Owning Siberian huskies comes with its challenges, especially when it comes to their behavior. Huskies are known to be stubborn, independent, and highly energetic. This can lead to various behavior problems if not properly managed.
From destructive chewing to howling and escaping, these issues can be frustrating and even dangerous.
Below we explore common Siberian husky behavior problems and provide you with practical tips on how to deal with them.
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15 Siberian Husky Behavior Problems
As with any dog breed, huskies can display a variety of behavioral issues.
|Behavior Problem||Behavior Solution|
|Hyperactivity||Increase exercise and/or mental stimulation|
|Digging holes||Create a digging area|
|Separation anxiety||Increase exercise, mental stimulation and socializing with other dogs. e.g. dog park.|
|Howling||Increase exercise and/or mental stimulation|
|Escaping||Increase exercise and/or mental stimulation|
|Aggression||Read our guide about how to deal with an aggressive husky|
|Running off while off-lead||Read our guide about how to train a husky to not run away|
|Destructive behavior||Increase exercise and/or mental stimulation|
|Leash pulling||Read our guide about how to train a husky to walk on a leash|
|High prey drive||Impulse control and socialization training|
|Jumping||Socialization and obedience training|
|Resource guarding||Obedience training and preventative measures|
|Huskies hate grooming||Be there with them at groomer while offering praise and treats|
|Excessive licking||See a vet to rule out skin condition|
|Tantrums||Keep routine consistent. Increase exercise and/or mental stimulation|
Hyperactivity is a common behavior problem in huskies that can be challenging for dog owners to deal with. Huskies are energetic and playful dogs. But, when excessive, these traits can become difficult to manage.
Hyperactive huskies are more prone to destructive behaviors and have difficulty settling down. Addressing hyperactivity is important to help huskies become well-behaved, balanced dogs.
The solution to this is twofold:
- First, make sure they are getting enough physical activity.
- Second, make sure they are also getting enough mental stimulation.
Note that if your husky only gets exercise but not enough mental stimulation, they might become even more hyperactive!
There are multiple reasons why huskies dig holes; from building a den to burying a bone. Digging is a natural behavior in huskies and dogs, but few people enjoy finding out that their dog has dug a random hole right in the center of their garden. 😂
The solution is to provide your dog with adequate playtime where they are allowed to dig, run, jump, and do things that are natural to all animals.
Otherwise, if your husky is bored, they will be quick to ruin your beautiful backyard!
However, if your husky is a compulsive digger, try setting physical boundaries. Create an area where it’s okay for them to dig.
3. Separation anxiety
Huskies love following you around because they are very social dogs that crave attention and companionship. So if they are left alone for long periods of time, they may develop separation anxiety or even depression. This can lead to howling, crying, digging, escaping, and chewing everything in sight, even their own tail. 😞
Huskies don’t just need a lot of physical activity, they also need the company of people or other dogs. Huskies are usually social and enjoy being around people, dogs, and other animals.
If you have a busy life, this could be a serious problem. What you can do is gradually accustom your dog to being alone for a certain period. They will feel less anxious if they see that everything will still be okay, even during their “alone time.”
Be patient: this switch won’t happen overnight, but it’s possible!
Further reading: Do huskies get attached to their owners?
Huskies are known for their unique vocalization, including howling, which is a natural behavior for them. However, excessive howling can be a behavior problem that may lead to complaints from neighbors and even legal action!
The reasons why huskies are so vocal include separation anxiety, boredom, and lack of exercise. To address howling as a behavior problem in huskies, it is important to identify and address the underlying cause.
Start by giving them more physical activity and mental stimulation.
If you own Siberian huskies or know someone who does, you know that they love escaping! These dogs are known for their high energy and tendency to roam. But why do huskies run away? Huskies are an intelligent breed, naturally independent and adventurous, which can result in them searching for a way out.
As you can imagine, escaping can be dangerous for huskies. e.g. getting hit by a car, getting lost, etc.
Training your husky to not run away first involves ensuring they are getting enough exercise and mental stimulation. Huskies require daily exercise and playtime to help them burn off excess energy. This will reduce their urge to escape. It’s also important to make sure you have husky-proofed your backyard!
Aggression can be a serious behavior problem in huskies, as it can lead to injury or harm to other animals or people. Huskies are generally friendly and social dogs though. But, they can exhibit aggression if they feel threatened, or insecure, or if they perceive someone or something as a potential threat. Types of aggression in huskies include territorial, possessive, fear, and dominant aggression.
To deal with an aggressive husky, it is important to first identify the underlying cause of the behavior. This may involve seeking the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They will be able to conduct a thorough evaluation and develop a personalized training plan.
Further reading: Are huskies aggressive?
7. Running off when off-lead
Similar to escaping, huskies tend to run away if you let them off-leash. And unfortunately, this can also be dangerous. I’ve heard stories about huskies who were once ok off their lead, but one day, decided to sprint off and unfortunately never came back. 😔
Running away is usually from a lack of obedience training. But it can also be from a lack of impulse control training. Or both. It’s possible to train a husky to walk off leash though. Just be thorough with your training. And make sure to continue the training for the rest of your husky’s life. Or at least do refresher training.
There is nothing worse than a dog running off and never coming back.
8. Destructive behavior
Destructive behavior can be a behavior problem in huskies, as they are known as high energy dogs with a tendency to chew and dig. Destructive behavior can result in damage to property, furniture, or even injury to the dog itself. Common causes of destructive behavior in huskies include boredom, anxiety, and lack of exercise.
To reduce destructive behavior in huskies, make sure they are getting enough exercise. Next provide more mental stimulation through chew toys, puzzle toys, and interactive games.
Destructive behavior is no doubt one of the biggest things that make huskies hard to take care of.
9. Leash pulling
Leash pulling comes naturally to huskies due to their strength, energy, and sled-pulling genetics. Lack of obedience, impulse control, and leash training are usually the causes of leash pulling.
Leash pulling can result in discomfort or injury for both you and your husky. It certainly makes walking and running with them extremely hard!
To address leash pulling, it is important to provide them with proper obedience training, impulse control training, and leash training. Make sure you know how to train a husky to walk on a leash, without pulling. This may include using positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewarding the dog for walking calmly on a leash. And also using a harness or head halter to provide greater control over the dog’s movements.
It is also important to provide Siberian huskies with regular exercise and playtime, as this can help to reduce their energy and excitement during walks.
10. High prey drive
High prey drive can be a behavior problem in Siberian huskies, as these dogs are bred for hunting and have a natural instinct to chase and capture prey. This can lead to dangerous situations if the husky is not properly trained or supervised. Common examples include chasing small animals, such as squirrels or rabbits, and even small dogs or cats.
Dealing with a high prey drive starts with appropriate training and socialization from a young age. This may include obedience training, recall training, and desensitization to other animals. It is also important to supervise your husky when they are outside and to keep them on a leash or in a secure enclosure if necessary.
If you’ve wondered why Huskies jump on you, it’s because of their high energy and social personality. However, jumping can be dangerous, especially for children or older adults.
Preventing huskies from jumping up on everyone starts with socialization and obedience training. This may include teaching your husky to sit or stay when greeting people. And also using positive reinforcement techniques to reinforce good behavior.
It is also important to avoid reinforcing jumping behavior by giving your Siberian husky attention or treats when it jumps. Instead, attention and rewards should be given when the dog is exhibiting calm and polite behavior.
I know it’s hard not to let your husky jump up and hug you all the time!
Further reading: Why do huskies pounce?
12. Resource guarding
Resource guarding can be a problem because huskies may become possessive of items such as food, toys, or even people. This behavior can be dangerous and may lead to aggressive husky behavior if not addressed.
Resource guarding can be reduced by teaching your husky to “drop it” or “leave it” when requested. Positive reinforcement techniques are also key to encouraging good behavior.
It is also important to avoid punishing your husky for resource guarding, as this may escalate the behavior. Instead, training and management techniques should focus on redirecting your dog’s behavior. The more you prevent opportunities for resource guarding, the better!
13. Huskies hate grooming
When it comes to grooming, huskies are very dramatic. They whine, cry and carry on like babies. This can be because you are taking them to a groomer, which makes them anxious.
If that’s the case, try staying with them while they are being groomed. Make sure to reward them with lots of treats and praise for being a good girl/boy!
14. Excessive licking
Excessive licking can be a behavior problem in huskies, as these dogs may excessively lick themselves, their owners, or objects. This behavior is usually a sign of anxiety or stress, but can also be due to a skin condition.
To address excessive licking it is important to identify the underlying cause of the behavior. This may require consulting with a veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions, such as allergies or skin irritations.
If the excessive licking is due to anxiety or stress, make sure they are getting enough physical activity and mental stimulation.
15. Huskies throw tantrums
It’s hard to figure out why huskies throw tantrums. But like most unwanted behaviors, it usually stems from lack of physical activity and mental stimulation.
However, it can also stem from inconsistencies in their routine. Huskies are creatures of habit. They like knowing that treat time is always the same time each day. They like knowing that walkies is at the same time each day. So if you have interrupted their routine, this could be why they are throwing a tantrum.
Solutions to husky behavior problems
There are several solutions to help manage and improve Siberian husky behavior.
Start by learning how to train a Husky.
Then, the two most important aspects of managing Siberian huskies behavior are:
- Physical activity
- Mental stimulation
Huskies were originally bred to work as sled dogs to pull heavy loads over long distances, so they require a lot of exercise to stay healthy and happy.
This can include activities like:
- Dog parks
- Playing fetch
But it’s important to tailor the activity to your husky’s specific needs and abilities.
Make sure you know how much exercise a husky needs.
Mental stimulation is also important for huskies, who are intelligent and curious dogs. Activities like puzzle toys or obedience training can help keep their minds engaged and prevent boredom.
Another important aspect of managing husky behavior is providing adequate training. This can include socialization training, which helps huskies learn how to interact appropriately. Not just with other dogs, but also with the people around them. As well as obedience training, which teaches them basic commands like sit, stay, and come.
Training your husky to come when called is also important for huskies, who can have a tendency to wander. Consistent and positive training can help establish boundaries and reinforce good behavior. This ultimately prevents and helps manage their bad behaviors!
It’s important to note that managing husky behavior can take time and effort. If you feel out of your depth, or are not sure which dog training method to adopt, get help from a professional trainer or behaviorist.
Huskies can be stubborn and strong-willed, so it’s important to be patient and consistent in your training efforts. With the right approach and resources, bad behavior in huskies can be successfully managed or resolved.
If your husky needs training, start by visiting our husky training hub.
Huskies are intelligent, energetic dogs with their own unique set of behavior problems. Hyperactivity, separation anxiety, digging, howling, aggression, escaping, destructive behavior, high prey drive, leash pulling, jumping, resource guarding, excessive licking, and screaming at the groomer are some of the most common husky behavior problems.
The solution to most of these issues usually involves a mixture of increasing physical activity, mental stimulation, and providing appropriate training. Huskies need proper obedience and socialization training at a minimum. Recall and leash training also helps.
With consistent effort and patience, a husky owner can overcome these problems. Remember that every dog is unique, so be sure to tailor your training approach to suit your dog’s individual needs.
What problems have you experienced with your husky?
Share your experience in the comments below.
Need help training your naughty husky? See our list of the best husky training books. 👈
Do huskies have behavior problems?
Yes, huskies can have behavior problems. However, behavior issues can be prevented by ensuring your husky gets enough physical activity, mental stimulation and proper training.