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 Possible Future Husky owner

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Alex Schwartz
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PostSubject: Possible Future Husky owner   Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:15 am

It has been more than ten years that I have owned a dog and I'm reaching a point where it's possible to do so now. Gotta move, get situated, bla bla bla. Huskies and Malamutes have been the two breeds that have topped my list or I've come back to in regards to my "first" dog. I was a child when I did have dogs. I post here to get as much advice as I can about those that own a Husky that had cats first. I know these dog breeds have high prey drives, I've been researching these dogs for a couple years now, slowly getting more excited at the possibility.

My cats are 12 and 5 years old and they come first. If it's safer for me to not own a Husky or Malamute, it'll be a shot in the gut but I'll live with it. The plan is to get a puppy within a couple years and I would like to think raising him/her next to my two cats, it would be able to adapt to them. But that high prey drive will always be there. I'm trying not to focus on the horror stories I've read on the internet to scare me but to use them as a means to do this properly, for example, kenneling my dog when I'm at work. Installing a kitty door into a room, that only they would have access.

So, anything that may not be common information via a quick Google search that worked for you, or advice to prepare for the possibility. I want to do this right.
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aljones
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PostSubject: Re: Possible Future Husky owner   Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:13 pm

... and a good morning to you Alex and welcome to our forum.

First a bit of an odd story that might help with the cats.  I live on the desert of SouthWest Texas, by the Big Bend Parks - cats are desired by us who live here since they're great at keeping the small varmints at bay, they also have the honor of being prey for some of our larger raptors so generally they don't last long here (how's that for an aside?)  I have two Huskies living with me, one's an Alaskan and one a Sibe, both about 5 years old; so much for the background.  
Early last year I had an adult cat walk out of the desert and take up residence.  At first the dogs were curious but  DC (= Darn Cat) lifted his paw a couple of times and the dogs backed off - I don't think he ever really hit them, the threat of cat claws seemed to be enough.  Within a couple of weeks, DC had figured out how to get across the gate that separates the living area from the back rooms and lived with the dogs - a regular member of the household.
That said - I and others have had good experience with cats and Huskies.  I think the way you're going about it, getting a puppy who will learn (the hard way Smile) to co-exist is the best way of acclimating them.

Your Google search will have turned up that generally they:

  • Are NOT good off leash - they were bred to run and given the chance, they will run.
  • Are intelligent in ways you would not believe which means they're headstrong and more difficult to train than most other breeds.
  • Have a tendency to be finicky eaters or allergic to various components of their food.
  • Have a high prey drive and are apt to bolt without notice if they see something to chase.
  • Are one of the best breeds to live with that I've ever had the pleasure of sharing a home with.

Get yourself a puppy and be prepared for the ride of a lifetime, they're frustrating, lovable and a real joy to have around!

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Alex Schwartz
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PostSubject: Re: Possible Future Husky owner   Mon Jan 11, 2016 1:42 pm

I know about how horrible these dog breeds are off their leashes, wasn't ever going to do that. I am also headstrong and stubborn. I think that's why I gravitate towards these two breeds, they are very similar to me, high energy and stubborn.

My 12 year old cat(Andre) is very much the alpha and knows it too. He keeps the 5 year old cat(Jack) in his place. I have a feeling, once nerves are calmed, the puppy will know his place, Andre has been declawed on his front paws, but when the time is right, I'd love to introduce a Husky or Malamute to my two cats, and to my personal world as well. :-)
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Possible Future Husky owner   Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:51 pm

I personally would wait until after the declawed cat has passed. Claws go a long way to putting these dogs in their place (teeth and back claws are great tools when they are puppies but older dogs will have already done a lot of damage by the time they are close enough for a cat to use their teeth on them), especially with an older cat that might slow down and start getting too stiff to jump and escape with the speed and ease of a younger cat. Make sure the cats have a safe zone they can easily get to away from puppy. Getting a flirt pole to help satisfy the prey drive in your dog could help get some of that pent up want-to-chase-the-cats energy that will most likely plague your pup for a while. There are several people here who have cats and dogs that co-exist quite well, I'm not sure how many of those cats are declawed, but cats and huskies can definitely work when starting with a puppy. The declawed portion is the ONLY part that I would hesitate on and that's just me.

With huskies it all depends on the dog. Some are runners no matter how much you exercise, some are terrors to small animals, and some are a nightmare to train. On the flip side sometimes you get one that picks up on things fast, has low prey drive and a stomach of iron. My girl has an insane prey drive (I have a cat that lives in a room all her own because her and my husky can't even be in the same room together), but she is also not finicky with food and she isn't bad off leash. If you have determination and time there is no reason why you can't make a husky work in any situation. We are our dog's only limitation much of the time.

Welcome to the forum!

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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Possible Future Husky owner   Tue Jan 12, 2016 1:10 pm

Alex, welcome to the forum....Al and Jenn gave great advice. I will add, although my cat was not declwed, she was old, 12 years old when we got Miya. The first month or so we introduced them, me with kitty and husband with Miya (as far as each of us had some control over the animal), husband had a pretty good hold on Miya, so that Kitana could smell the pup. After a few face plants, yes Kitana was an ornery cat and literally planted herself onto Miya's face. After a few of those Miya didn't want anything to do with her, not to say that Miya wouldn't chase her, and I did have a safe zone for her to go so Miya could leave her alone. I think introducing a husky as a puppy to a cat is better than getting an older dog or a teenaged puppy. Since the one cat is declawed, my best suggestion is to never leave a puppy and cat alone, and you should be fine. By the time Miya was over a year, Kitana 13, they cohabitated pretty well together, caught them sleeping on the couch together most days, one on each side of the couch, so yea, they could sleep near each other. Good luck!
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lepp1892
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PostSubject: Re: Possible Future Husky owner   Tue Jan 12, 2016 5:35 pm

We have 2 cats with Gabby. One cat that could care less about the dog being around and one that is anxious around the dog. Gabby leaves the cat that could care less alone but chases the other all the time. In our case, Gabby can tell the one cat is anxious and feeds off that energy. We do have lots of places where the cats can escape the dog though. Cat trees and other high areas where the dog can't get them as well as a gated off area so they have a safe zone. It has worked fairly well for the 2 years or so we've had the dog. Also, FYI Gabby was 2 months old when we got her and the cats were 4 and 6 years old.

Things are also much better if we keep Gabby tired. (long walks, day care, dog park trips, etc...) She does tend to try and chase the cats more if she happens to see a cat outside on a walk then go inside shortly after.
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onefyasko
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PostSubject: Re: Possible Future Husky owner   Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:04 pm

Fun Story: Yesterday I was taking Cloud for a walk when some how his leash de-clipped from his harness (I am baffled as to how this even happened still). He trots ahead a few feet. Looks back at me and stands still for a second. Looks right at me, right in the eyes, and smiles.

AND THEN BOLTS. Full speed husky run. I don't know if you've seen how fast huskies can be. But let me tell you he was out of eye sight in seconds. I found him jumping around a tree a bit later trying to get a squirrel or something.

Just to give you an idea of the daily life of a husky. Rolling Eyes But seriously, hes a great dog.
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Alex Schwartz
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PostSubject: Re: Possible Future Husky owner   Wed Feb 03, 2016 6:39 pm

@onefyasko wrote:
Fun Story: Yesterday I was taking Cloud for a walk when some how his leash de-clipped from his harness (I am baffled as to how this even happened still). He trots ahead a few feet. Looks back at me and stands still for a second. Looks right at me, right in the eyes, and smiles.

AND THEN BOLTS. Full speed husky run. I don't know if you've seen how fast huskies can be. But let me tell you he was out of eye sight in seconds. I found him jumping around a tree a bit later trying to get a squirrel or something.

Just to give you an idea of the daily life of a husky. Rolling Eyes But seriously, hes a great dog.

That sounds like something I would do if I were a husky and got off of my leash. It may be a tad longer than I was expecting but this year isn't going to happen. It sucks but when it's right, it'll happen.

I love this story. I may hate having to chase after him but like you said, he's a great dog.
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