I think our shepherd-husky mix is one of the most intelligent dogs I've seen. She is not a fast runner like our full-husky, but if you've seen the pictures from my website (www.huskydogs.net), you can see the husky look to her tail and legs. This dog is also very outgoing, loving to meet people and be pet by anyone around - like a typical husky is usually people-friendly. Also, like a husky, she pulls while being walked and is very, very strong. One thing she does not have is that innate husky need to run, run, run, - oh yeah, and run.
Speaking of strong, this is one thing we have had trouble with. Our dog is so strong that she could pull over 200 pounds on a snow sled (in snow) on her own, even up a bit of a incline. Therefore, we had trouble when we tied our dog out, either on a chain or cable. While we let our dogs sleep inside at night, and they are inside with us during daytimes when we are home. However, when everyone is gone, we put the dogs out on a cable or chain. The shepherd-mix, as she reached one year of age, was able to pull any stake we used out of the ground. We even tried a heavy calf stake-out pole embedded in concrete, buried 3 feet in the ground (unfortunately, our yard is quite sandy - typical for the west side of Michigan). She even bent the pole right over. All of the pulling is from trying to chase after stray dogs or squirrels, and she starts from a lot of slack in the line - so has a lot of speed when hitting the end of the line.
Our eventual solution was to fill a half-55 gallon barrel with cement, burying a solid iron pole with a hoop end (I think it's a 1" diameter) in the cement. We use the heaviest cable available in the stores for the cable, and change the cable at least one a year.
Okay, so that's about her strength. Anyone who has a husky or husky-mix had better start very early to train the dog NOT to pull during walks. Sorry, I cannot tell anyone how to accomplish that, as we never did train our to not pull. Maybe, researching how people train huskies to mush (and therefore to start and stop pulling) could give husky owners some clues. Some weblinks I've found include:
- http://homepage.ntlworld.com/animal-zone/Husky.htm (scroll down the page a bit for comments on this person's experience and suggestions)
- http://www.allaboutpetswa.com/just_ask%20Kathy%20McLeod.htm (a couple of suggestions about walking huskies - but written by an Australian so the spelling is varied from my US spelling)
- http://www.siberianhuskyclub.com/faq (sort through the questions sections - none addressess walking on a leash directly, but there are good training hints)
Also with training, make sure any dog learns to not jump up on people during enthusiastic greetings. Our mixed breed was 65 pounds at her ideal weight (she's a bit overweight right now). With her intelligence, our dog learned to sit, stay, talk, and shake quite easily (my husband is the trainer). She was taught to look at us by hearing her name first, knowing then to pay attention. My husband had us all us the same words, and have the same expectation (for instance, stay in place across the room until "released" with the proper command). We also used hand signals to augment the words. One example is to how one hand up in a typical "stop" guesture while telling the dog to stay. Maybe it was the training, but I expect it was the shepherd in her, this dog actually listens (MOST if the time) when called while running around the yard (the exception usually involved being hot the sent of a mouse or chipmunk).