Are you ready for a husky? Take this quiz

We don’t need another scientific study to tell us why huskies are so popular. They’re beautiful dogs. 

Really beautiful.

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Distractingly beautiful. What was I talking about? Damn it!

So let’s all quit blaming Game of ThronesBalto, and Jack London for all the huskies that are purchased with high hopes, then abandoned in despair because huskies are a lot more and a lot less than what some people can handle.

Huskies are a specific challenge because of their breeding, strength, high energy, high intelligence, and independent personalities.

Is a husky the right dog for you and your family? Take this quiz to find out. Or skip directly to the answer key.

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

Yes.

No.

To which of the following do you have daily access? Circle all that apply.

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.

None of the above.

How many hours a day will your dog be completely alone, i.e. without companionship of other dogs, cats, or humans?

No more than three hours a day.

Three to eight hours a day.

More than eight hours a day.

Define “positivity training.”

Reward positive behavior.

Reward positive behavior and administer physical punishment for negative behavior.

Reward only really good behavior with treats, then ignore bad behavior.

Do you fundamentally believe that dogs don’t need to take obedience classes?

Yes.

No.

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

Yes.

No.

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

Yes.

No.

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

Yelling “no!” in a loud, firm voice.

Screaming and then rubbing the dog’s face in the cream cheese.

Beating the dog for ten seconds or less.

Taking responsibility for putting your dog in a position to do something that displeases you and letting him finish his bagel in peace

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

Yes.

No.

How big do huskies get?

40-70 pounds

60-80 pounds.

25-45 pounds.

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

A weighted back pack.

A sled harness.

A shock harness.

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?

Yes.

No.

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

Yes.

No.

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

Dry, odorless dog treats.

Stinky, moist dog treats.

Scratching behind a dog’s ears.

Praising the dog lavishly with a loving tone of voice.

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 believe your relationship to your husky will be most like:

A master, servant relationship.

An alpha dog, beta dog relationship.

A friendship.

A collaboration.

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

Yes.

No.

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

Beat the dog because he knows better.

Scold the dog so that he never does that again.

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.

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

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. 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.

Scream “NO” at your dog and then get the shoe away from her by screaming and pulling.

Hit your dog until she gives up the shoe, then hit her with the shoe for at least five seconds.

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.

Drag your dog by the collar to the chewed chair. Scream and point at the damage.

Hit your dog at least three times while yelling, “chair, chair, chair!”

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

Rub your dog’s nose in the pee.  

Yell “NO PEE.”

Recognize that your dog was excited when you got home. She peed in her excitement. Resolve that, in future, you will immediately go outside with your dog when you get home to help her with house training.

Go here to see the correct answers!

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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.

Isle of Dogs: Wes Anderson’s best so far

Dogs are not wild animals.

But what if they had to be?

Would they latch onto the first human that came along?

Probably. At least that’s what Wes Anderson hypothesizes in his latest film, Isle of Dogs. In this movie, a province of Japan has deported all its family pets and watchdogs to Trash Island. The cat-loving local Japanese administration claims that the dogs will spread their flu to the human population if not exiled.

Formerly used for manufacture, transportation, and animal experimentation, Trash Island has been devastated by multiple storms which have left it in chemical and architectural ruins.

Only one human attempts to rescue his dog, and that is Atari, a twelve year old boy who steals a prop plane and crash lands on the island in search of his dog, Spots.

Of the five animated dogs who star in Isle of Dogs, four immediately make Atari’s mission their own. And the outlier, Chief, voiced by Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston, never actually walks away from the mission. Instead, he keeps a close eye out on the others from a distance of a few yards.

Eventually, Chief comes to love Atari, saves his life, and pledges his lifetime loyalty to the twelve year old. When it turns out that Spots is Chief’s long lost brother, Chief has one question: “Was, was I the runt?”

“Not any more,” replies Spots as the two of them protect Atari from a raging current.

The movie is partly in untranslated Japanese, about which some reviewers have taken issue. In point of fact, nothing is said in Japanese that cannot easily be understood in context. It’s a bit like harping that you didn’t catch every word of an opera.

And one reviewer, Moeko Fujii , has said that language and the failure of translation is really what the film is all about.

Other critics have accused Anderson of stereotyping because his film traffics in a number of Japanese art forms: sumo wrestling, cherry blossoms, haiku.

We condemn this as cultural appropriation at our own risk, however, as Anderson is so tongue in cheek. In other words, he might be stereotyping, or he might be making fun of the way America stereotypes Japan.

What we do know is that Isle of Dogs is a really loving portrayal of dogs, their attachment to humans, and how little they ask of life. Isle of Dogs has all the heart that is absent from Anderson’s intriguing early work.

Perhaps not every dog is as rational and compassionate as Rex, King, Boss, and Duke, voiced by Edward Norton, Robert Balaban, Bill Murray, and Jeff Goldblum. But we all know dogs who are that gentle, dogs who will put up with the worst travel accommodations just to be near their people, dogs who would do anything for a twelve-year-old boy.

And the trademarks of Anderson’s work–the softly spoken monologues and characters staring straight into the camera–really work in this film. Especially when dogs and boy have their eyes full of tears.

Altogether, Isle of Dogs is Anderson’s most complex, subtle, and clever film so far.

 

 

Ace your rescue dog application: 15 tips

You want to rescue a dog that’s had a hard life. Maybe his first owners kept him lonely and chained up. Maybe he didn’t get good veterinary care. You are a generous person who wants to do the right thing. 

Then you take 45 minutes to fill out a dog rescue application and find you were declined because you don’t have specific “breed experience.” Or some other reason that feels wrong. Understanding the concerns behind pet rescue questionnaires can really help you navigate the process. 

Tip one: Understand rescue sites. 

A lot of people end up at Petfinder.com because of its search rankings. However, it is not the only, or even the best, platform to find a dog. Rescueme.org is a great, nationwide site. Also research specific breed rescues, like Husky Haven of Florida which specializes in the husky breed. There is a rescue for almost every breed of dog or cat you are interested in. 

Be aware that most of the dogs on these sites are already owned by rescues. And you will have to navigate their unique processes. Some dog owners get frustrated and put their own dogs on a rescue site, directly, instead of finding a rescue organization to take them. These ads read like, “I’m having a baby, and it kills me, but I have to give up my fur princess.” Or “I’m moving and can’t take my dog.” These listings may offer you an opportunity to adopt a dog without having to deal with a rescue. 

Tip two: Keep filling out applications

If you don’t receive a reply to your query or application within 48 hours, there’s a good chance the rescue has lost your application or they adopted out the dog while you were filling out your application. It’s likely they will not circle back around to the other people who applied and let them know that the dog now has a home. You should not waste time trying to figure out what happened. 

You do have the right to ask an adoption agency how many applications they already have for a specific dog. If they won’t tell you, there’s a good chance you are dealing with shady people. There are good rescues and bad rescues. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to separate them out when all you have is a name and website. 

Tip three: You must have a fenced yard for a big dog.

The rescue dog application may give you the impression that a fenced yard would be a nice thing to have.

Wrong. It is an absolute requirement.

The rescue dog application may ask how tall your fence is. If you are looking at any dog bigger than a mini, you need a fence of at least six feet in height. It’s a good idea to have your fence built before starting the rescue process. 

Tip four: You must have your other animal(s) up to date on shots.

While evaluating your rescue dog application, the rescue agency will call your vet and ask how many pets you have and whether they are up to date on all vaccines. If they are not, you will not get the pet.

It doesn’t matter if your indoor-only, twenty year old cat has not gone outside for eighteen years. If you want to adopt a rescue dog, you will have to take your cat to the vet and get her shots.

Tip five: Pets are not disposable.

If you have ever dumped an animal, you are not eligible for another pet. Dumping can be defined as: leaving your dog or cat behind when you move or opening the car door and letting your pet run off into the wilderness.

If you have taken an animal to the pound or given it away to another person, you should carefully think through your reasons for getting another pet. 

Think about what you would do to protect a child. If you won’t do almost as much to protect your pet, don’t get a pet.

  1. This means, for instance, if you have to evacuate for a storm, take ALL YOUR PETS.
  2. If you are moving from New York to California, TAKE YOUR PETS. Don’t give me this, “He’ll be happier with ….” bullshit. No he won’t. Just figure it out, people.
  3. If your fiance says, “me or the dog,” choose the dog. Talk about a bad trade.
  4. When you have a baby, keep the dog. If the dog ends up liking your four year old more than he likes you, keep the dog.

Tip six: The retractable leash question.

The correct answer is “No, I don’t believe in retractable leashes. I do not own and will never use a retractable leash.”

Yes, your rescue dog application will contain some items that are trick questions, designed to trap the unwary.

Truth: If you get a forty pound dog or a bigger one, you will quickly learn not to use a retractable leash. Especially after your dog has circled your legs three times with the leash and left you unable to walk.

I see people using retractable leashes and not breaking a hip. It’s always a tiny dog. It’s still a dumb idea, but not as dumb as walking a malamute on a retractable leash.

Tip seven: The crate question

The correct answer is: “Yes, I am familiar with crate training, and I will crate my dog for short periods of time in conjunction with house training. I will place treats and toys in the crate to make sure it is a positive experience for my dog, and I will never use a crate as a punishment.”

Truth: No matter how nice you make a crate, it’s a crate. Any dog who is crated every day comes to hate his crate. You really do need a fenced yard where your dog can go potty when you’re not up for walking him. 

If the rescue dog application specifically asks you how many hours a day you plan to crate your dog, waffle madly. “In general, not for long. I would appreciate your guidance on this matter,” might be the only safe answer. There is a wide range of opinion on how long you should crate a dog. 

Tip eight: The “How will you discipline your dog?” question.

The correct answer is: “I subscribe to positive dog training methodology. Dogs should be rewarded for good behaviors, but never hit or yelled at.” 

It might be a good idea to line up a dog trainer in advance, so that you can put her name on your application along with contact information. If you have a nice, long conversation with this trainer, you can even put her down as a reference. 

Note: If you plan to beat up your dog, don’t get a dog.

Unlike a child, your dog will not understand why you are punching or kicking. Don’t get a dog as a punching bag. And, if you need a punching bag, don’t have children either.

Tip eight: The “Do you plan to move any time within the next six months?” question

The correct answer is no. Just no, not maybe or “I don’t know.”

Truth: You can safely move with a dog or cat, so long as you use some common sense and advance planning. My dog has changed houses with me four times in the past eight years. She doesn’t like it, but she didn’t get lost or have a psychotic episode.

I would also note that dogs are often more resilient than people, and they don’t hold grudges like people. “I can’t believe you moved me to a place that doesn’t have a Forever 21!” is something you will never hear from your dog.

Tip nine: the “who is this animal for?” question

The correct answer is “me.”

If you are getting an animal primarily because you know that your husband will be devastated when your current dog dies, the correct answer is still “me.”

Your rescue dog application will be declined if you disclose that you are getting this animal as a gift or for your children or for your grandmother or for your other dog or cat who is lonely during the day while you are at work.

Tip ten: the “Where will this dog be during the day when you are not home?,” “How many hours a day will this dog be alone?” and “Where will this dog sleep?” questions.

The correct answers: Your dog will be in your house during the day when you are not home, and not in a crate and not in your back yard or front yard.

When calculating how long the dog will be alone, consider the other members of your family. Could your husband work at home? If so, add those hours to the hours your dog will have companionship. Similarly, if your daughter comes home for lunch, calculate that time.

If you live alone, you should really try to adopt two dogs, preferably litter mates. Sibling dogs love each other for ever, and they take the pressure off you to provide all the companionship your puppy needs.  

Your dog will sleep in a dog bed. If you are applying for a puppy, your puppy will sleep in a dog bed which has been placed inside your bedroom.

Truth: If you actually get a puppy, he may cry all night long, allowing no one to sleep, unless you put him on your bed or in a crate with another dog.

Tip eleven: “How much does it cost to own and care for a dog?”

The correct answer is: “Between $1000 and $5000 a year, depending on the size of the dog, its age, and health issues. However, I have also set up an emergency fund of $2000 to cover teeth cleaning, emergency care, and treatment for any chronic health issues that might come up.”

Truth: If you don’t have are struggling financially, it is not a good time to get a dog. If, however, you are financially stable, if you own your home, if you have savings and a paid off car, it is a good idea to mention those things, whether the application asks for them or not. Rescues do, legitimately, want assurance that their dog is going to a secure home where financial problems will not endanger her veterinary care or stability. 

Tip twelve: “In the past ten years, have you owned any pets that are not on your list of current pets? What happened to them?”

The correct answer is “Princess died in the vet’s office after a heroic struggle with cancer.” It is okay to have euthanized your animal, if he or she had a fatal illness.

If you reveal, on your rescue dog application, that you ever lost a pet, you will not get another animal from a rescue. Even breeders have a problem with lost pets.

Truth: If you plan to lose your dog or let your dog run wild in the neighborhood, don’t get a dog.  The good people on Nextdoor.com will crucify you if they have to go looking for your dog more than once.

Similarly, if you disclose that any animal of yours was killed in traffic, you will probably be disqualified by the rescue organization.

Tip thirteen: “How old are you?”

The correct answer is: Under sixty and over twenty.

Age discrimination continues unchecked at rescue organizations. Their reasoning is that your adopted dog may live to be twelve and your adopted cat may live to be twenty. It is true that, as we age, we need to have plans in place for our pets, should they outlive us. However, many rescues don’t actually “sell” you a dog. They adopt it out to you in return for a donation. If that item is in your adoption paperwork, your orders are clear. If you have a terminal illness, you take your animal back to the rescue organization. 

Truth: If you are getting a puppy or a high-energy dog, this dog will need a LOT of attention and exercise. Retirees can be great adopters if they have the energy to walk a dog every day and get him to the dog park for six or more hours a week. You can also put agility equipment in your back yard and teach him to run up and down the ramp, through the tunnel, etc. The issue is: Are you still fit and energetic enough for a fit and energetic dog? If the answer is “no,” you will want to adopt an older dog, at least six years old, with a resume of couch surfing. 

Older dogs and cats need homes, and rescues can do a good job of matching your needs if you say you want a low-energy dog.  

Tip fourteen: “Under what circumstances would you surrender this animal?”

The correct answer is something like, “Only death will part us” or, “If I am diagnosed with a terminal illness.” 

The main thing is not to say that you would dump your dog at a shelter if he pees the rug or if you get married or have a baby or get a new job or move to California.

See tip five, and don’t make me get on my soapbox, again.

Tip fifteen: “What will you do when the puppy pees the house?”

Correct answer: I will clean up the pee without scolding the puppy. I understand that house training a puppy involves praising the puppy for peeing outside, and making sure the puppy has adequate opportunities to go outside. I will be patient and understanding. And pee does not freak me out.

Okay, the puppy IS GOING to pee the house. A LOT. Puppies and inappropriate peeing go hand in hand. You don’t get the cuteness without the responsibility. Honestly, many of those You tubes about cute puppies need to be replaced with films of puppies peeing the house. Over and over and over again. There’s a good chance it will take six months or more before your puppy does not pee the house at least three times a week. If you are not prepared for this, do not get a puppy.

Similarly, if cleaning up urine is absolutely the worst thing you can think of, do not get a puppy. or a dog. Or a cat. And please don’t have children. They pee too.

In conclusion, there are good rescues and bad rescues. The good ones respond to questions, read applications, make phone calls, and start a dialog with applicants. Unfortunately, you cannot always identify the bad rescues right away. If they don’t get back to you after you have asked a question, that’s a sign of an irresponsible rescue. Also look at their application. If it’s more than two pages, and you can’t fill it out on line, they don’t respect your time. If they ask for an unreasonable number of references, in addition to your veterinarian and dog trainer, they don’t respect your time or your relationship with your peers.

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