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The first and foremost thing to remember about how to deal with an aggressive Husky is that your dog is not giving you a tough time, he is having a tough time.
If something’s bothering your four-legged Siberian pal, it’s not always easy to pinpoint the cause. However, it is imperative to have as much knowledge about it as possible. That is what this article aims at doing.
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Are Huskies aggressive?
Did you know that Siberian Huskies have a bite force of 320 PSI, which is more than that of a Pitbull (235 PSI). Having said that, Siberian Huskies have the appearance of a wolf and the heart of a Golden Retriever!
So, are huskies aggressive? Statistically, Huskies don’t have a reputation for being aggressive. However, like any other dog breed, they must not be provoked unnecessarily.
Why is my Husky suddenly being aggressive?
No dog just wakes up one day and decides to be aggressive. There has to be a history or pattern of behavioral warning exhibited by the dog before they display even the slightest sign of aggression.
There are several reasons why a Husky may feel the need to act aggressively. Some of the common ones are stated below.
Fear is the leading cause of aggression in dogs. Fear-based aggression can take the face of territorial aggression (fear of losing one’s territory), resource guarding (fear of losing a resource), food aggression (fear of starvation), aggression directed towards other humans and animals (due to fear in general or a past experience), etc.
If a dog is fearful, it will give enough and more warning signs to express it. Some of these warning signs include:
- Lip licking
- Ears back
- Hackles up
- Tail tucked under between legs
- Whales of the eyes exposed
- Barking and backing off at the same time
- Growling and snarling
When these warning signs are repeatedly disregarded or ignored, the dog will then choose to resort to aggression as that may be the only thing that manages to keep the trigger away.
In dogs, aggression stems out of stress, 100% of the time. A variety of things could contribute to stress in dogs; a few of them being separation anxiety, under-socialization, over-exposure, loud noises, etc.
Aggression due to stress typically happens when various stimuli that would normally stress your Husky but not push him over the top to aggression happen in close proximity. Eg, let’s say your Husky is scared of loud noises and kids.
Now, your Husky may not have acted aggressively to any one of these individual stressors before, but when your dog is in a situation where he has to deal with loud sounds and noisy kids, there is a higher likelihood of your Husky displaying signs of aggression in this situation.
Barrier frustration is the prime example of aggression due to frustration. Backyard lunging and barking, dogs barking and growling at people passing by, and your Husky barking and lunging at a dog passing by because “he wants to say HI” are all examples of aggressive behavior induced by frustration.
Your vet can help you determine whether there’s an underlying medical condition like disease, injury, or chronic discomfort that could be causing your dog’s aggression.
An example of this is a dog with a paw injury acting aggressively every time its paw is being touched or handled.
How to deal with an aggressive Husky
1. Control and management
Control and manage your dog’s environment to the best of your ability so as to not let your dog come face to face with their triggers. The more your dog displays aggression, the better he gets at it.
This is the first step towards behavior modification. Control and management avoid escalation of any kind, thereby helping your dog make better choices in a given situation, learn better and respond to training effectively.
2. Get to the root cause
Training your aggressive Husky without getting to the root cause of aggression will never give you reliable results. Using prong collars, yelling at the dog, e-collars, etc may suppress the aggression for the time being, but the cause of aggression is still very much present.
Getting the root cause essentially means identifying the exact cause of aggression and helping the dog overcome the stress caused by the trigger itself.
3. Never punish your Husky for displaying aggression or signs of it
Displaying aggression is your dog’s way of defending themselves. They are doing what comes most naturally to them. By punishing your dog for it, you are only thoroughly confusing them and bullying them. This will not only greatly hamper their learning ability, but also ruin your relationship with them.
Again, punishment may look like they’re yielding results, but they are nothing more than behavior suppressors that leave your dog a ticking time bomb. When the time comes, chances are your dog may act more aggressively than ever before.
In the future, instead of punishing your Husky, learn how to discipline your Husky without being a bully!
4. Respect your dog’s boundaries
Every dog has boundaries that must be identified and respected at all costs for peaceful co-existence in the house. E.g. If a dog is showing clear signs of stress on the arrival of guests, his boundaries may be respected by giving him a safe space to go to and ensuring no one bothers your dog till he is ready to interact.
Not being respectful of your dog’s boundaries is a sure-shot way to push him up the ladder of aggression.
5. Focus on fulfilling your Husky’s needs
Every dog has needs. Some of them are basic such as food, water, and shelter. Others are vital such as mental and physical exercise and safety whereas some others may be breed specific. Huskies were born to run and pull sleds.
You will be able to recognize your Husky’s needs by just observing his choices in terms of day-to-day activities. Some prefer sniffing above everything else, some love to run, some of them love mental enrichment whereas some may choose to dig and chase squirrels.
Make sure to let them engage in activities specially designed to fulfill their needs. If you don’t, Huskies will likely throw temper tantrums.
6. Build trust
Dogs primarily display aggression towards humans because they don’t trust them. E.g., a resource-guarding Husky may try to bite you when you’re close to his resources because he doesn’t trust you around his resources and thinks that you may take them away.
Focus on building a loving and trustworthy relationship with your dog. This forms the base of behavior modification programs as it will give your dog a reason to listen to you.
Building trust is a key component of learning how to train a Husky to walk off leash.
7. Never provoke an aggressive dog
Putting your hand in the bowl of a food aggressive dog, alpha rolls, and forcing a fearful dog to “socialize” with other dogs are all classic ways of provoking an aggressive dog. These tactics don’t teach your dog anything, but instead worsen the problem at hand.
Further reading: How to socialize a Husky
8. Get professional help
Qualified trainers and behaviorists have the knowledge, expertise, and experience in dealing with husky behavioral problems. A good behaviorist will not only help you deal with the problem at hand but will also help you get to the root cause and understand your dog better.
Make sure to get professional help when you notice early signs of aggression. Don’t wait till the aggression is at an advanced level. It is not a problem that can be fixed in a session or two.
Final thoughts about how to deal with an aggressive Husky
Huskies make such incredible companions that it’s easy to overlook the fact that there are certain things that can get them down, too. Being caring and observant of their behavior and environment is the least we can do for them.
Has your Husky been aggressive?
Share your experience in the comments below.
Further reading: 👇