I currently share my life with two Siberian Huskies – puppy Lara (7 months old) and Shania (3.5 years old). Both of them are very silly, and very energetic. They love to play, explore, and hunt for earth critters.
Siberian Huskies are beautiful dogs who love people and love life. They can be great family dogs if properly trained. However, because of their high energy and high prey drive, they require a lot of daily exercise and are not to be trusted off leash. When bored, a Husky may chew, dig, and escape to look for adventure elsewhere.
Siberian Huskies – The Good
1. Siberian Huskies are love bugs.
Sibes are very affectionate dogs. They are especially friendly with people, even strangers.
Husky Shania has very many friends in our neighborhood and she enjoys going to say hello to them every day. Her most favorite friend in the world is the Awesome Cookie Guy. Whenever we pass his house, Shania always stops and waits. When her Cookie friend spots her and comes out, he comes bearing gifts – a yummy low-fat cookie for Shania!
Shania also comes to me when I am sad or upset. She will lie down next to me or lay her head on my lap and give me licks.
The people trusting nature of Siberian Huskies make it easy to find caretakers for them when I get busy, or when I need to leave on emergencies or vacations.
2. Siberian Huskies are athletic and have a strong zest for life.
Lara and Shania are frequently on the go. They enjoy re-landscaping our backyard, attacking bushes, pulling down trees, running, jumping, and digging. They both enjoy playing chasing games and are always ready to go out for a walk and explore. They get very excited whenever anybody comes to visit and enjoy spending play-time and rest-time with their pack.
As part of their zesty life program, Huskies also love to eat.
Both Lara and Shania will eat and eat and continue to eat more if they can. To keep them healthy and slim, I set up a fixed eating schedule and only give them their allotted amount of food. If I give them treats, then I reduce their regular meals a bit so that they keep a fairly constant caloric intake.
Sibes are not shy about stealing food or begging for food. Both Lara and Shania will steal each other’s food if they can. They will also steal from my other dog, Shiba Inu Sephy.
I always supervise them closely during meal-times. Food stealing can encourage food aggression, so I train my dogs not to steal and teach them that if there is any stealing, I will handle the situation.
Siberian Huskies can also get impatient about food and may get slightly overzealous when taking food out of your hand. Bite inhibition training is a must.
3. Siberian Huskies are clever and independent.
Sibes are smart and will quickly learn new commands and figure out interactive toy puzzles; especially when food is on the line.
Lara learned how to Sit on command as soon as we got her home (8 weeks old). In fact, if we use positive reinforcement techniques, we can start obedience training puppies as early as 6 weeks old. However, puppies should not be removed from the litter until they are at least 8 weeks old.
With clever and independent dogs like the Siberian Husky, it is most effective to use reward training techniques. I teach my Huskies that the best way to get what they want is to do what I want first. Here is more on how I trained my Husky puppy.
- If they want to go play in the backyard, they must first do a simple Sit next to the door.
- If they want their food toy, they must first do a Handshake.
- If they dig where they are not supposed to in the backyard then they lose their backyard privileges.
Since we control all of our dog’s resources, we can encourage good behaviors and discourage bad behaviors by tying those behaviors to our dog’s most desired resources.
With reward training my Sibes are always motivated to work. They are never hand-shy and love being with people. Siberian Huskies have a wonderful independent spirit, so we should not shock them, choke them, or physically dominate them into submission.
Siberian Huskies – The Bad
1. Siberian Huskies shed a whole lot.
Sibes blow their coat once or twice a year. During this time they will shed most of their undercoat and replace it with new fur. Frequent brushing will help to control some of this shedding and keep our Husky comfortable and clean.
Even though they may only blow their coat twice a year, Sibes actually shed all year round. There is Sibe fur everywhere in our house, including carpets, tile floor, counters, tables, chairs, blankets, and beds. Hair can also get onto kitchen utensils, food, and drinks.
If you or members of your family are allergic to dog fur, it is best not to get a Siberian Husky.
Because they shed so much, try to make brushing and handling fun for your Husky. I always pair brushing sessions with food so that it becomes a fun and rewarding experience. I start with a soft brush and slowly switch over to using the Furminator which is awesome at getting out a dog’s undercoat.
2. Siberian Huskies are awful guard dogs.
Sibes look wild, like wolves. For this reason, many people think that they make fierce guard dogs.
In truth, however, a Husky is more likely to invite strangers into your home with open paws and give them many licks.
Siberian Huskies are happy, goofy, and naturally trust all the people that they see.
My Siberians may sometimes make a fuss when people are at the door, but it is out of excitement rather than a warning cry.
Also, my Siberians will happily follow anyone home as long as they have some yummy pieces of food.
3. Siberian Huskies have very high prey drive.
Husky Shania is a very accomplished huntress.
When we first got our backyard landscaped, we had a big Earth Critter Attack. There are a fair number of rodents including gophers, voles, and mice that live in our area and they decided to throw a big party on our newly planted grass. Holes were appearing everywhere and the organic scent-based pest control we used did not seem to have much of an effect.
We were worried that our yard would not even last the year but then huntress Shania went into action. After a few days of hunting and marking, we noticed that the Rodent Gang had moved their party location somewhere else!
However, this high prey drive also makes it extremely risky to let a Sibe go off-leash in a non-enclosed space. If she spots a deer or squirrel, she will be gone and away before you can shout Stop. Siberian Huskies are very athletic and can cover large distances in a fairly short amount of time.
High prey drive also means that a Husky will have a strong instinct to chase and hunt cats and possibly also small dogs.
4. Siberian Huskies love to pull, pull, pull.
Sibes were bred to pull sleds, and today, they still love to PULL!
One of the biggest challenge with my Huskies is teaching them how to walk without pulling and/or to only pull on command.
The easiest way to leash train a Husky is to start when she is young and still small. I have tried a variety of techniques with my dogs and what has worked best are the red-light,green-light technique and the 180-turn-around technique.
I started leash training puppy Lara almost as soon as we got her. First I trained her in our backyard. After she was fully vaccinated, I started leash training her around our neighborhood.
While leash training a Sibe, it is very important to be totally consistent. I stop as soon as puppy Lara starts to pull and if she pulls too much, I turn around and walk in the opposite direction. This teaches her that the fastest way to get to where she wants to go is to walk along with me at a measured pace.
5. Siberian Huskies love to sing.
Sibes have a great singing voice. However, neighbors may not particularly enjoy it when Siberians decide to sing or howl to the moon.
Husky Lara is a very vocal dog. She barks when excited, frustrated, scared, and sometimes when other dogs are barking. I have to spend more time and effort training her to stay quiet because her natural instinct is to vocalize.
Husky Shania is a more quiet dog. She almost never barks and the only time she vocalizes is when she is playing with my other dogs. She also sings beautifully when she hears a squeaky toy.
My Husky breeder tells me that there are some Sibe bloodlines that are more noisy than others. Lara’s mother, for example, comes from a more vocal bloodline.
6. Siberian Huskies are a big time commitment.
Sibes are very energetic and affectionate. They like being with people and they also need something to do. Otherwise, they will get bored and get into at least 10 kinds of trouble.
All my dogs work for all of their food, either through obedience exercises, grooming sessions, play sessions, or through interactive food toys. In addition, they go for 1.5 hour daily walks and wrestle with each other several times a day. Sometimes, I join in on the fun and play flirt pole or the water hose game with them.
When bored or lonely, a Husky will figure out her own activities, which may lead to property damage or escape expeditions.
Do not get a dog, especially a Siberian Husky, unless you have a lot of free time to spend with her. If you must work long hours, consider dog daycare or hiring a dog walker. Sibes do best when there are many interesting activities throughout the day and frequent human supervision.
I Love Siberian Huskies
Sibes are awesome dogs. They are always ready of adventure, and they will be there to give you licks and support when you need it, or even when you don’t.
I got my Huskies through the breeder list from the Siberian Husky Club of America. I also considered adopting from my local Siberian Husky rescue, but did not find one that fit well with my Shiba Inu.
It is best to avoid backyard breeders, pet stores, and online pet stores. Such establishments almost always sell unhealthy puppies with poor temperaments.