Behavior of Your Siberian Husky
Understanding your Siberian Husky's behavior helps with dog training.
A social hierarchy is firmly established in a wild dog pack. The dog wants to dominate those under him and please those above him. Dogs know that there must be a leader. If you are not the obvious choice for emperor, the dog will assume the throne! These conflicting innate desires are what a dog owner is up against when he sets about training a dog. In training a dog to obey commands, the owner is reinforcing that he is the top dog in the “pack” and that the dog should, and should want to, serve his superior. Thus, the owner is suppressing the dog’s urge to dominate and making him obedient.
An important part of training is taking every opportunity to reinforce that you are the leader. The simple action of making your Siberian Husky sit to wait for his food instead of allowing him to run up to get it when he wants it says that you control when he eats; he is dependent on you for food.
Although it may be difficult, do not give in to your dog’s wishes every time he whines at you or looks at you with pleading eyes. It is a constant effort to show the dog that his place in the pack is at the bottom. This is not meant to sound cruel or inhumane. You love your Siberian Husky and you should treat him with care and affection. You (hopefully) did not get a dog just so you could boss around another creature. Dog training is not about being cruel or feeling important, it is about molding the dog’s behavior into what is acceptable and teaching him to live by your rules. In theory, it is quite simple: catch him in appropriate behavior and reward him for it. Add a dog into the equation and it becomes a bit more trying, but as a rule of thumb, positive reinforcement is what works best.
With a dominant dog, punishment and negative reinforcement can have the opposite effect of what you are after. It can make a dog fearful and/or act out aggressively if he feels he is being challenged. Remember, a dominant dog perceives himself at the top of the social heap and will fight to defend his perceived status. The best way to prevent that is to never give him reason to think that he is in control in the first place. If you are having trouble training your Siberian Husky and it seems as if he is constantly challenging your authority, seek the help of an obedience trainer or behavioral specialist. A professional will work with both you and your dog to teach you effective techniques to use at home. Beware of trainers who rely on excessively harsh methods; scolding is necessary now and then, but the focus in your training should always be on positive reinforcement.
If you can isolate what brings out the fear reaction, you can help the dog get over it. Supervise your Siberian Husky’s interactions with people and other dogs, and praise the dog when it goes well. If he starts to act aggressively in a situation, correct him and remove him from the situation. Do not let people approach the dog and start petting him without your express permission. That way, you can have the dog sit to accept petting and praise him when he behaves properly. You are focusing on praise and on modifying his behavior by rewarding him when he acts appropriately. By being gentle and by supervising his interactions, you are showing him that there is no need to be afraid or defensive.
Dogs exhibit certain sexual behaviors that may have influenced your choice of male or female when you first purchased your Siberian Husky. Spaying/ neutering will eliminate these behaviors, but if you are purchasing a dog that you wish to breed, you should be aware of what you will have to deal with throughout the dog’s life.
Female dogs usually have two estruses per year, each season lasting about three weeks.
These are the only times in which a female dog will mate and she usually will not allow this until the second week of the cycle. If a bitch is not bred during the heat cycle, it is not uncommon for her to experience a false pregnancy, in which her mammary glands swell and she exhibits maternal tendencies toward toys or other objects.
Owners must further recognize that mounting is not merely a sexual expression but also one of dominance seen in males and females alike. Be consistent and persistent and you will find that you can “move mounters.”
Next page >
Excerpt Comprehensive Owner's Guide: Siberian Husky