Siberian Husky going nuts!
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  1. #1
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    Siberian Husky going nuts!

    Hello everyone, I have some questions and I was hoping you guys could point me in the right direction. I'm going to try to give as much relevant information as I can, if you guys have any other questions please feel free to ask.

    Me and my family have adopted a Siberian Husky from the local rescue around august of 04'. She's 8 years old now, spayed, and has never really had issues with soiling/wetting the inside of the house. She is our first dog, and is very well-behaved (rarely barks, patient with kids, has never hurt anyone). We're not sure why she was sent to the shelter in the first place, although there are some negative aspects of her that stand out: She loves cats and squirrels, and she is horrible at walking.

    The first one, I believe, is genetic and can't really be helped; she's excited and wants to go "hunting". It doesn't bother me anyways; it's the rearing up and lunging forward that annoys me when I have to pull her back. The second one has been a work in progress for literally YEARS. She will never stay to one side of me, will sniff things from left to right, and will lunge out at unfamiliar people or dogs (to greet them, but that's not what the people being lunged at think).

    Other than that, when we first adopted her (at 1.5 years old), we noticed she cocked her ears back whenever we would pet her (maybe a sign that she's been abused?).

    The main issue at hand now (and the reason I'm posting), is that she is going nuts. New, strange behaviors are arising. She will scratch at my door when I am clearly home, just yards away from her. She will climb on the couch which she has been good about for 6+ years. She will go into my dad's home office room, get up on the desk, and climb behind his computer screens. She used to rarely bark, but does it slightly more frequently now, and she will keep barking until one of us lets her outside. During these freakout episodes, she will shake intensely.

    All her shots are up to date, and she is health-insured.

    Some things I have considered that may be the cause:

    She hates the beeping from smoke alarms. So, we have installed new batteries in everything, checking more often than we used to. Other than that, it may be some electronics that we humans can't hear. But if this was the case, she'd be annoyed all the time; these freak-outs happen in short episodes.

    We've recently had bunnies live under our backyard deck (ironically, around easter). We've caught two already, but there's still at least one that's still living there (which is basically her hangout spot). Maybe she's irritated that she's not able to catch it.

    We leave on an annual trip overseas around christmas every year (2-3 weeks each year), where we will ask for family friends or our neighbors (who also owns a dog) to come feed and check up on her. I believe this may be causing some separation anxiety, which would make sense seeing as it's coming close to that time of year.

    That's all we have thought of for now, and thank you for reading this far. If anybody has had some similar experiences, or any ideas that could help us, please share!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Niraya's Avatar
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    Re: Siberian Husky going nuts!

    First of all - Siberian Huskies have high prey drives. Which means any small animals that runs she wants to chase. When the Chukchi people would settle for the summer months in Siberia they would let their dogs go and they'd have to fend for themselves.

    Second - Siberians were bred specifically to pull sleds. The Chukchi people were a nomadic people and bred the dogs to be of medium size who could expend the most amounts of energy with little food as the dogs would pull sleds carrying the Chukchi people's homes on them over great distances (25,50 even 80 or more miles). Siberians were also used in the Iditarod and the syrum run to Nome, Alaska (ever hear of the movie Balto?). Her pulling and lunging comes from her need to pull. It is their job.

    Most Siberians end up in shelters becaise everyone wants a beautiful, wolf looking dog and don't realize the tremendous amounted work they really are. She was probably too energetic and didn't get enough exercise and became destructive so the family got rid of her. Or they didn't like that she wasn't easy to train or something. Common reasons they get left o shelters.

    Siberians are not known for barking and are known as being quiet dogs as they are not guard or protection dogs. They howl more often and "talk". But are generally very quiet.

    As for her sudden change in behavior I'd have a vet check her out to make sure there isn't some underlying problem. The intense shaking is cause for concern.

    She doesn't have separation anxiety as you would have known from the day you got her and you'd have had it diagnosed by a behaviorist. Though, I do not know if SA can suddenly manifest years down the road.

    The bunnies would really only be a nuisance to her if she saw them. Just hearing te noise of something won't set her off as it would just be another noise. She might be curious of the noises and then see the bunny but I don't quite think she's upset she can't get it dogs don't rationalize things like we do.
    Last edited by Niraya; 12-01-2011 at 03:17 AM. Reason: Syrup run to Nome? Lol no.
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    Senior Member Elliebell's Avatar
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    Re: Siberian Husky going nuts!

    Quote Originally Posted by Niraya View Post
    The bunnies would really only be a nuisance to her if she saw them. Just hearing te noise of something won't set her off as it would just be another noise. She might be curious of the noises and then see the bunny but I don't quite think she's upset she can't get it dogs don't rationalize things like we do.
    Not so sure about this. My standard poodle is set off by the sounds of squirrels in the eaves. She doesn't see anything, but she'll bark like mad, run around, and be on high alert for several minutes. I think it's entirely possible that your husky could be frustrated by seeing a rabbit and wanting to chase it. If they've been around long enough she may associate the sound of rabbits with prey and excitement and be reacting accordingly. Meh, it's a theory.

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    Senior Member DustyCrockett's Avatar
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    Re: Siberian Husky going nuts!

    Quote Originally Posted by Niraya View Post
    ...The bunnies would really only be a nuisance to her if she saw them. Just hearing te noise of something won't set her off as it would just be another noise. She might be curious of the noises and then see the bunny but I don't quite think she's upset she can't get it dogs don't rationalize things like we do.
    This dog knows exactly how many bunnies live under the deck; she knows when they're at home and when they're out. She knows where they go when they leave. She probably knows their approximate age and physical condition as well. She doesn't have to see them to learn any of these things; in fact, she probably wouldn't learn anything new from a visual sighting. She knows because (like all dogs) she has super powers of smell.

    Nevertheless, it seems unlikely that she would obsess over the bunnies to the extent you describe.

    Exercise will help a lot.

    [btw, ears back is a good thing, it's acceptance. if her tail is tucked, that's not so good. ears forward is alert.]
    Last edited by DustyCrockett; 12-01-2011 at 12:08 PM.

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    Senior Member spotted nikes's Avatar
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    Re: Siberian Husky going nuts!

    I'd get a geriatric blood workup done with a T-4 test on her just to rule out overactive thyroid, and anything else medical. I'd try a Thundershirt as well. They have a money back guarantee.

    I didn't see where you said how much exercise she gets. Huskies need a lot. Pulling a sled/wagon, jogging, brisk walking for at least 45 min twice a day would be minimums.
    If the people petsitting are just going to feed her and leave, I would expect her to be very destructive while you are gone, out of boredom and excess energy.
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    Re: Siberian Husky going nuts!

    I just wanted to throw in another possiblity to check with at your vet. My in-laws had a Brittany spaniel that was very calm for the most part until he started getting older. Certain noises started to really bother him and he would become scared and try to hide, such as the smoke alarm and the bell on the toaster oven. Much later we started to notice he was getting hard of hearing. It's just a theory, but we have since thought that perhaps his hearing was fading when the noises started to bother him.

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    Senior Member DustyCrockett's Avatar
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    Re: Siberian Husky going nuts!

    Quote Originally Posted by dingobean View Post
    ... these freak-outs happen in short episodes....
    Does anybody else think this might suggest a neurological issue?

    Alternatively, maybe it is sound-based, a noise you can't hear because it's above or below your frequency response, or not loud enough -- you know how dogs can hear a thunderstorm rolling in before we can. Has there been any new industrial development near you coinciding with the appearance of the symptoms? Factory or assembly plant, warehousing operation, oil & gas drilling, anything where a particular piece of machinery gets used intermittently. A nearby military base? Airport?

    Trust the dog, he knows what he's doing.

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    Senior Member Niraya's Avatar
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    Re: Siberian Husky going nuts!

    Quote Originally Posted by Elliebell View Post
    Not so sure about this. My standard poodle is set off by the sounds of squirrels in the eaves. She doesn't see anything, but she'll bark like mad, run around, and be on high alert for several minutes. I think it's entirely possible that your husky could be frustrated by seeing a rabbit and wanting to chase it. If they've been around long enough she may associate the sound of rabbits with prey and excitement and be reacting accordingly. Meh, it's a theory.
    Actually, if there is a squirrel in the leaves and she cannot see the leaves she would be set off by not knowing the source of the sound. However, if she sees the leaves and hears the sound - she's also seeing the leaves MOVE which will set her off. I know for a fact squirrels aren't that crafty that they can just run through leaves without moving them an inch.

    If the dog is obsessing over a sound then it's a neurotic behavior and it's not healthy and is not common in the breed. A Siberian can see prey - want to chase it but once it is out of sight the behavior should go away. If it lasts longer than a few minutes there is definitely a problem.
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    Senior Member Elliebell's Avatar
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    Re: Siberian Husky going nuts!

    Quote Originally Posted by Niraya View Post
    Actually, if there is a squirrel in the leaves and she cannot see the leaves she would be set off by not knowing the source of the sound. However, if she sees the leaves and hears the sound - she's also seeing the leaves MOVE which will set her off. I know for a fact squirrels aren't that crafty that they can just run through leaves without moving them an inch.
    Eaves, not leaves. The eaves of our house are metal and it makes a scratching sound when squirrels run along inside them. Not saying noise is definitely the cause of the problem with Dingobean's husky, just saying that noises can set dogs off. It is possible that a noise is not "just another noise" and is a trigger for an overreaction that could be caused by lack of exercise, thyroid or neurological issue, etc...

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    Senior Member Niraya's Avatar
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    Re: Siberian Husky going nuts!

    Ah! My apologies I thought it was just a typo Sorry about that!
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    Senior Member Cindy23323's Avatar
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    Re: Siberian Husky going nuts!

    For the pulling i would suggest a halti or a gentle leader, they are a head collar that works like a horse halter, if the animal pulls at all it turns them around to look at you so the pulling stops. I use them on my wolfdogs as they are pullers also. I do have one animal that is mostly husky that I rescued and he pulls too, I tried the halti on him and he would flip out turning over and everything till he got it off. So i purchased the harness that you snap the leash in front of the chest that works basically the same way and it worked wonders.

    http://www.sitstay.com/dog/supplies/...73_26908_13272

    http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...LAID=525357688

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    Re: Siberian Husky going nuts!

    Quote Originally Posted by Elliebell View Post
    Not so sure about this. My standard poodle is set off by the sounds of squirrels in the eaves. She doesn't see anything, but she'll bark like mad, run around, and be on high alert for several minutes. I think it's entirely possible that your husky could be frustrated by seeing a rabbit and wanting to chase it. If they've been around long enough she may associate the sound of rabbits with prey and excitement and be reacting accordingly. Meh, it's a theory.
    I agree with you, my Izze loves to hunt gophers & goes crazy when she can't get at them lol.

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