A common behavior seen in huskies is to follow their owners everywhere they go. Whether this drives you mad or you’re just looking for some answers, you’re in the right place. This article explains exactly why your husky follows you everywhere.
4 Reasons your husky follows you everywhere:
- Your husky knows he receives things from you if he’s close by (treats)
- Your husky is seeking your attention
- It’s a natural trait in huskies to follow their leaders
- Separation anxiety
4 Reasons Why Your Husky Follows You Everywhere
For many, this behavior can be quite annoying, and for others, it’s no big deal. Whether you love it or hate it, it still helps to know why it’s happening.
Due to the fact that many dogs engage in this behavior, by now we have some pretty good answers backed up by research and science to explain it.
1. Your Husky Knows He Receives Things When He’s Close To You
Talk about being used!
Well, it’s smart if you think about it. Your husky has learned by now that when he’s near you, good things happen.
Good things can be anything from receiving treats, a new toy, attention, and well, anything! Your husky doesn’t want to miss out on any of the action so sticking by your side is the obvious choice for him.
It’s likely that you’ve been reinforcing this behavior without realizing it. We love our furry friends and we love to give treats and make a fuss of them. And whenever you do this, you’re just reinforcing the behavior and giving him more reason to stick by you.
As you can tell, this is hard to get around and isn’t necessarily something you’re going to want to stop.
What you can do:
If you’re fed up with your husky following you and you believe it’s due to this reason. You can try the following:
Reserve treats and attention for specific reasons, like training. You don’t have to become a professional dog trainer, but by starting some basic training routines, you’re now giving your husky a reason to be rewarded. You’re showing him he needs to work for treats and attention and it doesn’t just come by following you around.
2. Your Husky is Seeking Your Attention
As I explain in another one of my articles, huskies are considered to be the number one most attention-seeking breed today.
Huskies are a needy breed and require a lot of your dedicated time. Due to their energy levels and desire to work, it’s important for husky owners to facilitate and support this on a daily basis.
This means ensuring you take your husky out for intensive physical exercise every day (2 hours minimum) spend time training your husky getting him to use his brain (mental exercise is super important) and of course, making a fuss, bonding and showing him love.
Without all of this on a daily basis, a husky will likely become bored and unsatisfied.
What you can do:
Take a look at your own daily routine and be honest. Are you really giving your husky, what a husky needs?
If you realize your husky could do with more exercise, or you’ve been a little relaxed with the basic command training. It’s a good time adjust your routine.
After implementing more exercise, training, and general time spent with your husky bonding. He may start to feel satisfied enough to leave you alone when you walk to another room.
3. It’s a Natural Trait in Huskies to Follow Their Leader(s)
You may be thinking “what?” Let me explain!
Huskies are pack dogs and were originally bred by the Chukchi Tribe. The relationship this tribe had with their huskies is not often highlighted, but it’s important. The Chukchi’s treated their huskies extremely well; they slept together in the same tents and living areas, they shared food and of course worked all day together.
This was how huskies lived for thousands of years and as a result, have a huge capacity for companionship.
Huskies are also true work dogs that constantly look to their leaders for guidance. Although domestication happened a while back, these behaviors are still deeply ingrained and show themselves easily.
When your husky follows you around, it really could be that he’s just sticking by his leader’s side.
What you can do:
This will be the hardest reason to actually identify, and it’s resolution isn’t too clear either.
My advice in this situation would be to ensure physical and mental exercise requirements are fully met and to start rewarding your husky only when a reward is due.
The importance of encouraging only the behavior you do want is something I will cover below.
4. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is something to be taken more seriously and is unfortunately quite common in huskies.
Separation anxiety is described as not being able to tolerate any amount of time without a particular person.
If it’s separation anxiety causing your husky to cling by your side, you’ll likely see other signs including:
- Your husky starts displaying erratic, nervous behavior when you grab your keys, put on your shoes or coat, anything you routinely do before leaving the house.
- Panting, drooling, or howling may start to happen as you’re getting ready to leave the house.
- Refusing to drink or eat when left alone.
- Your husky exhibits “self-destructive” behavior like biting or chewing his own tail, legs, or paws.
The topic of separation anxiety is complex so I decided to create a separate article covering it fully. You can check that article out here.
That article outlines how to identify separation anxiety, and the best approach to take to resolve it. If you think your husky may be suffering from separation anxiety then I really suggest checking out that article!
Should You Let Your Husky Follow You Around?
This is a good question and is usually the next one to be asked. Although your husky doesn’t mean any harm by following you around everywhere, there always comes a limit.
If your husky follows you everywhere, every time then it would be best to try and reduce that tendency before it becomes a real problem.
It may not happen to all huskies but if yours becomes too attached to you it could be unintentionally setting the scene for separation anxiety. There will always be times when you need to leave the house and your husky can’t come, so what happens then? how does he deal with that?
Everyone’s situation will be different and only you will have a sense of whether or not this behavior has passed an acceptable level. The next section will explain what you can do to try and tackle it.
How To Stop Your Husky Following You Everywhere
Aside from the individual advice given above for each specific reason there are some key principles to take away that can help.
Be Careful Of What You’re Reinforcing
It’s really easy to reinforce behavior that you don’t want, and you may be doing it too.
Without realizing, we are sending messages and subtly training our furry friends 24/7!
If your husky knows he receives a lot of attention, treats, and nice things when he’s right by your side, guess where he’s going to be! When you leave the room, he’ll be thinking oh! I better go with mom to see if she has anything for me… again.
To counteract this problem, try rewarding only the behavior that you do want. So if you ever have a moment where your husky doesn’t follow you to another room, when you come back to him, reward him! he stayed put! reinforce the behavior you do want, and your husky will slowly start recognizing the pattern.
On top of this, reserve the attention and treats for times like training, make it really obvious to your husky he doesn’t get rewarded for anything. Once he learns that the good stuff comes only after training sessions, he’ll be less inclined to follow you everywhere, expecting random treats.
Ensure Your Husky’s Needs Are Met
I’m not here to judge anyone. So it’s up to you, to be honest with yourself about your husky’s routine.
Do you think he’s getting everything he needs?
In terms of physical exercise, mental exercise, training, playing, and general quality time spent together?
Remember how huskies aren’t just a “normal dog” they really require a lot and when they don’t receive enough, many weird behaviors start happening.
For physical exercise, I recommend checking out my complete Siberian husky exercise guide for literally everything you need to know. You can check that out here. 2 hours per day of intensive exercise is a good start, but be sure to switch your routine up and keep it interesting.
Mental exercise is often misunderstood, but it’s just as important as physical exercise. Socializing with other dogs, puzzle games and basic training commands are all great examples of mental stimulation. I also have a complete article on mental stimulation here.
A Word on “Ignoring” The Behavior
I know many articles out there give the advice to “Ignore” the behavior.
I’m not a fan of this advice. I believe it’s better to do something about it. Not that the behavior is “wrong” but there’s always the chance it can develop and become more persistent, until it leads to some form of anxiety, even if it isn’t full-blown separation anxiety.
In most cases, you’ll be able to limit the behavior with the two main tips given in the section just above.
I truly think this behavior should be addressed when possible and not ignored.
More on Husky Body Language: I have a new article that acts as a complete husky body language guide going in-depth on what your husky is feeling and thinking. You may be interested in checking that article out here.
So there you have it! You now know why your husky is following you everywhere and you have a good idea on how to limit the behavior.
If you have experienced this please comment below and share your story! It may help out another husky owner. Likewise, if you are currently dealing with this, share your story below!
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