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 Would a Husky be a good fit for me?

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fuchstraumer
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PostSubject: Would a Husky be a good fit for me?   Thu Apr 21, 2016 11:43 pm

Hello! New to the forum but been lurking for a while. Title covers the question I'm asking, but I'll just quickly get out a bit about me. I'm mostly looking at rescuing, hopefully a dog in the 1-3yrs range so I have a bit more influence in training them and shaping them (and possibly getting past negative past). I'll go for the worst stuff about me first, in terms of husky/dog ownership first ;p

- 20 yr old college student studying Aeronautical and Astronautical engineering. Interning this summer courtesy of the NASA Space Grant program at what is effectively my dream job location. I'll avoid personal details, but I can best describe them as "Benevolent Mad (rocket) science, Inc." I'll be working 40 hrs a week, but my flatmate will be home for 4 of the 8 hrs I'm gone as they work much later. During school next year, I'll have most of my classes from 8am-12pm and live only 20m from school.

- Living in an apartment. Not sure EXACTLY where yet but so far its likely I'll be a 5m walk from the largest park within a reasonable distance in my city (seattle). I'm also pretty active, and while not in the past shape at this moment I manage at least 30m of running daily and am targeting 60m daily. Sometimes I split it into two shorter daily runs, since I love running.

- First time dog owner (uh oh). However, I've taken the same approach to owning a dog as I do to rocket science i.e. research, research, research. I've read Before & After You Get Your Puppy by Dr. Dunbar, The Other End of the Leash, Applied Canine Behavior (only 1st of 3 volumes though), Do-Over Dogs and have read as much as I can on the breed traits of the husky. I feel confident in saying I could handle a Husky, and do it right. This is my metaphorical "go for launch", if you will, and the costs of being wrong about this are too high in dog ownership and engineering.

In terms of why I want this breed: They're active! And personable. And sorta goofy. Wickedly smart but just as likely to trip up or down the stairs as they are to display this intelligence. They love to run, and if not run they turn destructive. Also, have a tendency of being unduly vocal. In effect, I think I am at least part Husky already.

I'd like a hiking/running pal, and a dog I could train. I'd love to do in-depth obedience training, but many people tell me this isn't possible with huskies. Books and this forum say it is, so long as you use the right philosophy and persist through the difficulty. Having a dog thats friendly to many would be nice, and I don't mind if they're not stupendously loyal. We all need space from our family sometimes! I've also seen huskies that are quite cuddly with their owners. Which would be fun.

I'm aware of their downsides, that being extreme prey drive, issues being off leash (if ever), SHEDDING OH GOD, separation anxiety, destructiveness if inactive, and some issues with young children and small dogs. All of these seem manageable.

I'd love to hear the opinions of the husky owners on this site, primarily if you think I've got what it takes. Additional input on training would be nice, as I don't expect complete rigid obedience from my dogs 24/7 but I'd love to know they're at least capable of learning quite a bit. Also, is my activity level sufficient? If not, I can afford to get a walker to take them (ON LEASH) to the dog park twice a week (Tues, Thurs, weekends I plan on hanging with my buddy) while I work this summer. During school, I'll be around a lot more and at worst will be studying in my room the majority of the time.

Thank you for your advice, and for persisting through that tremendous wall of text.
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CoraTheHusky
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PostSubject: Re: Would a Husky be a good fit for me?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:39 am

A lot of people would reply to this saying you should wait, but I'm not one of those people I'm also a young adult with my first dog that I've fully trained and taken care of by myself. My advice to you make a timetable for your life surrounding the dog, exercise before you leave, plenty of chews so they don't get bored , a dog walker or room mate for mid day bathroom and stretching legs break. Get home some more exercise and a training session. You can do it! It will be hard but not impossible! Just remember they are just as crazy as people say they are but they will also change your life for the better!
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fuchstraumer
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PostSubject: Re: Would a Husky be a good fit for me?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:55 am

@CoraTheHusky wrote:
A lot of people would reply to this saying you should wait, but I'm not one of those people I'm also a young adult with my first dog that I've fully trained and taken care of by myself. My advice to you make a timetable for your life surrounding the dog, exercise before you leave, plenty of chews so they don't get bored , a dog walker or room mate for mid day bathroom and stretching legs break. Get home some more exercise and a training session. You can do it! It will be hard but not impossible! Just remember they are just as crazy as people say they are but they will also change your life for the better!

Ah! Yeah, I didn't go into that but I've made sure to research stuff like this too. I'm going to buy a bunch of kongs and similar toys, and puzzle toys, and probably fill it with some sort of high quality kibble (planning on feeding my dog taste of the wild, since huskies don't do well with grain iirc).

Budgeting time has been my new thing. I. Schedule. Everything. And exercising in the morning is my favorite! I love a good brisk morning run.

I'm getting the dog partially for some help with my mental health, namely depression and ADHD. That's why burning energy off early does me so much good, and is nearly vital for managing some of the ADHD symptoms. Having a dog around (along with keeping active) keeps the depression away, too. Its made me miss my family dog.

The insanity and frustration is something I expect, even if I don't understand the magnitude. I'm stubborn as hell, and from equally stubborn miniature horses to wolfdogs (not primary caretaker here), I've never given up on an animal.
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CoraTheHusky
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PostSubject: Re: Would a Husky be a good fit for me?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:59 am

My parents actually got me Cora for my disability as well(chronic pain and vomiting+ some depression) they really help with those things Huskies are a really amazing breed! Sounds like you know what you're getting into.
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Loki_Weston
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PostSubject: Re: Would a Husky be a good fit for me?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:10 am

My main concerns is your entrusting the care of your dog to your flatmate. This is a very serious commitment and unless your flatmate is your very best friend, that will never let you down, i see this as a huge concern. If i had to guess, i would say the majority of dog owners are not single, and if they are they got the dog when they were in a relationship. This is because you share the burden of responsibility and have a certain degree of security. I'm sure that people do it and have success, however i would say that you should make your education your first priority, and wait until you have a fair amount of stability in your life to accept the responsibility of a dog. I know your trying to fit a companion into your life but i think you should wait until your studies are finished.
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fuchstraumer
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PostSubject: Re: Would a Husky be a good fit for me?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 2:46 am

@Loki_Weston wrote:
 My main concerns is your entrusting the care of your dog to your flatmate. This is a very serious commitment and unless your flatmate is your very best friend, that will never let you down, i see this as a huge concern. If i had to guess, i would say the majority of dog owners are not single, and if they are they got the dog when they were in a relationship. This is because you share the burden of responsibility and have a certain degree of security. I'm sure that people do it and have success, however i would say that you should make your education your first priority, and wait until you have a fair amount of stability in your life to accept the responsibility of a dog. I know your trying to fit a companion into your life but i think you should wait until your studies are finished.

Good points. I've told my flatmate that they must close their door and move all objects they aren't willing to have ruined. They aren't to walk the dog without asking, and have to use the training cues and methods I do. I'm not relying on her care at all - just at least a presence in the home to detect if husky-type shenanigans are going down. The property is owned by my family, its an investment property my father bought when real estate crashed so we'd have somewhere to live during college. I spent my first two busiest years on campus, nearest the libraries. I've been working hard on learning to study effectively without distractions at home though.

Stability wise, I work in an obscure industry already and as I continue my education it narrows down my potential employers list to cover 4-5 companies in this state. I won't have an issue getting a job, but I won't be travelling. I moved every 2 years before college, I've had my fill.

I have a good sense of time management, after a rough first year. Rest easy knowing that if I don't feel I have enough time for a dog, I'm not going to get a dog. It'd mortify me, and really hurt me, to do wrong by a rescue dog through neglect
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Would a Husky be a good fit for me?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:00 am

ACK!!!! LOL.....a part of me agrees with Steve and a part of me agrees with Zoe.....I think you are wise on wanting a rescue, a dog and not a puppy. An adult dog can chill far easier than a puppy, and there are more perks, like not having to get up every two hours for potty breaks. Many people work 8 hour days and still have time before and after work to give the enriching life they need. I know personally my Miya is the best thing in my life (although my puppy and husband think they are, and they are, but....Miya is my husky and she is my best friend).....she has got me thru some tough times these last three years, so I do understand having a companion, who will give and receive unconditional love. The aspect that Steve mentions is important. You have to have it in you to complete your studies and give your dog the best. If you feel that you can give time to your studies and make time for the dog, I say go for it. But remember this is a 10+ year commitment, view a husky as you adopting a child and still going to school, if you think you can do it then do so, and if you do, we need pics. Smile
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Loki_Weston
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PostSubject: Re: Would a Husky be a good fit for me?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:12 am

@fuchstraumer wrote:
Good points. I've told my flatmate that they must close their door and move all objects they aren't willing to have ruined. They aren't to walk the dog without asking, and have to use the training cues and methods I do. I'm not relying on her care at all - just at least a presence in the home to detect if husky-type shenanigans are going down. The property is owned by my family, its an investment property my father bought when real estate crashed so we'd have somewhere to live during college. I spent my first two busiest years on campus, nearest the libraries. I've been working hard on learning to study effectively without distractions at home though.

Stability wise, I work in an obscure industry already and as I continue my education it narrows down my potential employers list to cover 4-5 companies in this state. I won't have an issue getting a job, but I won't be travelling. I moved every 2 years before college, I've had my fill.

I have a good sense of time management, after a rough first year. Rest easy knowing that if I don't feel I have enough time for a dog, I'm not going to get a dog. It'd mortify me, and really hurt me, to do wrong by a rescue dog through neglect

Of coarse you are much more privy to your exact circumstances, and if you are up to the task of owning a Siberian, it is ultimately your decision. I mainly mentioned to finish your studies before getting a companion because since i was a teenager, I myself wanted a Siberian Husky.

Over the years i had considered getting one, and albeit your situation is different rescuing/adopting a matured dog, having a puppy the last couple months has brought some perspective for me. I have owned a dog when i was a kid, family pets, and helped my dad train him. My fiance also had dogs growing up but knows almost 0 regarding training. I am very glad to have my fiance helping, and again, the needs of a puppy are much higher than an adult.

You might have read that Siberian Huskies have average intelligence. The problem with intelligence tests for dogs, is it tests obedience, via the metrics used. I will say this, they are as smart, if not smarter than a GSD, and have an incredible amount of cunning. They will plan, wait, and execute strategy like a pro. Never underestimate how smart a Husky is, the second you do, is the moment you are outsmarted by a dog. Again, no two dogs are identical and this is typical of the breed, so its more of a general "what to expect". Mine is so far very aloof, and required us to hire a trainer to make sure we are doing a good job training.

To be honest i would tell everyone to get a Siberian Husky. They are literally the best dogs in the world. But they are not for everyone, which is sadly why so many end up in an endless re-homing loop. If you decide to give one a forever home, this will be the best place for you to come to learn and even interact. This community is flat out amazing, i guess the husky has too much awesomeness and has to share some with their hoomans lol!

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fuchstraumer
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PostSubject: Re: Would a Husky be a good fit for me?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:45 am

By all means, I appreciate the comments regardless of how critical they are. Same if they're not what I want to hear. Often, what we don't want to hear is the most educational.

I need to stop referencing the field I'm going into (this really applies everywhere tbh), but something I've learned very rapidly is that ego doesn't belong. Its very important to be able to swallow your pride, and admit your mistakes. Once you've recognized your mistakes, learning begins! And then you know when to reach out for help. And sometimes where, too. Threads here encouraged me to have a vet picked out before the dog shows up, and to get to training within a few months of the dog coming home. Also where to go if serious behavioural issues appear. Picked up ideas on how to acclimate the dog, too.

When it comes to 10yr commitment, I understand that. I've heard its a thing for people to abandon senior dogs (honest to god I tear up thinking about it) because they don't want to accommodate their needs anymore.  I understand, I believe, what a rescue dog feels when it comes to the fear of trusting again (and the splitting desire to want to trust again). Its unlikely I'll have kids, being gay puts a .... few ... "interesting" roadblocks along that path.

Already, this thread has given me more to consider and think about. I'll be sure to do just that.

Edit: and i thought of a possible question. With their double coat, do huskies have issues with moisture getting "stuck" under their fur and causing issues? Seattle isn't all rain but it can be rainy for days. Trying to decide if a rain coat that covers the majority of the dogs fur would be worth it.

Also, how do you resist a dogs whining when crate training? This is my Achilles heel, I just know it. I instantly go into nurture mode when I hear whining haha


Last edited by fuchstraumer on Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:14 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Question added)
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CoraTheHusky
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PostSubject: Re: Would a Husky be a good fit for me?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:07 am

Yes make sure you dry you pups fur after the come in from rain if dead hair gets wet and stuck to the skin it can cause some issues. Anyways I guess I'm biased but just because you are a young adult it doesn't mean you can't do it sure it will be harder but it's a great building block in your life that you will have with you for many years to come. Also 90% of my dog industry friends are single so that isn't really an issue. Everyone has given great advice so far, I just think that it would be really great for you since you mentioned mental health.
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Would a Husky be a good fit for me?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:42 am

With an older rescue you should be fine. You might start your internship and get a feel for how those hours are going to be before you get the dog though. If the internship is your dream job and potentially what you will be shooting to make full time once you graduate then you should get a decent idea of what kind of hours it will actually have versus what they say it will have. Sometimes they say 40 hour weeks and then they turn into 60 due to projects. If the internship looks like it might be one of those kind of things then at least you have time to reassess if a dog will actually work out for you and your schedule in the future.

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Artic_Wind
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PostSubject: Re: Would a Husky be a good fit for me?   Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:14 pm

Everyone has given some really great advice.

I think you would make a great "dad" to a husky. I'm impressed with your quest to educate yourself as much as you can on the breed, before getting one. Like you, I am single, and I think I do pretty well raising my two. I do have the luxury of having someone come here and spend time with them while I'm at work, they play a bit in the morning, then they're pretty much out cold til about 30 minutes before I get home, lol. But I like the idea of them not being alone for 8 hours each day. When I get home, and almost all weekends, it's all about them...we do the hikes, I do the runs (with the boy) and all that good stuff. So your situation wouldn't be a whole lot different but I realize too that your situation could become a bit more intense with the schooling and stuff, still, I do think you could make it work...with you and your husky both helping each other in the process.


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fuchstraumer
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PostSubject: Re: Would a Husky be a good fit for me?   Sat Apr 23, 2016 9:52 pm

Thanks for the comments and considerations, sincerely.

The bad news (which is good news for dogs and only bad for my selfish desires) is that its pretty hard to find a rescue in Western WA nowadays. Our rescue and shelter situation has gotten so good that its downright difficult to adopt a dog before they get snatched up.

My two main picks for breeds are huskies and GSDs. Well, to be honest, my dream dogs are Tamaskans and Czechoslovakian Vlcak's. The latter is just too challenging for a first time breeder, and those two breeds can't really be rescued. I always told myself I'd rescue a few dogs before I bought a puppy, so Husky and GSD rescuin' it is! At some point, I'm certain I'll have one of each. Right now, whatever breed I can get (and whatever dog feels like the best fit) will be what I end up with first. A few breed rescues in the area have turned me down already - the GSD rescues were more than a bit brusque in turning me down (so I'll avoid naming them) but NW Snowdog rescue was very kind about saying they wouldn't adopt to me haha.

My plan, then, is to wait for a dog to appear in a shelter as far as southern Oregon or Idaho, and anywhere in between. I am considering, as it feels like the right thing to do, driving as far as california and saving a death row doggie (once you open this box of sadness you can't close it). The condo I'll be living in won't close for another 30 days at least, and I'm still waiting for my old synthesizers to sell so I have an emergency fund and the initial "setup" fees of dog ownership. Hopefully by the end of May I'll have a better idea of where I stand, and since I'm a free man from 6/8 until work starts 6/20 I figure I'll adopt in that window and have a week to acclimate the dog and do some fun stuff with him/her.

I'll be sure to post pictures if its a husky ;p


Last edited by fuchstraumer on Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:04 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : oops, details)
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