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 So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?

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Koda
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PostSubject: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:20 pm

I wanted to start a thread where we could give our advice to people browsing our forum debating if a husky is for them. Here are some facts about huskies and characteristics of the breed:

Huskies are:
-Stubborn
-Independent
-Have selective hearing
-Prone to wanderlust
-NOT OFF LEASH DOGS
-Friendly (not guard dogs)
-HIGH ENERGY (need at least 1 hour of daily exercise)

Members: post your most difficult challenges with your husky. This will help give potential husky owners an idea of a worst care scenario so they can be prepared for the joys of husky-ownership! I'm making this a sticky, so please try and make your suggestions useful, legible, and on topic!

Note to readers: although these are worst case scenarios, they are true stories and you can be guaranteed that your future husky will experience something similar to AT LEAST one of these stories. However, that being said, we are all avid lovers of the breed, and if asked to do it all over, I assure you that all of us would gladly choose the husky again Smile For us, they are worth their "cons." Just keep in mind that this is not true for everyone.

Good luck in your search and I hope you find this information useful!

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Here4thePics
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:32 pm

.


Last edited by Here4thePics on Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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firefighterchik04
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:59 am

Where to begin!? Good selection Koda! Wise Idea. Wish I had read this forum before getting sniper. I would have been a little more prepared.
-Crates are a MUST!!!! For their OWN safety!!
-Don't leave out socks, they will eat them!
-I 2nd the not off leash dogs!
-Very HAIRY! If you have a problem with hair balls just "blowing" by around the house, this is not the dog for you. Especially if you have hardwood floors! I have to vacuum EVERY day! It collects really bad under things like the sofa, stove, in corners, etc!

Our Horror Story!
On 02/18/2010 sniper was up all night the night before throwing up and being real lethargic and not acting her normal self. I was worried but thought it was because of the GI upset she had been dealing with the last 2 weeks. Well the morning of the 18th she started vomiting and i could see something in her mouth! And she would regurgitate it back down. So I went into panic mode! SHe already is HORRIBLE about eating socks! So i thought she had gotten into something and maybe it was stuck. Rushed her to our vet. They done Xrays. It was some sort of foreign object stuck in her stomach and intestines. They transferred her to an emergency clinic for emergency surgery. Tomorrow the 25th she will only be 6 months old! and will be one week post surgery. She had eaten a wash cloth out of the bathtub while i was bathing our daughter, normally all doors are CLOSED! So we are recovering from a very scary surgery. $2300.00 later...she is ok and ready to start playing again!
So my advice and this is my first husky and our only one as of right now is to be very cautious! I love our little girl and was scared for her life when this happened. There are other members here who have scary stories as well. These are not to scare you away from a husky, but to warn you on how they behave. They OWN you! not the other way around. They are a joy and I wouldnt have it any other way!
Thanks!
~Crystal
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:35 pm

@firefighterchik04 wrote:
Where to begin!? Good selection Koda! Wise Idea.

Yeah Tori, real good idea! Razz

The one thing that makes me repeatedly bang my head into a wall is how sensitive these dogs' tummies are. While not the case for all huskies, a good hand full of members have expressed concerns about their dog's inability to digest kibbles properly (i.e. their dog is painting the carpet brown for lack of better words!). You cannot just go to the grocery store and buy the cheapest dog food possible unless you want to be crying every day over the constant mess. These dogs require high quality food, and you can expect to spend $45 (what seems cheap to me these days) - $75 on a 30lb bag.

Separation anxiety is another thing I've found a common problem among fellow husky owners. Koda is now being medicated and is starting to ease up to being in his crate.. but before the meds it was a horror story. I mean, I left him in a wired crate for 5 minutes, came back to my favorite blanket (which was a fair distance away, to this day I am STILL confused how he got) shredded, the wire BENT!!!, the plastic tray underneath dragged out and ripped apart, and when Koda went to get his teeth cleaned a WONDERFUL closed fracture from a 5 minute break from each other.. thankfully his tooth was able to stay in his mouth, but if he was left in there for 5-10 more minutes that morning, I'm pretty sure I would be hysterical paying for the damage done to his teeth. He has some enamel scrapped off of the back of his lower canines from this distance as well. In a general sense with the SA, for 5 months I hardly did anything outside of sitting home with him, and paid every single day I was gone for him to go to daycare. And I was doing all the right things and trying my very best with the crate training and making him comfortable- it just didn't work.

For people wanting precious puppies, I wish I had photos of my arms and hands from this guy's little teefies! Koda hooked onto my arm whenever it was in reach. He never want to kiss me or cuddle with me, just eat my arm and hands, and when those weren't within convenient reach, my feet.


I could write a novel about how crazy Koda has driven me in the past. But he is my baby and I would do it all over again!
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arooroomom
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:27 pm

Excellent!

Something that is SO important and that will save you so many frustrations and RUINED items... THE CRATE!
They are FANTASTIC. Start as early as possible, you will thank yourselves later!

And as it's been said. They are NOT off leash dogs! No matter how "trustworthy" they seem! My ex and i got home around 1 or 2 AM one night. He figured Mickey and Cheyenne would be "ok" to just come out in the front garden and do their business without running off. WRONG! Mickey took off when he noticed he wasn't on a lead. Cheyenne trailing right behind him! They took off onto a BUSY road running in front of cars! I was so pissed at my idiot ex and beyond upset that i was about to lose my 2 furbabies. Thankfully they caught sight of something moving in the bushes and chased after that where we were able to catch them and bring them inside. DON'T EVER LET THEM FOOL YOU INTO A FALSE SENSE OF SAFETY!

Also control biting when they are young! Huskies are so mouthy you need to nip it in the but when they're young. When you have a 50 something pound "wolf-dog" mouthing people on the street (even though they're just saying hello!) it doesn't look good and you can get into some trouble with it!
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Koda
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:34 pm

Bump Smile Come on people, I know there's more!

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jay
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:42 am

I have a 13 week old pup an she was pretty good about staying with me. Needless to say took her out with me the other morning boom down the road she went lol. Yes no matter the age leash is a must, and yes hide the socks. lol. I come home from work find mine in the living room, hallway. lol
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Tracy Hinch
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:24 am

Lol Jay, we have lost a few socks too, lots of odd ones floating around now.xx
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Tracy Hinch
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:32 am

I think the worst problem with mine is they will eat anything.......

Kaiser enjoys eating snails (yes he is regularly treated for lungworm) unfortunately a couple of weeks ago we were too late getting one from him and he later started vomiting blood, took him to the vets, out of hours, a couple of hours and £250 later he is all good again, the snail shell had cut his stomach. poor boy.

Only other issue I have is the howling when I go out, I am sure it is only a matter of time before I get a complaint

Tracy x
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amykmac
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:30 pm

Ummmm...Where to begin????? (Good thread, BTW)
They not only aren't good off-leash, they sometimes cannot be trusted in a fenced yard! (Two of ours got out somehow, not sure how, on Thanksgiving morning) After chasing Nanuk for 3/4 of an hour, we got him home only to realize that Mika had somehow gotten out, too. They need constant vigilance.
They don't dig holes...not at all! They dig CRATERS! All over the yard....EVERYWHERE...(especially when tracking moles!) Under the fence....under the picnic table (which is a necessity for a husky, BTW)
Play rough, with you & amongst each other. I thought Nanuk & Isis were trying to kill each other when we first brought Isis home. Not so, it's all about the growl....add a third to the mix, and it sounds like all hell has broken loose!
They are not good around small animals.....strong prey drive..(just ask the moles...and the rabbits...oh, that's right, you can't!)
Acrobatic....they will jump from chair to couch to floor to chair and back to the couch in the blink of an eye.
They should come with a warning: Caution, this dog will cause you no end of frustration!
YOU DO NOT TRAIN A HUSKY......THE HUSKY TRAINS YOU!!!!!!
P.S. Huskies do not come with an "OFF" button...they have to wear down.....
But, gosh darn it, they are sooo worth it! Love me my huskies!Very Happy
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jay
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:31 pm

your talking about small animals lol. My mother has a long haired chihuahua and the one gives Akira hell. They chase each other to no end and your right no "OFF" button till worn out. Anyways you are correct they are so worth it. I enjoy Akira even thought she is stubburn as heck. hehe Smile
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jbealer
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:37 pm

Ok since we adopted both our huskies we missed the dreaded puppy stage which is what we wanted to do so I do not have to many horror stories. we had "tested" our huskies for like an hour maybe 3 months after we got them and left them alone in the house out of their crates and they tore the house up! there was news papers, and cardboard shredded, plants knocked over dirt everywhere and our fleece blanked had a hole in it, but after all most a year and with them being 7 and 2yrs old we have tested them in the house for no more than 2hrs and they will still get into things so I do not feel safe leaving them out for more than that about of time. no food is safe on the counter as they surf it and eat it. the trash is never safe if there is chicken left over's in it. and we no longer get to share our bed alone, Jack is always in it. if you do not want you husky on something never let him on their cause the min you do you lose your spot forever. they pull you around on your walk even if it chokes them, no matter how much we have worked on that they have not stopped. but I would never have another breed of dog again the huskies have stole my heart and no matter what they do they look at you with their cute face and you can't stay mad for long.
so in short, no off leash, no small animals (well for our 2 and most), no longer hair fee house, or clothes or car or even at work. no nice landscaping in the back yard, our bedding has been trashed, tile and wood floors are the BEST! crates are a must, finding local huskies in the area are a must for husky dates, lots of walking no matter what the weather. and I think you might not realize it but you will end up with 2 of them! so if you are set on only having 1 dog be ready to change your mind or breed as one is never enough!

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jay
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:09 am

jbealer lol I agree I have already begun thinking of a 2nd geeze what am I to do lol. Cant wait.............
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harrise
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:26 pm

Alright, I'll jump in. But be forewarned that while I love Ridik to death, I'm not a big fan of Huskies. His previous owners brought him here for doggy day care for a year before I could even warm up to him. There were just too many things that annoyed the hell out of me (never liked the blue eyes much anyway). We ended up keeping Ridik because I couldn't see any "normal" person fulfilling his needs.

First, and probably my biggest issue, is how vocal they are. I don't like barking breeds and these dogs don't bark, they endlessly whimper/whine/howl. Everyday I can open a window and hear one of the neighboring Huskies wooing and bark howling from their yards. Car rides can turn into an ultimate test of will power versus out right aggression on your part. Even muzzled, my idiot will screech as loud as he can with whatever air he can get into his lungs. Get stopped at a busy intersection waiting to cross a street? Howling and whining ensues promptly after 45 seconds of no movement. Live near a fire station or city vehicle lot where the cops leave from? You will get 90 second intense howling parties several times a day. Going to the mailbox out front right quick? You would swear that someone was inside slicing your Husky up with kindergarten scissors. They make ungodly amounts of noise. Sierra is the only quiet Husky I've met.

Second issue for me is their situational awareness. They constantly survey everything over and over taking inventory of anything that's different from the last two seconds. If there is something different, it becomes the new object of obsession. Even aircraft must be observed until they determine the potential of obtaining what they see. I believe this trait is one of the reasons Huskies are perceived as "stubborn", or "hard to train". If it's moving (even a leaf falling out of a tree), it's more interesting than you. The way they catalog what they see is amazing and frustrating. When a Husky sees something they want, that spot is investigated intensely for the next couple of dozen times you go by it. Often the vocalizing ties into this trait as well.

Third is the Velcro nature of mine. He goes absolutely nuts if I'm out of his line of sight. This annoys me to no end. He will pace and look visibly scatter brained trying to figure out where I am. The independence people attribute to this breed has yet to be seen by me. They are neurotic about where their people are. Often resorting to vocalizing their discontent.

Next would be the energy. It's there 24/7/365 unless you have the ability to outdo them in endurance. My program for keeping the peace is simply "get the run out". My Husky gets at least seven miles of running almost every day. For the first year it was mandatory for me to run him every day. Rain or shine, snow or ice, hot or cold and even during the flu... Every day. After that first year there was a visible change in his general attitude/disposition. Like he finally felt at home here. Only then was I able to throw in the occasional day off without a pacing and whining Husky. This trait alone means I will never have a Husky pup. My feelings are dogs shouldn't be put through my exercise routine until the bones are done growing. Since the OFA certification calls for a dog to be at least two years old, I would not run (on hard surfaces) or hike with any dog until that age. That means I would need to be a bit more creative and active in keeping a puppy occupied. Not my cup of tea.

Prey drive is another item that seems to get to people who aren't versed in dealing with it. For me it's an indispensable training aid, and it's VERY strong in this breed. The thing to keep in mind here is distance and baby steps. These dogs will fixate on a rabbit several hundred yards away when another breed would need to be within a few feet before reacting to it. Husky vision is probably closer to sight hounds than typical dogs, especially in low light situations. Part of being used in sled work means being able to see clearly (not that anyone uses Huskies for sledding anymore). That only adds to the prey drive. It CAN be controlled but you must be committed to working on it diligently for a long time. It has taken me two years of positive reinforcement conditioning to get Ridik's reaction zone under 20 feet. In fact, I can now call him off of a rabbit chase. Which is a miracle in it's own right.

Hair. It's not a problem for me since I've had Malamutes, but it might be a problem for you or your visitors. There will be hair EVERYWHERE. When I shower, the drain is clogged with sled dog hair. Taking "clean clothes" out of the dryer becomes a relative term since laundry comes out with hair still woven into the fabric. Huskies will make a person an expert in textiles and relative clingyness of dog hair. Keeping up on the seasonal "coat blow" would probably help keep things tidy. But with my four double coated large dogs I gave up on that to let nature take it's course, sometimes pulling out the tufts when they dislodge. If you pride yourself on impeccable dress, maybe a Husky isn't right.

Huskies and Malamutes have a way of communicating that some people do not like. I don't like it. The way they play together is very stressful for other breeds, owners or other Huskies not used to it. They are aggressive, mouthy, fast, unrelenting and are not afraid to challenge any dog that wants the action to stop. This usually ends in a fight. With other breeds I won't let my dogs get that ramped up. With each other it sounds like Michael Vick's old place when they start playing. Most folks familiar with having many Huskies know this phenomenon and generally let it go until the dogs figure it out on their own. It's up to the owner to know each dog's individual thresholds and body language when it comes to "fights". Going out on a limb... I say with multiples, you WILL have fights.

With most of the downsides addressed, I would like to cover the things I've grown to enjoy. Mainly their intelligence and the challenges that result during training. You can never use the same reward more than twice, and training is done in spurts not sessions. These dogs were bred from the very beginning to be social animals. Whether it's other humans or being hooked up to an entirely new group of dogs, they were expected to perform reliably. Where some people go bonkers trying to train a Husky is in the repetitive nature of training programs. It doesn't matter if you're a positive only trainer or a "force" trainer, the nature of dog training is to condition the dog's behavior to stimuli through repetition and reward. Training a Husky is a lot like training birds. Social learning (model/rival dynamics) has proven to be the best method for me. This involves using other dogs to up the concentration level of the trainee, as well as gestures and body language to convey your message to the dog. Not a big deal really, but it seems to throw many people off when training a Husky. If you're looking for that dog that's instantly "on" when given a command, look elsewhere. Huskies can be trained to do anything any other dog can do, but it's the drive and creativity of the trainer that determines results. Labradors they are not. I've read many stories of experienced dog owners losing their minds trying to train a Husky the way their "perfect" German Shepherd was trained.

Another thing that has grown on me is eye contact. These dogs offer direct eye contact like no other breed I've dealt with. You can see the gears working in their heads as they size up everything about you. This trait is something that makes the social learning theories so much easier to use on these dogs. Just make sure you're more interesting than the rabbit 1000 feet over there. Have a plan 'B', 'C', 'D', 'E' etc. That piece of steak that worked the first time might not work the second and you have to be ready for it or results will suffer.

With all of that said, I still have a default stance to tell people Huskies are NOT for them. Unless a person currently has a Husky, or they can convince me that they meet my level of commitment, I say "NO HUSKY FOR YOU!" They will piss you off.





-------------------------
You folks better give me props for this post. It took me over two hours to put together and I don't care if there are grammatical errors. Now I have to catch up on my chores that should be done by now...
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jbealer
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:07 pm

Great post Eddy! and yes Sierra is a very quite girl compared to most Smile car rides with Jack are painfull and the long rides to a montain hike test us all with him!

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Koda
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:56 pm

A treat for Eddy! GREAT post!

Although my experiences don't agree with the vocal aspect. It sounds like you've had a few, but most huskies I have met have been very quiet and only "speak when spoken to" type of thing. They only vocalize for a reason (going out, I'm hungry) and that was one of the things we liked most about the husky was that they didn't "bark."

In fact, my two it's like pulling TEETH to get them to speak. Koda has opened up a LOT in the past year and a half, and Hailey is starting too, but he still won't howl unless he's overly excited or needs/wants something. More often I get the nose nudge or the paw tap for him to get my attention.

I DO agree with you on their eyes. Koda looks straight at my eyes and I can SEE what he's thinking. It's amazing. You don't get that with every breed, for sure! Thanks for pointing that out, Eddy Smile

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britandsteven
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:11 pm

So my post is not going to relate to my personal husky drama, we know there is plenty:) I am going to let you guys in on the tragic story of a husky that was not understood. So we all know that i work at a vet clinic right? I do feel bad about saying this about a client but i will not disclose what clinic I work at or the names of the clients. Today I saw a beautiful black and white husky girl being walked back towards the kennels, so I asked what she was doing there. I was horrified to learn that she was there to be euthanized! So I asked what for... well the owners did not want her anymore because she was killing small animals (squirrels, rabbits, etc), and she wouldn't stay home... when I heard that I automatically opted to sponsor her and find her a home. Well I was told I couldn't. She had wandered into a neighbors yard the other day and was attacked by their dog. Well she bit back, so I cannot, in good conscience, adopt a dog out that has been in a dog fight, no matter what the circumstances were. I cried for her but I cannot help but wonder at the futility of this dog's situation. She did not deserve to misunderstood and put to sleep. If those people had become a little more informed on the breed they would have been able to anticipate her less than perfect behaviors and maybe she would've been happy and alive tomorrow. I was so sad after I left work today... I hate feeling like I can't help, and that was one situation where I couldn't, and it hit home because I was reading this topic on my lunch break and trying to decide which husky caper to post. Sorry I had to be the downer guys. RIP Roxi- the husky misunderstood Crying or Very sad
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Koda
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:15 pm

No I hate stories like that.

I hope this thread helps prevent a horrible situation like that from occurring again! Thanks for your post Brit.

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jay
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:39 pm

harrise I am sorry you got me giggling to no end. lmao. Anyways I love your post, as of me I dearly love thier howl. I became fasinated with it because of wolves. If my pup howls I would sit there an listen like there was no tomorrow. Yes as you cas see I love it. Yes the are fasinated by anything that moves but mine is just a pup an well interested in everything right now. I really get a kick out of all the stories you know I now really know what I have been missing. I love it when I come home from work and she greets me like there is no tomorrow and I wouldnt have it any other way. I will be looking to get another,(geeze what am I thinking) lol. Akira has been greet she loves to play and loves to talk to me when excited. As for riding in the car no way makes her pee more lol thank goodness for kennels.......
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arooroomom
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:30 pm

Unfortunately there are many sad stories like that. In fact, i believe, if people would just TRY to educate themselves about Huskies (or any breed they were thinking of getting) there would be a tremendous drop of dogs in shelters and dogs in rescues. It's so horrible.

I used to work at a shelter about a year ago. This GORGEOUS black and white Husky came in. He was HUGE. And only 9 months old. Not fat huge, built huge. Well, being the Husky obsessor that i am, i went and visited with him nearly every day he was there. I knew the dog very well. He was mouthy and clearly had never lived in a structured home environment. I made this very clear to the adoption "counselors." He was adopted out to a very shady (in my opinion) family with 3 kids under 5. They returned the dog the next day stating that it "bit" them and then it "attacked" their other dog. #1 They were TOLD the dog was mouthy #2 They never even MENTIONED having another dog in the first place (dog meets are mandatory) and #3 They were stupid and the dog never should have been adopted to them in the first place. He was "quarantined" for 10 days and then PTS. I was so mad, that I quit.
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jay
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:48 pm

Sad I would have been very mad to.
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amykmac
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:18 am

I cannot believe anyone would put a Husky into a home without checking out the family, the home & references. The Humane Society here makes you jump through hoops to adopt any dog, let alone a Husky! I think they should create a booklet, make a potential owner read it and test them on it. Some shelters are so overrun right now, tho, I think they have resorted to laxness, deperate to find homes for all the strays/surrenders. It's just too bad.
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Here4thePics
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:31 pm

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zoecairnsuk
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PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:25 pm

On No, Im looking to buy a siberian husky and worried now by reading these posts!!! Im going to visit some puppies tomorrow!!!
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amykmac
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Location : Niles, MI

PostSubject: Re: So You're Thinking of Getting a Husky?   Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:30 pm

Please don't let us deter you. If you noticed, most have more than one, so it must not be too bad! We only want to inform potential new owners, not discourage them!
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