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Discussion Starter #1
I am considering adopting a beautiful, sweet female husky/shepherd mix, 8 months old. I have experience with GS but not with Huskies. The shelter tells me she is very smart (figured out how to open doors) and that this breed is notorious for escaping fences. I also read they can be very destructive. I want to make a decision with my head and not just my heart. Can anyone provide any personal experiences (good or bad) with having a Husky? Thank you.
 

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I don't own a husky, but I am familiar with them.

Yes, huskies are notorious escape artists. If the have enough physical and mental stimulation, they are less likely to try to escape, but nevertheless is very important to keep an eye on them when they're out in the yard. Make sure gates have dog-proof latches, dig-proof, just minimize their opportunities to escape.

Huskies are also known for being kind of terrible off-leash. They will take off on you and wander, they don't really have a natural orbit because they were bred to run and wander. They also have high prey drive, so they may not be great with small animals like cats, rabbits, chickens, or even small dogs.

Most young dogs are destructive just because they don't know what they can and can't chew on. Some grow out of it and can be trusted to free-roam, others will always need to be confined and prevented from getting into things. Since she's from a shelter, I would hazard a guess that she hasn't been taught how to behave the best in a house. Having proper physical and mental stimulation helps, though.

Since your potential pup is a mix, it is impossible to know exactly how each individual breed's trait will manifest. She may favor the GSD, or she may be more like the husky.
 

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I'm going to be a little harsher, then I'll back off. A husky is nothing like a GSD, except in colors. Huskies were bred to be high energy and independent, while GSDs were meant to be intelligent, trainable, and obedient.

My next door neighbor has a pair of huskies. They howl every time an ambulance comes by ... and we live near a hospital. The dogs are not unfriendly, but they are continually socialized, so they are a little shy around other people. They get bored easily, because the owners can't run them, so they used to jump over a 6 foot fence and run the neighborhood. Other than terrorizing cats that were roaming outside, they didn't cause any problems, except that they were running loose. Eventually, they came back home. The owners had to build a 'cage' to keep the dogs from escaping and being destructive.

If you live in a location where you can run this dog twice a day, you may be able to handle her energy requirements. She will need a lot of training just to keep her mind busy, lots of socialization, and possibly a metal crate for when she matures and wants to go for a run herself.

If you are very active, are a runner, and would like a constant companion, this may be a good dog. But, a Husky is not a dog that you pat on the head in the morning, and then take for a 10 min. potty break when you get home from work. On the other hand, she may be a chilled-out, predominantly GSD mix.

I guess the main questions are how destructive is she right now, and how much of an escape artist is she? Will the shelter let you take her for 2 - 4 months to see how she fits with your lifestyle?
 

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I have four husky/wolf hybrids. A husky is an intelligent, high energy, always thinking and learning dog. If they aren't eating or sleeping, they want to be running, playing, and engaging their mind. A treat ball in a basket on a Greyhound racing trainer is great for them - they have to chase it, catch it, remove the ball, then figure out how to get the treat out of the ball. Husky brain and body engaged for a good 10 minutes. Now, they need that level of engagement at least 3-4 hours per day, every day. Can you do it?

They also "talk", howl, chatter, whine, complain and argue vocally with you or at/about just about anything they think needs a talking to or talking about. If the neighbors don't like howling - it carries nearly a mile, maybe a Husky isn't the right dog.

Personally, I love them and, adding the wolf just gives them more energy and, a stronger prey drive. Not a canine for everyone but, if you educate yourself and, can handle them and, give them a home they will love, you might even want to adopt a husky/wold rescue - it's hard to find good homes for them, I know several wolfdog rescues that are filled with them and, most just need a good home that understands them and, loves them for what and who they are.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you all for the feedback. I am definitely a dog person. Love and adore them. Would never, ever give one up to a shelter. This means that if I adopt one, I will keep them and care for them, no matter what. That being said, I don’t particularly want my house tore up because I picked a breed that was not right for me. I am torn because I see a beautiful, sweet, playful dog who needs a home. My heart takes over instead of my head. I can take her for walks and have a fenced yard and a dog door, and can buy her mentally stimulating toys, but I work a 40 hour a week job and have 2 other dogs. I dont know that I can give her the amount of daily activity a Husky apparently needs. I hate that she is in a shelter and has watched as her sister got adopted and she didn’t. She was adopted a few weeks ago and brought back in a few days. They claimed they didn’t have a yard or the time to exercise her. I could never adopt a dog then take them back. She is mixed with GSD so I am not sure how much of her personality is husky. The shelter has now put a lot of stipulations on her adoption and I met all those. Im worried that they will have a hard time finding someone who is willing to meet all the stipulations. (Must have a 6 foot fence with nothing available for her to get on to jump over the fence, no gap between the fence and ground, must not crate her, must not leave her unsupervised in the yard - which means dog door closed when not home, must have another dog in the home that interacts well with her, etc). I want her. I am just worried I will come home to a torn up house or a dog that is gone after jumping or digging out of a 6 foot fence.
I also worry that with all the stipulations there my be things they are not telling me.
 

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Thank you all for the feedback. I am definitely a dog person. Love and adore them. Would never, ever give one up to a shelter. This means that if I adopt one, I will keep them and care for them, no matter what. That being said, I don’t particularly want my house tore up because I picked a breed that was not right for me. I am torn because I see a beautiful, sweet, playful dog who needs a home. My heart takes over instead of my head. I can take her for walks and have a fenced yard and a dog door, and can buy her mentally stimulating toys, but I work a 40 hour a week job and have 2 other dogs. I dont know that I can give her the amount of daily activity a Husky apparently needs. I hate that she is in a shelter and has watched as her sister got adopted and she didn’t. She was adopted a few weeks ago and brought back in a few days. They claimed they didn’t have a yard or the time to exercise her. I could never adopt a dog then take them back. She is mixed with GSD so I am not sure how much of her personality is husky. The shelter has now put a lot of stipulations on her adoption and I met all those. Im worried that they will have a hard time finding someone who is willing to meet all the stipulations. (Must have a 6 foot fence with nothing available for her to get on to jump over the fence, no gap between the fence and ground, must not crate her, must not leave her unsupervised in the yard - which means dog door closed when not home, must have another dog in the home that interacts well with her, etc). I want her. I am just worried I will come home to a torn up house or a dog that is gone after jumping or digging out of a 6 foot fence.
I also worry that with all the stipulations there my be things they are not telling me.
I'm guessing that she's an escape artist, based on their stipulations. Not unusual for the husky side. And if she can't be crated (separation anxiety? Or they just don't believe in crating?) you will most likely return to a torn up house. It's just what pups that young do.

I wouldn't be feeling any guilt over not being able to take her. It's not your fault she's in a shelter, and you would be doing her nor yourself no favors if you brought her into your home and discovered she wasn't a great fit. Someone else will adopt her. If you don't feel good about it, let it go.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
They are worried about her escaping. They did say she had separation anxiety and that the people who took her for a few days reported she chewed part of the crate. I dont crate my dogs because i have a dog door and a yard.
I have asked more questions (is she destructive, does she howl, etc) and am waiting on a reply. Im not ready to give up yet. She is a beautiful sweet dog.
 

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They are worried about her escaping. They did say she had separation anxiety and that the people who took her for a few days reported she chewed part of the crate. I dont crate my dogs because i have a dog door and a yard.
I have asked more questions (is she destructive, does she howl, etc) and am waiting on a reply. Im not ready to give up yet. She is a beautiful sweet dog.
If she has separation anxiety and she can't be crated, there is a good chance she will be destructive because she is fearful and anxious, and thus destroy your house. If separation anxiety is severe enough, dogs will destroy furniture, carpets, walls, and even themselves, as well as howl and carry on. If you work full time, there is little you can do about that. She will escape from your yard, most likely, with the dog door setup. I would not trust her to stay in your yard...
 

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They are worried about her escaping. They did say she had separation anxiety and that the people who took her for a few days reported she chewed part of the crate. I dont crate my dogs because i have a dog door and a yard.
I have asked more questions (is she destructive, does she howl, etc) and am waiting on a reply. Im not ready to give up yet. She is a beautiful sweet dog.
A husky roaming freely in your yard when you're not home is a big no no though. Heck, I wouldn't even let my dogs do that, and they're not escape artists.

My younger dog is 25% husky, and apart from chasing squirrels and rabbits, and her bicolor eyes, she doesn't act like a husky at all, never tried to dig or escape (the one time she did because the wind knocked a panel down, she just hung out in the front yard), loves my cat, doesn't howl... so you never know what you'll get with a mix, honestly.
 

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Very little you can do for a destructive escape artist short of a dig proof fence and hot wire (electric fence) to keep the dog from climbing over the fence and, keep her off the fence period. Huskies can climb fairly well and, will if they are determined to escape a fence. Of course using a hot wire, you end up with a dog that's afraid of wire fences but, at least they aren't escaping.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I just put up a 6 foot vinyl privacy fence that doesnt have any boards running crossways to climb on. We buried chicken wire on the ground by the fence to detour digging. I had 3 dogs for 8 years that I left the dog door open for everyday when i went to work and they never got out from a 4 foot picket fence. Hopefully a 6 foot fence with the other measures will help with her. I work 4 days a week outside of the house and have a camera inside to see the dogs and I can communicate with them while i’m at work. My plott hound has seperation anxiety but all he does is stand at the window and bark for a few hours after I leave. I dont know if they know for sure she has seperation anxiety. They said she has anxiety. I had a GSD/Chow mix and she had terrible anxiety. Twix (the dog im considering adopting) didnt display any signs of anxiety when we did a meet and greet with my golden. She was playful, jumped in the kiddie pool with him and splashed around, came over and mouthed me and wanted me to play.
They have a behaviorist at this shelter. She seems to feel my fence and the added measures will work for her. She also thinks having other dogs will help with separation. I dont think they have noticed any destructive behavior but she is very smart. She figured out how to open a door thetr and when the behaviorist set up some obstacles to opening the door, she started figuring out how to move things to get it open. At 10 months old, she walks better on a leash then my 8 year old golden ever has.
 

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Walking is just good behavior for a stranger. ;-) Twix may not have all the husky issues, but I think you should ask for the trial period option to verify that your dogs get along OK with her in your home, and that you can manage her separation anxiety, and escape artist capabilities.
 

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Dogs can jump a 6 foot fence if they really, really want to....and if she already has escape artist tendencies, leaving her with access to the yard unattended while you're at work is a really, really terrible idea. Just because you're other dogs have not escaped does not mean this one, who is a REPORTED escape artist, will not try. The camera will only allow you to watch her escape while you tell her "No, don't do that" through the microphone, lol! And, if she can chew a plastic crate, what makes you think she won't attempt to chew a vinyl fence? I feel if you try to leave this particular dog with access to the yard, she will eventually escape and end up stolen or dead.

There are different types of anxiety. Some you will never notice under normal circumstances. But separation anxiety is just that...anxiety when they are separated from their owner. You wouldn't notice that in a meet-and-greet. You also don't get a dog's full personality at a shelter. And what exactly does she have the opportunity to destroy at a shelter? (Chewing a crate is destructive behavior, by the way).

I'm not trying to be mean or squash your dreams, but I think you need to seriously consider what you can handle, because right now it sounds like "Oh, she's cute and sweet and smart, and those kind of serious behavior issues the shelter is telling me about are fine!" This dog might turn out to be great and be fine in the house alone, and any anxiety is fixed by being with the other dogs. But what if it isn't? What if she goes berserk once you leave and tears apart your house? What if she does enjoy escaping your yard? What if she doesn't get along with one of your dogs and you're forced to separate them, but you can't crate her because she just tears apart the crate?

Don't get me wrong, plenty of people deal with separation anxiety and escape artist dogs, but its not easy. It requires intense management. Depending on the degree of anxiety, you may have to consider medication, or even taking her to a daycare. It means never leaving them alone in a yard where they have any chance to escape.

I agree with hanksimon, you should try a trial period of a month or so to make sure you are okay with handling her quirks. If you can't, there is no shame in admitting that the dog just isn't a good fit. I mean, separation anxiety would be a deal breaker for most people who have to work for a living or need to go anywhere without their dog!

Whatever you choose, good luck to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If I was only focused on “she is sweet and cute” etc, I would not be on here asking for advice. I’m not an idiot and I am an experienced dog owner. I never said my fence was escape proof, I said I have put precautions in place to help detour her. They approved me, my fence set up, everything. I was asking for information from people whi have had the breed. Thank you all for the advice.
 
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