Huskies are a breed of attractive canines. They’re active, free-spirited, and always playfully running around. Whether you’re still deciding to get a husky or you already have one, the question you need an answer to is, “are huskies aggressive?” The relevance and urgency of finding answers only increase when you have small, vulnerable kids in the house.
Fortunately, you’ve come across this article which answers that question. Apart from that, we’ll discuss what triggers aggression in huskies and how to prevent and try to cure it. There’s also a section that tells you what to do when your husky bites someone. Alright; let’s get to it!
Are Huskies Aggressive?
No, huskies are not aggressive. According to CDC’s data collected between 2005 and 2017, huskies are responsible for 13 human fatalities which are only 3% of the total fatalities caused by dog bites. Huskies are good-natured but, just like any other dog breed, they tend to be good or bad depending on how they’re being treated.
There are also times when huskies are only seen as aggressive because they’re very energetic, and they sometimes jump on people when they’re super hyped up. Huskies are full of energy and can weigh up to 60 pounds so they can be dangerous, especially if they bump into children. This is just how huskies are, but they’re not inherently aggressive.
(Does your husky have blue eyes, brown eyes, or a mix of both? Find out everything you could possibly want to know about your huskies eye color, including what you should do when their eyes are red!)
What Are the Causes of Aggression in Huskies?
As mentioned, the way you treat and handle huskies can trigger aggressive behavior despite them being good-natured. Enumerated below are some reasons why huskies exhibit aggression.
Lack of Physical Activity
Huskies are originally bred to pull sleds for miles. They’re meant to be outdoors, releasing energy and liveliness. So, when they’re kept indoors, their energy will get bottled up, and they’ll release it in the form of undesirable behaviors that can be aggressive to some extent.
If you have a husky, you should learn to keep up with them because by nature, they’re meant to be jogging and hiking buddies. They’re not the right furry partner for you if you like peace. Give your husky plenty of time to play and exercise, and it will behave the way it should when it’s time to head inside.
Lack of Socialisation
Aggressive behavior can result from a lack of trust in other people and animals. Therefore, it’s important to let your husky make friends. Take your husky to be around others while it’s still a puppy, so it gets familiar with socializing. When it grows up, it should be cool around strangers.
Pain can cause anyone to be cranky. Be observant of how your husky is acting lately. When it’s limping due to an injury, for example, then it’s obviously in pain. But, pain can also manifest in the slightest change in usual behavior and routine. You must know your dog well to detect these red flags. As soon as you do, take it to the vet as soon as possible.
Influence from Previous Owners
If you got your husky from a shelter, it’s possible that it already had an owner. That owner could have done something, such as mistreatments and severe punishments, that made your husky aggressive.
Work with the shelter in identifying if the husky still has a chance to be trained out of its aggression. If it has, then set aside plenty of time to train it how to behave properly. Also, forget to give it the freedom to play outdoors.
Witnessed Owners Being Emotional
Research shows that dogs can use their sense of sight and hearing to recognize human emotions. Negative ones, in particular, can arouse them more than the positive ones.
So, when you show anger, fear, and sadness to your dog, they can pick up on that. They can match these emotions by vocalizing it. If you notice your husky sounding angry, you must take note of how you’ve been acting around it lately.
Witnessed Owners Being Aggressive
Your husky can detect your aggression via your emotional outbursts and the way you punish it when it misbehaves. Remember that dogs have limited abilities to recognize human emotions, so they can’t fully understand why you’re being aggressive. Your husky can develop resentment from this alone, causing it to act out.
Try other ways of letting your husky know that they’re behaving badly. Also, don’t let it see you having tantrums.
Received Rewards for Aggression
During bad days when you don’t have enough energy to deal with your mischievous husky, you might have given it what it wants just so it behaves. Unfortunately, though, this tells your husky that its aggression is being rewarded. The next time it wants a treat or more playtime, it simply turns its aggressive, relentless mode on.
Instead of this, try catching your husky when it’s good. If it shows appropriate and obedient behavior, reward it. This way, the husky sees that there’s a reward for being a good boy/girl and none for being bad.
Lack of Training
Your husky’s aggression could simply be due to a lack of training. It won’t know how to behave properly if you don’t teach it. If you want to get a pup but you don’t know how to train it, ask a professional dog trainer to help you.
However, if you want to get an already-behaved husky, you can get a grown one from shelters and breeders. It will cost more because the shelter has already trained it, but it’s a certified home buddy and a safe companion for the whole family.
Huskies are a loyal and passionate breed. They can go on beast mode if they detect a threat to their owners and territory. You may observe aggression in your husky when someone who hasn’t met before walks by or visits your house.
This is where the importance of socialization comes in. Let your husky meet different people and animals to show that strangers can turn into friends. Your husky will still respond when it sees that you feel threatened, but it’ll be easier for you to calm it down when you introduce it to someone new.
(Find out whether huskies bark and what you can do to stop it!)
How Do You Prevent Aggression in Huskies?
We’ve already determined if huskies are aggressive, and the answer is no. But, based on the previous section, this doesn’t mean they can’t display aggressive behavior. Let’s talk about how we can prevent that from happening.
The solution to your husky’s aggression depends on what caused it in the first place. So, based on the causes of aggression enumerated above, here are some steps you can take to prevent aggression in your husky:
Ensure That They Gets Plenty of Exercise
Let your husky embody its outgoing nature by giving it plenty of time to be physically active. In fact, when you’re still thinking about getting a husky, you should consider how active you are. Your lifestyle should guide you in choosing the right canine breed for you.
Also, consider your home environment and your family members. Your place should be spacious enough to be a playground to a super pumped-up doggo. You should also have a park nearby. Reconsider getting a husky when you have small kids at home. It might be too active and overwhelming for the kids.
Avoid Punishing Your Husky
By now, it might seem that raising a husky is like raising a child. To some extent, this is true. A dog and a child can’t fully comprehend what’s going on unless you do your best to explain it to them. Both of them also need to be guided on how to shape good behavior.
Punishing a husky is similar to being aggressive to it. Try using positive reinforcement instead of any form of punishment. Keep an eye out for good behavior and reward it. Focus on letting it know when it’s being good. Over time, your husky will recognize to behave properly when it wants something.
The most common example of this is giving treats to a husky when you ask it to sit. The next time you ask it to repeat the behavior, it will most likely do so.
Establish Your Position as a Leader
Train your husky to follow your command. You can start with simple commands such as asking it to sit, stand, rollover, and come to you. Afterward, move up to something more complicated such as asking it to cooperate when its bath time, patiently wait for its food to be given, and stop running around the house all the time.
When you go for a walk, take control of where you should go. Canines like going in packs, and they respectfully follow their alpha. Claim that alpha position and don’t let your huskies lead you around. Careful on how you train them to be obedient. Remember to use rewards instead of forcing them to follow you.
Forcing a husky to comply involves using a shock collar, loud noises such as yelling, and physical pain such as ear pinching. Establish yourself as a leader but don’t treat your husky like a slave in the process. Respect your dog and love it enough to train to behave for its own good. If you don’t think you have enough patience to wait for it to eventually come around, reconsider adopting one.
Avoid Being Emotional Around It
Dogs are more sensitive to negative emotions than positive ones. So, try not to lash out on your wolf-looking companions. You husky can copy behaviors that it sees. If you want it to display calmness, act calmly around it.
Do What You Preach
The best way to teach dogs what to do is through demonstration. Apply this tip as soon as possible and be patient until your husky follows through. If you want to teach it to sit, sit in front of it, put it in a sitting position, and hold it there. If the dog successfully sits for a while, give it a treat to show that it’s behaving well. Do the same for roll-overs and other commands.
If your husky tends to become anxious, help it channel that anxiety healthily using a chew toy. Feeling anxious is not uncommon for a dog. Give it time to settle in your home, especially if it has been treated differently by its previous owner or was left to survive on the streets.
Teach It To Practice Moderation
We’ve already established that huskies are super hyper, but it doesn’t mean we don’t put limits on their activities. You must train your dog to recognize when it’s time to go home and recognize downtime.
Train your husky to follow a schedule, your schedule, so it can recognize when it’s allowed to express its energy and when it needs to rest indoors. If you achieve this, you and your husky can do things together. Over time, it will become more manageable.
Whatever training you do, do it consistently. The only way for a husky to understand how you want it to behave is if it sees the same consequences to its behaviors all the time. For example, if you start giving it treats for shaking your hand, give it a treat every time it shakes your hand. This requires patience on your part because dogs don’t learn overnight.
Don’t Forget Your Husky’s Food
Consult a vet regarding your husky’s diet. Depending on the size and activity of the dog, it needs to consume certain amounts of nutrients to stay healthy and meet its body’s demands. A healthy diet can significantly reduce stress in dogs and this reduction is beneficial to its mood.
Know When To Ask for Help
Ask a professional’s help, especially if your husky is becoming dangerous to you and others. Don’t wait for something to happen or your frustration to take over. If you feel like you’re about to start screaming in exhaustion, contact a dog trainer.
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What Should You Do If Your Husky Has Bitten Someone?
If your husky’s aggression gets triggered and it ends up biting someone, you can do the following:
1. Stay calm and regain control of your husky. If it has bitten someone while you’re at home, secure it in its cage as soon as you can.
2. Attend to the bitten person afterward. Wash the person’s wounds with warm water and soap. Make sure you clean the wound thoroughly.
3. You can either call for help or take the person to the nearest healthcare facility, depending on what’s applicable.
4. Stay with the person at all times. Don’t assign blame for what happened. Focus on getting the help that the person needs.
5. Take note of the person’s contact information. Ask if the person wants you to call someone to be there for him/her.
6. If the incident happened outside, such as when you were walking your husky, and there were witnesses, ask them for their contact information as well.
7. Contact your vet and narrate the incident. Also, ask for the medical records of your husky.
8. Notify the proper authorities regarding what happened.
9. If you have a homeowner’s insurance, this type of incident will be covered. However, you must first consider the extent of the injury and the medical expenses before deciding to contact them. It’d be good if the amount is less than or equal to your deductible.
As you may notice, the whole point of these steps is to come clean and accept responsibility for your husky. It’s the only way to keep everyone involved safe, and above all, it’s the morally right thing to do.
The victim may file charges, and you’re going to need a lawyer. Regardless, offer to shoulder the victim’s expenses. Hopefully, the incident won’t cost you your husky. A dog bite is a nightmare for both the victim and the owner. To prevent this from happening, you must learn how to train your dog to control its biting power.
The “No Bite” method is a good one. Huskies have a high prey drive, so they will bite even during playtime. When your husky bites, you must repeatedly say “no bite” until you feel its teeth loosening up. Once this happens, praise your husky and give it a treat as a form of behavioral affirmation that ”not biting down hard” is good. You must train your husky while it’s still a puppy, so it can carry this bite inhibition skill well into adulthood.
Another thing you should do is keep an eye on the signs that your husky is uncomfortable or threatened and may end up biting the threat. Look out for these warnings:
1. When your dog starts to stand very still as if it’s frozen, it’s about to get aggressive. A rigid posture with raised ears and tail means that your husky is on high alert. You must be sharp in detecting what’s triggering it.
2. Growling is obviously a sign that your husky is about to go into beast mode. Huskies and dogs in general do this when they sense a stranger or a threat to them, their owner, and their territory.
3. A wagging tail is also a red flag, especially when it accompanies a rigid body. The posture differentiates a happy and a serious tail wag.
Can You Cure an Aggressive Husky?
Yes. Huskies can be trained out of their aggression. If a husky grew up being mistreated before taken to a shelter where you found it and fell in love, training it to drop the aggression will take a lot of work.
Fortunately, you can always contact professional dog trainers and animal behaviorists to guide and assist you. Just make sure that you treat your husky with respect and show it that you’re a strong leader; an alpha. Be consistent in showing it the consequences of its behavior, so it knows which ones are rewarded and which ones aren’t.
A husky pup is easier to train to become a good boy/girl. Yes, its genes can influence its tendency to be aggressive, but treating and training it well can help it behave like a good home companion.
(Have you ever wondered whether huskies like water and if they can swim?)
What Should You Avoid Doing?
Based on what we’ve already discussed, you must avoid doing the following:
Avoid Punishing Your Husky Through Emotional Outbursts and Pain
Don’t harm your husky. Do your best to not hurt it physically, so it won’t resent you. Also, don’t show outbursts of emotions. A husky recognizes negative emotions, and it can channel it back through angry vocalizations. As much as possible, be calm around your husky.
Avoid Rewarding Inappropriate Behavior
Avoid rewarding aggressive behavior. Don’t just give it what it wants so it shuts up. Learn how to take advantage of positive reinforcement to train your husky. Apply this behavior modification technique consistently.
Avoid Keeping Your Husky From Its Nature
Avoid keeping your husky inside the house for extended periods. Huskies are meant to roam free, at least for a limited time. It must be able to socialize, so it won’t develop hostility toward strangers. Let your husky be a part of your daily routine, so it can get enough time outdoors.
Alright! Now that we’ve covered plenty of topics related to the question, “Are huskies aggressive?”, let’s do some recap.
We’ve established that huskies, by nature, are not aggressive. They’re a good breed of dog. They’re just energetic, free-spirited, highly prey-driven, mischievous, and super pumped-up that they can be overwhelming and dangerous to small kids. However, they’re the perfect buddies if you’re an outdoorsy dog lover.
We also tackled the causes of aggressive behavior in huskies. We learned that they get how they act from their owners. A husky’s ability to learn proper behavior starts with its owner. Therefore, be a good parent to a lively husky and avoid inflicting pain to it. Also, avoid showing strong negative emotions when it’s around. You must also get on the good side of its nature and let it get enough physical activity. Most importantly, ask for a professional’s help if you can’t train your husky before it hurts other people.
In case your husky does bite someone, gain control of it first before taking care of the victim to avoid more injury. Take responsibility for your husky’s behavior and do your best to help the victim with his/her recovery and medical expenses. Prevent biting incidents from happening again by teaching your husky how to inhibit its biting power. Also, learn the physical signs that show your husky is uncomfortable or threatened, so you can intervene before it goes berserk and bites people.