Huskies 101: How to care for, feed, and groom a Husky! When it comes to dog breeds, almost everyone is familiar with the alert and distinct faces of Siberian Huskies. With their distinct triangular ears, striking eyes, and prominent fur markings, it’s almost impossible not to know what type of dogs these are.
Originally bred as sled dogs due to their thick double coats that can withstand low temperatures, Siberian Huskies are well-known for their intelligence but often with a stubborn streak. As working dogs, Siberian Huskies require high levels of exercise because of their often high energies throughout the day.
If you’ve been on the lookout for sales of Siberian Husky puppies, you’re in luck. In this article, we’ve compiled a crash course on what Siberian Huskies are, how they act around people, how to train them effectively, and how to take care of them. Continue reading so that you can properly decide if the Siberian Husky is what you’ve been looking for as a family pet or as a daily companion.
What Are Siberian Huskies?
Originating from North Asia through the Chukchu Tribe, Siberian Huskies were raised and bred by these locals to work as sled pullers or sled dogs to assist them in traveling or any daily tasks and errands. Because of their introduction as a sled dogs who can travel through snow better than other breeds, Siberian Huskies have received worldwide acclaim with entire movies showcasing their prowess as working dogs.
With their fluffy double coat, alert eyes, and extremely distinct appearance, a lot of people around the world have decided to take care of Siberian Huskies as their home companions. However, there are a lot of things that you need to consider before adopting a Siberian Husky puppy. Check out the next section to tick off a checklist to know if you’re ready to take care of this extremely active and vocal dog breed.
8 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Siberian Husky
Before you go on to signing adoption papers for a Siberian Husky puppy, you need to tick off a few things to know that you’re really ready for the responsibility.
1. Activity Needs and Energy Levels
Siberian Huskies are considered as a working breed, which means that they need loads of exercise to keep their bodies fit and their minds occupied. You might need to have a big yard to let them roam around in or you need to take them out on regular long walks so that they can stretch their legs daily. While some huskies like sleeping in, you might need to still consider if you can accommodate their activity needs.
2. Vocal and Noise Levels
As the closest relative to wild wolves (their DNAs are the closest than any other breed), it should be expected that Siberian Huskies are big on howling. They are a very vocal breed and they will try to speak their minds as frequently as possible, especially if they want something. As stubborn breeds, Siberian Huskies will try to negotiate with you through barking, whining, or even howling.
However, while this vocal habit of theirs is common in untrained dogs, there is a chance that you can train your pup early on not to bark too much or to control their noise levels as much as they can. But if you live in a community or a building that does not have soundproof walls, it might be best that you look for another quieter breed so as to curb any disturbances to your neighbors.
3. Personality Match
Are you a sporty person who likes to get daily exercise or are you someone who would rather stay at home and lounge about? This is an important consideration if you’re looking for a perfect future animal companion. If you’re a homebody and you just want to cuddle on the sofa with your pup, a Siberian Husky might not be a good choice, since they need about 40 to 60 minutes of daily activity to keep them engaged.
4. Needs for Attention
Siberian Huskies are a breed that is not recommended to be left alone for long periods of time. If you’re an office worker or nine-to-fiver that needs to leave your Siberian husky for more than 6 hours per day, it may be extremely hard on your dog since they love being around people and crave constant attention and affection.
Consider getting him watched by friends or family while you’re at the office so that he won’t be left to his own devices without anything to do — or at least hire a pet sitter so that they can take care of your dog while you’re away.
5. Predatory Instincts
Siberian Huskies are pack animals and they do have very high hunting instincts. While they can coexist with other dog breeds, they may try to assert their dominance as an alpha within your house, or they may even hunt smaller animals, like birds, hamsters, and ferrets. If you have other smaller pets, you may need to separate them to avoid any accidents from occurring because of their deep-seated instincts.
6. Temperature Needs and Climate Conditions
Siberian Huskies need colder climates to thrive. Their thick coats protect them from lower temperatures but may prove to be a nuisance in warmer climates. If you live in a region that has colder temperatures, Siberian Huskies would be a great fit. However, for warmer countries, you may need to keep them indoors and inside air-conditioned rooms, so that they won’t be exposed to the risk of heatstroke or any heat-related disorders.
7. Grooming and Maintenance Requirements
Siberian huskies typically shed once a year to remove their undercoats and get ready for warmer temperatures. With their thick coats, you will need to brush them at least twice a week to make sure that their fur doesn’t get tangled and so that you can remove any dead hair that isn’t getting removed by daily activity. If you’re not too iffy about shedding, Siberian Huskies may be regarded as low-maintenance breeds because you won’t need to get their fur professionally cut regularly. Because these dogs shed their fur regularly, their coats don’t grow longer than normal.
8. Diet and Nutrient Needs
Siberian Husky puppies are relatively easy to feed with a choice of either wet food or dry food. Like many other puppies, they typically eat less so the costs wouldn’t be as high as when you’re feeding adult dogs. However, as Siberian Huskies grow their diet needs and nutrient requirements also increase. Some pet parents have even chosen to switch their Siberian Huskies onto a raw food diet as it is believed to be healthier and can provide them with more species-appropriate food.
Just a piece of advice, if you’re planning on switching your dog to a raw food diet or a different canine diet, always ask for professional advice from your veterinarian. Ask for possible options or recommendations to keep your Siberian Husky as healthy as possible.
How to Train a Siberian Husky?
Dog training is an important part of any puppy’s life, where they learn the ropes of being a human companion and a family dog. Not only does training give your dogs entertaining tricks or behavioral corrections, but dog training also helps them become comfortable and properly socialized with home life.
For Siberian Huskies, dog training is essential since they are usually pack animals, which means that they follow a specific hierarchy, with alphas taking the highest position. With training, you can calmly and properly introduce yourself as the alpha in your pack so that your puppy doesn’t grow up to be too headstrong or stubborn and assume that they can do as they please because they’re the pack leader. In addition, by establishing yourself as the pack leader, you can curb dominant behavior that they may present to your other pets.
If you’re planning on adopting a Siberian Husky puppy, here are a few reminders and tips that you can follow to make their training easier and as enjoyable and comfortable for them as possible.
1. Avoid using violent negative reinforcement.
There has been quite a debate regarding negative reinforcement in training – whether they’re effective or whether they can make your dog’s behavior worse. For this discussion, we will limit negative reinforcement to violent reactions during training, such as fear conditioning, shouting, and any type of violence used during training. In some cases, this may be effective, but there are scientific studies that show long-term effects of aggression or fear after using negative reinforcement.
As much as possible, consider using positive ways to make your dog follow your commands or at least learn what you want them to do. Try reward-based instead of aversive methods so you don’t train your dog while his fear levels are high.
Socializing dogs is a foolproof way to introduce them to people, dogs, and other pets that they may need to coexist with. This may help curb any type of aggression or territorial tendencies that may arise when your dog isn’t properly exposed in socialized environments. While they’re puppies, let your Siberian Huskies play with other dogs – but of course under your supervision so that you can avoid any accidents or unfortunate issues.
You may also want to introduce them to different people, like your friends or your family, so that they get accustomed to being around crowds or strangers. Let your family or friends visit your home regularly or bring your puppy to a dog park so they can see other dogs and other people who they’ve never seen before.
3. Don’t use crates as a punishment for your dog.
Other pet parents use crates as a sort of a time-out area for dogs whenever they misbehave or whenever they get into trouble. This is why a lot of puppies and dogs connect crates to negative experiences and would usually avoid staying inside as much as possible.
Try to curb this habit by allowing your pet to establish their crate as a safe space. Not only will this help them easier to bring to the vet in a crate, but this will also give them their own territory when they want to be alone or at least have some quiet time.
4. Start establishing a regular schedule.
Establishing a schedule with your dog allows you to train them when they go potty, pee or eat. Get your Siberian Husky used to a schedule so that they know when to expect things to happen, so they won’t have accidents inside your home.
5. Train your dog to be welcoming of grooming processes and pill taking.
While they’re young, let your puppy get used to brushing, bathing and nail clipping. The best time for this is when they’re still young because this is the time when they’re starting to establish their behavior and the things that they can tolerate. Start by brushing your pet regularly or petting them all over their bodies so they know that it is a normal process. To further give them positive reinforcement, always keep treats close by.
In addition, try to get your pet accustomed to you handling their mouths or touching around their mouth areas so that they won’t panic whenever you need to give them pills or medicine at some point in their lives.
How to Groom a Siberian Husky?
A Siberian Husky’s coat is designed to help them withstand cold temperatures in the winter, with very dense fur and a thick undercoat. While their plush coat gives them that beautiful and distinct appearance, it also means that these dogs need more maintenance than other breeds. Siberian Huskies are notorious shedders, often shedding their undercoats heavily at least once a year. By removing their undercoats, these dogs get ready for warmer climates and seasons, to help them withstand higher temperatures without the risk of overheating.
If you’re a new Siberian Husky owner or you’re planning on adopting one, here are a few tips and recommendations to help you navigate their grooming needs:
1. Brush their coats regularly with the correct type of brush.
If you’ve been a pet owner before, you’re probably familiar with the different types of brushes designed for different types of coats and various functions. These include slicker brushes, rakes, bristle brushes. For Siberian Huskies, the two most useful types are rakes and pin brushes. Rake brushes are recommended for shedding season since they can reach down your Siberian Husky’s coat, effectively remove dead undercoat, and untangle knots in their fur. As for pin brushes, this type can help loosen dead hair from your Siberian Husky’s skin and promote better blood circulation.
Because a Siberian Husky’s coat is relatively easier to groom, they won’t need too much brushing. Aim for at least once a week so that you can easily discard any dead hair that they’re going to shed in the coming days.
2. Keep your eyes out for shedding season.
As we mentioned above, Siberian Huskies are relatively low-maintenance when it comes to brushing — except for the few days or weeks when they shed their undercoats to swap into their summer coat. During this time, you might need to brush their whole body every day to assist in the shedding process. This may even make their shedding weeks a bit shorter. You can also optimize their diets so that their coats are well-maintained and healthy all throughout the year.
3. Bathe your dogs once a month or less, depending on their dirt levels.
Siberian Huskies don’t produce too much oil in their coats, which means that they can be bathed for lower amounts of time compared to other breeds. Using a dog-safe shampoo (Never use human shampoo for pets!), bathe your Siberian Husky once a month or even once in three to four months. If they do get dirty, you can use pet wipes to remove soil or any materials that may have gotten stuck to their fur during a walk.
As much as possible, do not bathe your Siberian Huskies too much since this may make their coats and skin dry and itchy.
4. Visit professional groomers for full-body grooming.
While Siberian Huskies generally don’t need to visit professional groomers regularly, it would be a good idea to at least schedule grooming sessions once or twice a year. Let them have full-body work-ups where their fur gets cleaned and conditioned, their eyes cleaned, and their teeth brushed. Not only will your pup get pampered – as he or she should – but this may also help in the prevention of cavities and other issues that may arise due to poor hygiene.
Source Your Siberian Husky From Responsible and Accredited Breeders
Looking for a Siberian Husky puppy? There’s a high chance that you’ve already found a puppy available online or one that’s being sold in your local pet store. While these puppies may be adorable, with their bright blue eyes and their distinct fur markings, there are a few things that you need to consider before signing the adoption papers and paying for them.
While puppy mills have essentially been criminalized in some parts of the world, there are still a few that are operating, with inhumane conditions and abusive environments for their parent dogs. Not only do these environments expose puppies and dogs to a high chance of contracting infections, but they may also grow up to have aggression issues.
As much as possible, source your puppies from credible sources and trustworthy breeders who are dedicated to providing puppy litters and their parents with the best support, nutrition, and safety up until the adoption. To help you determine breeders who are trustworthy, here are a few tips and reminders that you should heed:
1.Visit the breeder’s location and ask to be introduced to the puppy litter and parents.
Responsible breeders highly encourage adopter visits as much as possible to be properly introduced to your puppy before he or she goes home with you. Once you schedule a visit, ask for a tour around the breeding facility or home where the puppies and other dogs are kept and taken care of. The place that they’re staying in should be properly ventilated, comfortable, clean, and safe from any dangers and any risks of contamination.
By visiting the breeder’s location, you can see clearly how your puppy is being raised or is being taken care of by the breeders that you’re going to adopt from.
2. Check for your breeder’s transparency.
Certified breeders are typically dedicated to rehoming their puppies with responsible pet owners who are going to be able to take care and provide for their needs. To encourage transparency, responsible breeders have to be transparent themselves. They should be open to sharing your puppy’s health records and veterinarian documents that show your puppy’s health history as well as their background. If your breeder refuses to give you any records or any certifications, it’s usually a sign for you to run the other way.
3. Look for a health guarantee and a written contract.
Before taking your puppy home, ask your breeder for a written contract that guarantees that you are receiving your puppy in peak health without any health issues whatsoever. In some instances, responsible breeders may also ask you to sign a contract as a guarantee that you can return your puppy to them in case you are unable to take care of them any longer. They may also ask you to sign a contract that asks you to spay or neuter the puppy that you’re to receive to promote their good health for as long as possible.
After all of these are done and all you need to do is to wait for your Siberian Husky puppy to go home, it’s time for you to get your homes ready by puppy-proofing certain rooms, stocking up on pet supplies like pee pads and leashes, and, of course, choosing the best type of dog food to feed them. Good luck!
Donna is writing about pet care and wellness, specializing in pet diet, health, and pet ownership best practices. She currently works with a dog training company called DoGoodDoggy.com.au.