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Siberian Husky trouble!

January 8th, 2006, 03:03 AM
I have a male Siberian Husky who is going to turn 6 years old on February 27th. I received him as a present when I was 11, and now that I am going on 17, I realize that I have done everything WRONG. He has turned into a dog owners worst nightmare. He is extremely dominant, possessive, and aggressive towards other dogs (though he's fine with my cat). When I take him out on a leash, he doesn't believe in walking or jogging by my side. He'd rather pull me around, running at full speed.

Because of this, I can hardly walk him anymore, so he has become overweight. He should weigh about 60-65 pounds at the most, but now he weighs about 85lbs. I feel horrible about this, because I know he needs exercise, especially for such a high-strung dog. I weigh 100lbs and it's hard for me to hold him, especially when he sees another dog (he gets very aggressive and goes insane)! I go out in the backyard with him everyday and try to play with him, but he eventually gets bored of chasing balls and just wants me to pet him. I know he's been getting restless from lack of exercise, because he's started to dig ALOT. He hasn't done that since he was about 3 years old.

We're planning on taking him to a trainer next month or in the beginning of March, who was recommended to me. He's supposed to be an excellent trainer who deals very well with aggression. From what I've observed, his aggression towards dogs seems to be fear-aggression. If my dog can learn to atleast tolerate other dogs around him without wanting to rip their throats out, it would make both our lives SO much easier.

Until then, does anyone have any advice on what I can do about the leash pulling for now? If you own a Husky, I'm sure you know that they're very stubborn and will not do anything enless they have a reason to do so. I've thought about trying to use a choke chain (just the chain without the spikes and other icky things, just to correct him, not hurt him!), or a bridle, but then I changed my mind because I realized that my dog would probably pull anyway and just end up hurting himself! My neighbor used a shock collar on her female husky (which is the PERFECT dog), but I think it's cruel. Plus, he probably won't realize WHY he's being shocked and just get scared or mad.
I heard that giving him a "job" to do could possibly help, since he is a working dog, and that getting him some sort of backpack (with a couple water bottles to carry, whatever) to take responsibility for would tone him down a bit and give him something to focus on.

Advice or tips on anything would be appreciated! Sorry, I know this post is a bit long, but this is actually the short version of the story, lol.

- Dani

ps: here is a picture of him (dakota). I've created a monster.

January 8th, 2006, 08:38 AM
The only thing that helped my dog to learn how to heal and not pull is the Gentle Leader. It took a few time until he got use to it. It's worth the price and looks like this:

January 8th, 2006, 08:47 AM
Hi. I own alaskan malamutes-the siberian huskies larger stronge cousin. First let me say that your parents should have had u and your dog in an obdience class when he was still a puppy. They also should have looked into the breed BEFORE they purchased it for an 11yr old to handle. The northern breeds have a VERY stronge tendency to take over if the people in the house are not strong and firm personalities. Sorry a little bit of a rant but this is why so many Malamutes and huskies wind up in shelters or put to sleep.
Ok Now that i vented lets see if i can help. First find a trainer who has worked alot with northern breeds. These dogs aren't not always intrested in making u happy as they are very indepented thinkers. Also beaware there is no quick fix and it will likly take several months to get your husky back out of an alpha mode. Reguarding a collar-Please do not use a choke chain as this can cause trachial damage. You can use a Martin dale collar or a prong collar. Yes the prong collar looks scary but i've put one around may leg arm and yanked and it only gives a small pinch. If you decide to use a prong make sure the dog wears it for a day or 2 BEFORE u use it with the leash. Personally from what you descirbe I think you may need a prong for now. My most stubborn malamute WILL Not pull on a prong(even if a squirral is 2ft way)AYour dog NEEDS to be excersised and U need to beable to control him. A properly excersised dog is much easier to train and much happier. What ever collar u pick when you walk your dog everytime he goes to pull give a quick leash correction back. (If u use a martin dale you have to pull much harder) Use a 6ft leash NOT A RETRACTABLE LEASH. give the dog about 2-3 ft of lengh put him on your LEFT side. Step out with your left foot say your dogs name and then heal. Every time the dog lunges,pulls,or sniffs give the leash some slack and pull back quick and firm with your left hand. SAY NOTHING. equally when the dog is walking at a heal tell him hes a good boy.It will take a few weeks to get him to walk at a heal without having to do a lot of corrections. It will be faster w/ a prong collar. The first couple of days trying to teach heal is going to be a pain in the a**. He'll be pissed that your changing the rules and going to try and control him. So please stick with it. I'll leave the rest of the issues for your trainer to handle
I'm not sure how to put a web site link in but go to for some insight on how to deal with and alpha dog. best of luck:thumbs up

January 8th, 2006, 10:39 AM
I forgot to mention that should u decide to use a prong (pinch) collar MAKE sure it is fitted properly. To loose it will be infective, to tight and u could injure your dog. A siberian should need a medium size link and ask the person a the pet store for the proper fit. You should be able tofit 2fingers under the collar.

January 8th, 2006, 02:44 PM
It is not too late to make the changes. You seem to be clear that you have responsibility in this relationship and how he has turned out, so now you simply need to turn it around.
Finding a great trainer can make things a lot easier. Someone who focus' on your leadership role and not gimmicks. This is about changing your relationship so that he looks to you for the answers and stops thinking the world is his to run. We have worked with plenty of northern breeds and though they can be more aloof and independent, they understand each other just fine so there is no reason they can't understand you.
It sounds like you have loved him well all these years but now its time for trust and respect. You are going to have to earn that. It can happen very quickly if you can make changes quickly. He might also challenge you for a short while because in his mind you have not been a confident leader for the last 6 years and he will be hard pressed to believe you can handle the job. However if you are clear and consistent with the new rules then he will stop challenging and start behaving.
If we worked him we would have an easier time of it because we don't have a history with him. We would be clear about who we are and he would understand and respect that. Unfortunately you have 6 years of old relationship to over come and old habits for you to break. I am not trying to be discouraging but realistic. You can do this and so can he. You are just going to need to understand dogs better and be ready to communicate with him in more of a parental role instead of a roommate.

January 9th, 2006, 12:30 AM
Thanks everyone for the advice. We realize that we should have had him in obedience class, and should have done research before getting him. At the time, we didn't realize how much different Huskies are. I rant about the same thing, even though I made the same mistake.

I do use a 6ft leather leash (I HATE the retractable leash) and put him on
my left side. Here's what I've been doing for awhile (it's something someone
told me about): I put him to my left and whenever he starts to run away from me, I let slack up on the leash and walk the other way. I don't look at him, or say anything. He's forced to turn around and walk in my direction. But whenever he would catch up with me, he'd try to run in front of me again, so I'd turn around again. He would become confused, and eventually would come and stand by my side. Then, I'd shorten up the leash a bit and walk again. He would walk by my side so far, and then get so excited he would get faster and faster until he was running again. When he's doing good, I can't praise him, because then he thinks I'm giving up and he immediantely runs ahead. This method worked for a little awhile, but he'll eventually tune out and would rather walk up and down the sidewalk, rather than not pull me around the block.

Anyway, I contacted a trainer that is very, very recommended and told him
our situation. He seems very interested in helping us out, and informed me
that it was wise for us not to use any of the shock/prong/etc collars,
because it can lead to other problems (which was what I was worried about). I can't wait to get together with the trainer so that we will know the
proper way to handle these issues without either of us getting hurt,
especially with his aggression problems.

Tonight I went outside and sat at the patio table to do something. Right
when I stepped out the door, he started to pull the usual dominant moves on
me. When he would lean hard up against me, I would push him away. When he would stand on my foot, I'd pull it back. I was completely ignoring him, and he got *really* angry. While I sat in the chair, he literally threw a temper tantrum behind me. He was jumping around, barking angrily, whining, etc. When he finally calmed down, he came over and sat by my side.

This is gonna take alot of work :eek:

January 9th, 2006, 08:15 AM
I'm glad you found a trainer,hopefully you can get him in before march. If u can get your dog enough excersise, their disposition is SO much better. On the rare occasions when i can't get my long walks in for the day my mal turns into hyper-distructo monster. He starts leaping off sofas.
Bye the way, the ignoring him is a good way to start to take back a leadership role. In a pack, everyone runs up to the leader and fawns him/her with affection. If you wait for your dog to come up to u. Also when the leader is unhappy w/another member he will usually growl and then ignor the underling for a period of time(no eye contact even). I'm not suprised he had a fit when u ignored him but the fact that he eventually came up and sat beside up is a great sign that u should beable to turn your dogs attitude around. Best of luck to u and keep us posted on your progress:)

January 9th, 2006, 05:31 PM
Also when the leader is unhappy w/another member he will usually growl and then ignor the underling for a period of time(no eye contact even).

I didn't know that. I've always wondered what I could do whenever he does something "bad". Now I know what really makes him tick and can get him to understand that he's not doing good.

Thanks, I will be back to update on his progress.