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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Common Behavioral Problems of the Siberian Husky Are Digging and Running Away

Digging is more common when huskies are left outside for long periods of time. Digging a hole and laying in it is cooler than simply laying on top of warm soil in warmer climates. Many people attribute this behavior to their past when they dug holes to sleep in the snow. In that case, they were kept warmer by trapping their body heat in the surrounding snow.

A solution for their digging is to provide huskies with an area where they can dig. Most people use sand for the allowed area; however, sand will not keep them as cool as a few layers down in the soil. Thus, they will still dig in other areas, but at least it will cut down on their digging the whole yard up.

Huskies also use digging to escape their yards. Their curiosity is such that they want to experience the world on the other side of the fence. I have had many huskies that have dug themselves to the other side of the fence only to wait for me at the front door.

Running away is another problem huskies have. This may be also due to their past history. Back in Siberia, huskies were allowed to roam in the summers; they would find food and water on their own; they would breed and create a family, and eventually, they would come back to their masters in the winter. During the winter, they would work for food. Eventually, they would be set free again in the summer to fetch for themselves.

Huskies can easily get away by climbing a fence that is less than 6 feet tall. I had a rescue, however, that was sitting in a different pen every time I came home. For a couple of days, I thought someone was playing tricks on me by moving him around from pen to pen. On the third day, I actually saw Jackie at the top of a 6 ft. fence. I yelled his name, and he slowly came down using his front paws as hands, just as a monkey would do. Amazing!

There are some solutions you can try to curtail your husky from running. Since they can escape fences, leashes, and open doors, it is very important to keep the dog confined. Yard gates should be kept closed at all times, and house doors should be closed tightly when leaving or entering the home.

In addition, make sure that collars are tight. Siberian huskies are very smart, and many know how to back up out of their collars. Their leashes should also be held tightly since they also like to pull especially when something catches their eye such as a small animal, insect, a cat, etc.

All in all, these amazing creatures continue to enlighten us daily with their comical ways.

Developing Routines for Potty and Crate Training for Siberian Huskies

Huskies are creatures of habits. Since they are working dogs, developing routines for them goes well with their temperaments.

Taking them out to potty at the same times is important to reinforce their potty training. They even learn the time, and eagerly wait for you at the door.

Developing a place or haven where they can relax and feel safe is also good for them. I have a crate for each one that is in the house, and the ones outside have their own houses even if they have a roof over the kennel. The crate or inside kennel is always left opened for them. They go in when they please and especially when they want to take a nap during the day or sleep at night.

However, I also use it to keep them away from other huskies or if they are bothering guests for belly rubs too much. Since they are used to the crate, they don’t mind being in it while it is locked up. I teach them to “go home”, and they go right to their crates. While in it, they don’t complain unless I forget them after the guests have left or I have already taken the other husky out of the room. In that case, they let me know with a howl or a conversation.

I have even tried to change their “homes” at times to see how they react. After a few times pointing and telling them to go home, they know that this is their new home. This haven is essential to their well being. They just love to chill in the crate at any time of the day. After all, huskies are den animals; when they are preparing to have puppies, they make and clean their nests.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Do Siberian Huskies Shed Like Other Dogs?

This is a question I get probably every other week of the year. Huskies have a double coat. It serves to protect them from both very cold and very hot temperatures. Therefore, they need the double coat in any climate; that is the reason why they should never be shaved. Furthermore, no special type of brush or sheers should be used on them to pull out their second coat; this is usually recommended by groomers who are not familiar with the breed. The coat protects them from the UV rays of the sun in hot climate areas, and it helps them work in minus zero temperatures.

Twice a year, they “blow” or lose their undercoat. This means that a great amount of hair will be dropped around the house right before the winter and then again before the hot summer. There have been frantic new husky owners who have called thinking that their huskies were ill due to their hair loss; in fact, I answered a Craigslist ad one time where the desperate owner “was picking up a dog’s worth of hair every day.” However, this is perfectly normal. He was very relieved to have spoken with me.

The best solution is to take them outside during this time and brush them. It may take up to three weeks to lose the undercoat, but if the husky is brushed every day during that time, it may take less time and your home will be free of a lot of hair.

The rest of the year, huskies should not shed, or if they do, it will be very little. Wooly coat huskies, the ones with much longer hair, tend to shed more throughout the year than the other coats associated with huskies.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What Should I Feed My New Siberian Husky Puppy?

Siberian huskies tend to have sensitive stomachs at times. That is why they should stay away from corn, wheat and soy. It is good practice to read the labels of the food they eat carefully. If it contains any of the ingredients mentioned, move on to another type of food or even another brand. If you decide to develop your own food, then be careful not to include yeast in addition to the other ingredients above.

It is always good to boil chicken for the puppy a few times per week as a supplement to their food. We give them chicken every night. Please, remember that they should never have any chicken bones when they are little; however, once they are adults, contrary to what many believe, chicken bones that are not fully cooked are fine.

Contact us if you want to know which brands we use.

How many times should I Feed My Husky Puppy per Day?

If you read the literature about huskies, it tells you that they eat less than other breeds. While this is true, time and time again, I find that many owners under feed their puppies and they are on the thin side. Once they are potty trained, the best thing is to leave them food on the bowl all day. The reason for that is that they can eat when they are hungry. They are not like other breeds which gorge on food, so they will munch on it all day.

When they are puppies, it is very important to give them all the food they want, so they can grow up healthy. The only problem with this is that if you are potty training him or her, then you need to control the food a little at first. If a person is home all day, it is best to give the puppy food three times per day and take the puppy out to potty 10 minutes later. 

However, if no one is at home all day, then two times per day will be sufficient until the puppy is potty trained. The key is to make sure the puppy eats all the food he or she wants during feeding time. Once he or she is potty trained, it is best to leave food on the bowl all day long.

Do Siberian Huskies Do Well in the Florida Heat?

This is a question I get very often. The simple answer is positive depending on two things. It is important that they have shade so that they can get out of the sun whenever they want to. By shade, it doesn’t mean that placing them under trees is sufficient. It is important to have a good dog house or a kennel with a roof.

Second, Siberian huskies should have plenty of water. A bowl of water is not adequate. Usually, a tall painter’s bucket of about 10 gallons is a good idea. Besides, they enjoy plunging their faces and sometimes their feet in the water to cool off. Many of them enjoy water, so taking them to the beach on a really hot day will cool them off.

Furthermore, Siberian huskies should not be shaved. Many people, including some groomers, believe that by shaving them, they are doing huskies a favor. However, their double coat is essential to keep them warm in the cold winters and cool in the heat of the summer. An example of this is when years back, huskies were imported to Angola. According to some of my past students from there, they began to die. The common thread was that people thought they were doing them a favor by shaving them. Instead, the huskies were dying of heat stroke due to having lost their protective coat.

That is not to say that they don’t love to stretch out on a carpet under a good air conditioner.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Back to the Beginning!

It was 5 years ago that I first put together this Blog. However, I would have never thought that it would take that long to raise my interest in writing about Siberian huskies again. The past five years have been long and difficult; for our Sibes, however, it has meant a period of growth and maturity. They seem more opt to staying around than running away, and they understand us better than when they were younger.
Throughout almost 20 years of living and working with Siberian huskies, many questions keep on popping up from the public. Having kept these questions in back of my mind, it is time to begin. This blog will demystify the breed in every possible way.