick is easy to teach a husky once it knows how to shake. Simply hold your hand out as you did before and say “shake.” Wait for your husky to obey. Then turn your hand so that your fingers are pointing to the ceiling. Say “shake” followed by “high-five.” If your husky still tries to shake, reward it. When it does this consistently, phase out the use of the word “shake” and simply say “high-five.” Raise your hand higher and higher off of the floor until your husky has to stand on its hind legs to paw at your hand. Again, once it masters this technique, phase out treats by requiring your husky to perform the trick more often before getting a reward.
This trick also builds from the “shake” command. Hold your hand in front of your dog as you would for “shake.” Wave hello to your dog with your other hand and say “hello,” followed by your dog’s name. When your dog tries to shake (it knows that an offered hand is asking for its paw), quickly pull your hand away so that your dog’s paw passes through thin air instead. Reward your husky with a treat and praise. Slowly stop offering your dog your hand and rely on your wave and verbal command instead.