Their icy blue eyes and their apex predatorial appearance can easily make any Siberian Husky a novelty dog. Just like with any dog, you have to do your research to know if you and the dog are the right fit for eachother—whether it be personality or even just your everyday schedule. Many dogs have to be rehomed and even abandoned simply because the owner can’t keep up with its needs.
Siberian Huskies are beautiful dogs, but they also require A LOT of maintenance. I can confidently say that they are not for the average dog owner. I’ve listed a few tips and share my experience as a husky owner (I have 2 of them) to help you if you are looking to get a Siberian Husky.
Be The Leader of The Pack
Every pack needs a leader, and huskies should know this early on. I joke around a lot on how my dogs rule my life, but in actuality, they know their heirarchy, and that they are under any human in the household. They are also VERY stubborn dogs and will do what they want and when they want. They may challenge you, but don’t make this behavior go unchecked. I’m not a dog trainer, but for us, a stern voice with positive reinforcement always works. Make sure you check their behavior AS you see them doing it and not after the fact because it will confuse them and will not be able to associate your correction with their bad behavior.
Don’t Get A Husky As A Novelty Dog
I’ve noticed this when we had to sell 2 of Kira’s full-bred siberian husky pups. We didn’t just sell them to the first interested buyer of course. We interviewed and screened a lot of offers. If you are a Game of Thrones fanatic and want to be THAT closer to House Stark, then forget about it. There are actual husky sanctuaries because many owners find themselves not prepared to care for them. Also, there was a point where there was a surge of husky intakes in these santuaries after Game of Thrones aired.
Do NOT Shave Huskies
The shedding cycle and double coat for huskies helps regulate their body temperature and protect them from the sun. Their coats may be thick, but it actually keeps them cool during hot days. Don’t be lazy and shave your huskies. Be prepared for the shedding, or don’t get a husky at all.
Keep Your House Cool and Don’t Leave Them Outside
I live in Texas. Yes, it’s hot, and no, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have a husky. If you’re a responsible dog owner, any dog can adapt to any environment. With that said, Texas has very hot summer days. We always keep our house cool to the point where we have to wear a sweater inside the house. When it does get cooler outside, the temperature inside the house is still relatively cool. We have a sliding door insert doggy door so that they can freely go in and out the house to enjoy some temperature change and outdoor air. One thing to note, they like to sunbathe, and again, their double coat keeps them cool during hot days. They may not notice how hot it can get while they sleep, so keep an eye on them. My dogs can lay under the sun at 100 degree days for a good amount of time. I would sometimes have to wake them up and call them in.
Don’t Get A Husky If You Don’t Have the Time
Huskies require a lot of attention. They love the cuddles and every minute you are away will feel like a lifetime. They will be waiting for you at your front door with tail wags, jumping, howling, and licking. If you don’t have arrangements to have anyone look after them while you’re at work and they are couped up in the house alone, they might not be the right dog for you. Have plans for doggy day care where they can mingle with other dogs or take them to a dog sitter/walker. My fiance and I both have demanding work schedules, but we try to work it out to make sure they are never alone in the house for extended periods of time. My fiance sometimes takes them to his fire station, but for the most part, we make the trip back and forth to our parents’ house so they can watch them for a few days. Although it is a tedious back and forth schedule and quite the drive to make every few days, it’s worth it. It also works out both ways because they love having them around.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Siberian Huskies have a lot of energy. At the very least, you will need to walk them every-single-day. We try to take them on runs as much as we can so that we also can get our daily dose of exercise.
Keep Them On A Leash
Huskies are very loyal dogs, but they also have a very independent spirit. Unless they are in an enclosed dog park, it’s best to keep them on a leash at all times. Even if they are trained, their attention in unfamiliar places is very short and can get distracted very easily. Also, with their stubborn personality and exploratory nature, they have little to no recall. Good luck trying to chase after them! Our huskies are very obedient for the most part, and we do find ourselves letting them off the leash at some times. Know the environment and know your dog.
They’re Not Great Guard Dogs
Kira, our first husky, does not bark…at ALL. Infact, as scary and wolf-like they may look, they’re actually very friendly dogs. They will make friends with an intruder instead of trying to ward them off. Although, for us, our second husky (Kira’s pup) barks, and she actually barks at anything unusal in the house. I’m not saying all huskies don’t bark or have guard dog traits–just don’t plan on relying on your husky to be your home security officer.
Huskies are very fussy eaters and may go on for a few days not eating. Don’t try to change their food or diet. We actually leave food out and they will eat when they want to. See, I told you they are stubborn! Be careful, though, if they are overweight. Leaving food out may not be the best method because of the risk of over-feeding them. They also have a particular diet mostly consisting of meat. Stay away from foods that have a lot of grains, vegetables, fillers, and preservatives because it might upset their stomach. Their food might be a little more expensive, but it will save you a trip to the vet. They’ve been eating this 100% grain-free dog food ever since they were both puppies and they’ve never had any digestive issues. It’s a little pricey, but it’s worth it.
Huskies shed a lot. Regular brushing everyday will do the trick, but a trip to the groomers can help minimize the work you have to do at home. Huskies will “blow” out clumps of their undercoat in preparation for a big seasonal change. We use the Furminator set of deshedding tool and it helps brush deep into their undercoat and help expedite the shedding.
Be prepared for an explosion of fluffy, clumpy, and tumbleweeds of hair everywhere. Your house will literally be coated in their fur, so be acquainted with your vacuum. We don’t have a lot of carpet in our house, so it helps a little to just do a quick sweep everyday between deep cleans. We use this pet roller. It covers a large surface area and the adhesive is very strong and can pick up the finest hair.
Huskies are very friendly with other pets, but need to be integrated with them properly. As friendly as they are, they do have predatorial tendencies, and also want to ensure they are higher in the heirarchy of the pack. Ideally, it’s best to introduce them to other pets at a young age, but any age is fine as long as they have ongoing supervision during the introductory phase.
Aside from them getting their daily exercise, the best home environment for huskies require a large living space. First of, they’re not meant to be couped up in the house, let alone a small house or apartment. They are highly inquisitive dogs and need room to explore. Make sure your back yard has a high fence. Huskies have very powerful hind legs, so they can easily jump over a fence. They are also amazing escape artists, so make sure your yard is secured above and below.
Dogs only have a limited time on earth and every moment counts. Love them and cherish them. They give us all the love they can give, we should do the same. They are not pets, but part of your family. It may seem like it can be a daunting experience having a husky, but it is 100% worth it. I’d take the furballs everywhere anytime!
If you love huskies, don’t forget to check out these cool coffee spots in Texas that are pet-friendly and husky approved!
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