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If there is someone in the world who knows how to be a good friend, it is the dog. However, we must remember that they look at friendships and socialization a little differently than us.
Socializing a Husky may seem like a straightforward part of training a Husky, especially when they are friendly, but the whole process can have a few complexities. Read on to learn how to socialize a Husky with other dogs.
It is a well-established fact that dogs are social animals and are comfortable living in packs. While dog-to-dog socialization is not any pet dog’s basic or inherent need, many of them, according to research, would greatly benefit from it. Especially because socializing is a great form of mental stimulation for huskies.
Expectation setting is the most important step while training your dog to be social and friendly around other dogs.
While most of us may want to raise our dogs to be friendly and social with other people and dogs, it is highly possible that the dogs may have other ideas. Not all dogs are born with the natural urge to be social around other animals. If your dog is one of them, respecting their boundaries is imperative.
Several Huskies enjoy the company of other dogs. However, at times, overstimulation and hyperactivity may quickly stem from uninhibited play and hyperactivity. It is crucial to recognize when this happens in order to prevent escalation and conflicts during play. Learning how to socialize with them is one of the key aspects of taking care of a husky.
1. Make sure your Husky is comfortable around other dogs
Just observing your Husky’s body language and behavior around other dogs will give you a fair idea on how comfortable your dog is around them. Your Husky must be neutral or willing to engage with other dogs before you consider socializing him.
The comfort level of the other dog must also be taken into consideration. If the other dog is fearful, anxious, or unwilling to interact, you must never let your dog invade their space, regardless of how friendly or calm your Husky may be. Socialization must happen with the consent of both the dogs and dog’s parents.
2. Never force your Husky to make friends
Your Husky will give you clear signs if they are not ready to engage with another dog.
These signs would include:
- Looking or walking away
- Sniffing the grass as the other dog approaches (this is a form of calming signal)
- Ears back
- Raised hackles
- Tail tucked in
- Barking while going back and forth
Disregarding these signs and attempting to socialize your Husky regardless is a classic way to push your dog up the ladder of aggression.
If your Husky is apprehensive around other dogs, doggy playdates and dog parks will only add fuel to the fire. Know and respect your Husky’s preference and take things at their pace. Rushing them into making friends is a good way to set them up for failure.
3. Keep resources out of the picture
Dogs are possessive beings who tend to guard their resources with their lives. Food, toys, favorite humans, etc., are generally the resources that dogs consider quite valuable. Several dogs may be on edge or act differently when any of these resources may be present while they are interacting with another dog.
While teaching your Husky to be social around other animals, it is crucial to keep any kind of resources out of the picture as even the slightest thing can result in a conflict that may escalate in no time.
4. Teach your dog to disengage and calm down
Learning to disengage at the right time and being able to calm down around other dogs is as important as learning to play nice with them. Uninhibited play with no breaks can quickly lead to reactivity and hyperactivity issues in dogs, which can take some intense training to reverse.
If need be, make sure to physically distance your Husky from dog-to-dog play from time to time and practice calming cues with them to prevent conflicts and behavioral issues of any kind.
5. Observe the dogs’ body language closely while they are interacting
Sometimes, it can be tricky to figure out whether the dogs are enjoying the interaction or if they need a break from it. Play bows, mounting, chasing, mouthing, roughhousing, barking, etc, are common play behaviors that can be easily misunderstood.
Here are a couple of ways to ensure healthy socialization between dogs:
- Typically, in any dog-to-dog play scenario, one dog out of the two may be the initiator of play. From time to time, create distance between the dogs and hold on to the initiator and check the reaction of the other dog. If they choose to walk away, stop the play immediately. If they approach the initiator, let the play continue.
- Engage in some training cues with both of them simultaneously. It is imperative that the dogs respond and bond with the human over each other
Further reading: How do Huskies play?
Obedience training classes not only enable your Husky to socialize with other dogs but also ensure that they are learning and bonding with you in the process. Furthermore, these classes are supervised by experts who can prevent conflicts and can keep things under control.
Note that group training and socialization classes are important even if you live in an apartment with your husky. Having a well-socialized husky is critical for saying hello to neighbors as you come and go into your building!
Socialization essentially means introducing your puppy to a new stimulus to establish a positive and desirable reaction toward it. Introducing a puppy to another animal for the first time can be termed as socialization.
Desensitization, on the other hand, involves changing your dog’s existing response to a stimulus. So, if you have a dog reactive Husky who is aggressive towards other animals, they need to be desensitized and not socialized.
This is particularly important for socializing mature Huskies that never had the chance to properly socialize with other dogs.
Make sure to fully understand this difference and map them to your dog’s needs before undertaking the task of socializing your Husky.
There is nothing wrong with wanting your Husky to be friendly and social around other dogs. It is likely that your Husky may be on the same page with you on this. When this is the case, by all means, socialize them all you want. But, if there is the slightest chance that your dog may be apprehensive of your socialization plans, make sure to respect their needs and boundaries over everything else.
Does your Husky get along with other dogs?
Share your experience in the comments below.
Want to learn more about training your husky? See my list of the best husky training books. 👈
Yes, Huskies are social dogs. Keep in mind that, just like humans, Huskies are social when they want to be. Their independent nature means they might have other ideas!
Huskies tend to socialize through play. However, Huskies tend to prefer similar-sized playmates or those bigger than them. Huskies like playing rough, so make sure you keep an eye on your Husky when socializing with smaller dogs.