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Dog Training/Should i use a collar,choke chain, harness or a head halter in training my Siberian Husky?


QUESTION: Hi Barb... as the subject says, i would like to know which of the following should i use to train my Siberian Husky

Should i use a collar, choke chain, harness or a head halter?

Shes my first dog,, bought her this week. She's 1 year and 10 months old. I dont think shes trained and i think the previous owner doesnt let her much out of the house.

Right now i think i need to train her to get use to being called by her name. got no problem with that cause i can just do that inside our yard.

The problem is when i want to take her out to exercise. Today is the 4th day since i bought her. I use a harness and today She managed to get away  by moving backwards the harness is removed.
Good thing She found a chicken 6 blocks away which she bit and i ended up paying for the chicken.

Anyway.. i want to avoid this kind of problem when going on walk with my husky.

Question 1 : What should i use on walks? And what should i use during training?

Question 2 : What are stuff that i must teach her that she must learn? in chronological order please...

hope you can help me with this.. i really would like to keep her

thanks in advance

ANSWER: I like harnesses for Siberians, but the leash attachment should be in the front.  Please see the New Freedom harness on this page:  It comes with a double ended leash so you have control in the front and on the back.  I've never had a dog slip out of one of these.

Teach her to come when she's called by pairing her return to you with a great food treat.  Call her name, tell her "good girl" and give her a treat.  Start in your house, then in the backyard, then in the front of your house on a leash or long line.  Some Siberians will never be reliable with off leash recalls.  They love to run too much.  Always keep your girl under the control of some type of solid leash (NOT a Flexi-Leash).  

Teach her also that after she comes to you, that touching her nose to your hand will also earn her a treat.  Hold your empty palm, fingers pointing downward in front of her face.  She will likely sniff it.  Say "good girl" and feed a treat.  Once she's doing that really well, add the cue to "touch".  Say the word, present your hand, then reward after her nose touches your palm.

Next, teach her that when you reach to grab her collar, she will also get a treat.  Huskies are notorious for coming just close enough so you can touch them, but sprint away when you go to grab their collar.  Make the collar grab part of your recall training.

Besides those skills, be sure you always require a polite sit before anything good happens for her.  Before you open a door, she must sit.  Before you put her food bowl down, she sits.  Before you get equipment on to go for a walk, she must sit.  If she gets too excited or crazy, just put the stuff away and try again later.  

Huskies have an endless supply of energy.  My husband used to bike with our Sibe.  If you're in a snowy region, you could also teach her to pull a sled.  Look into local Husky clubs to see what kind of activities they offer.

Please let me know if you have questions or need clarification on anything I've recommended.  Good luck!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you Barb for that great answer.. I just want to ask another question regarding training and letting her out to exercise.

On weekdays i only have few time to be with her. Mostly after i wake up before going to the office and then after office before i prepare going to bed.

Since I dont have much time I kind get confused what to do with that time. She needs training and also she needs to exercise. Is it possible to do it both on same time? Right now what i do is i run back and forth with her at least she knows she cant run the opposite way im going. I stop when shes too ahead of me just enough pressure on the string to keep it extended and when the leash is loose I run the other way she then follows till he gets ahead too much again and then stop. Am i doing it right?

I also notice she doesnt look at me when running. I want to teach her to look at me when im calling her name but she not much into treats or praise.. not sure if its because shes already 1year and 10months and all she want is to be do what she want and be free. Any tips on training her to respond to her name like way to hold the treat or something

ill try to find the harness that you recommended.
what do you think about martingale collars?

Dogs are always learning, so you can definitely exercise and train at the same time.  I like the running exercise you've described.

Siberians aren't dogs that are highly food motivated, so train when she's hungry and have high value bits of food for her (chicken, cheese, liver treats - something she really loves).  You might have to experiment to find the ultimate treat for her.  You could also offer different types of toys to see if she enjoys tug, or chasing a ball.  You can use toys for rewards if she's really not interested in any food.

A martingale collar won't give you the control you'll need for walking.  Look for the harness I recommended or at least one that hooks in front (and not on the back).  

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Barb Gadola, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP


I can answer questions related to problem dog behaviors, teaching polite manners, puppy raising, and any type of training-related issues. My website page, offers a wealth of information on training and behavior issues as well.


I've been training dogs since 1989 and own and operate Distinctive Dog Training LLC in Keller TX. I specialize in providing practical and positive solutions for families through personalized training in their home.

Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
Victoria Stilwell Positively! Licensed Trainer
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
Association of Animal Behavior Professionals
Truly Dog Friendly Coalition

BS in Education
Graduate work in Behavioral Psychology
Karen Pryor Academy Dog Training Program
Certified Professional Dog Trainer

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