I'm about to buy a 7 week old Siberian Husky. Do I need to bury a fence into the ground for risk of him tunneling out? Is it safe to let my dog off the lead or is there a good chance I'll lose him? Thanks!
Paul from Northern Ireland
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For a Husky? Absolutely. Yes. They will dig under it, but they will also go insane on a chain. They are incredibly active dogs and will become destructive if they are not allowed to run. I've had a husky and have friends with huskies. They have a strong prey instinct and will kill small animals like cats. You have to maintain dominance with them. The only person I know who keeps them, trained them with a choke chain, and they will constantly challenge you for dominance. They are extremely intelligent animals, and that can be a hindrance sometimes. Mine was constantly figuring out ways to slip his leash.
I know little about Dogs, but I do know that you can buy rolls of Galvanized (or aluminum) roofing material of various lengths & widths in the roofing area of Home Depot... It's called "Flashing" & you could bury this in areas where he might dig in the future... This way you won't have to bury the whole fence.... Just ask someone where the rolls of flashing are. You cut it with tin snips... Buy the cheapest roll of the size you need... Sometimes "Ma & Pa" hardware stores carry it for less (or more) money so it won't hurt to look around. Another idea is, places that sell Bamboo also sell special "liners" to keep the roots of the bamboo in the garden-bed, as some bamboo will "run" all over the place & take over... Bamboo edge liners are meant to be buried & come in metal or a super plastic or fiberglass. Look on the internet for "Bamboo root liners" or just "Bamboo," or go to a garden supply store that sells Bamboo. This may be cheaper than extra fencing...
---> I recently saw a documentary about dogs on TV. They said that before the Victorians started breeding dogs for pets, there were only 40 classifications of "Working Dogs," that is, before the Victorian era, dogs were classified according to what kind of work they did... i.e. Herding breeds like Shepherds & Collies, or hunters like Hounds & Terriers (Terriers were bread to kill rats) etc, etc... Dogs had been bred for Thousands of years for HOW they WORKED not how they LOOKED. Then the Victorians got ahold of them & started breading them according to "LOOKS & SIZE"... They took basically 40 different "working" dogs breeds & turned this into 400 kinds of "pedigree" dogs... In the past, some dogs were bread to dig, Like Terriers... some to Hunt, some to guard or round-up livestock... You can't take this 'many thousands of years of training' out of a dog in only 100 years... Before the Victorian era, people couldn't afford to keep a dog unless it "worked" for them, & certainly NOT as pets! This past is why a retriever can't help but run after a ball. Huskies weren't bread to dig (like Terriers were) but their most important trait was their instinct and desire to run...because they were originally sled dogs, bred by the native Siberian Indians, the Chukchi... So if your dog DOES get out... Who knows how far it could run! Also, because the Siberian Husky was bred for cold temperatures, the heat is especially hard for them to tolerate. If you walk your dog daily for at least half an hour or more, then maybe he won't have the desire to know what's on the other side of the fence... Because we all know "The grass is always greener on the other side!"
---> Anyway, it's food for thought before anyone decides what kind of dog to buy... Reach back into their "doggie history" & see what they were bred for in the past thousands of years as "working dogs"... This is why a Retriever will love to chase cars & why Terriers dig, or why other dogs hunt... Because they were bred for thousands of years to "retrieve". or hunt or to dig for rats & other vermin.... The history of your breed could help you decide what breed of dog to buy, as it's one thing for a Shepherd to guard the home, it's an entirely different thing when he guards the baby from it's parents!
HISTORY OF THE SIBERIAN HUSKY: (what a wonderful breed!)
HISTORY OF THE SIBERIAN HUSKY IN AMERICA:
LIVING WITH A SIBERIAN HUSKY:
Siberian Huskies, Akita's, and nordic, wolf like dogs are very independent, and will go off on their own and may not return. I had a friend in the Poconos, Pennsylvania and he lost his Husky that way. If you love your dog, keep it in the house!
We also have a "snow dog" and saw a TV show about how they dig under fences. Our dog has dug under the fence numerous times, causing us great anguish when we realize he is gone. Once when he did this, our other dog trailed out behind him, was hit by a car, and the vet fees were about $1000. Make sure you get your dog "chipped", also.
I would like to respond to the one person who said that Huskies can't stand the heat. Although I agree with everything else in their comment, my experience is that they can adapt to the heat quite well. I live in AR and it gets quite hot here. Another thing to remember is that Huskies have a phenomenal metabolism. They were bred to run and survive in cold temps with very little food. Don't overfeed your Husky, because they have a very efficient metabolism. They don't require a huge amount of food like other large breeds. I found that mine was much more active and fit when I scaled the food down to what a medium breed would eat.
I have never tried one of these, but what about one of those electric fences? I use to drive a school bus and my (boss) had a choc. lab. He resorted to using one of these because his dog kept wandering off. He would always come back, but he was worried that he was going to get hit by a car or hurt someway. Anyway after he used the fence for a while, he was actually able to turn it off.
The dog did not know if it was off or not. He just stayed inside the boundary of his yard. (which was very large as he lived in the country) The dog was able to go in or out of his house as he pleased, while Tom (my boss) did not have to worry or run home because someone seen his dog out wandering. Just an idea. Seemed to work great for him.
First of all, ask yourself why you want to get a dog and why a Husky? Think of your needs/wants in regards to lifestyle (how much time do you have for the dog, do you want a lap dog/companion dog that will sleep by your feet or do you want to be active with your dog? After you are honest with yourself about such questions, then research the breed that will match those needs. After that, then you should research the breeder and then the individual dog's temperament (i.e. high strung, calm, dominant, submissive), and always meet at least one of the dog's parents.
I am a dog trainer and I can't tell you how much stress it causes on the owners and the dogs when dogs are brought into incompatible homes.
Also, a note about the electric fence. You do not want to make this decision lightly. The fence works by causing pain to the dog when he crosses the boundary. We know this, but the dog might get the wrong message. For example, the dog might try to cross the boundary for the first time when he sees a young child he wants to greet/play with. He receives a shock (pain) and he might associate that pain with the child and become fearful or aggressive when that child or other children are near. Anytime you train with pain you run the risk of making serious training errors that will cause mistrust, fear, and possibly aggression.
And you need to ask these questions before you meet the dog and fall in love with it. For the dog's sake, if not for yours.
Do NOT train ANY dog with a choke chain. I'm against electric/buried fences. Some dogs will endure the pain to get out but be afraid of it so they won't come back in. I've also read where they shorted out for whatever reason & electrocuted the dog. Some might say it's a small %. Well, I'm not willing to risk my dog's lives hoping that small % won't be them. I would never leave my dogs outside when no one's home. They could be poisoned, kidnapped, tortured through the fence & they might bark excessively. What if bad weather came along while you were gone?
My dogs are inside safe when we're not home. Like a couple of others have said Huskies are very intelligent high energy dogs. If you don't have the time to spend EXCESSIVE time exercising the dog, for the dog's sake, don't get it. Also please save a life & rescue from a local animal shelter. Breeders only contribute to dogs being euthanized by the thousands daily.
I must agree with others, that is not the breed for you. You can stop a dog from digging at the fence by laying concrete pavers along the bottom, they are less than a dollar each. No dog can dig through that concrete and they don't realize that they can dig under them. Bonus is that they shorten their front toenails a little, but that's far from substituting for regular monthly nail trims. Ask a vet or your local dog 4H leader (the county extension office will put you in contact with him/her) how to choose a breed to fit YOU. Yes, Huskies are good-looking athletic-looking dogs, and you can get it to stay in the yard by fencing, but its heart will die and the craziness will be manifested in a hundred negative ways. Petfinder.com has brief breed descriptions including the drawbacks. I know, I chose the wrong breed and it has been so very regrettable for both of us, I was guilty of being so unfair to my dog. God bless you, Kim
OOps, I didn't see you're from Ireland, please disregard my suggestion of finding advice from a 4H leader at the county extension office. Hey, I saw a cartoon today that says "Every dog's an Irish Setter on St. Patty's Day!" --Kim
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