Are you ready for a husky? Answer key

Below are the correct answers. In some cases, there are multiple correct answers. Give yourself four points for every correct answer. 

Does your family have ten hours a week to walk a dog?

Yes. Correct! Ideally, your husky is walked twice a day for at least thirty minutes a walk.

To which of the following do you have daily access? You get four points for each resource.

A fenced in yard of a half acre or more.

Access to a dog park.

Access to a dog day care facility where dogs play at least eight hours a day

How many hours a day will your husky be alone?

No more than three hours a day. Good job! Huskies are not wolves and do not enjoy lone wolfing it. They are highly social, with people and other dogs. They also get bored very quickly when not socially stimulated. Unless you are retired or home all day, it’s really better to get two huskies than one husky. Two huskies can entertain each other, taking the pressure off you to entertain them constantly. Huskies will also bond closely with other dog breeds, especially herding breeds like blue heelers, and, under some circumstances, household cats.

Define “positivity training.
”Reward positive behavior.” Yes. Constantly. Especially if you are raising a husky under two years of age, you really have to administer a lot of treats. Don’t count the treats. Is that too many? No. As long as he’s doing something you like or even just something that doesn’t bug the shit out of you, reward that behavior with treats, toys, play, and praise. Huskies love to play and will often learn to sit, go down, stay, etc. for a game of tug the rope. Positivity training is really the only viable training for a husky.
Do you fundamentally believe that dogs don’t need to take obedience classes?

No. Correct! Huskies are feral enough with training. Don’t even think about getting a husky and not hiring a trainer or taking a class.

If you have children, did you ever discipline them by hitting, spanking, or shouting?

No. Good answer. If you couldn’t manage your children without resorting to violence, you should definitely not get a dog. And please don’t have any more children.

Do you believe that dogs learn from being slapped or kicked or yelled at?

No. Good answer. All a dog learns from being yelled at or beaten or slapped is that you are a mean person and not to be trusted.

When your dog steals half a bagel, dressed with cream cheese, from your plate, what is the appropriate response?

Taking responsibility for putting your dog in a position to do something that displeases you and letting him finish his bagel in peace. Husky ownership obligates you to anticipate things that can go wrong. 

Are you or is at least one member of your family physically able to walk a mile in fifteen minutes or less?

Yes. You will be better off if you answered yes here. Huskies like to walk fast. Unless you have an older husky–six or more years old–you will need to walk briskly to keep him happy. A husky is a good choice of dog if you want to get in shape through power walking.

How big do huskies get?

40-70 pounds. According to the American Kennel Club, they average 50 pounds, but sometimes get as big as seventy pounds. This is a big dog. If you want a bigger dog, consider a Malamute. If you want a smaller dog, consider a Pomsky, which is a breed that looks like a husky, but will only get to be twenty-five pounds or so. If you want to be assured of a forty pound husky, you will have to obtain one that is already at least two years old. If you are obtaining a husky puppy, you should try to meet the mother and father and observe their size. This will give you some idea how big your puppy will get, but it is not a guarantee. Other indications that your puppy will be huge are: if he is the first born of the litter, if he arrived a day ahead of all the other puppies, or if the breeder says things like, “he eats all the food.”

What is the best harness for a husky? Circle all that apply.

A weighted back pack. You get full points for this, because a weighted backpack will divert some of your husky’s pulling instincts into carrying. Weighted packs also help equalize the energy level of the husky and her walker.

This is a trick question. You shouldn’t harness a husky because it activates her pulling instinct.

Do you need a lot of physical affection from your dog?

No. Good answer. There are definitely more affectionate dogs. Pit bulls, beagles, King Charles spaniels, and Labrador retrievers, to name the most obvious. That’s not to say that your husky won’t come to love you, but it will take longer, and you will have to earn it.

Do you need a lot of eye contact and emotional support from your dog?

No, is a better answer. There’s a reason you rarely, if ever, see a husky performing as an emotional support dog. They never make the list of best dogs for fighting depression either. Huskies will challenge your physical and problem solving abilities, rather than supporting you.

When training a dog, what is the reward that most reinforces good behavior?

Stinky, moist dog treats. If you think all dog treats are equally good, you will be in for a rude shock. Huskies quickly develop a sense of what treats are high value enough and will only learn new things for those treats. Your husky might initially go outside to pee for a small, dry treat, but, if going outside isn’t enough fun, you will find yourself graduating to beef jerky, then cold cuts, then redesigning the yard to be more fun. 

Praising the dog lavishly with a loving tone of voice. You get four points for this because your husky will respond to voice quality.

Rewards will have to be rotated and re-evaluated on a daily basis because your husky will tire of any reward that’s too consistently administered. You get four points for this, too. Don’t spend them all in one place.

You believe your relationship to your husky will be most like:

A friendship. Correct! Whatever Cesar Milan might think, there’s no science to the notion that dogs think of people as dogs.

A collaboration. Your husky wants to play and explore. Your best option is to be his fellow explorer and play buddy. Also correct!

Do you enjoy gardening and raising flowers, fruits, or vegetables in your front or back yards?

No. Good answer. Sorry. Unless you have a six foot fence around your cultivars, there’s really no mixing a beloved garden with a beloved husky. Huskies have an instinct to dig. They are great dogs for people who look out on their backyards and say, “You know, what we really need back here are some craters.”

When your husky kills a baby bird, the appropriate response is to:

Identify where in your yard birds are nesting and then, during the winter months, trim tree branches and block cavities to prevent birds from nesting in your yard. Correct!

With the patience of Gandhi, accept that huskies have a strong prey drive and that there will be a few casualties. Also correct!

As you are taking off your shoes, your husky grabs one, runs across the house, and has chewed a hole in it before you catch up with her. The appropriate response is

Nothing. Correct! Your opportunity to make this a learning moment expired the moment she got her teeth around your shoe. You will now buy only cheap shoes. Again, it’s not enough to be a good dog owner who keeps her temper. You must also anticipate trouble and get ahead of it.

You come home to find that your husky has chewed the corner off your favorite chair. The appropriate response is to:

Remind yourself that you signed up for chewed furniture when you got a husky and take your dog for a lovely long walk.

Your husky pees the floor when you come home from a long day at work. The appropriate response is to:

Recognize that your dog was excited when you got home. She peed in her excitement. Help your dog with house training by letting her outside to pee as soon as you get home.

Your results

100 points or better: You are knowledgeable about huskies. Assuming you can follow through on these principals, you will be a good husky parent.

80-100 points: You may want to foster a husky before adopting, if possible. There is a wonderful group that rescues huskies and malamutes at this address: https://www.facebook.com/groups/645223119573151. They pull huskies out of high kill shelters and get them into foster care so that they have time to be adopted. Fostering would be a great way to get to know the breed better.

Under 80 points: I’m not going to tell you what to do, but please be aware that a dog is a lifetime commitment, not something it’s okay to experiment with. If you believe you have the time, patience, and resources to deal with this breed, take my blessing, but you may want to research other breeds. German shepherds, for instance, are big, smart dogs, but they receive training more efficiently than huskies because they have a stronger drive to please their people.

3 thoughts on “Are you ready for a husky? Answer key

  1. We have a Husky and all the things you say are true. She has boundless energy. We take her for at least 3 walks every day. These are off leash because we could never burn off enough energy if she was moving our speed. She knows if she’s been naughty but she also know we can’t stay mad at her. She is 6 now and although she can still misbehave occasionally, she is the best behaved Husky I have ever met.

    Like

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