How to Train a Spitz Dog

Spitz breeds are suited to living in cold climes.
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Spitz breeds, also known as northern breeds, have a rugged charm. The group is diverse and includes breeds from Scandinavia; Finnish spitz, Norwegian spitz, Asia, shar pei, Akita and chow chow plus Siberia and America; husky and Alaskan malamute respectively. To effectively train your spitz dog, understanding his personality and motivations is key.

Step 1

Give yourself a physical advantage. Sledding breeds and some of the larger hunting breeds can be difficult to control, so use a no-pull harness to prevent them running the show during leash training and general obedience training. This harness uses the dog’s strength against him and forces him sideways if he pulls, which is ideal if you are no physical match for your dog.

Step 2

Take your dog for a long walk. It is easier to get a dog’s cooperation if he is a little tired. He will be less likely to become distracted. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog.

Step 3

Create a quiet, distraction-free training area. Shut off the television, close the door and tell family members not to disturb you. Spitz breeds are very alert and can easily be distracted by foot traffic, sounds and the simple presence of others.

Step 4

Learn your dog’s currency. By understanding what motivates your dog, you can entice him with reward much more easily. Sled breeds, such as huskies and malamutes are motivated by the chance to run and pull and the eurasier loves attentions. By observing your dog’s reaction to various stimuli, you will easily figure out what his currency is. For the majority of dogs, it’s food, so try a range of treats and see which he loves best.

Step 5

Be firm and consistent. Use a leash to gently guide your dog when toilet potty training, socialization and teaching the recall.

Step 6

Time your rewards. When reinforcing a desired behavior, such as a correctly executed sit, you must issue the reward almost instantly. This heightens the chances of your dog making the association between the action and the outcome.

Step 7

Vary your training exercises. Spitz breeds typically are intelligent and will get bored of repetitive exercises. The Finnish spitz in particular hates monotony and will soon tire if asked to do the same thing in the same way.

Step 8

Expose your dog to bark-inducing stimuli, such as the doorbell, regularly. Spitz breeds are naturally vocal so you will want to get a grip on their barking early on. Just before he barks, say “speak” then give a reward. The reward has two functions; it reinforces the act of barking on command and it distracts him from further barking. Over time, he will learn to bark only when asked.

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