When looking for a dog, people will generally look for the same kind of things. For instance, are they typically good with children? Can they live with another pet and are they aggressive? These are all good questions but too often potential owners don’t investigate one of the most important questions. If you get this wrong then you could be setting yourself up for a lot of stress and worse still, you could be putting your new dog through a lot of stress!
Should a Siberian Husky be left alone? No, a Siberian Husky should not be left alone. They are a social animal that needs interaction from other Huskies or from humans. Leaving a Siberian Husky alone for extended periods will result in separation anxiety and potentially destructive behavior will result.
Siberian Husky Background – Why They Are This Way
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this topic we should understand what the Husky is all about and where it came from as this plays an important part in answering the question.
The Siberian Husky is not your typical breed of dog. In fact, the original Huskies were raised and bred by Siberian’s known as the Chukchi people. They were your typical hunter-gatherers and (so it is told) relied on this breed to help them with daily life. Siberia is very cold but that wasn’t a problem for the Husky with its two-layered coat. In fact, it was well suited for this environment with plentiful energy and strong work-ethics.
The Husky was then brought to Alaska where it enjoyed a life of pulling sleds. This was usually performed with packs of dogs and this is arguably where they are at their happiest. They are a breed used to spending time around other dogs. It is how they have been used in the past and how they have been brought up and bred for generations. However, over time, I think they’ve become rather fond of us humans. Well, most of us. So, if they don’t have a four-legged friend to spend time with, us bipods will have to do.
The problem comes when they have neither.
What Can Happen If You Leave Your Husky On Its Own?
If you leave your Siberian Husky alone for too long then it will show signs of separation anxiety which will most likely manifest into destructive behavior. When this anxiety can set in will depend on numerous factors such as the age of the Husky and how they were trained. What can happen when this destructive behavior starts depends on what you have in the house, the temperament of the Husky and how long it’s been alone for. Typically, what you can expect to happen is that anything you have in your house that they can get their mouths round (and they do have quite big mouths) will be chewed, nibbled and potentially destroyed.
I have some friends who own Huskies and the one time they had to leave theirs alone for longer than usual, what they came back to was a bit of a shock. They had left them in a conservatory, presumably, so they could see outside which, in theory, sounds like an excellent idea. As they came back home they noticed the conservatory windows were all steamed up. What they noticed when they got inside was a bit of a surprise.
All the plants that the Huskies had shared the conservatory with were now separated into individual atoms (well, almost). The plant debris was catastrophic and it was the moisture from these ex-plants that had created the condensation. Looking back, it’s actually quite a funny story and these guys happen to be awesome owners – never leaving them alone for long periods.
So, apart from the dog destroying everything in sight, what else can happen? There will most likely be howling (the Siberian Husky doesn’t really bark much) and just as likely is for them to perform their toiletries inside. Basically, all bets are off when you choose to leave them alone for long periods of time.
How Long Should The Siberian Husky Be Left Alone For?
There are times when you need to go out without your dog. How long can you leave them alone for before problems start? If you’re just popping out to the shops then in my opinion about 30 minutes is absolutely fine. It should be okay to let them have a free-roam of the house during this time and you really shouldn’t have any problems. Problems start to arise when you leave them longer.
There are a lot of people who go to work in the morning, leave their dogs all day and come back over 10 hours later. This, in my opinion, is about 7 hours longer than they Siberian Husky should be left for. If you’re after a dog that will be okay for longer periods of time (perhaps whilst you’re at work) then the Husky is probably one of the worst choices you could make. Don’t think that just because you have two Huskies then they will keep each other company all day.
Keeping Each Other Company
They will, to a degree, keep each other company but they should not be left alone all day. They are all individuals of course and some will react better (and some worse) than others but looking at the breed in general, they are very social beasts and leaving them alone for long periods could almost be classed as cruelty.
My suggestion would be therefore that if you are looking for a dog that will be fine all day whilst you’re at work then you should perhaps look at cats. This isn’t meant to sound condescending, just stating facts. If you have a Siberian Husky then they should be fine for around 30 minutes or so on their own.
One suggestion that many owners have now implemented is to invest in a pet camera. This will enable you to record (and playback) video from the period you were away. You can then review this footage when you get back to see what they got up to whilst you were away. You can also get cameras that you can view remotely on your phone so whilst you’re away you can see what’s going on. Some of these cameras you can also have two-way audio so not only can you hear what’s going on in your house (probably howling) but you can talk to them if you think it would help!
Pet Cameras are very cheap these days and super-simple to set-up, there are so many available though that it can be difficult to know which one to get. I’ve made life a lot simpler for you though I hope – here is my personal recommendation (it’s the one I have!).
Should they be given free roam of the house or be put in a crate?
For longer time-spans than about 30 minutes, you should consider a crate. How your dog takes to a crate can vary but most may find it reassuring and you will often find them fast asleep in their crate when you get back. The maximum amount of time I would recommend you keep them in a crate is up to about 3 hours. I would not recommend giving them free-roam of your house for long periods of time.
If you don’t have a crate then consider keeping them in a small room, but only for short periods of time. Also, I would not suggest keeping anything you want to keep in that same room as it might not be in the same condition when you return!
Whatever you do though, leave some clothing around that has your scent on it. Don’t leave something you want to wear again though 🙂 This clothing, which smells of you will comfort her and give you a bit more time to play with before the separation anxiety kicks in.
What Type of Crate Works Best?
There are many crates online that you can consider and they are usually rectangular in size and made from a metal mesh. Try and get a large one as you want them to be able to stand up and at least turn around if they need to. There are plenty available, but one I do like the look at is this (opens in a new window) as it’s not your typical shape. There’s more space for your Husky to move around but one thing to bear in mind – there’s no roof. So, if yours is particularly good at escaping, they may be able to do so – despite the walls being pretty high (48 inches) on this model. Also, as they do take up quite a lot of space you’ll almost need to dedicate a room for them when you use it. If you can’t go for this, just try the largest rectangular crate you can get and see how you get on with it.
What Happens When You Go On Holiday?
This is a big problem for many owners. They want to go away, either relatively local (in the same country) or abroad (so perhaps requiring a flight). We all need a vacation from time to time and whether your dogs come with you or not is a decision you need to take. Only up to recently, you didn’t have a lot of
Things have moved forward fortunately recently though. These days it is becoming more and more popular to go to dog-friendly hotels. This is a win-win situation for all involved. The owner of the hotel is able to charge premium rates to include dogs and us owners are able to still go on holiday to somewhere nice but take our doggies with us! Of course, this means you typically need to stay in the same country but it sure beats having to go camping or putting them in a kennel for a week or so. Personally, I don’t like kennels – I know the quality can vary but it’s all so much out of our control. Our dogs are precious to us and the thought of giving them away for a week scares me to death.
Anything Else We Can Do?
If you know you’re going to be away for the whole day or you need to go away for the weekend, do you know anyone who could house-sit for you whilst you’re away? Even if you pay them, it would be money well spent. If you absolutely have to spend all day out of the house then is there anyone who could pop in every hour or so and spend some time with them? It’s not ideal and it’s not a long-term solution but it’s better than leaving them by themselves all day.
Anyone who has spent any kind of time with the Siberian Husky knows that they are quite a unique breed of dog. Anyone who knows anything about dogs knows that they do not like being left alone and the Husky, even less so. Do your best to spend as much time as you can with them and if you can’t, find someone else that can. Alternatively, if you’re looking at buying a Husky and know you’re not going to be around for long periods of time, please either look at another breed or consider a cat!
If you’d like to know more about the Siberian Husky then do check out my Complete Guide here.