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.
Before getting a Sibe puppy, find out all you can about the wonderful nature of Siberian Huskies – the good, the bad, and the quirky.
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.
Another issue to consider is pet allergies. Many people are allergic to dog or cat hair. Although Siberian Huskies have little doggy smell and are not one of the most allergy-causing breeds, a serious pet dander allergy of a family member should have you reconsidering a dog for your choice of pet.
~~[Siberian Husky Club of Canada]
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.
I have a 10 yr old female husky and I’m looking for some help. She is incredible and I want to get her a friend since she is slowing down a bit and seeming a bit lonely. I have only had females in singles, would a boy or girl be better for her? She likes girl dogs better to play with as male dogs have always tried to ” hump” her and she’s fixed and has never done that and it irritates her, but I hear females will challenge later on. I will be getting a young puppy so I think she will feel more maternal but any experience out there? Thank you!!
Tiffany Wells says
We had just recently adopted two huskys, brother and sister.. They are both a year apart so possibly five and six or six and seven.. The male is probably the oldest only because on the way he acts. The sister is more active. They both seem to show that my brother is their leader for some reason i dont know.. But my main concern is the male.. He acts very lethargic and he has not touched the dog food and tonight would be two nights so far since we got them. He just wont play when we try to play with him. The only thing he seems to enjoy and brings him to life is when we take them outside for exercise. I am unaware if they are up to date on shots. I know the female is fixed and he is not. Can i get them shots if i dont know if they had them or not?? Just not trying to rush to the vet right away if unnecessary.. And its very odd to me that they try to avoid hard floors.. Like we have carpet in living room and thru the kitchen and bedrooms its hard floors.. And the hallway has carpet.. But they seem to not like them at all.. Had even moved food and water bowls to living room to make it easier.. Can someone please tell me if maybe my male dog is just maybe old and is around that age or if hes sick or somethinf else.. And what do i do about the shots? Thank you
When I get a new dog, I take him to the vet asap. The vet can properly evaluate my dog, give shots if necessary, and identify any existing physical conditions.
Hi. We recently brought a 10 week old husky into our home and she is not warming up to my husband ant all and seems to not like men period. We have tried to have him put an article of his clothing in her crate to get her used to his scent, he has fed her her dinner and even out of his hand, he gives her treats but for some reason she doesn’t like him. Doesn’t growl but just prefers others to him. She has licked him so she doesn’t hate him but I would like to know 2 things.. 1) will she outgrow this and 2) what is an acceptable time frame to wait? Sadly if she can’t be friends w he whole family she can’t stay.. Help!
Did your husky ever warm up to your husband??
We recently were given a husky puppy from a neighbor who had a litter. Lexi is 10 weeks old and for some reason she gets along with everyone in the family except my husband. She cowers,hides in her crate and goes out of her way to avoid him. Even tucks her tail between her legs. He has placed an article of clothing in her crate to get her used to his scent and has hand fed her treats even hamburger! But she still hasn’t come around. It’s been one a week but I want to know.. 1) will she eventually get over this and 2) what’s an acceptable time frame to wait and see? Sadly, if she can’t overcome this she won’t be staying with us. We can’t have a family dog who doesn’t like to be around the entire family and I also need his help in raising her and walking her! What do we do?!?!
WE have a 4 year old Huskey male who is the perfect dog. He was house trained when we got him 15 months ago. We walk him at least once a day and he is in the house most of the day. We decided that we want to breed and are adopting a 9 month old female huskey. Tamara, the new female, is not house trained and used to being outside. We are trying to figure out how it is all going to work. Do we keep the female as an outside dog, and Rocky ,our male, stays inside? We also don’t want Rocky to feel that he is being replaced. Any suggestions?
Poom and Nuggs dad says
I think all will be good as my experience says two Huskies often are good as they are so social. They are a major responsibility having one so having a second is not much more for the reward. We have a fenced in back yard, but they sleep inside. Huskies are very hard to decipher from online comments as they have such different personalities like people, so you have to physically be with the dog or dogs to really get a sense of an issue if not one basic and part of Husky family treatment. They are smart dogs, let them run and Love them, and yes they are grazers but this can lead to one dog eating more so we have become much more attentive to feeding time. But yah they are so rewarding as family, but like kids you better have time for them if you want happy hounders. But it is mostly common sense. Plus talk to your dogs as I swear they understand English after a while, maybe just the tone, but I’m pretty sure they understand some words more than sit and stand and calm, but they are geniuses. Although if we didn’t have the fenced in backyard, I doubt I would be able to deal with them without freaking out. When I say freaking out, I mean being guilty because I don’t think they are as happy as they can be. We are lucky and they love each other, as one was adopted and one was rescued from this horrible horrible places that just churn out dogs. I would not worry about the inside outside thing too much, as an inside dog can go to an outside dog quite easily, although does that mean he sleeps outside too or inside? Most dogs like it outside especially Huskies. We are just lucky to have the facilities to make it easier on them as they get to play in the snow and run around off leash. But walks are super key, as I said, running is everything to a Siberian Husky absolutely everything, so from GPS collars too crazy extendable leash inventions I have tried everything to allow them to run as much as possible. They have been with us eight and seven years now, so they have chilled out a little bit. And people say Huskies are not lapdogs, no they are not, but are huskies love doggy TV. They also love hang in the backyard and walks, obviously walks and running other favorite thing. But sorry they love doggy TV and TV in general, and they can understand English pretty well. It’s hard to understand and relate to what a husky owner who is experienced means as most of it is common sense and feel, as I said just like a kid. You wonder why the dog whisperer never has Siberian Husky’s on? Because they are like humans and that goes against everything he preaches. He is a nice guy, just wrong about huskies in my humble opinion as he also has them in the top 10 dangerous breeds. Please they might be dangerous to a rabbit, but even a rabbit can get the best of them if they’re having a bad day ha ha Ha. There’s nothing like a Siberian Husky just like there was nothing like the Grateful Dead show. It’s hard to really explain it until you experience it. PS our youngest but was a girl had to get knee surgery over the summer that cost quite a bit of money, but she was so good and so smart about it, she deserves the credit not us, so you will be surprised about huskies but the key is communication. Maybe I’m just lucky but I know they understand me, and they can read me like a book. Unfortunately they are getting old, and in time well let’s just say I don’t think I will ever get another dog again as no one or no dog will be able to live up to my Hounders, and I am horrified when our oldest passes as our youngest little girl she’s not that little money more, she is going to be especially heartbroken. But at that point we will probably let her just be with us all the time. By the way Huskies do not have the dander that people who are allergic to dogs suffer from, so ironically even though they shed a lot, since they don’t have the dander, their affect on allergies are not all bad. Hair is like dust if you don’t clean it up of course it’s going to affect allergies, but that comment about huskies and allergies is incorrect as I think the same thing can be said for Siberian cats there’s something about the Siberian that does not have the dander that makes people allergic. Sorry just a random fact. PPS by the way you describe your first dog, I am 100% sure you will be able to deal with the second.
Hi I’m a student and I own a Husky. I was hoping to email you for a featured article about Siberian Huskies. It wouldn’t be much, please let me know as soon as you can. Thank you.
Hi I have an 8 wk old Siberian named Mishka, we were told she was ready to go but i am pretty sure she was too young since her ears were not standing up when we got her until about a week after she was home with us. she has been doing really good with potty training and doesn’t pee in the house very often. My biggest problem is that she refuses to to poop while on her leash. If we let her off it is no problem, she goes and then come inside. How can i break this habit? We taker her out immediately after she wakes up, after playing with her, and about 20 minutes after she eats and we usually are out there for about an hour each time to try to make sure she goes.
I had the same problem when I got my husky, Gracie. It is a hard problem to fix. With my dog, I literally had to walk her for at least an hour each time after she ate. If she has no other option (which I gave her none) she won’t be able to hold it in forever. After pooping on a leash, as soon as she gets done, I give her a treat and praise her. It took almost 3 months to break that habit but it does take complete commitment and patience. Also NO exceptions even at 2 am. Hopefully this helps.
I have an 11 month old husky female and she has been an amazing dog in many ways. She’s amazingly sweet and loving, she’s playful and fun. We really do love her. But my husband and I were not prepared for the husky lifestyle at all. Unfortunately we were one of those couples who fell victim to getting one because of how beautiful and loving they are without properly reading what it takes to be a husky owner. We would hate to get rid of her now because of our mistake, but we are struggling to keep up with her. She is so incredibly active and energetic and we live a more laid back lifestyle as well as our schedules are unpredictable and inconsistent, so she doesn’t get the routine or exercise she needs. We are expecting our first child in May, and we know already that this will provide less time that we can commit to giving her what she needs. We have a fenced in back yard, and right now she has not discovered a love for digging. So I let her play out there as much as she wants although I check in while I work around the house. She loves to chase grasshoppers and run in circles and play with sticks. But I know this will not keep her satisfied long and she needs more. Do they settle down some with age? Or will she continue to be wild and destructive as she gets older if she doesn’t get as much exercise?
This happens way to often. People don’t do their home work when buying a husky. It’s very sad really. I have 3 huskies. And I personaly hope they will always be the fun life loving dogs they are! It’s who they are! They do settle down some. They need so much attention, I’m afraid when your baby arrives you will have a very sad depressed husky. They will never be a lap dog! It’s sounds like you already know the answer to your question. Please give that husky baby a chance at a great life and find it a good home, or at the very least take it to a really good adoption center. Good Luck and Enjoy your new baby.
why are there voices so high
branden brueggeman says
Huskies have different tones to their singing, and talking. My Siberian Husky ” Sasha ” howls at the coyotes that sometimes wander into our wooded property. The Higher pitch is kinda used to cast their voice farther. She used to howl at our other day in a low tone. It even got to a point where Sasha would tell me and my wife ” I love you” and even sounded like she called my wife momma.
We are purchasing land in the country, and searching for a suitable dog breed now that we’re moving from an apartment. I love Husky’s (for their sweetness, compatibility with children, intelligence, independence and energy), but really want a dog that can be left outside and free to roam. Obviously this is impossible in the city, but I was hoping we’d have enough room where we’re going. Our land will be 6 acres and the property line is 250 yards from a significant highway. All three other directions have no threats. Would a Siberian regularly venture that far? Is there a good cross or other breed option to maintain the good characteristics while keeping the dog from going so far from home? Or should I just plan on a shock collar system?
Basically, how can I have a Husky or similar breed while restricting its freedom as little as possible?
If my Sibes see a deer or some other animal, they are going to take off chasing for much farther than 6 acres. Both my Sibes have high prey drive, they love to run, and have an independent nature. One of them is more submissive, so she is more cautious. This is good in some ways, but if she gets spooked, she will take off and can cover a great distance quickly. The other one is fearless and infinitely curious. This made socializing her easy and fun, but she also gets into a lot trouble. She got bitten by a rattlesnake once, which was not a good experience.
Where I live, we have hiking trails all around and a pretty large area of public land. This is great, because I get to go hiking with the dogs a lot. However, there are also other dangers aside from just cars. There are coyotes, skunks, raccoons, rattlesnakes, etc. I walk my dogs on-leash even when we are hiking on the trails, simply because I do not think the risk is worth it. There are also ticks and fleas, so I always check them carefully after a hike. Thick Husky fur attracts ticks and makes them difficult to find. The thick fur also catches with all kinds of burrs, some of which can penetrate skin and can be a health hazard, especially fox-tails.
The general recommendation from the SHCA is –
A shorter haired dog, with lower prey drive, and that is a lot less independent may be better for staying closer to home, and not attracting too many skin parasites or burrs from surrounding vegetation. In general though, I would always supervise a dog when he is out and about.