Nobody wants to deal with an aggressive pooch.
This is especially true for the fairly large and intensely-eyed Husky.
This article will explain whether or not Huskies are prone to aggression.
Keep reading to discover:
- 14 tips on how to stop Husky aggression.
- How your Husky’s past could lead to aggressive behavior.
- How you can accidentally trigger aggression in your Husky (hint: it’s not your fault, but after reading this it becomes your responsibility to prevent it).
- And more…
Table of contents
Are Huskies aggressive?
Huskies are not typically aggressive. When they are, the main causes of Husky aggression are mistreatment, lack of socialization and training, and not enough exercise. Husky aggression is simple to fix. It almost always boils down to treatment, training, and socializing.
The “typical” well-trained Husky is not known to be aggressive. They are known for being a lighthearted and playful pal.
The AKC states that a Husky does not have any qualities to be a guard dog. This is because they are not suspicious dogs. They are also not known for being aggressive towards other dogs or humans.
Zeus – a friendly Husky pooch from the second episode of the ‘Dogs’ documentary on Netflix, is a great example of that…
You can see him being affectionate towards his owner’s friend, small children on the street, and even strangers he meets during travelling.
This does not mean the Husky is immune to aggression though. Although unlikely, they can still become aggressive under certain circumstances.
Aggression can come from a variety of underlying issues. It may have been mistreatment by a previous owner. Or, the Husky may not be getting enough exercise or playtime.
Note: If your Husky is showing signs of aggression, it is important to find the root of the problem. Knowing why your Husky is aggressive is the first step.
From there, you can find the answer to fixing the problem.
Signs of aggression in a Husky
There are a number of signs that show aggression in a Husky. The Husky’s posture will give some clues:
- Appearing still and rigid. They Husky does it so they can react quickly.
- Standing as tall as they can. Dogs do this to look frightening and menacing.
- Leaning forward. This puts extra weight on the front legs, as in a lunge.
- Towering over the threat. This is to show dominance over another dog or animal.
There are also physical characteristics that speak of aggression:
- Mouth closed. With the Husky growling at the same time.
- Erect tail. It may also quiver slightly around the tip.
- Eyes in a stare. Their eyes will be fixed on the subject of interest.
- Ears standing up. They may also be pointed forward.
- Fur standing up. Hair sticking up, from the nape of the neck to the base of the tail.
Keep in mind that these signs of aggression can occur at any time. Every Husky who shows signs of aggression has a trigger.
In the next section I will discuss different triggers. I will also share tips and tricks for helping end Husky aggression altogether. Let’s take a look…
14 Husky triggers and anti-aggression tips
Your first step is to understand what the trigger is. From there on, you can help your Husky to overcome these undesirable personality traits.
Here are 14 reasons why your Husky might act aggressively. You will also learn the best way to handle the situation.
#1: The previous owner mistreated the dog
This is probably one of the most common reasons why a Husky will act aggressively. (This is the main cause for aggression in other breeds, too.)
This is most likely to occur if you adopt a Husky from a shelter.
The aggressiveness can range from mild to severe. It depends on how badly the Husky was mistreated.
You have two options in this situation:
- Give the Husky plenty of patience, love, exercise, and training. You should be able to handle a mistreated Husky if it was minimal. You will need to ensure the Husky is trained regularly. However, positive rewards and praise will be the key to training success.
- Opt for professional help. You might need professional help if the mistreatment was severe. This is best for the Husky who shows high levels of aggression. So, don’t underestimate the situation and speak to a dog behaviorist.
#2: You are too emotional with your Husky
It is said that dogs can “sense” what humans are feeling. People who tend to be more emotional than not better avoid this breed.
That is because the Husky is highly responsive to their owner’s emotions. Someone who is emotional will rub off on his dog. This can cause aggression in the Husky.
This also counts for interactions with your pooch.
Some people find that the Husky is unbearable at times. This is because Huskies can be goofy and extremely energetic. They are also known for being an escape artist. It takes a patient and consistent owner.
If most of your interactions with your Husky are emotional, then your dog may adopt intense emotions, too. This can lead to aggression.
The best thing to do is to always remain calm with your Husky. But not so calm that he feels he is the dominant figure in the home.
Proper training is also highly recommended to keep your dog’s emotions in line. You will also have to offer plenty of exercise. Through all things, remain calm. Do not let your emotions rub off onto your Husky.
#3: You are too aggressive with your Husky
Some people might think they need to be somewhat aggressive with their Husky. This simply is not the case.
While the Husky needs a strong, confident owner, they do not want an aggressive owner. Do not think you have to resort to negative behavior to get a Husky to listen.
As mentioned previously, a Husky is highly responsive to their owner. If you are aggressive towards them, then they will become aggressive towards you.
In some cases, your Husky may also feel confused about your aggressive behavior. This can cause the Husky to have feelings of resentment. This can lead to a number of behavioral issues.
The best way to avoid being aggressive is to remain calm at all times. Why? Because this will show your Husky how to behave.
Note: Be confident and show your Husky they can rely on you. Be firm but loving. Offer plenty of positive reward and praise. This is what a Husky responds to best.
#4: Your Husky is not getting enough exercise
A Husky is an extremely energetic and active dog. According to The Kennel Club, they require at least 2 hours of exercise per day. Why? Because they were originally bred to pull sleds.
And not only that, but they also have a hunting background. These dogs’ exceptional endurance levels allow them to be on-the-go for long periods of time.
Enough exercise is important. A Husky that does not get enough exercise during the day is bound to cause issues.
Well, first and foremost, they can become aggressive. This is the result of pent-up energy. In turn, they become frustrated.
A lack of exercise can also lead to destructive behaviors. The Husky might start to chew on everything you own. The backyard might become a mess of undesirable holes.
He might also become a huge pest. Incessant barking and pawing may ensue.
Exercise is among the things you should prioritize when taking care of a Husky.
Note: Keep in mind that they need a leash while on a walk. Why? Because their hunting background leads them to have a high prey drive.
The Husky will want to follow their nose. This will make them chase small animals that are just a few feet away.
A large backyard that is secured is also imperative. The Husky is known for being an “escape artist.” They can jump and dig his way out of any situation.
And, they may be more prone to doing so when lacking exercise. If you want your Husky to be happy and stay in the yard, then supply them with enough stimulating activity throughout the day.
Best Exercises for a Husky
If you think a lack of exercise is to blame, you need to know how to fix it.
Below are some favorite Husky activities.
This will allow your Husky to expel pent-up energy levels.
It will also allow for bonding between you and your Husky.
This is also beneficial for staving off aggression.
- Agility training. A Husky favorite is agility training. It releases energy and improves the Husky’s mind. Agility training requires him to be light on his feet. It also makes them think. And the best part is that you can create your own training with poles or hoops. You can also purchase premade agility training sets.
- Tug of war. This is always a dog favorite. It allows the Husky to let out some competitive behavior while having tons of fun.
- Hiking. The Husky is a curious fellow. They enjoys exploring. Taking them for a hike is always an excellent idea. Both of you can benefit from being in the great outdoors.
- Sled pulling. The Husky was originally bred for sled pulling. Of course, this activity is going to make the list! This might not be suitable for all situations. If you can, though, consider sled pulling. Your Husky is a natural at it after all.
- Frisbee or ball. Huskies love to catch things in their mouth. Throw a Frisbee and look at your Husky jump. Jumping works more muscles and improves the Husky’s coordination. Tossing a ball works, too. Throw the ball up or down a hill for additional energy excursion.
There are a lot of fun things you can do with your Husky. Enough exercise during the day may be the key to preventing aggression.
Try out a few of these fun activities to find which one your dog enjoys best.
#5: Your Husky was not properly socialized
Every dog owner knows that there are two important things to accomplish when their dog is still a puppy – socialization and training.
This should be done at a young age. Then a dog’s brain is like a sponge.
They will soak up what they have learned and will smoothly bring it into their adulthood.
But as much as it would help, early socialization and training are not always applicable.
This is the case when you adopt an adult Husky from a shelter. They may not have been properly socialized as a pup.
This can result in aggression towards humans and other dogs. The reason could be that the Husky is simply not familiar with enough different situations and people. This can lead to distrust and aggressive tendencies.
Caution: Whether you have a Husky puppy or an adult dog, it’s always a must to take socialization one step at a time. Exposing an unsocialized Husky to a stressful environment with a lot of unfamiliar people can overwhelm your dog.
But not all hope is lost. If your Husky was not socialized at a young age, it is not the end of the world.
The phrase “old dogs can’t learn new tricks” is false. This is especially true for the smart Husky.
How to Stop Aggression Towards People and Other Dogs
Not all hope is lost for a Husky who is aggressive towards people and other dogs. The important thing is to always take it slow.
You can’t force the Husky. This will not render positive results.
Here are a few simple ways to help stop the aggression:
- Positive reinforcement. When your Husky sees another dog or human, they are suspicious of, give them a treat. When the dog or person leaves, stop with the treats and positivity. Over time, your Husky will realize that good things happen when other dogs and humans are around.
- Baby steps. Another option is to have a human or dog stand at a great distance from your Husky. Slowly bring the two together. Reward your Husky for positive behavior. When the Husky responds negatively, take him away from the situation. Start again.
- Train them. Training your Husky to “stay” or “sit down” is important. It’s key for a well-trained Husky in all situations, not just aggression. You can use “stay” or “down” when the Husky starts to act negatively. From there, they will learn these reactions are unacceptable.
- Consider a behaviorist or class. There are many classes that provide social training. You can also contact a professional to help your dog. This should be reserved for severe cases. A Husky can typically be socialized and trained during adulthood fairly easily. It is important to remain positive and take things slow.
#6: Your Husky is in pain
Sometimes the answer is something as simple as your Husky being in pain. Think about it.
Your Husky can’t tell you outright that they are in pain. They may resort to other behavior to get your attention.
There are ways to tell if aggression is associated with pain.
This type of aggression will likely come on suddenly. He will also have other signs of pain. This can include:
- Not eating. There is a sudden loss of appetite.
- Panting. Their breathing and heart rate increase.
- Restlessness. Your Husky suddenly starts to tremble or pace.
- Seems grumpy. They may start to bark or growl more regularly.
- Seems “off.” They are showing signs of anxiety, depression, and agitation.
- Limping. Your Husky is suddenly holding up a paw or does not want to move.
Do you think that your Husky’s sudden aggression is related to pain? Then an immediate visit to the veterinarian is a must.
It may be something obvious like a hurt leg. It may be something internal. The sooner you know, the sooner you can get treatment.
#7: You are inadvertently rewarding aggression
Some dog owners may be training their dogs to be aggressive without realizing it.
Here’s how it happens:A Husky owner may give their dog anything they want to stave off the aggression.
The problem here is that they are not dealing with the real issue.
It’s almost as if the treats and toys were “hush money.” This is like shoving dirt under the carpet instead of cleaning it.
And just like uncleaned dirt, the aggression starts to pile up in the Husky.
Giving the dog what they want to quiet them down is “easier.” But doing this will only make the problem more difficult to get rid of in the future.
The best thing to do is to stop showering the Husky with toys, attention and treats immediately. Your Husky needs to be trained to stop the aggressive behavior.
To do so, you’ll have to first find out what the root cause of aggression is. If they’re in pain, get professional help. If they need more exercise, then go for a hike, a run or longer walks.
It’s up to you to solve the problem. Don’t mask it!
#8: Your Husky has not been trained properly
The Husky is known for being goofy and playful. He is a respectable dog and listens well. That is if he is properly trained.
Without enough training, the Husky can be a bit stubborn and independent. He won’t be trained on how to act. Therefore, he will act however he wants.
Sometimes this means he will be aggressive.
Training is important for a Husky. It’s best when the training is done during puppyhood. That way, they can take the knowledge into adulthood.
However, it’s not the end of the world if you haven’t trained them as a puppy.
Note: Huskies can still be trained as adults. The important thing to remember is that the Husky thrives on positive reinforcement. Being overly dominant or mean can have adverse effects.
As mentioned earlier, negative behavior can further aggressive tendencies in a Husky.
#9: The Husky is feeling fearful
It is not incredibly common for a Husky to feel fearful. A Husky can be triggered to feel fear under plenty of circumstances.
This is especially true if the owner mistreats them. They will be fearful when they are feeling trapped or cornered. Fear can result in aggression.
If you are dealing with a fearful Husky, it is important to take things slow. You do not want to corner him. You do not want to force him to do anything. This could result in a sudden nip or bite.
Instead, take things slow with your Husky. Show them that there is nothing to be afraid of.
You can do this by keeping your distance. Instead of going closer to the Husky, try to ‘persuade’ them to come to you.
Positive reinforcement and treats should do the trick. Then continue to praise your Husky for letting go of their fears.
Caution: Extreme fearfulness needs professional intervention. If this is the case, contact a canine behaviorist. They will be able to work with your pooch in the correct way and prevent traumatic experiences.
#10: Your Husky is overly excited
Sometimes a Husky can become overly excited. This most commonly occurs after intense playtime. The Husky can become overly aroused.
This excitement can quickly turn into aggression in a dog that is not trained or socialized properly.
So, what can an owner do to solve this issue? Playtime is incredibly important. Do not cut down on playtime. It might be best to change the game, though.
Games like tug of war or roughhousing may be overstimulating for the untrained Husky. Stick to Frisbee or hikes.
If you notice that your Husky becomes overstimulated after playtime, they will need help. Socialization and training is the key to success.
The dog needs to be taught how to handle their emotions. This can be done inside of the home with persistent and positive training.
Caution: More severe cases may need the help of a professional. Consult a behaviorist and choose accordingly between individual or group training.
#11: Your Husky is being possessive
This is also referred to as “resource guarding.” This will mostly occur when they feel there is a threat. This can be a threat to his food, toys, or other valuables.
You will notice a Husky is guarding when he stands over his important items. He will bark, growl, snarl, snap, or lunge when others try to get their precious items.
It is important to never try and take their valuable possession. This can trigger a Husky to attack.
Instead, teach them slowly not to be fearful. Again, this all comes down to proper training. If the guarding behavior is too severe, professional help is your best bet.
#12: Your Husky is struggling with sex-related aggression
Sex-related aggression can occur in male and female Huskies. It is most likely to come about around the ages of 1 and 3. This will mostly happen in intact male dogs and females who have not been spayed.
The problem worsens when there are other dogs in the home.
When a male wants to mate, he will want attention from female dogs. He will want to compete. This can lead to aggression towards other dogs and humans.
Aggression can occur even when there is no “competition” in the home.
The same is true for females. When a female is in heat, she will want to mate with a male dog. The females will want to compete for social ranking. This can lead to aggressive behaviors.
It’s true that aggression can happen even when there are no other females in the home.
There are only two true ways to handle this type of aggression. The first solution is to allow your dog to mate. The second option is to have your pup fixed. The latter is strongly recommended.
#13: Your Husky is being territorial
The Husky is not territorial for the most part. They are not even considered to be “loyal.” That is because most of the time, they are friendly to everyone. Also to strangers.
But not all Huskies are created equal. Under certain circumstances, a Husky can be territorial.
Territorial aggression is uncommon in Huskies.
When it occurs, you will see the dog protecting something that belongs to them. This includes the house and/or the backyard.
A Husky who is territorial needs to be treated right away. If not, they will begin to expand their territory. The expansion can include people, other dogs, and more land.
The best thing to do is to show the Husky that it’s okay to let things into his territory. This can be done by bringing treats or toys to his territory.
Getting treats will condition the dog that it’s okay to let family members and other pets nearby. Make sure not to risk it and keep your Husky on a lead when training them.
Over time, they will associate his area with happy things. They will become less territorial and more accepting of others joining his space.
#14: Your Husky doesn’t think you are the leader
The Husky comes from a pack. A pack always has a “leader.” The Husky wants to be the leader. This is especially true in a situation where he is not around other dogs.
He will want to be the “top dog.” This includes being superior over humans, too.
If your Husky thinks he is the leader, then he may act aggressively. Why? Because he does not respect you. He feels that you are under him.
Therefore, he can act as he pleases. He may become even more aggressive when you try to get him to do something he does not want to do.
In this situation, it is important to show him who is boss. This does not mean you need to be mean to your Husky. Instead, be strong and confident. Show him that he is not in charge.
Train him to be respectful. Be persistent. Always offer positive reinforcement.
A Husky is not naturally aggressive. Some circumstances can lead them to this behavior, though. The most important thing to do is to understand their trigger.
Once you know what is causing the aggression, you can work to fix it.
For some, a simple exercise routine will fix the issue. Others may require professional training and socialization to end the aggressive behavior.