Getting a puppy is incredibly exciting, and being prepared is always a good idea. As well as choosing a comfy bed, food and water bowls for your Husky puppy, it’s helpful to know what games you can play to keep it entertained.
The Siberian Husky is a high-energy, intelligent, curious, and playful breed. But, unfortunately, the Siberian Husky is also renowned for being destructive when it’s bored or has pent-up energy to release; it will destroy your sofa with zero regrets. So having a few games up your sleeve is a worthwhile endeavor.
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Benefits of Playing With Your Husky Puppy
Playing games regularly with your Husky pup has a few practical benefits.
- It keeps your puppy entertained while burning off energy
- Creates a bond between you and your Husky
- Teaches your Husky that you are fun
- Teaches your Husky to Focus on you because you are fun
It is crucial to teach your Husky puppy that it’s fun and rewarding to focus on you; I have written an article on the importance of focus training for a Husky. Focus training is the bedrock of any training you will do with your puppy. If your puppy won’t focus on you, it’s not listening to you and won’t learn.
The Siberian Husky loves to play, which is a bonus for training. If you turn your training into games, you will have a lot of success with your puppy. The Siberian Husky responds very well to positive reinforcement training. Reward the behavior you want and redirect unwanted behavior to something acceptable.
What Types of Games Should I Play
All games and training games should be fun, last around 5 minutes each time, and you can use a portion of the daily kibble allowance for rewards instead of training treats. It’s important to remember that a puppy only needs 5 minutes of exercise for every month old; for example, a 3-month-old puppy only requires 15 minutes of physical activity. This is why games are great for working them mentally to help tire them out.
It would be best to play all the games inside with little to no distractions. Once your puppy has mastered them, you can move the game into a quiet garden or area. When your puppy has mastered the games here, you can start in an area with more distractions.
The idea is to increase the distractions around your puppy slowly but have your puppy still engage with you. This builds their focus on you which will help in later training for loose lead walking and recall training.
The Name Game
The name game is excellent for getting your puppy familiar with its name and responding to you saying its name.
- Using some treats, throw one to the side of your puppy
- When the puppy has eaten it, it will turn to look at you
- When the puppy looks at you, say its name and reward
- Repeat the steps, each time throwing the treat to alternate sides, behind and in front of the puppy
As the puppy responds faster to you, you can start rewarding it when you say its name in different rooms, then outside.
Teaching Sit is a great tool. The Sit can be used in all different situations and is a great cue to build other cues from.
- Using treats, hold one in front of the puppy’s face and slowly raise your hand
- As the head comes up, the bottom will go down
- As soon as the bottom touches the floor, say ‘Sit’ and reward
- Repeat the steps until the cue ‘Sit’ activates the behavior and reward
Introduce the ‘Sit’ cue in other rooms, during different activities, then outside, like playing musical statues with children, always reward. You can also introduce a hand signal while saying ‘Sit’ and then use the hand signal as the cue. We used the hand signal from the hands at the sides, bending the arm at the elbow, so the hand comes towards the shoulder.
We used this signal because if a child or stranger was worried about our Husky coming towards them, the instinct is to pull your hands up out of the way. However, as soon as our Husky saw this signal, she would sit!
Once your puppy is secure in the ‘Sit’ cue, you can introduce the ‘Down’ cue.
- From the Sit position, hold a treat in front of the puppy’s face and slowly lower your hand to the floor
- When the belly is on the floor, say ‘Down’ and reward
- Return the puppy to the ‘Sit’ position, reward
- Repeat the steps
Introduce the ‘Down’ cue in other rooms, during different activities, then outside. Again like playing musical statues with children, always reward. You can also introduce a hand signal while saying ‘Down’ and then use the hand signal as the cue. For example, we used the hand signal of raising our hands straight up above our heads.
If a child or stranger were afraid of our Husky coming towards them, their instinct would be to raise their hands above their heads. But, when our Husky saw this, she would lie down.
Most dogs love playing fetch, and the Husky is no different. For a puppy, use a ball or toy that isn’t too hard; you don’t want to hurt the teeth. We used a Kong Wubba as it is easy for a puppy to grab and carry; it can also double as a tug toy.
- Use a ball or a wubba, and let the puppy see the toy
- Gently throw the toy, but not too far
- When the puppy picks up the toy, say ‘Fetch’
- Lots of praise and celebration when the puppy brings the toy back
As the puppy gets the hang of the game, you can move it outside, then throw the toy a bit further.
Take It and Leave It
You can play this game with a treat or a favorite toy; the toy will be easier to use once the puppy has learned the cues. Leave IT is an excellent cue to teach your puppy, especially when you need to stop them from eating something nasty!
- Put your puppy in a ‘Sit’ position, and reward
- Place a treat in the flat of your hand, and allow your puppy to see it
- Slowly curl your fingers over the treat
- Allow your puppy to sniff your hand, be patient
- When your puppy pulls its head away, say ‘Leave It’ and give praise
- Open your hand, and as the puppy takes the treat, say, ‘Take It’
- Repeat these steps
Once your puppy has learned these cues, you can change the game’s parameters. For example, put a treat down and say Leave It; when the puppy goes to the treat, wait for a second, then tell the puppy to Take It. Although this will take lots of time and practice, eventually, you will be able to tell your dog to leave it, no matter what they have shown an interest in. Always reward a Leave It cue; your Husky must learn that it is worthwhile to follow your cue.
Go Find (Hide and Seek)
This game starts with treats and can be built on to include finding humans—my Husky loves playing Find games, finding treats, and finding humans.
- Start easy and build up the difficulty level
- Let your puppy see where you put the treat
- As your puppy gets to the treat, say, ‘Go Find It’ or ‘Find it’
- Repeat this a few times, saying ‘Go Find it’ sooner so that you can hide the treat and say ‘Go Find It’ as your puppy starts to head to the treat
- When your puppy is familiar with the cue, increase the difficulty by not letting them see where you hide it, but don’t make it too difficult
- Lots of praise when they find the treat
You can increase the difficulty level when they are pretty secure with the cue and find the treats quickly. To add another layer to the game, you can use empty toilet roll tubes or kitchen towel tubes to put some treats in, fold down the ends, and then hide those. This encourages them to use their sense of smell and gives them an outlet for their need to chew.
Playing hide and seek is quite simple. When your puppy is distracted, go and hide, don’t make it too difficult at the start. Have a treat with you. Call their name and wait for them to find you. When your puppy finds you celebrate with them and reward them.
If you have children, get them to hide and call your puppy. Let the children do it one at a time. Start this game inside; then, you can take it outside to play when your puppy has mastered it.
I would say to my Husky Luna, Go Find (name of child hiding). It has gotten to the stage now that I can ask Luna to Go Find (child or husband), and she will go to them. But, of course, we all know that we celebrate and praise her when she finds us!
The Siberian Husky has a high prey drive, which means it has an innate desire to chase and pounce on small prey. Using a Flirt Pole, you can meet this need safely with your puppy. A flirt pole is simple to use, similar to an extending fishing pole. You attach a rope or fluffy toy to the end and swish the pole around, allowing your puppy to chase and pounce on it.
Tug is a doggy favorite when it comes to games. However, you must be extremely careful about a puppy’s teeth, so tug should be played gently. With a rope or soft toy, gently move the toy from side to side – never use the up-down motion, as this can damage the neck and spine.
Allow the puppy to win often, and stop the game if your puppy begins to get too excited.
There will be times when you want your Husky puppy to amuse itself in a safe and non-destructive way. Some good toys are:
- Kong Wobbler treat dispensing toy
- Kong Gyro interactive treat dispensing toy
- Kong Biscuit Ball
- Chew Toys
I like the Kong brand toys, as they are robust. The Siberian Husky is a mouthy dog, and most are enthusiastic chewers, and the Kong brand seems to be Husky-proof – or as Husky-proof as a toy can be!
Playing age-appropriate games with your Husky puppy is the best way to forge a solid and trusting bond. Playing also teaches your Husky that focusing on you is positive and rewarding. Your Husky learns you are the provider of fun and rewards, which will significantly help loose lead walking and recall training!
The Siberian Husky is a fantastic dog and will bring you years of fun and companionship. However, they do need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. A bored Husky will show undesirable behaviors, so it’s essential to make sure that you play engaging games with your Husky.
I hope you have found this article helpful.