Is a Siberian Husky The Perfect Dog For You?

The Siberian Husky is without a doubt, one of the most impressive looking dogs on this planet. Their wolf-like appearance will turn heads wherever they go. Studies of canine DNA have proven being in the Spitz family; they are among the oldest domesticated breeds.

Originating in Eastern Siberia, this dog was bred to work in harsh conditions and seems to thrive the harder they are driven. Surprisingly, they were also cherished family pets, which may explain why even today, they are so naturally drawn to and interact so well with children.

They were brought to Canada and the United States during the Gold Rush era, to transport miners and supplies to areas where other pack animals could not survive. They have also been used by the military for search and rescue missions, under the most inhospitable frigid conditions.

A medium size dog, they normally weigh 60-70 pounds. What surprises most about them is how little they eat. Bred to survive on little rations, they are economical as far as the grocery bill is concerned.

It has been said, “The eyes are the window to the soul.” Huskies have striking eyes! They range from tawny to brown, from ice blue to deep, dark blue and any combination there of. When a Husky looks at you, souls meet.

This is a dog that hates to be left alone. A card-carrying pack animal, the Husky wants to be with their pack, be it human or canine. They as a rule get along well with other dogs. However, when left alone or bored, if they have an ounce of energy they will get into trouble. You can take that to the bank! It is highly recommended that until they mature and prove they can be trusted, they should be crated when you leave the house.

Start crate training when they are young. Most dogs instinctively love the den-like security crates offer. It also provides them with their own private space to retreat to, when they feel the need to be alone.

Don’t think you are going to leave this dog in the backyard alone either. They will easily scale a 6-foot fence, or dig a hole under it. Once they are out, they are gone! This is not a dog you can let off lead in an unsecured area. Unless your dog is phenomenally trained to respond to recall immediately, they will vanish right before your eyes. On your best day, you will never catch them. Most are not that good about finding their way home! Since they usually lack street smarts, too many become the unfortunate victims in the incidences of dog vs. car. Getting lost is also one of the reasons why they end up as strays in shelters.

It’s wise to have your Husky micro-chipped. That way you can be contacted, should they be found.

Huskies are intelligent, but they can also be unbelievably obstinate. Due to that block, they are not the easiest dog to train without help. Trainers constantly hear owners bemoan about their dog’s Jekyll and Hyde behaviors. “Why is he/she so good in class, but at home…?” The answer is quite simple. A Husky will instinctively follow the strongest leader. If they sense a lack of leadership at home, they will have no respect for you. As a fundamental survival instinct they will take over you, your family, the house, the yard and if they could drive, the car too! They often behave like little angels in class, because they instinctively sense the leadership the trainer is projecting.

Dogs learn by association, but the Husky takes it to the max. They are known for keenly watching and imitating what their family does. They have been found opening doors and gates. Owners have claimed they have seen their dog try to follow them up a ladder or open the refrigerator. Never let your pet watch you dig in your garden. Much to your chagrin, you will find them “helping” you every chance they get.

This is a dog that should have positive reinforcement, punishment free Puppy Kindergarten and socialization group classes at the earliest age possible. It is easier to train them before the “stubborns” set in. In addition, they should have frequent ‘refresher” obedience classes and daily obedience drills for life. With a Husky there is to be ‘no free lunch.” They must be made to work for everything. Ironically, being working dogs they thrive on the challenges and rewards for their hard work.

As a way to establish and maintain your leadership status, always make your Husky wait. They should wait for you to enter and exit the house. They should be fed after you eat. They should be made to wait until told to “load up” when getting into the car, and told to “wait” until you release them to get out of the car. You will be surprised at how well behaved and respectful they respond if you follow the “no free lunch” method fairly, firmly and consistently.

Obedience training and lots of socialization is important for them to peacefully co-exists with smaller pets. They are powerful. Supervision is a must when they play with children or smaller animals. They can get rough when they get carried away. They have a high prey drive. Anything that moves, children, other dogs, cats, squirrels and even you, are fair game. Your skills as a leader will be tested.

Ask Husky owners to describe their dog and you will hear: affectionate, silly, loving, independent, great with kids, busy, stubborn, happy, friendly, will-full, agile, loves everyone, lousy watchdog, too friendly, never gets tired, tenacious and did we mention mulish? Because of their unbelievable stamina, they do need an active person or family. They are not couch potatoes! If bored, they may eat the couch.

Normally, they are not the easiest dogs to housebreak. It will take lots of patience, but eventually they do get the message.

Capable of surviving temperatures as low as -70 (F) degrees, Huskies are happiest in colder climates. Even though their dense, double coat acts to both heat and cool them, they prefer the cold. When you exercise or jog with your dog, it has to be done in the coolest parts of the day.

Exercise, exercise, exercise! This is an animal that needs more than most dogs. If they do not get sufficient exercise, they will develop serious behavioral problems. They would love nothing more than a long, brisk walk or jog and about an hour of interactive playtime with you twice a day. If you cannot commit to that, this is not the dog for you.

Grooming their dense double coat is work! To provide them with protection from sub-zero temperatures, that thick undercoat and softer topcoat serves as insulation. Their undercoat is almost impenetrable. Many owners have their pets professionally groomed twice a year, when shedding is heaviest. In-between, they will need to be seriously brushed out at least weekly. Expect huge balls of fur! Break it up and toss it outside; birds love it for their nests.

Their snowshoe feet, with long hair between the pads and toes needs to be checked often for burrs and hitchhikers. Otherwise you will find your dog frantically gnawing on them.

A fairly healthy breed, most of their health problems are genetic. For that and to get a dog with a sweet temperament, it is strongly suggested to find responsible, trustworthy breeders. Some of the most common health issues are with those beautiful eyes! They are prone to Corneal Dystrophy, cataracts, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). Some suffer from a skin condition called Zinc Responsive Dermatitis. There is also a chronic lung condition, referred to as Bronchial-pulmonary Disease.

Their average life span is 12-15 years.

It cannot be stressed enough, this is not the right dog for an inexperienced or meek owner. Even those with years of experience, will sometimes find themselves nose-to-nose, toe-to-toe with their Husky. It may be true they deem the older they get, the dumber we get.

Bottom line: Do your homework. Research the breed. Talk to Husky owners. This is an awesome pet for the right person or family. The entire family will have to provide indisputable leadership. Because they can be pig-headed, destructive and that propensity to run away; the Husky is one of the most surrendered or picked up breed by animal control. Be sure you are ready for the challenges they will pose, before you both end up with broken hearts. Run; do not walk away from puppies at pet stores, classified ads and flea markets. They only perpetuate horrifying puppy mills and sloppy, inexperienced backyard breeders. It may cost a bit more, but a reputable, responsible breeder is your best bet for a healthier, happier dog. If you cannot afford a good breeder, check with shelter and rescues. Odds are, on any given day they will have a more than few Huskies anxiously awaiting a forever home. You just may find your new best friend waiting for you.

5 Methods to Potty Training Your Siberian Husky

So you’ve bought home a Siberian Husky puppy. One of the first challenges is potty training. Another term for this is simply “housebreaking”. From the very beginning, you must start to process of teaching your dog where she can eliminate and that she must hold on when left by herself. When done right, potty training your Siberian Husky should only take a couple weeks to complete.

The biggest rule of housebreaking is that you need to start the process from the very first day that you receive your Siberian Husky, and especially while she’s still a young puppy. Huskies are a very independent, smart and dominant breed of dog and therefore typically requires a lot of leadership and assertiveness when potty training. Your Sibe may appear stubborn and will try to “break the rules” by peeing behind the sofa in spite of all your training. If this is the case, it is simply a matter of using better consistency when applying the rules.

Without further ado, the following are the top 5 methods to potty training your Siberian Husky:

1. Use a dog crate

By far the most helpful tool for potty training your Siberian husky is a dog crate. By using a crate, your pup will naturally understand not eliminate where they sleep. The crate will also help in training your Siberian Husky to control her bladder. By confining your puppy for shorts periods at a time and then slowly increasing this amount of time, your puppy will learn to hold her bladder before eliminating. Before long, your puppy will be able to go through the whole night without needing to eliminate.

But you must be careful that the dog crate is not too large, or else the pup will start to potty at one end while sleeping at the other end. This is not what you want. When starting out, you will also want to line the inside of the crate with newspaper in case of accidents.

2. Stick to a routine

When housebreaking your Siberian Husky, it is best to set a schedule of when it is time for feeding, playing, training and sleeping. By keeping a consistent daily schedule, your dog will learn to adapt and begin to understand when she will have time outside to eliminate if needed. This will also provide the vital training of helping her learn to hold her bladder.

3. Know when your puppy needs to eliminate

One of the biggest things for housebreaking your puppy is to keep an on her and understand exactly when she need to go. The typical sign of needing to go eliminate is when your dog puts her nose to the floor and tail in the air. This can also involve whining or barking. As soon as you find any sign of needing to eliminate, take the puppy outside immediately and let her relieve herself.

A good trick is to repeat the same command when taking the puppy outside. This could be asking “Is it potty time?” or “Do you need to go outside?” Repeating this over and over while taking the dog outside will allow the dog to learn when it is time to eliminate.

4. Use positive encouragement

Another needed aspect of potty training is to use positive encouragement. As soon as your puppy has finished her business, you need to give her a lot of praise. This way the puppy will learn to associate good feelings to eliminating outside.

The wrong way to go about potty training is rubbing the puppy’s nose in her own stink, as this will only lead to confusion and bad reinforcement. This also applies to shouting at the dog for peeing in the house.

5. Take care of accidents

On the road to housebreaking your puppy, there are bound to be slip-ups when your dog accidentally pees inside the house. As soon as you see this sort of behaviour, you must pick the little one up and take her outside. You must also quickly clean up the mess as soon as possible in order to get rid of all traces and smells. Any scent of urine inside the house will mean to the dog that it is OK to eliminate there.

College Football – Brian White, Former National Assistant Coach of the Year, Joins Husky Staff

Slowly, hopefully inexorably, the misguided loyalty on the University of Washington football staff is getting a facelift and some actual competence.

The defensive disaster that has permeated the U-Dub campus could actually improve next season with the recent addition of defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and now former offensive coordinator Brian White.

White was the latest addition to Ty Willingham’s Husky staff. The powers to be lit a fire under Willingham’s backside after last year’s season of promise degenerated into an unacceptable string of losses.

The message was short and to the point: you can stay another season but fix the defense, and for God’s sake, win more games than you lose before we all forget the great football tradition you inherited. Willingham, whose 3-year coaching record at Washington is 11-25, somewhat reluctantly got the message.

Being a college football coach today is not much fun when you are not winning. Willingham is one loyal person who sincerely believes in the goodness of everyone he hires. Unfortunately, one can go “blind” in this effort to succeed.

In the real world, the lesson that Willingham has to learn is that there is no reward for good. You can be the best person in the world and the best coach in the world, but being good does not mean that you win football games. Think about how many GREAT pro players have no Super Bowl ring.

The reality of life dictates that there can be only two outcomes as a coach at the end of each game: results or excuses.

Just because the CEO of a Fortune 500 company makes more decisions does not mean that he makes better decisions. Loyalty does not translate to the bottom line. This is a really tough lesson for Ty, but if he wants to achieve his potential as a coach, he will learn or be gone.

That is why Ty’s slow, methodical, unemotional move to shore up his defense has resulted in the hiring of Ed Donatell as defensive coordinator and Brian White as an assistant coach, perhaps handling tights ends and special teams, or running backs.

Nowhere in Brian White’s coaching resume do I see special teams coaching experience, which suggests that he would be better placed as the running backs coach.

White spent 11 years as the running backs coach and offensive coordinator for Barry Alvarez at the University of Wisconsin. During his tenure, White was selected as the Division 1 Assistant Coach of the Year in 2004 by the American Football Coaches Association.

As Wisconsin’s running backs coach and offensive coordinator, he helped coach Wisconsin in 9 bowl appearances, including Rose Bowl selections in 1999 and 2000. He mentored 1999 Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne, 2001 NFL first-round draft choice Michael Bennett, and 2001 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Anthony Davis.

White has spent his last 2 years at Syracuse as its offensive coordinator and tight ends coach with little or no success. His lack of accomplishment may have had more to do with Syracuse head coach Greg Robinson, who came to the Orangemen with a terrific record as an NFL defensive coordinator with the New York Jets, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.

Since arriving at Syracuse, Robinson has gone 7-28 in 3 years, the worst 3-year record in Syracuse football history. Nonetheless, Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross is bringing Robinson back for a 4th season.

All you really need to know about Robinson at Syracuse is that he serves as the head coach AND defensive coordinator, a really dumb idea whose time has yet to come. Syracuse is Robinson’s first head coaching job and it shows. Big egos like to micromanage everything and everyone; they have not figured out why they have assistant coaches to make them look better.

Gross’ judgment may be worse than Robinson’s. Some outstanding coordinators are simply not good head coaches; they may lack the talent, temperament, media skills and organizational skills to run an operation without screwing it up.

Brian White did spend 2 years as a graduate assistant for Lou Holtz at Notre Dame, and White was there when the Irish won the 1988 national title with a Fiesta Bowl victory over West Virginia. Two years of experience in ANY capacity with Lou Holtz is worth at least 10 years at Syracuse with the best the current Orangemen have to offer.

While coaching the receivers at Nevada, White helped the Wolf Pack offense lead the nation in total offense (582+ yards per game) and passing offense (401 ypg).

For whatever it is worth, White is also more highly qualified-education-wise-than almost all NCAA football coaches. He has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard, a master’s degree from Fordham and another master’s degree in business administration from Notre Dame.

While there is no direct correlation between education and success as a football coach, White is apparently no stranger to learning and is capable of getting 3 degrees from three academic powerhouses. Let’s hope it rubs off on his fellow Husky staff members and players. Until the Huskies can once again win a lot more games than they lose, they (staff and players) need all the help they can get.

Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley