Siberian Huskies love to be around people and other dogs, too, but what happens if you need to leave them alone for an extended period of time?
Huskies are not suited for long periods alone and may develop destructive behaviors during this time. They can be trained in theory to cope with these periods, but this is difficult in practice, thanks to their stubborn nature.
In this article, we'll explore exactly why Huskies are prone to separation anxiety and how you can help them deal with it.
Siberian Huskies And Their Sociable Nature
Huskies are a social breed by nature.
Originally domesticated by the Chukchi people of Siberia, Huskies were used as sled dogs to pull light loads over long distances.
During this time, they had to not only live alongside the Chukchi people for food, but they also had to work and sleep around many other Huskies and other sled dogs.
This is the reason why Huskies have a pack mentality and are a very social dog breed to this day; Huskies love to spend time around people and meet new people as well.
Why Huskies Don't Like To Be Left Alone
Huskies hate to be left alone; there are no two ways about it.
Here are the reasons why.
As we mentioned before, Huskies are a social breed and love to spend time around people and other dogs.
Being left alone for long periods is not something that they are used to, and it can take a long time for them to adjust to it.
Prone To Boredom
Huskies are very intelligent in their own unique way. They might not be great at learning new tricks, but it isn't because they can't understand you; instead, they refuse to listen most of the time.
Due to their intelligence, they are prone to getting bored quickly and require a lot of mental stimulation.
This can be a problem if they're left alone without anything to do, as they will find an outlet for their boredom.
Huskies can pull light sled loads over hundreds of miles through rugged terrain when trained properly; sitting inside a house alone with no outlet for their energy is one of the last things they should be doing.
How Long Can Huskies Be Left Alone?
Most Huskies will do fine if they are left alone for two to three hours during the day, but anything more can lead to problems.
Some Huskies are worse than this and can't be left alone for more than an hour at a time, and others who are trained can put up with more extended periods of time left alone.
What Happens If Huskies Are Left Alone For Too Long?
If your Husky is left alone for too long (whatever that is for your Husky in particular), they will be prone to destructive behaviors.
The list below includes all the most common destructive behaviors you can expect:
- Excessive Howling - Huskies are a very vocal breed, and they'll be prone to howling a lot if they're bored and left alone.
- Chewing - This is pretty common for Huskies who are left alone, especially younger Huskies who might still be teething. They might also lick excessively as well as chew.
- Scratching - Huskies love to dig, and they might try to dig as an outlet for their excess energy when left alone, leading to scratched floors and furniture.
- Bathroom Accidents - Separation anxiety can lead to bathroom accidents very frequently, so don't be surprised if you need to clean up when you get back.
Obviously, these behaviors are not ideal, so it's essential to make your Husky feel more comfortable when they're alone.
What You Can Do To Make Your Husky More Comfortable When Alone
Making your Husky feel more comfortable when they're alone is a great way to reduce the chances of them displaying destructive behaviors.
Here are a few easy ways to help them relax when they're alone.
Meet Their Exercise Needs
Huskies are a very demanding breed in terms of exercise, needing at least 2 hours per day of pretty intense exercise.
If their exercise needs aren't met, they're much more likely to develop separation anxiety when left alone as an outlet for their excess energy.
Before leaving your Husky alone for a while, make sure they've had enough exercise.
Provide Toys & Comforting Objects
Leaving your Husky plenty of toys to play with while you're out can be a great way to keep them distracted; make sure they're high quality and don't pose a choking hazard while you're out of the house.
Puzzle toys work incredibly well, as these can keep a Husky occupied for hours.
You can also use other comforting objects like blankets or even body wraps.
Our Therapeutic & Anxiety Front Body Wrap is a great example of this. It provides gentle pressure to help relieve anxiety, and you can let your Husky try it supervised to see how they react.
Use A Crate
On the topic of comforting items, a dog crate is an ideal safe place for a Husky where they can relax and feel safe if they are left on their own.
If your Husky is crate trained, you can shut them in their crate while you go out, but it's usually better to leave it open so they can go in and out while they're unsupervised.
Make their crate as comfortable as possible by using a blanket and even a couple of toys, and they will be much less likely to get separation anxiety.
How To Train For Separation Anxiety
You can train your Husky to be more comfortable when left alone, but you shouldn't be leaving any Husky alone for long periods of time regularly.
They're incredibly social and a highly demanding breed, so any separation anxiety training should be done to get them used to being alone when absolutely necessary.
Before training for separation anxiety, you'll need to have the stay command figured out. From there, you can follow the steps below to help your Husky become more comfortable with being left alone:
Step 1 - Start Small
The first step is to send your Husky to their bed or crate while you are in the room and tell them to stay.
You can then go about your tasks or relax and watch some TV, and then reward them for remaining in their bed or crate. Repeat this every so often so your Husky knows it's okay for them to be separate but in the same room.
Step 2 - Go Out The Room
After a while, send them to their crate or bed and then leave the room briefly.
When you come back in, don't be excited and instead calmly walk up to them and reward them with a treat if they have remained in place.
Step 3 - Repeat & Extend The Time Period
Repeat this process every so often and gradually extend the time period that they are left alone.
The goal is to build it up to an hour at a time. If your Husky is comfortable with this, they should be fine in the house alone if you have to leave them for a few hours.
Tip For Success
Always use positive reinforcement during this training and be very patient.
Thanks to their stubbornness, Huskies are challenging to train, so don't be surprised if they don't take to the training right away, if at all.
As long as you're giving them periods of time alone every so often and teaching them that it's okay to be alone, it will positively impact their well-being and separation anxiety.
If you're still having problems, it could be worth contacting a qualified veterinary behaviorist who can assist you in your training.
You shouldn't have a Husky if you are going to leave them alone for long periods of time regularly, as these dogs thrive on human contact and have almost endless energy.
In cases where you have no choice, it's crucial to tire your Husky out beforehand and give them plenty of toys and a safe space where they can relax. Training will also help them cope with periods of isolation better than usual as well.
Thank you guest blogger:
The Malamute Mom, Founder
Featured Image (Unsplash Royalty Free) - https://unsplash.com/photos/eDTE04oB5sg