Perhaps one of the most common questions I receive from excited future husky owners is whether or not this breed is appropriate for first-time dog owners.
As most people know, huskies can be a bit of a handful, so let’s break it down and give you the facts you need to know.
Can First-Time Dog Owners Raise a Husky?
Although huskies are not typically recommended to be good first-time dogs, I believe that anyone willing to learn and put in the time can successfully raise an obedient, happy husky. I’ll explain below.
Over the years, I’ve come across many husky owners who say otherwise, but this is their own opinion based on their own experiences.
I’ve known many first-time dog owners that have raised a husky successfully, and some that haven’t…
Why Huskies Are Hard for First-Time Owners
It will certainly have its challenges, I’m not here to sugarcoat anything…
So what makes huskies hard for first-timers?
In short, huskies are extremely strong-minded and love to TEST their owner. New owners are often unaware of how to handle these confrontational moments with their husky, making it seem like a losing battle.
In addition to that (which is usually the main problem), huskies take a long time to train, and newbies often aren’t comfortable with training sessions.
Owning a dog for the first time can be a weird experience. You’re basically becoming a parent to something that isn’t human… Yup.
It can be difficult to know what to do, how to react, and learning what your dog needs to be well behaved and happy.
This comes with any breed, but it’s true that huskies are more difficult.
Still, these issues can be overcome if the new owner is prepared.
HOW First-Time Dog Owners Can Raise a Husky
Let’s cover everything that a new owner should be aware of before getting their husky home.
Be a firm and consistent leader
Huskies need a firm and clear leader to follow and learn their behavior from. This is easily achieved by owners when they set clear boundaries, train, and positively reinforce their good behavior.
Taking the time to train your husky every day, reward with praise and treats when they get something right (whether you’re actively training or not) and not going against your own rules.
If you don’t want your husky up on the couch, then never allow it, not even once. If you choose a command such as “drop” then always stick to “drop” and don’t expect your husky to know what “let go” means.
Being a good leader also means to be calm and sensible around your husky. They must feel secure and safe in your presence.
React to confrontational behavior properly
Avoiding confrontational behavior is always the best approach, which is done by properly showing your husky what is acceptable BEFORE they have a chance to get it wrong.
An example of this is proactive potty training. Show your husky where they should potty BEFORE they get it wrong. Of course, it doesn’t always work perfectly, but this is the way to set your husky up for success.
When a husky displays confrontational behavior, owners should remain firm and refrain from baiting. Baiting your husky to come back inside when they refuse, is teaching them they get a reward for disobeying your first command.
In most cases, the best reaction to confrontational behavior is to ignore them. Any attention is usually perceived as “good attention” in the eyes of your husky.
Always positively reinforce good behavior
At the start, raising a husky puppy is one long training session 24/7 until they’re at least one year old.
Owners should always actively positively reinforce the behavior they like to see from their husky, even if they aren’t asked to do something or you’re in a training session.
Yep, it’s basically like training 24/7.
For example, if you go into a room and see your husky calmly lying and chewing their own toy, it’s crucial to praise this good behavior… This shows your husky what they are allowed to chew.
If your husky patiently sits and waits for you (for any reason) reward this patient behavior with praise and treat.
Perhaps the biggest mistake I see owners making is only reacting when their husky misbehaves and forgetting to react when things are going right.
Positive reinforcement is the most powerful way to train any semi-intelligent dog. As long as your husky is shown and knows what you like/approve as their leader, they will be inclined to do just that.
Meeting their daily needs and providing attention
On top of the crucial lessons above, last but certainly not least is simply meeting a husky’s daily needs.
There’s no denying that huskies demand a lot.
For a husky to be content they must receive the following:
- Physical exercise of at least 90 minutes (when they’re an adult) Puppies require less.
- Mental stimulation activities
- Dedicated training sessions
- High quality diet with correct macronutrients
- A structured routine they get used to
- Adequate time spent with owners (huskies do not handle being left alone all day)
- Proper grooming routine (daily brushing)
In addition to the basics, huskies need attentive owners who prioritize them.
Huskies are not a dog that can be left alone to their own devices. They need company, plenty of attention, and their owners priority.
While other breeds are certainly capable of entertaining themselves for hours on end, huskies are not.
If a new dog owner understands their husky’s daily needs and is willing to prioritize them, then the chances of raising a happy and obedient snow dog is high!
Who Should Avoid Getting a Husky?
I’ll be honest here…
- Works full time or is out of the house for several hours per day
- Is not fully invested in researching and learning about raising a husky
- Is not ready for a full-time commitment
- Is planning to travel extensively anytime soon
- Is not prepared for a challenge and confrontational behavior
Should probably not get a husky…
If an owner doesn’t fall into those categories, then getting a new husky, even if they’ve never had a dog before, is completely doable.
One Last Word
Everyone has the right to their own opinion, and I know many husky owners, some of whom are my closest friends, that would say first timers should not get a husky.
And they have good reasons to believe that.
Huskies are hard. No doubt about it. They challenge you in ways other breeds do not.
But that challenge can be managed if the new owner is fully prepared to commit and knows what they’re getting themselves into.
I hope this helps. Let me know how it goes, and if you’ve already been a first time owner to a husky, shoot me a message!
Good luck on the journey,
Harry, My Happy Husky
DisclaimerThe advice given in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice in any context. Before making any decisions that may affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. For the FULL disclaimer Visit Here
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