View Full Version : Asking the husky experts

04-01-2005, 03:16 PM
After replying to the Alpha thread I thought I would ask you husky experts a question.

We have assumed Sequoia doesn't really like other dogs. When she is around other dogs she either completely ignores them as if they don't exist or she becomes extremely excited and will pull trying to get to them and then we she gets close she will give a quick lunge and snap.

When we were in Philadelphia we were walking down the street and a women walking a male husky was coming towards us. We stepped aside and pulled Sequoia close to us and said to the woman that she doesn't seem to get along with other dogs. The woman had the male on a long lead with just a harness around his torso. She allowed her male to get right into Sequoia's face.
The two dogs started sort of lunging at one another with some air snapping and trying to put their paws over each others necks and shoulders...a bit of a quick wrestling match. We are seeing Sequoia's teeth being bared and are getting nervous but the woman said....Oh nonsense...see..they are playing..their tails are up. Which was true...both of their tails were curled over their backs...and when they seperated Sequoia had her happy face on.

So are we totally misinterpreting her body language or does she like other huskies better than other dogs? I know for certain I wouldn't let her near a smaller dog and I KNOW I am not mistaking the reaction she has to my kitten Trouble. If she could make him a meal she would. But I am a bit confused.

My neighbors have a large hound mix male that they don't ever keep on a lead when they are out with him. He doesn't ever seem to stray from their yard but it makes me nervous with Sequoia. She sees Pepper (the other dog) and she really strains and pulls at the leash with some whining going on. I know she feels she is the queen dog and all should bow down before her...but I don't know if we should allow her to meet Pepper.


ps...my only other dog was a collie which I had from the age of 3 to 17. My husband had a husky for a few months when he was about 8.

04-01-2005, 03:40 PM
It is entirely possible that she recognizes other huskies. Huskies do play differently that some other dogs. My friend's Golden Retrievers won't play with my huskies. They have no idea how to wrestle. Chum often gets in trouble when he tries to play with other breeds when we are walking, but other huskies tend to know what he's doing and off they go playing.

Teeth bared and growling in a husky don't always mean fighting or aggression. My guys sound like they are killing each other when they play. We call it Husky WWF. They make a different sound when it's a real fight. My husband's theory is that if there's no blood, they are playing. :rolleyes: Usually that's pretty close to right.

Are her hackles up when she meets another dog? Does she go physically tense?

A curled tail is a good sign usually. Straight out or straight up can be more of a sign of tension or aggression.

She may also be reacting more negatively because she's on a leash and your neighbor's hound is loose. Has she met any other dogs in an off-leash environment? Maybe she could have a controlled play date with a friend's dog--one you know is friendly and mild mannered with other dogs.

Huskies also have a tendancy towards same sex aggression. She may do better with males than she does with other females.

You are very right about her reaction to your kitten and small dogs. Many huskies have a very high prey drive. It's not aggression, it's a left over instinct from when they caught their own food! Most huskies are not trustworthy around smaller, furred creatures. Squirrels only come in my yard if they are suicidal. My dogs have learned not to bug the indoor cats, but I have told my neighbor that I will not take responsibility for the safety of his outdoor cat.

When I got my first Siberian, the best advice anyone gave me was this:
A tired husky is a good husky
Unless you live in a very warm area, where you need to worry about her overheating, you can't give a husky too much exercise!

Which husky books are you reading? There are some really good ones out there. I always recommend "Siberian Huskies for Dummies" (rude title, great book!) for first time owners as well as "The Essential Siberian Husky." And my personal favorite dog book, not husky specific.."If dogs' prayers were answered, bones would rain from the sky". It will change the way you look at training and give you all sorts of tools for building a remarkable, lifelong relationship with your dog.

04-02-2005, 11:36 AM
Are her hackles up when she meets another dog? Does she go physically tense?

She becomes very tense. Her whole body is on alert, her hackles will rise slightly and her tail is still usually curved over her back. When we were taking her to the Ice Cream Social's last August she would lie down by our feet but if another dog came close she would jump up and snap and snarl at them.

She has never really had the chance to be off leash anywhere. The one time she accidently got away from me she took off running down through the woods. At some point after I couldn't see her (I was running frantically after her) she circled back and came across a neighbor's rooster. Lets just say that rooster doesn't crow anymore.

We have 11 acres of woods but it isn't fenced in. She has a kennel with an elaborate dog house and chair that she spends the day in. When we get home from work we take her for a walk/run in the woods then she comes in the house in the evenings. She sleeps in our "laundry" room at night. But it is now her bedroom that she happens to also have a washer and dryer along with her bed and toys and food bowls etc.

We are in the mountains of central PA. It gets relatively warm here but it isn't like down south. Today it is 42 and raining with some snow tomorrow. But that should be the end of the snow. You can feel spring is coming. In the summers it gets in the 80/90's with some humidity. So we will have to be careful then. But then I get way over heated in the summer too. We would like to be able to fence in a much larger area for her at some point. We have a zip line for her on the porch and planning on putting up a 75 foot one behind the house in the woods. But we just can't take a chance with her off leash yet with having so many neighbors with small dogs, loose dogs and livestock. I really don't want her listed as a dangerous dog. So after all of that I am saying right now we don't have a way of her meeting another dog off leash.

We were told by the neighbor of the person we rescued her from that one of the many times she was tied up for a week without food or water a apparently too brave or stupid cat came within her reach and it was a meal. I certainly would never blame her for that but I also won't ever trust her alone with my cats or right now even off leash around the cats. When she is in the living room off leash they are safely in the bedroom sleeping. You just have to work with and learn to cope with their instincts.

We have been told by a couple of people that she is very laid back for a Husky. When we take to the vet she just lies down and presents her belly. Lee (our vet) says that most huskies she meets including her own husky cross just bounce off the walls. But Sequoia doesn't. She talks alot....but she will just sit or lie down. When we take her places and stop to talk to people after her initial wooing and greeting she will just lie down at our feet. In the evenings she will play with a ball or a stuffed toy in the living room. And for about 10 minutes she does what I call "silly running dog". She tucks her body up real tight and small and races pell mell around the kitchen and living room while either my husband and I or both of us play "tag/catch" with her. My husband will actually catch her in mid air as she is running/jumping past him. But then after that she loves to just lie down and chew a bone or sleep on a chair or the linoleum.

The first book we read and still keep close is Siberian Huskies for Dummies!:D I felt it fit us perfect. I love it but it doesnt' really give as much information at times as I would like. I will have to pick up the other two you mentioned the next time I am at Barnes and Noble. That should be in a day or two! *L*

I just want to do the best we can by her. I don't want her life to be boring and I hate not being able to allow her off leash however I feel I would be being irresponsible to her and our neighbors if I did so. But I enjoy her huskiness. The things that make her so unique from other breeds. I would love an opportunity for her to play with other dogs so I don't want to misinterpret her body language. It does seem like she is calmer around other huskies than other dogs.

There are some people that are considering turning this one park we take her to into a dog park. I would love to be able to let her go in the fenced area and trust that she wasn't going to attack anyone. I saw the pics of the pack of huskies at the Ohio meeting and I would love for her to have that experience someday.

Thanks for your advice Glacier. I read all your posts and am envious of your situation with your dogs and being able to see them run like that.


04-02-2005, 12:26 PM
The vast majority of huskies aren't trustworthy off leash. Huskies have no recall in general, so don't feel bad about being able to let her off lead. You'll notice in my off-leash pictures that several of my dogs are always absent! I have some who would vanish into the tundra given half a chance!

Do you ride a bike? If you do, I'd suggest you invest in a Springer attatchment. Those things are the greatest thing since sliced bread!! I use one all summer for my guys who can't go off-leash. Gives them a chance to stretch their legs and really run.

Do you have a husky club in your area? They would be a great resource for you and may be able to help set up play dates with other huskies.

We call that crazy dog running "the zoomies"! It's fun to watch them play like that.

It sounds like Sequoia had a miserable exsistance before she came to you. She must be one happy dog now!

I'm on a husky email list that is great for info and support. Let me know if you would like the sign-up info.

04-02-2005, 12:37 PM
Yes I would like the sign up info. Thank you very much.

When we picked her up her coat was almost completely a whitish yellowish color except for her ears and the top of her head which was red. It was August here and she still had almost her entire undercoat. It was almost 5 inches thick across her back. It took days, a trip to the groomer and countless grocery bags of hair to get her looking comfortable. Once she started getting good regular food her coat grew in red. I don't know if you have seen the pics of her. She also put on about 10 pounds. We have quit giving a many treats so she doesn't get any heavier. She is probably carrying about 5 pounds more than she should. She is now at 55 pounds. Our vet said she is good now..but doesnt' want to see her gain anymore. So yea..she wasn't being treated well...but that is all over now!

Last summer when we were talking about being ready for a dog in our lives we thought.....A guard type dog that is relatively laid back and gets along with the cats. *LOL*

We ended up with Sequoia and wouldn't change a thing.

04-02-2005, 12:46 PM
I have seen her pics. She's a beauty!

I'll PM the info to you asap.

04-02-2005, 01:29 PM
I have enjoyed reading this thread. I'm also a first time husky owner and we are learning as we go along. I am completely fascinated by the husky breed. I don't think they are like any other breed I have known. I absolutely love them! I got to raise Tori as a puppy so it was easy for me to know how she gets along with other dogs, plus she was raised with Katie so that also helped. I'm lucky that Tori also seems to know when to be submissive. She gets along wonderful with other dogs and I've noticed that she is starting to figure out which ones she can pick on. When Kiara was here visiting Tori quickly picked up the fact that she could pester Kiara and make her mad. She never seemed to hurt Kiara but she kept wanting to poke her nose at her or paw at her and doing the play bow like she wanted to play. Kiara would get mad and nip at her and chase her and Tori acted like she loved that. She wouldn't quit pestering her. Thats the first time I have seen her like that. I take that back she did do a bit of that with Bon when he was a "wee" puppy. I always take her with me when I go to visit Anna and her furkids and she gets along wonderful with them. It is actually a blast to watch them. Tori is very submissive with Roxey and seems to do what she says...lol. Tori and Bon are great playmates and play like puppies. Watching Tori, Roxey and Nebo run around together and play was also tons of fun and then when we went to the dog park and all those huskies were there that was super awesome. It might have just been that there were so many huskies there that day, but I really do believe that a husky knows another husky. I also believe that Tori has no recall just like Glacier has said. No recall and no homing instinct. I would never ever let her out of the house or yard without a leash on. It is my worse fear and has happened twice. Tori runs like crazy and doesn't pay any attention where she is. She just goes and goes! I am 99% certain that she would never be able to find her way home on her own. As far as Tori's prey drive, I am not for sure how high of a prey drive she has. She hasn't really been around cats or anything. She sees them out the window sometimes and watches them and she has seen my mom's cat before but Niki always takes off so fast when she sees the dogs coming that the girls don't ever pay any attention to her. I have seen Tori jump and swat down birds before though. I know I'm rambling and I don't really have a point I guess I just wanted to talk about my husky girl also.

Denyce, I have to tell you that I really admire you and I'm so glad that Sequoia has you now. You sound like a great furmom and especially a great husky mom who wants to make sure her girl is happy. Kudos to you, girl!!! Hey, if you want to see Sequoia run with the huskies you can always travel to a Findlay meeting ;) :p . I'm sure her and Tori would hit it off!

Glacier, I always love hearing from you and I always pay attention to your husky advice! Thanks for being there for us.

Robin :)

04-02-2005, 01:38 PM
Yes, Sequoia is really a beautiful husky- nice markings. Before having Sherman, we had star and a rottie-mix female dog about 4 yrs. younger than Star. They got along ok, but once Rosie grew up there were some REAL battles - lots of blood, ugly. After Rosie was killed by a car last spring, I contacted husky rescue & breeders before getting another dog because I didn't want to go through all the fights again. Star is a dominant female (ahem, the Queen of everything) and I was told that a male would be a far better choice. Sherman's breeder said she thought huskies do get along best with other huskies, partly because they have a different pack dynamic. (The alpha is on top, then #2, #3, #4 etc. whereas other dogs might have an alpha and then all the rest equal. I don't know if this is true or not, but having just added our third husky, I can see Sherman definitly claiming his right to the #2 spot). Huskies do sound "vicious" when they play - lots of growling, and they play rough. When they tuck & run I call it "skootching around" - its so fun to watch! Star and Sherman raise their hackles when they get excited, not when they're mad. As for prey drive, I trust Star with my old cat because she was raised with him, but I don't trust the others. And Star has killed literally dozens of birds, squirrels, raccoons, possums, and even a skunk that got too close. It's quite amazing to see how efficient she is- what a good provider she'd be if she was on her own! Also, Star can be off lead, she's pretty obedient, but Sherman and Cloud will probably always be leashed in public- in fact, it was written into Sherman's adoption contract.
We live in Northern Ohio, so our weather goes from about -20 F to occasionally over 100 F, and the huskies tolerate it well. Mine live outdoors year round. They just don't do a heck of a lot during the summer, and like to dig pits in the ground in the shade. I feel like things have worked out extremely well with more than 1 husky, better than with 1 husky and 1 other breed. Lots of people have other combinations that work out well. But I'm glad I took the husky people's advice - I love my little pack! (My husband said he thinks I'm trying to sneak in a sledding team!)

04-02-2005, 01:45 PM
I'm trying to figure out how to post the video my son made at the Findlay gathering of about a dozen or so huskies chasing a great dane- it's hilarious! As husky owners, it was facinating to watch them all together - my husband said he could see how they would form a pack and hunt together. I will post a link if I can figure it out!

04-02-2005, 03:32 PM
I don't have any huskies, but I really enjoy hearing y'all talk about'em too. If it wasn't so hot down here, I think I'd definitely have one.

I was also going to add that although they're not Huskies, Oz and Gully play really rough too. Slamming each other into things, mouthing each other and Oz makes this ear piercing, "Wounded Bear" noise. Scares my Mom to death. But I pointed out their casual body language, with all the puppy play bows and that their mouths stayed open and loose or they'd snap air or do that nibbly biting thing. Never been any blood shed or even any yelping. They only play like that with each other though, which is a good thing for Murph.

I've been wanting to ask about hackles, because I've always heard that was a sign of aggression, but I'm pretty sure Gully does it out of excitement too. If he has the toy and takes off running, with the other two dogs chasing after him, his hackles go up. But as soon as they catch up to him and grab an end of the toy and they're all tugging for it, his hackles are back down. I was thinking if it was really an aggressive posture over the toy, then they'd really be up when they were all tugging and wrestling for it, but they're not.