When we talk about dog training, owning a purebred German Shepherd or a Siberian Husky puppy is a safer deal than owning a mixed-breed puppy. These two popular purebreds have a well-defined breed standard, and we have mastered their training over the years.
However, training a German Shepherd Husky mix may not have the advantage of clear-cut standards, which begs the question of how to train a German Shepherd Husky mix puppy.
Here are seven easy ways to train a German Shepherd Husky Mix puppy:
- Set up feeding and potty schedules.
- Socialize your Shepsky early with exposure.
- Reward your puppy’s good behavior.
- Teach your Shepsky puppy its name.
- Use friendly ways to draw your puppy’s attention.
- Be your Gerberian Shepsky’s “Pack Leader.”
- Tame the hunter in your Shepsky puppy with a leash.
Because Gerberian Shepsky training can be a novel experience for many German Shepherd Husky mix puppy owners, I put together this training guide with 7 key ways to train your Shepsky puppy.
Are German Shepherd Husky Mix Easy To Train?
A German Shepherd Husky mix puppy is relatively easy to train. As an offspring of the extremely intelligent German Shepherd and the self-willed Siberian Husky, training the Gerberian Shepsky can be at the same time fun and challenging.
To know how trainable your German Shepherd Husky Mix puppy is, consider the traits of each parent breed that work pro or con training.
German Shepherd Trainability
German Shepherds are originally herding dogs with the high energy of a working dog. They will easily put up with demanding tasks, and you can invest in their energy to train them without overdoing it with young puppies.
These dogs are highly trainable, considering they rank among the top five most intelligent dog breeds.
According to Coren’s study on The Intelligence of Dogs, they’ll quickly learn new commands, requiring you to repeat them less than five times and obey the first commands 95% of the time.
German Shepherds bond well with family and are eager to please. For this reason, you can count on the dog to learn commands as a way of pleasing you.
Positive, reward-based training will work perfectly with German Shepherds for the same reason.
German Shepherds have high mental stimulation needs and will be happy with challenging training activities. Besides, they are courageous and confident, which indicates their ability to challenge themselves with training tasks.
They are curious and alert, which will work in your favor when you need to draw your German Shepherd puppy’s attention when training.
Conversely, German Shepherds can be stubborn, making training difficult when they are ‘not in the mood.’
Siberian Husky Trainability
Siberian Huskies were bred as working dogs to pull sleds in the frigid climates among the Chukchi of Asia. That makes them high-energy dogs that can easily take the energy demands of training.
Though they aren’t considered among the most intelligent breeds, Huskies have an average obedience intelligence and learn new commands with several repetitions and obey them half the time. That means a bit more patience and dedication on your part.
Huskies can be mischievous, and their outgoing nature can make them easily distracted when trying to instill some social or obedience training in them. They are more self-willed than eager to please, which pulls down their trainability score.
Their need for mental stimulation is above average, which means they mostly require an activity to stay mentally stimulated. If allowed to, your Siberian Husky can be a couch potato.
Unlocking the Training Potential of Your Gerberian Shepsky
Deductively, your Gerberian Shepsky will inherit a few of its trainability qualities from each parent breed and most likely some non-trainability attributes.
Going by this, I created a summarized combination of the parents’ trainability/non-trainability qualities to help you determine if the German Shepherd Husky mix puppy is easy to train.
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|Trainability/Non-trainability Quality||German Shepherd||Siberian Husky||Gerberian Shepsky||Score|
|Eager to please||High||Low||Average||2.5|
|Mental stimulation needs||High||Above average||Above average||3|
|Grand Score (out of 30)||17/30|
Key: Trainability qualities – 5=High; 3=Above Average; 2.5 = Average; 1= Low. Non-trainability qualities – 1=High; 2.5=Above Average; 3 = Average; 5 = Low.
Going by this, your Gerberian Shepsky is slightly above average in trainability. According to the AKC, even though some dogs may rank higher in trainability than others, every dog is trainable.
You only need to find out what is unique about your dog and capitalize on that by finding the most helpful training techniques.
In this light, with the knowledge of the hybrid qualities that you have to work with for your Gerberian Shepsky training, it’s easier to explore how to train a German Shepherd Husky mix puppy.
How To Train a German Shepherd Husky Mix Puppy
You’ll need to socialize, housetrain, crate train, and train your German Shepherd Husky mix puppy in obedience.
How you do that is extremely important as it will affect how well your hybrid furry friend adapts to the family and how happy his life will be.
Here are 7 easy ways to train your German Shepherd Husky mix puppy.
1. Set Up Bathroom and Feeding Schedules
Especially if your Shepsky puppy has inherited a lot of the Husky’s self-will (independence), setting up a schedule is a crucial training element.
Setting up a schedule works perfectly in house training as your self-willed Shepsky puppy will learn what to do and when and where to do it.
For example, train your puppy in the routine of going out every time it needs to relieve itself. You can set the routine of taking the puppy out at distinct times, such as:
- First thing in the morning
- Before bed
- After every meal
- After play or training sessions
Set a feeding schedule, preferably three or four small meals during the day, and avoid a free-feeding approach. That will help your puppy also predict the bathroom moments.
2. Socialize Your Shepsky Early With Exposure
It’s not just humans that form character in the first years of life; dogs do, too! Because Siberian Huskies and German Shepherds have a strong prey drive and will readily chase smaller animals or bark at strangers, socializing them early is non-negotiable.
As early as eight weeks of age, when you bring your Shepsky puppy home, especially before week 12, begin to teach your puppy the difference between human and animal friends and possible threats.
Also, teach the art of safe play with other pets and people without becoming aggressive.
You can use these ways to socialize your Gerberian Shepsky:
- Introduce your Shepsky puppy to unknown, friendly persons so he can learn to be calm in novel, non-threatening situations.
- Allow your Shepsky puppy to play with other puppies, dogs, and cats, and correct aggressive behavior like biting and growling by removing the puppy from the playmates when it happens. Reinforce good behavior with a verbal reward, a pat, and a treat so your puppy knows how to behave with playmates.
- Feed your German Shepherd Husky mix puppy with other dogs and cats (not from the same bowl) so your pet doesn’t grow to be food aggressive.
- Allow other family members and visitors (children and adults) to play with your Shepsky puppy. You can have them reward good behavior with treats so your puppy learns to associate people with positive experiences.
3. Reward Your Puppy’s Good Behavior
If you, like me, advocate positive reward-based training, you know it is the best way to train a Husky German Shepherd mix.
A recent study confirmed that training your puppy with positive reinforcement is more effective in targeting specific dog behavior and general obedience training.
Besides, positive reinforcement promotes overall dog welfare and increases the quality of the owner-dog relationship.
Using positive reward-based training with your puppy recognizes that dogs are capable of experiencing emotions, such as pleasure and suffering. This is known as animal sentience.
Your friendly Gerberian Shepsky will appreciate a reward for good behavior. So, capitalize on positive reinforcement by praising your puppy when he obeys commands, goes to the bathroom at prescribed spots, or stops a behavior when you command it.
It’s crucial to reward behavior as soon as it is accomplished so your Shepsky pup can associate reward and behavior, creating a greater probability that your puppy will repeat and consequently learn the behavior.
4. Teach Your Shepsky Puppy Its Name
Both German Shepherds and Siberian Husky dogs enjoy family time, so your Shepsky puppy is bound to be the same.
Calling the puppy by name will not only serve as the typical way your dog recognizes any family member is addressing it, but it’s also a critical attention-calling cue during your Gerberian Shepsky training.
Here’s a quick and effective way to teach your Shepsky its name:
- Wait for your Shepsky puppy to be distracted or look away from you.
- Say your puppy’s name in an excited tone.
- Reward the puppy as soon as it turns towards you. Pair the treat with a verbal reward such as “good boy!” or a clicker to let the puppy know that the response is correct.
- Repeat the process several times daily and in different situations when playing or watching TV. Diversifying training situations will help the pup generalize both the cue and the response and, with time, respond every time it’s called.
This Video is an Excellent Demonstration of These Steps…
5. Use Friendly Ways To Draw Your Puppy’s Attention
A Gerberian Shepsky puppy inherits its parents’ friendly and happy nature, especially the indiscriminately friendly Husky. That ‘puppy joy’ should not be ruined with unfriendly training methods like yelling.
Instead, use friendly methods like:
- Clapping your hands or tapping your fingers to stop your pup from soiling your carpet instead of yelling.
- Excitedly calling his name to draw the pup’s attention rather than shouting his name.
6. Be Your Gerberian Shepsky “Pack Leader”
Being a dog’s pack leader is often given a negative connotation, especially when the term ‘alpha’ is used. Here, however, we intend it in the positive sense of being your dog’s point of reference.
Depending on how much of the ‘pack gene’ your Shepsky puppy inherits from the Siberian Husky, you’ll need to be the reliable reference to which your puppy can turn.
For example, making your Shepsky puppy understand that there’s a schedule for meal times and that you control the schedule is a way of being a pack leader without feeling repressed.
7. Tame the Hunter in Your Shepsky Puppy With a Leash
We mentioned earlier that the German Shepherd and the Siberian Husky have a breed-related prey drive. Additionally, the Husky is known for its tendency to dig and escape.
To tame the hunter instinct in your Gerberian Shepsky puppy, teach your pup to walk on a leash. Letting your Shepsky puppy off-leash in parks is not advised, especially if complete obedience training has not been done.
I advocate you stick with the positive reward-based training and follow these two steps to train your Shepsky puppy to walk on a leash:
Step 1. Start Indoors
Start by letting your Gerberian Shepsky puppy wear a leash or harness inside the house before going outdoors.
Using the leash during play or training when you give treats will make the pup associate the leash with positive outcomes.
Alternatively, use the leash for short periods during the day and reward the puppy whenever he walks around for a while with the leash or comes to you when you call.
Accompany the treat with a clicker sound or a verbal reward like “Yes!” or “Good boy!”
If you use a harness, reward your puppy’s patience while putting it over his body and working the straps.
Ensure to get the most comfortable harness for your young puppy because being comfortable will favor your Shepsky training.
Step 2. Proceed to the Outdoors
The outdoor step in teaching your Shepsky puppy to walk on a leash will be challenging because the sights, smells, and sounds can be a great distraction for your pup.
Make your puppy’s first outdoor walks short. Notice any attempts to pull or lunge and use the verbal cues you have taught your puppy to draw its attention. Reward the puppy every time it responds to a cue.
It would help if you stayed still any time your Shepsky puppy tried to pull the leash and give the same verbal reward and treats you use indoors whenever your puppy stops pulling.
How long does it take to train a German Shepherd Husky mix puppy?
It typically takes 6-12 months to fully train a German Shepherd Husky mix puppy. Be consistent with positive reinforcement training sessions of 10-15 minutes, 4-5 times daily.
Be patient – it can take time for a Shepsky pup to learn commands due to their intelligence and independence.
How do I handle separation anxiety in my German Shepherd Husky mix puppy?
If your Shepsky puppy shows signs of separation anxiety when you leave, start small. Practice short absences while giving treats or toys. Slowly increase the time apart over weeks. Crate training can help with separation anxiety, too.
Leave your pup with comforting items that smell like you. Be calm and cheerful when arriving and departing to ease anxiety.
How to groom and care for a Gerberian Shepsky
Your Shepsky pup will need regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling. Invest in a high-quality, slicker brush and comb. Brush their coat at least 2-3 times per week, checking for burrs or tangles. Bathing is rarely needed unless they get dirty. Trim nails when they click on floors.
Check ears weekly and clean if needed. Brush teeth a few times a week to promote good dental health.
Let’s Wrap This Up!
The question of how to train a German Shepherd Husky mix puppy is common among new owners.
Start by understanding the hereditary traits of the parent breeds, which can influence the trainability of your Gerberian Shepsky puppy.
Fortunately, Gerberian Shepsky’s innate intelligence, abundant energy, and craving for mental engagement make them highly trainable.
However, be aware that they may inherit a streak of stubbornness or independence, necessitating extra patience and perseverance on your part.