Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July 14th Princess' Training

One thing about Siberian Huskies that endear them to me so much is that each one has a very distinct and unique personality. I'm not talking about variences within a breed, but truely unique which makes them one of the more challenging breeds to train. However, there are some constants which make the challenge easier once they are completely understood. The first constant is their love of running. This is their bread and butter, what they were bred to do since their domestication, and probably even long before then. A Siberian Husky will learn a lot of things from you if it involves running in some shape or form. (notice I said running, not necessarily pulling) Siberian Huskies are normally people oriented dogs. This means they respond very well to your body language, your actions and your emotions even when you don't want them to. What this means to your training regimen is that you must be very careful of what signals you give to your husky. It also means they respond VERY well to positive reinforcement training.

With these in mind, you can then move on to determining what works for your individual husky. Bear in mind that they are extremely intelligent, but also have very strong instincts. With intelligence comes individuality and sometimes independance. What works with one husky may not necessarily work with another. For example, a squirt with a water bottle for Princess is an invitation to drink water from said bottle. For G'kar, you may as well have yanked the world out from under him as squirt him with the same bottle. The rest of the pack responds in a variance of reactions ranging from the one extreme to the other.

So, what works with Princess. She's a very kind if playful soul, and responds very well to positive reinforcement training. Of the pack, she is probably the easiest to train in this manner. That being said, she is also a Siberian Husky, and unlikely to be interested in training until she has had a good run or if her training includes running.

My mistake last week was not to have tired her out prior to class, ergo, she was all bubbling over with energy which means excitement, which means basically ignoring me. This week, I took her for a long walk Monday (I will describe how I walk her and why that involves running and husky satisfaction later on), and asked my son to walk her prior to class. What a world of difference that makes! She was a perfect angel last night! You wouldn't believe she was the same dog. So, I learned a valuable lesson on how to train Princess, make sure she's tired out, then use a lot of positive reinforcement, oh and when she's thirsty, squirt her with the water bottle...

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