Owning a Siberian Husky can be a wild ride sometimes and if the truth is told, they are a breed of dog that is unlike most others. They are a dog that requires certain things to be present in their life. If you provide these things, the reward is a positive experience that you and your family will never forget. If you neglect their requirements though, they are not forgiving and the results will be uncomfortable to deal with.
There is a reason why the Husky does anything, in the same way that there is a reason why we do. When your Husky does something we don’t approve of, there will be a reason why – and we need to find out what that reason is!
Do Siberian Huskies chew furniture? Yes, Siberian Huskies can chew furniture and anything else they can get their mouths around in your house. There is always a reason for this behavior though, they’re not doing it to deliberately upset you!
What Is Destructive Behavior?
Destructive behavior in dogs is seen typically when they are anxious and it is the only way that they can reduce stress within themselves. I guess you could see similarities in the same way that if we get a build-up of aggression, we can release it by having a work-out or having a few rounds with a punch-bag.
Destructive behavior is the symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. Your job is to identify why your Husky is showing these signs and then do something about it. What you should not do is ignore it as without your help it is unlikely it will get better.
Why Does My Husky Exhibit Destructive Behavior?
Unless you have a Siberian Husky puppy there will be a definitive reason for there actions. More on what to do if they are a puppy later but for now let’s have a look at what the likely causes are for their somewhat naughty behavior.
I wouldn’t worry too much about this though. I know it’s upsetting to come back home and your couch has big chunks bitten out of it but this is a
Is Your Siberian Husky Being Left Alone for Too Long?
Right at the top of the list is a destructive behavior caused by separation anxiety. This is common with the Husky, unfortunately. The reason behind this is to do with the Husky itself. They are an incredibly social breed of dog and require interaction with people and/or other animals. Remember, this (like all dogs) is a pack animal and its natural state is to be with other dogs. You are the preference to them though as you provide more stimulation and fuss than other dogs and this is what they thrive on.
There aren’t many (if any) dogs that actually like to be alone, perhaps like most of us also? Without enough companionship, the Siberian Husky will soon start to exhibit signs of depression, anxiety, and stress. This can quickly manifest into a destructive personality and happens more rapidly in the Siberian Husky than most other breeds of dog.
So, how long can we leave the Husky alone for? Well, if you leave your Husky alone for more than around 30 minutes you may start to see problems. I have some friends who have a couple of Husky’s and they had to pop out for not much more than this and so they thought they would keep them in the conservatory whilst they were out. They weren’t going to be long and thought the conservatory was ideal as you can see out and they wouldn’t get too bored. It made absolute sense and as I said, they weren’t going to be out for long.
When they returned, the first thing they noticed was that all the windows of the conservatory appeared to be steamed up. This seemed unusual and when they got inside they discovered their two lovely Husky’s has destroyed all the once-alive plants that were being kept there 🙂 The moisture from this obliterated vegetation caused the condensation!
Do something about it!
It was at this point that they considered crating, which is an idea we shall look at below. However, the Siberian Husky is not a dog that should be left alone all day, regardless of whether you crate them or not. If you have a full-time job and won’t be in your home and don’t have anyone to look after them, this isn’t the dog for you.
My suggestion would be that up to about 30 mins they should be okay by themselves but after this, consider a crate. I would not recommend
So, what options are available to us so we don’t have to leave the Husky alone for too long?
Can You Work from Home More?
This is the bit where I start stating the obvious. However, it is worth mentioning to ensure you have all the options available to you. These days, more and more jobs offer the chance of a more flexible work/life balance. This was a non-started a couple of decades ago but these days it’s happening more and more. Obviously, not ideal for all occupations – I mean, you’re not going to be much use if you’re a nurse and sat at home but if you’re involved in IT, like so many people are these days, maybe it’s something you can discuss with your HR department! Even if you can’t work full-time from home, you may be able to wangle a day or two so it’s always worth considering.
Do you know anyone who would be happy to sit with your Husky whilst you’re out? Most people who know even the slightest bit about the Siberian Husky would probably jump at the chance of spending some time with them. Even if it means paying them a little, it would be worth it. You don’t even have to be that choosy! Some dogs have their favorites and simply don’t like strangers. Not the Husky though. They will be as happy with a stranger after five minutes as they are will you after five years. As long as they’re getting some
I saw a video yesterday of someone who pretended they were a burglar to see what their Husky would do. They left the house and then put a balaclava on and changed all their clothes so they looked totally like someone else. After leaving it about 15 minutes they snuck in the back-door, making a bit of noise. The Husky heard this and came to investigate it. The Husky was still some distance away when it noticed this ‘burglar’ – so what did it do? Did it growl and charge at this person who was about to steal all its
So, if you have to go out for a bit, rather than leaving your Husky home alone, try and get someone over to spend some time with them. Honestly, the Husky won’t know you left.
Crating Your Siberian Husky
When I first discovered crating a couple of years ago, I have to be honest I was against it. In my head, it seemed like a type of confinement for the dog, a form of prison. My mistake was imagining how I would feel if I was put in a crate for a few hours. You see, dogs don’t feel the same as us and your Husky definitely won’t see the crate in the same way as you do!
A crate can have the opposite effect to what you initially think. It can provide them with a sanctuary. It can be somewhere that your Husky will feel safe and secure. Anyone with cats will know how much they like boxes. Show them one and seconds later they’ll be in it. They like these as the four ‘walls’ provide them with a sense of security, similar to how your Husky will feel when they are in their crate.
It won’t happen overnight though and you mustn’t rush the process. Gradual introductions will be required and you should build up the time over the course of a few weeks, don’t expect them to just take to it immediately. Eventually, they will choose to use it when feeling anxious, but that shouldn’t happen often.
If you don’t have a crate yet – you need to be quite careful which one you go for when buying for the Husky. Don’t be tempted to get one without a caged roof – they will escape from anything that isn’t over about 10 feet tall! Actually, if you’re in the market for a crate or just want to know a bit more about them, you can see my two recommendations here (opens in a new tab) which also contains some tips on how best to get these to work well with your Husky.
Is Your Husky Getting Enough Exercise?
The Husky’s ancestors would pull sleds for most of the day during the Siberian winters and then in the summer, they would roam free, before returning to their Chukchi people when food became sparse. The point here is that they spent most of their time when awake outside and active, usually running. The Husky can run and run for hours given adequate water sources in the right conditions and this has not been bred out of them during the 100 years or so since they were first exported out of Siberian and arrived in Alaska.
So, what does this mean for any new owner of a Husky? Well, it means that unless they get a lot of exercise they are going to become unhappy.
How Much Exercise does a Siberian Husky Need?
The Siberian Husky needs to be taken outside at least twice a day and not just for five minutes each time. Ideally, you will give them brisk exercise for around an hour during each exercise session. This is a long time and can catch new owners out who haven’t done their research. Being outside is where the Husky is in its element, it is where it wants to be and where it should be. If you’re only taking them out once a day for a slow walk around your home then this will not be sufficient for the Husky.
I asked 138 Husky owners how much exercise they gave their dog each day and the results were interesting:
- 81 of the 138 owners (58.7%) exercised their Husky between 1 and 2 hours each day.
- 37 owners (26.8%) exercised their Siberian Husky between 2 and 3 hours a day.
- 14 (10.1%) exercised their Husky between 30 and 60 minutes a day.
- 5 owners exercised their Husky over 3 hours a day!
- 1 owner less than 30 minutes a day.
So, this means that over 85% of all people who answered exercised their dogs between 1 and 3 hours each day. So, if your Husky is showing signs of a destructive personality – are you exercising them enough?
Can You Exercise the Husky Inside?
There can be a very good reason why you can’t get out as much as you need to. Perhaps you have an injury or a disability that prevents you from doing what you know you need to do. So, maybe there’s something you can do inside. This might not replace the need to exercise them outside but it can certainly complement it. What is the answer you’re wondering? Well, get a doggy treadmill! You might think I’m mad suggesting this as up to a couple of years back, I didn’t even know this was a ‘thing’. But yes, you can now buy a treadmill that’s specific for dogs, click on the link above if you want a bit more info (it will open in a new window).
Like crating, you won’t get them to use it overnight but in my experience, I haven’t heard anyone that’s failed to get their Husky to use them within a couple of weeks. Apart from the treadmill, you can of course, just play with them. Spend time down on all fours like your Husky and throw a ball around for a bit. The exercise (albeit not hard) and the interaction with you will really help the anxiety.
Does Your Husky Know Who’s Boss?
The Siberian Husky, like all dogs, will assume they are the boss unless told otherwise. As you are the boss you are the person who will be telling them otherwise. This will be (should be) accomplished as they are a puppy and you first start house training them. They won’t take long to realize who the boss is. However, if an owner isn’t assertive, confident or is unsure themselves of their role – the Husky may become confused as to what their position is in the family. Some people think that being assertive and providing clear instruction to their dog can be cruel, and I understand this, but the Husky does not see it this way. They want to know their position and they are perfectly okay with being the loving pet within the family.
Problems can also come about with rescue dogs where you don’t know what kind of training the dog has had as a puppy. If your Husky spends a lot of time not knowing where they stand in the pack (family) then they may start to suffer from anxiety which can lead to the destructive personality you see here. If you think this is the problem then you know what to do. Be consistent, be confident and assertive – show your Husky who’s the boss and show them how much you love them.
Is Your Husky Getting Enough Attention?
The Siberian Husky is a sociable animal and demands attention for the duration of its life. It might not always want cuddles (except when it chooses) but it will want your interaction. We’ve already said that the Husky doesn’t like to be left alone and they certainly shouldn’t be ignored either. If they are they will become depressed.
Having interaction from you is vital to its well-being and you (and your family) must provide this. I know it can be tricky sometimes when life gets in the way, but to keep this breed of dog happy, you will need to find time during the day just to play with them. Not only will it help your dog lower their stress levels but it will have an equally positive effect on yours! Just try and be depressed when you’re interacting with your Husky – it’s better than any therapist!
Is Your Siberian Husky Unwell?
I’ve left this to near the end as you’ll probably have noticed if it’s the case but if you see a destructive behavior and you can’t find another reason then ask yourself if they are unwell? It’s likely that their destruction of your house won’t be the first sign you will notice though as it will probably become obvious before then. If you think this is the case then just keep an eye on them and do of course call the vet if you suspect a problem.
Or, are they still a Husky puppy?
Finally, a note about puppies. Your Siberian Husky puppy will chew on things without being anxious or depressed about anything. Unfortunately, it’s just something they do. When teething they can be in some discomfort due to their teeth coming through so they chew on things to try and relieve the pain. The best thing you can do if your puppy is chewing is to get them some toys and try and distract them when you notice this behavior. It’s very hard to prevent them from doing this and you can understand why they do it but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating! Just know that they will grow out of it. Eventually.
Get Them Some More Toys
It may seem obvious but make sure you have enough toys in the house. You want them to chew on these rather than your expensive couch. At the end of the day, your Husky isn’t deliberately trying to destroy your things, although it does feel that way sometimes. If they have something else to chew on, they will. So, get them some new toys. If you’re looking for some new ones that I know for a fact the Husky loves, do take a look here at the best toys (opens in new window) – I’ve spent a lot of money in toys that are discarded immediately, these are the few that actually worked!
Just remember that this destructive behavior you see is happening for a reason. It is most likely that they are doing it because they are being left alone for too long but as you’ve read, it could be something else. Just remember that whatever the problem is, unless they are a puppy, it is unlikely it will fix itself so whatever the underlying issue is – identify it….and fix it!