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/an/ - Animals & Nature

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Hey y'all, I usually don't come to /an/, I tend to stick around /his/ and /k/ mainly, but today I have a question.
You see, about a decade ago my childhood dog, Bandit, a German Shepherd/Alaskan malamute mix (big ol boye) had to be put down due to the complications of his dementia and hips. To replace him, about 8 years ago my parents decided to buy a pair of Huskies, a sister and brother. They're beautiful, purebred huskies, AKC registered and everything.

This is all fine and dandy, but age caught up with my parents rapidly after buying these dogs, and as a result, they've spent most of their lives in my parent's house and yard, not socializing with other dogs, not being trained, ect. They barely even know sit, but that doesn't keep them from being lovely dogs, always so happy to meet new people, they've never once been frightened or aggressive to my friends, or the few dogs they've met through the fence.

I feel bad for these dogs, they're 7-8 years old and haven't even been on half a dozen walks, but my parents are too elderly and busy (My dad still works as a computer engineer even though he's past retirement age) to spend time training these two huskies.
Since I live within driving distance, I was thinking I could spend weekends with them to try and start them on learning, mainly, how to heel so I can take them on walks throughout the neighborhood without them pulling and trying to run up to everyone they see.

I can't train them separately because they've never been separated since we bought them from a friend, they whine and cry if they're separated in the slightest, the sister chewed through a chain link fence when we had to take the brother in to get fixed.

>tl;dr i want to train big, 8-year-old, untrained dogs that have separation anxiety from each other

So my question is: where do I start? Are there any websites that would walk me through training a stubborn breed like huskies? Or do you guys have any tips?

pic related, it's the male
Bump pls
/an/ is slow. It might be hours before you get a proper reply. Have patience
>pic related, it's the male

Holy shit that husky is fat.

Alright, first off, you must get them properly tired out. This’ll be really difficult if you can’t take them to a dog park because they’re unpredictable around other dogs.

Get front-clip harnesses. you’re going to be taking these dogs on walks and you’re going to need to nullify some of their strength. A front clip harness will take away some of their pulling power but not all. Take them on long walks for mental stimulation. Let them stop and sniff and pee on things. When you encounter another person walking their dog, reel yours in and keep them close. Let them greet on your terms but if they can’t be polite focus on keeping THEM focused on you with high value treats in your pocket. Keep the treats on hand.

For more mental stimulation, start teaching them new tricks. Huskies catch on pretty quickly BUT they’re stubborn. You’ll notice they understand what you want after 6-10 repetitions but won’t always do it until it’s been literal hundreds. Don’t give up.

You can also buy them puzzle toys to play with in their spare time when you aren’t there. Continued:
As for tiring them out physically, the walk isn’t really gonna do it. You need to get them running and jumping and playing. Figure out if they’re the type of dogs who like fetch, tug, chase, etc. My dog will chase a ball but can’t bring it back to save his life. He also likes to play hide and seek. I hope you have a large yard. Don’t take them to unfenced parks to play off leash. Don’t take them to dog parks either, unless a) the park is empty—you might get away with this in the early early morning— b) you muzzle them, or c) you’ve done enough time (literal months) of training and are sure they won’t attack and kill a smaller dog. A muzzle sounds inhumane but there are many different types an if they fit properly they won’t be uncomfortable. They even have cloth muzzles now.

Get them running. Get them tired. Make sure they have access to water. If you can control them properly and focus, go hiking with them tied to your waist. You will need to tire them out physically AND mentally before you start socialize, so that it’s more difficult for them to get distracted.
Once they’re good and tired (not overtired—it may have the opposite effect and overstimulate them), you can start working on their socialization.

Start on the home turf. Remember when I said something about having high value treats to keep them focused on you? Get those. Have a socialization party. Invite people over literally just to ring the doorbell, come in, interact, and leave. Keep the dogs focused on you with treats. The doorbell rings, treats if they focus on you. A person comes in, treat for their focus. They pet the dog, treat for receiving pets politely. Etc. Reward them the second they show their good manners.

Do this and then work your way up to a restaurant patio or a park bench. Person walks by, treat for their focus. Treat after they ignore a waiter with food.

High value treats are usually things like a little piece of cooked chicken breast, hot dog, etc. Try to use these treats only during training time, that way they really know it’s time to focus when those treats come out. Find out what they will do ANYTHING for. Try to keep them very small and low-cal so you can just keep a steady flow of treats going to reward good behavior without compromising their health. That dog in the OP pic is fat enough as it is.

That’s the most basic stuff. Mental and physical exercise to tire them out, then socialization training.
My bad, I misread the part about your dogs NOT being aggressive to friends/family. You can probably ignore the bit about the muzzles as long as when they go to the dog park the big and small dogs are separated. Everything else should still be helpful to you. Tired dogs are less anxious because, frankly, they’ve exhausted their energy and don’t have enough left to be anxious if you’ve worked them proper.
This is going to be a tough, long process.

Ask a friend or partner for help walking them. You will probably want to start by taking them on a really long walk, tire them out. Show them that walking can be the reward, let them enjoy the walk. Once they are tired/relaxed, you start focusing their training.

Make them interact with dogs on your terms, like the other anon said -- Get them to 'stop', 'sit', and 'wait' standing aside from dogs who pass, originally. You will want to establish that they are not in charge, that you will allow them to meet other dogs, or meet people, IF they display the correct behaviour. If they are doing the desired behaviour, you are rewarding them by letting them sniff that dog, or whatever it may be. Letting them overpower you and sniff a dog will end in them feeling rewarded for the task, because they got what they wanted. A husky rushing over to another dog in an on lead setting will probably freak out other dogs, too. You want to avoid the dogs getting into 'fights' with other dogs, because you want meeting other dogs to be a positive scenario.

Don't underestimate the power of rewards. Praise, treats, toys and stimuli can all be used to reward your dogs. Treats won't always work, sometimes something else is going to hold their attention better than treats. I would recommend you have some high value (cooked meat, something smelly and tasty) on hand as a high value treat, and some more regular treats for the low distraction training.

The pulling is going to be really difficult, that's why it is necessary to get someone to walk one of the dogs. You won't be able to train them both while holding two pulling huskies. You will need someone who is willing to work with you on this. Front clipping harnesses will help with the pulling, but it's going to be a major battle. Train these dogs to make eye contact. Use high value treats as a reward for this trick, as you want them to want to perform it whenever you need. When leash training, eye contact will be helpful. Teaching an effective heel is done by getting the dog to focus on you. Do the 'look' command, holding the treat towards your eyes, so they are focusing on your face as you walk with them. This should encourage them to stay level with you. Praise along the way, and rewardduring and when you 'release' them from the command.

Also try to keep them mentally stimulated at home. Hide treats in the yard, in trees, bushes, under bricks, whatever. Puzzle toys will be good, they will figure out most toys pretty quickly, so I'd say start easy and get more intense. Try a water bottle with treats in it. Then a water bottle with a bit of frozen stock and treats in it, you'll know when they are getting bored of these things.

These dogs may be old, but they don't know anything yet, and this will be a totally new and positive experience for them, which should encourage growth, as the reward is with learning to walk and interact with other animals.

I'm glad you're trying your best. The hardest part is going to be the time in between seeing them. Your parents are going to be able to undo all your hard work in a matter of days, by rewarding them incorrectly, letting them do things you won't let them do, or by giving them treats/food without 'working' for them. Huskies are smart, if they figure out they don't have to do anything to get rewarded, they won't listen. Disobedient little shits.

Goodluck Anon, let us know how you go.

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