siberian husky aggressive towards small dogs
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Thread: siberian husky aggressive towards small dogs

  1. #1
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    Exclamation siberian husky aggressive towards small dogs

    my 3 year old husky has had moderate training by myself. basic stuff, like sit, stay, down etc. but hes always been a little brat (which ive read most huskies are). listens to me only when he wants to, which is about 80% of the time. he was socialized as a puppy and about the first 2 years of his life. did well at the dog park, maybe played a little too rough for some people but was never aggressive towards other dogs. also he was raised around my girlfriends 2 small dogs, and has never been aggressive towards them, i mean he would nip at them every once in a while but it wasn't out of aggression, he was just trying to play. but recently my girlfriend and i moved into our own apartment and he hasn't been able to run around as much as he used to. so when i take him out hes extra rambunctious. whenever he sees another dog he gets really excited and wants to start playing. at that point he doesn't listen to a word i say. but recently hes been aggressive to smaller dogs.

    so far since we've live here he has bitten 2 dogs. first time some lady was walking her pug off of the leash and i came around the corner and her dog started running at my dog barking and growling. i didn't see if her dog tried to bite my dog, but by the way it was barking i wouldn't be surprised if it did. but all i saw was her dogs face in my dogs mouth. i had to pry my dogs mouth open to get the other dog free.

    second time happened literally about 20 minutes ago. i was taking him out to do his thing and was walking him around. we ended up walking by the dog park that they have in my complex. this guys small 5-10lb dog squeezed under the fence and started barking and running at my dog. with what happened before i tried to pull my dog back but i wasn't fast enough. once again the dog ended up in my dogs mouth, and once again i had to pry his mouth open.

    what i noticed though, is that he never growls and when he bites them he doesn't tear as if he was fighting. he just bites down and that's it. i don't know what to do with him. right now i cant afford professional training but i also cant afford a lawsuit. even though in these incidents i wasn't at fault. but im worried one day hes going to get me sued.

    any help and advice would be appreciated. and please, no responses on me being a horrible owner for keeping a husky in an apartment, im well aware of the attention they require. he has a german shepherd to keep him company and i work days and my girlfriend works evenings most of the time. so most of the time someone is home with him and i take running with me every other day. so no lectures....
    Last edited by timjitsu; 08-12-2012 at 09:43 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Re: siberian husky aggressive towards small dogs

    Huskies can have a high prey drive. My Husky does this to small dogs. He was trained to respect cats but he will still catch them. Although he tries to kill kittens when I am fostering them. As far as training I do not know all I know is this is common behavior for the breed they chase anything that moves. especially small things.

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    Senior Member Sibe's Avatar
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    Re: siberian husky aggressive towards small dogs

    You need to get him more exercise first. When dogs are bursting with energy they can't control themselves. Does he fetch (silly question I know since most sibes don't)? Can you take him on runs or bike rides? They really need to RUN to get their energy out. I could walk my girls 6 hours a day and it wouldn't do a thing but I mush them a few miles and they get the edge off their crazy energy and are able to listen and control themselves.

    I think the issue here is that one dog was charging yours off leash while yours was on leash. Both times your dog was charged by a barking growling little dog. Your dog defended himself. I assume your leash was really tight, which creates A LOT of tension and frustration. Dogs on leash often go into defense via offense because they are basically trapped. I can't tell you how many times I see stupid owners bring dogs into a dog park that are still on leash instead of taking the leash off between the gates like they're supposed to, then their dog pulls and they keep the leash tight when other dogs come up and a fight starts because their dog gets surrounded, trapped, can't move, and feels the need to defend itself. What else is the dog supposed to do?? It can't move! Of course it's going to snap at the other dog. I'm certainly not blaming you at all, the one dog should have been on leash and the owner of the one at the park should have been paying closer attention to prevent that accident if they knew their dog could get out. Accidents happen and they may not have known their dog could get out there.

    Like Fade said, prey drive can also be a cause. Does he still do well with your gf's little dogs?

    By the way, I had a husky in an apt and she did just fine. As long as you get the dog out to RUN and provide a structured environment it will be fine.
    Denali & Kaytu, 8 year old Siberian Huskies. Azuma, Silken Windhound puppy.
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    Re: siberian husky aggressive towards small dogs

    Quote Originally Posted by Sibe View Post
    You need to get him more exercise first. When dogs are bursting with energy they can't control themselves. Does he fetch (silly question I know since most sibes don't)? Can you take him on runs or bike rides? They really need to RUN to get their energy out. I could walk my girls 6 hours a day and it wouldn't do a thing but I mush them a few miles and they get the edge off their crazy energy and are able to listen and control themselves.

    I think the issue here is that one dog was charging yours off leash while yours was on leash. Both times your dog was charged by a barking growling little dog. Your dog defended himself. I assume your leash was really tight, which creates A LOT of tension and frustration. Dogs on leash often go into defense via offense because they are basically trapped. I can't tell you how many times I see stupid owners bring dogs into a dog park that are still on leash instead of taking the leash off between the gates like they're supposed to, then their dog pulls and they keep the leash tight when other dogs come up and a fight starts because their dog gets surrounded, trapped, can't move, and feels the need to defend itself. What else is the dog supposed to do?? It can't move! Of course it's going to snap at the other dog. I'm certainly not blaming you at all, the one dog should have been on leash and the owner of the one at the park should have been paying closer attention to prevent that accident if they knew their dog could get out. Accidents happen and they may not have known their dog could get out there.

    Like Fade said, prey drive can also be a cause. Does he still do well with your gf's little dogs?

    By the way, I had a husky in an apt and she did just fine. As long as you get the dog out to RUN and provide a structured environment it will be fine.
    haha fetch? yeah right. during his first year i tried to teach him to fetch. ive never tried again haha. i do however take him on runs with me about 3 times a week for 45min to 1hr. that usually does the trick and when we get home hes down for the count.

    and yes hes still fine with my GF's small dogs. they stay at her moms house but she brings them over about once a week, and hes fine with them. no biting even if they growl or bite at him. he will just howl and stomp on them with his paw. its pretty funny to watch actually.

    so is there anything i can do about this? or am i going to have to start kicking field goals with every small dog that runs towards him? haha

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    Senior Member Sibe's Avatar
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    Re: siberian husky aggressive towards small dogs

    *If* the issue is that he gets defensive when offleash dogs charge him (as many dogs do) then it wouldn't just be little dogs that would make good field goals lol. Bigger dogs approaching in that manner would set him off too. Do you take him inside the dog park to play? How does he do when he's offleash with other dogs?

    There are a few things you can do when an offleash dog is approaching. First is don't panic What I do is have my dogs sit. I do this because then the dog can't be pulling on the leash when it's sitting. It's not you physically holding the dog back so there is much less tension and frustration created, and the dog is controlling itself by sitting. I keep just a little bit of slack in the leash so if they do stand up they can't go anywhere and definitely can't lunge forward. It can take a lot of training to get a dog to sit when other dogs are approaching. Practice as you go by the dog park, that would be perfect! Use treats. Always have treats with you when you go out. You can use them to reward your dog for sitting, keep your dog's attention, even toss them at the approaching offleash dog to get them to stop and snap them out of their barking. Use high value, soft, smelly treats like cheese, cut up hotdogs, or chicken.
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    Re: siberian husky aggressive towards small dogs

    He needs to be going for hr long runs daily, plus maybe another hr briskly walking. Maybe teach him to pull a small cart on the walk.
    I'd consider having him wear a basket muzzle on walks.
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    Re: siberian husky aggressive towards small dogs

    Quote Originally Posted by Sibe View Post
    *If* the issue is that he gets defensive when offleash dogs charge him (as many dogs do) then it wouldn't just be little dogs that would make good field goals lol. Bigger dogs approaching in that manner would set him off too. Do you take him inside the dog park to play? How does he do when he's offleash with other dogs?

    There are a few things you can do when an offleash dog is approaching. First is don't panic What I do is have my dogs sit. I do this because then the dog can't be pulling on the leash when it's sitting. It's not you physically holding the dog back so there is much less tension and frustration created, and the dog is controlling itself by sitting. I keep just a little bit of slack in the leash so if they do stand up they can't go anywhere and definitely can't lunge forward. It can take a lot of training to get a dog to sit when other dogs are approaching. Practice as you go by the dog park, that would be perfect! Use treats. Always have treats with you when you go out. You can use them to reward your dog for sitting, keep your dog's attention, even toss them at the approaching offleash dog to get them to stop and snap them out of their barking. Use high value, soft, smelly treats like cheese, cut up hotdogs, or chicken.
    hes fine at the dog park. he may play a little rough sometimes and usually the older, more stuck-up people get a little offended. but everyone else knows hes just playing. and the dog park near me has a separate park for smaller dogs and they are not allowed in the bigger park. im guessing because of the prey drive thing you guys mentioned.

  10. #8
    Senior Member HollowHeaven's Avatar
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    Re: siberian husky aggressive towards small dogs

    My husky has had a life change recently. We now go for one solid hour a day then smaller walks throughout the day. She's fine with that, no problems, but if your dog is on edge he does need more exercise.
    On the subject of smaller dogs, huskies can be mouthy. I try not to let mine play with the chihuahua because I'm afraid she might get carried away.
    The chihuahua is also NOT allowed AT ALL to run in front of her. She is not aggressive at all. She's one of the most friendly dogs you could ever know, but if he runs (or the cat) in front of her, it's game on. That's prey drive and I've yet to meet a sibe without it. It's a matter of teaching impulse control and being constantly on yours toes.
    In both situations you have described, that may not have been prey drive so much as your dog defending himself, because those incidents were not your fault.

    Honestly, I don't agree that you have to consider muzzling your dog. I don't see your dog as aggressive because if he was, these smaller dogs wouldn't be walking around right now. Huskies have the power, the ability and the tools to take down prey.
    Today while I was walking my pair, I had two bostons break off their porch and come after us. My male, who is highly reactive, protective and easily irritated by younger male dogs and small dogs immediately went to grab one of them. My female -the husky- went for them too. The difference between she and him, however, is that he was interested in killing, she was excited and upset beyond all reason. I managed to grab both of them by the collar and hoist them up, control them just enough for the bostons' owner to come for them, but it was by the skin of my teeth.

    Like Sibe said, the first thing you should do in these situations is Not Panic. Being calm and decisive can save all dogs involved.
    I would suggest giving your dog a good workout, then working on training impulse control. Like, 'Leave it' for example and 'watch me'. Get your dog to focus his attention on you, then once you have it down decently in the home, work o nit with him in different situations, walks included. Easier said than done with a dog who's reactive and in situations like these but it's worth the work.

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    Senior Member Mheath0429's Avatar
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    Re: siberian husky aggressive towards small dogs

    Your husky isn't aggressive, he is protecting himself. You have him completely under control and the owners of the small dogs are the ones that need a talking to. Where are you from? In many states there are leash laws that will protect you - since your dog is being held under control via leash and the other dogs are antagonizing him.

    IMO, this isn't prey drive. Your husky isn't stalking the little dogs and he isn't biting down, shaking or killing the animal. Believe me, he could if he wanted to. If any dog, not just a little one, approached my dogs and were growling and barking, they would defend themselves. I suggest you get citronella spray, or some other dog deterrent, so if you have to deal with another off leash dog you can protect your dog. I certainly don't think your dog needs a muzzle, just invest in the spray. You are protecting yourself as well, because next time the off leash dog you encounter might be a big one.

    As far as exercise, you need to get an hour a day of exercise in there, huskies are very energetic and they need an outlet. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but think of it as a motivation to exercise more!

    IMO, your dog is not in the wrong here, so don't punish him for protecting himself. I hope you gave the owners a firm talking to, as the pug owner should have kept their dog under control and the other dog should have been paid attention to - I keep a keen eye on my dogs at the dog park, and I expect others too as well. Especially since its in the rules

    P.S. Get used to the stubborn, bullheaded siberian - they only listen when they want to. It's not that they don't know all of their commands, they just choose when they feel like doing them.

  12. #10
    Senior Member Sibe's Avatar
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    Re: siberian husky aggressive towards small dogs

    Quote Originally Posted by timjitsu View Post
    hes fine at the dog park. he may play a little rough sometimes and usually the older, more stuck-up people get a little offended. but everyone else knows hes just playing. and the dog park near me has a separate park for smaller dogs and they are not allowed in the bigger park. im guessing because of the prey drive thing you guys mentioned.
    That's part of the reason, yes. Another reason for separate sides is because big dogs can accidentally hurt small dogs. If you have a 6 month old Great Dane bouncing around trying to play with a small Yorkie, the yorkie could get accidentally stepped on and crushed. Also, I never stop rough play unless it's starting to push the line between play and bullying. Bullying other dogs is not ok. Rough play is totally fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mheath0429 View Post
    P.S. Get used to the stubborn, bullheaded siberian - they only listen when they want to. It's not that they don't know all of their commands, they just choose when they feel like doing them.
    In my experience, they always want to listen with the right motivation. It's definitely a husky trait to say "I like what I'm doing, so why should I listen to you?" Always give them a [positive] reason to listen.
    Last edited by Sibe; 08-15-2012 at 11:27 PM.
    Denali & Kaytu, 8 year old Siberian Huskies. Azuma, Silken Windhound puppy.
    RIP Amaze-Bobb, 13 year old toy poodle.

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