Oh, the dreaded biting problem. I feel your pain! (literally)
If your husky is biting you, it’s both very frustrating and annoying, especially when it seems like they’re targeting just you. Unfortunately, many husky owners have to deal with this, so it’s a known issue.
Thankfully, though, because this happens so much, we have a good understanding of why it happens and how to help.
I’ve helped thousands of husky owners deal with this problem over the last decade or so, and I believe the following tips and advice will help you too.
Why Does My Husky Bite Me?
There are a handful of reasons your husky is choosing to bite you.
In most cases I’ve seen, it’s a combination of the causes below resulting in those painful bites. Go through each of the causes below and consider how it might relate to your situation.
1. Not enough time with their canine mother
One of the most common reasons a husky puppy bites their owner stems from improper socialization with their canine mother and siblings.
Those first 8-10 weeks spent with their siblings and mother are spent biting and nipping each other, with nasty telling-offs from their mother if it’s too hard. Nipping too hard gets serious consequences (and mothers don’t hold back). These lessons are invaluable.
These weeks are crucial for socialization and learning the difference between a playful nip and a bite that’s too hard.
🎯 Puppies that aren’t able to learn these lessons with their canine mother usually try to figure it out with their human mother.
2. High prey drive breeds are “mouthy”
Huskies and other breeds with a high prey drive are known to be “mouthy.” This basically means they have a natural tendency to nip and bite more than other breeds. It’s just in their instincts.
Mouthy behavior usually gets too much when your husky plays or gets excited in general.
🎯 Sound familiar…? What starts with a little playful rub on the head quickly turns into an escalating biting frenzy you can’t seem to control.
3. Pent up energy, nerves, and anxiety
This is another one of the most common reasons (in my experience) when dealing with huskies biting their owners.
Huskies that spend most of their day either bored, alone, or understimulated, quickly find themselves out of control with excitement/anxiety when they finally receive attention or get a moment to play.
🎯 If a husky doesn’t have multiple outlets to expend their pent-up energy throughout the course of the day, they may just find that biting you becomes their way of releasing all this tension.
4. Accidentally reinforcing the biting
It’s really common to accidentally reinforce the exact behaviors you don’t want. And this stems from reacting to the behavior incorrectly when it happens.
When a husky bites its owner, the owner must react in a way that stops the behavior altogether.
🎯 Pushing away their mouth, getting frustrated, or moving your hands quickly will absolutely reinforce to a husky that this is a fun game that you are participating in. Meaning they’ve done nothing wrong.
When they think you’re reacting positively to their biting, it’s sending a powerful message to them that this is a good thing that you approve (this is also why many huskies end up targeting one person to bite, which is due to how they respond to biting in the moment of it).
5. A lack of discipline and obedience in general
When a husky thinks they can get away with anything, their behavior reflects it.
If you’re dealing with a husky that has more problems than just biting, then it could indicate they’re lacking training, obedience, and discipline and simply think they’re in charge.
🎯 If a husky senses weakness in their owner’s authority then they will rarely obey commands and pretty much defy whatever their owner says.
This shows itself clearly if a husky will bite one owner and ignore their commands to stop, but will obey the commands coming from someone else in the house.
This article will be helpful for those with husky puppies: the complete training guide for husky puppies
Depending on where you look online or who you ask, many are quick to explain that biting is a display of aggression stemming from fearfulness.
And while yes, fearfulness is the primary driver of aggression and malicious biting/attacks, we aren’t really addressing that here.
- This issue is more about constant nipping and playful biting that quickly gets annoying, out of hand and uncontrollable. Which in my experience usually doesn’t come from fearfulness (yet I understand that a lot of biting acts can stem from being scared, nervous, or fearful)
It’s still worth considering though. Could your husky be fearful about anything? Does your husky suddenly act extra nervous and skittish before they start biting you?
If they do, there is a chance that something in their close environment is causing them to be scared, driving them to release this through biting and nipping their owner.
If you think this could be the cause, then handling the source of the fearfulness is of utmost importance (along with following the next steps below).
Psst. A quick update on training your husky pup! Brain Training For Dogs might now be one of the best training regimes suitable for a husky. Owners are seeing improvement in obedience, behavior, and stubbornness quicker than ever before.
How To Respond To a Biting Husky
As mentioned above, it’s crucial to respond to the biting (when it’s happening) in the appropriate way. Incorrectly handling this situation could indicate to your husky it’s a good thing that they should continue doing.
🎯 First and foremost: Do whatever is necessary to stop the biting.
(of course no abuse physical or verbal)
Long story short, the biting needs to stop immediately. No ifs or buts. It’s the first thing that needs to happen.
- This may mean distracting your husky to something else, removing them to another room, or removing yourself (last resort).
This is so crucial because if your husky bites and they’re allowed to continue, they will assume that they are allowed to.
✋ At the same time, your husky should receive no further attention (momentarily), and it’s advised to give a firm and deep “No!” to mark your disapproval. Owners do not need to shout, it’s all in the tone of voice.
⚽ Redirect if possible. Redirection training is a well-known tactic for biting dogs. When your dog goes to bite, owners should redirect this energy to an exciting toy, and reward their dog as long as their dog’s focus remains on the toy.
It’s important to try this, but I understand this doesn’t always work. If it does work, focus on this technique and capitalize on keeping your husky distracted and reward for that.
When redirecting doesn’t work. Owners should revert back to removing their husky to another room for a cool-down period.
The cool-down isn’t supposed to be like a “naughty step” thing. It’s used to break the physical act of biting, and give your husky time to adjust, breathe, and reenter the room to try again.
After your husky has had a few minutes to calm down, bring them back into the room with distractions and toys present (to avoid them going directly back to you to bite again).
Reward and praise them if they remain calm, or their focus remains elsewhere like their toy.
🎯 The main takeaway for reacting to your husky biting you is to:
- Remain calm and stop the biting immediately (distract or remove)
- Mark your disapproval with a firm, deep “No”
- Try redirecting their attention and energy (reward for this if it works)
- If redirecting doesn’t work, remove your husky for a cool down (3-5 minutes, ignore cries)
- Try bringing them back in with other distractions (toys) present.
What not to do:
- Get mad, frustrated, shout, or get physical
- Do not antagonize
- Do not move hands frantically
- React overly quickly or run away
- Show your husky positive attention (letting them think this is a game)
6 Tips to Prevent a Husky From Biting In The First Place
Aside from handling the situation correctly, and capitalizing on redirecting your husky’s focus, there are some other tips to prevent this kind of behavior happening altogether.
Preventative advice typically focuses on giving your husky precisely what they need to be well-behaved. A common theme of bad behavior, including biting, stems from something lacking in their daily routine. So we’ll run through that below.
1. Provide plenty of mental stimulation outlets:
Nose work games, socialization, and puzzle toys should be a part of every husky’s day. Huskies that frequently use their minds to solve tasks are much happier, calmer, and more obedient. Plus, biting in it’s self is very stimulating, and if your husky has no other form of stimulation, it’s likely they’ll resort to this.
2. Be consistent with command training:
Not only will command training act a potent form of mental stimulation, it has other benefits. Consistent training makes your husky more obedient and reinforces the fact that you are their leader and listening to you is what they do. One thing I’ve noticed time and time again is that huskies will rarely choose to bite the owner who trains them the most.
3. Provide sufficient exercise:
As I’ve said before, husky and exercise may as well be the same word. Physical exercise is crucial for a husky’s fitness AND behavior. Providing 90-120 minutes of exercise per day (split up) will give your husky the best chance to remain calm and content throughout the day. I also want to emphasis the importance of giving at least some of this exercise FIRST thing in the morning. This will expend pent up energy after sleeping the whole night, and will set your husky up for a calm day.
4. Stick to house rules and boundaries:
Huskies test their owner’s authority all the time, even those well into their adult years. It still surprises me to this day. Part of having house rules and boundaries is to reinforce to your husky they aren’t allowed to do anything they want. Whatever you do and don’t allow your husky to do, it’s crucial to stick to this and never let it slide. If you sometimes let your husky get away with behavior you don’t really like, this blurs the line between right and wrong, and teachem them to not take you seriously.
5. Don’t leave a husky for hours with nothing to do:
It’s normal that you’ll need to leave your husky home alone for at least a few hours every day. We can’t always be with our huskies. However, when you leave, it’s important that they have a safe toy to play with, or even better, a safe puzzle toy (with some treats inside). At least this gives them an option should they get bored.
Owners really should limit the amount of time their husky spends alone. Not only does this create a stressed and anxious husky, but it’ll eventually lead to understimulation and subsequent biting problems.
6. Always correct bad behavior as young as possible:
In a way this is similar to setting rules and boundaries, but this time it’s about correcting bad behavior when you see it happen (biting or not). Whatever your husky tries doing that you consider bad or unwanted, it’s important to let them know, and redirect them. Getting into a habit of this will not only make your husky more sensible, but it’ll reinforce the idea that you’re in charge, and they can’t just get away with whatever in front of you.
How Long To See Results?
Ok so you’re ready to tackle your husky’s biting problem, but how long until you see results?
The quick answer is that it varies a lot. It depends on your husky’s age, how long your husky has been allowed to get away with the behavior, as well as how they perceive you in terms of leadership and hierarchy.
In the best case scenario, a husky will respond well to training in as little as a few days, but in other cases it could take weeks, or even a few months.
Focus on your husky’s daily routine, their mental stimulation, exercise, rules and boundaries, and correcting the behavior when it happens should see good results.
Owners must be patient and never show their frustration when training. Huskies will feed of this negative energy and make all your efforts pretty much useless!
Good luck, and let me know how it goes.
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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