As a Husky owner, you’ll want to know the reasons why a Husky runs away. After all, Huskies are the Houdini of dogdom.
So read on and discover:
- 9 reasons why your Husky runs away.
- Whether Huskies come back after running away.
- 11 effective and simple tips to keep your Husky from running away.
- What front door training is and how it can help your Husky’s self-control.
- And many more…
Table of contents
Why do Huskies run away?
Huskies run away because it’s either in their genes, out of curiosity and due to high prey drive. Their independent nature contributes to their love for running. Thus, they will run away every chance they get. Other factors include boredom, lack of exercise and fear.
9 reasons why your Husky runs away
#1: Huskies are wired to run
Nothing’s going to stop your Husky from running away.
They’re going to bolt out that door every chance they get.
To better understand why Huskies run away, let’s take a quick look at their history.
Huskies were the dogs of the Chukchi tribe in Northeast Asia. They originally bred these dogs to work as sled dogs.
And as sled dogs, Huskies pull sleds to transport goods and people. They have to run miles and miles for short periods of time.
These specific tasks require that Huskies are able to run with endurance.
These days many Huskies are companion dogs. But the desire to run is still in their genes.
Fun fact: If conditioned properly, Huskies can run 100 miles a day.
#2: Huskies are curious
Dogs are naturally curious.
They want to explore their surroundings. You’ll notice this when you take them for a walk.
The sights, sounds and scents make them want to rush here and there to take it all in.
And if they are kept inside the house, what lies beyond becomes even more enticing. It’s no wonder they want to see what’s beyond the fence.
#3: Your Husky wants to mate
An intact Husky is more likely to run away in search of a mate.
Huskies reach sexual maturity at about 6 months old. Their sexual drive is so high they’ll have a hard time staying put inside the house.
#4: Something distracts your Husky
A Husky’s high prey drive could be responsible for them running away.
Prey drive is an instinct to chase. This is a highly rewarding thing for your dog. That’s why dogs enjoy it so much.
Let’s say your Husky spots your neighbor’s cat. Or any wildlife in your garden.
Your Husky will take off after the cat before you can stop them.
Did you know where their high prey drive came from?
Back at the Chukchi tribe, Huskies worked all winter. They were provided food.
But in summer months Huskies have a normal life. The Chukchi people allowed them to roam free.
This means that Huskies were left to their own devices to hunt for food. They worked in packs to prey on smaller animals such as squirrels.
These days, this hunting instinct remains in Huskies.
#5: Your Husky just wants to play
If nothing is entertaining, your Husky will easily get bored.
Perhaps they are left home alone, with no one to play with them. Maybe destroying your couch isn’t stimulating enough.
If that’s the case, they will try to run away to amuse themselves.
#6: Your Husky is bored to death
It’s never a good thing for a Husky to be bored. It almost always ends in unpleasant things.
They get frustrated due to lack of mental stimulation. Or lack of toys or dogs to play with.
Particularly for Huskies, which thrive on human interaction. Without enrichment and stimulation, boredom kicks in.
According to this study, chronic boredom in dogs makes their brains shrink. Boredom forces them to resort to aversive stimulation.
Watch out for the symptoms of boredom:
- Destroying things.
#7: Your Husky does not get enough exercise
Huskies are among dog breeds that need lots of exercise.
These dogs were originally bred for endurance. They had to reach great distances without getting tired easily.
That’s why Huskies have high energy levels.
They also needed energy to keep their bodies warm during sled trips.
These days many Huskies no longer work as sled dogs. They are kept at home, alone most of the time.
This results in pent up energy. They will find ways to release it. Whether in good or bad ways.
If presented with the opportunity, they will run away to release that energy.
#8: Huskies are independent thinkers
As I have mentioned, Huskies were free to hunt during summer months back in the day.
This enabled them to become independent and think for themselves.
As American Kennel Club (AKC) Executive Secretary Gina DiNardo says:
‘Huskies are a very independent… breed that has been bred to think on their own out in the tundra.’
This independent nature of Huskies contributes to their love for running.
And if you don’t give them exercise, they will spend their pent up energy independently. They will bolt out of the door and jump up the fence to run away.
#9: Your Husky is scared
Your Husky might run away if something scared them.
This research claims that fearfulness is common among domestic dogs. Many dog owners interviewed say that their dog showed at least one behavioral sign of fear.
Particularly when exposed to fireworks, thunder and gunshots.
Behavioral signs of fear include the following:
- Seeking people.
- decreased activity.
This here is Sawyer:
He had been on his own for 3 days. The rescuer believed that Sawyer heard fireworks and ran away.
Good thing Sawyer was reunited with his worried furmom.
Do Huskies Come Back after Running Away?
There is no easy way to tell how many Huskies run away. Or how many come back after running away.
Or if they even return home after running away.
There are many considerations to answer the question.
First, if a Husky runs too far away. It might be too late before the dog realizes how far they have gone.
Huskies excel at running. But not at finding their way home.
It’s bound to confuse them, particularly if they end up in an unfamiliar territory. They will have difficulty figuring out how to go back.
Second, if the Husky doesn’t like the conditions at home. He probably won’t come back.
Third, if a Husky runs away and follows the route you usually take. He’s more likely to find his way back home.
Note: Have your Husky microchipped. Or have them wear a collar with tags bearing your contact information.
11 effective and simple tips to keep your Husky from running away
#1: Escape-proof your home
If you can only imagine all the ways Huskies will do just to escape…
It will make you shake your head in disbelief. Huskies are not called escape artists for nothing.
If you have a yard, a high fence will prevent your Husky from escaping. A 6-foot (1.83 m) fence is enough. Though there are Huskies that can jump over an 8-foot (2.44 m) tall fence.
You also need to secure below ground, knowing how Huskies are diggers. They’ll dig all the way to China if they could.
That said, place chicken wire under the fence. Preferably deeper than what your Husky can dig.
Warning: Do not use an electric fence. It’s not enough to deter a very determined escapist. In addition, it could leave your Husky with injuries.
#2: Crate train your Husky
You can crate train a Husky at any age.
But starting from a young age has its benefits. Your Husky will have more time to get used to being in a crate. Plus, in time, your Husky will see their crate as their safe haven.
To crate train your Husky:
- Place their crate at the designated corner. It should be quiet and where your dog can sleep comfortably.
- Have your Husky go potty one last time before bedtime. After potty, play with them a bit to wear them out.
- Use a simple command such as ‘good night’ or ‘inside’ or ‘sleep.’
- Place a treat inside the crate. Encourage them to get inside to get the treat.
- When they are settled comfortably, close the crate door. But don’t leave just yet. Stay a while and encourage them to go to sleep.
- If they whine, tell them ‘good night’ in a calm voice. Or give them one more treat then walk away. Let them whine until they fall asleep. But stay nearby so they feel secure.
- Be patient, as your Husky is learning. Train them patiently and consistently.
Note: A Husky puppy needs to go potty more often. Usually, a puppy can hold their bladder for an hour for every month of their age. So a 2-month old Husky may go potty every 2 or 3 hours during the night.
#3: Distract your Husky with toys
Take your Husky’s mind away from thoughts of running by giving them toys.
There are toys that could entertain them for hours. Such as this Jolly Egg.
This egg is designed in an oval shape so that it would keep moving. The shape also prevents your Husky from getting a good grip. Thus, the egg will keep escaping them.
A toy like this is ideal for dogs that have a high prey drive.
Your neighbor’s cat will thank you for getting your dog this toy.
#4: Use a long leash when outside
Take your Husky to an open space and let them run while you’re still in control.
Use a long leash.
This Hi Kiss training leash is what you need. The item comes in 15 feet, 20 feet, 30 feet, 50 feet, and 100 feet.
It is durable, and the swivel-style bolt snap prevents twisting.
A long leash will give your Husky more freedom of movement. Now you don’t have to run after them to keep up with them.
This is also a good investment when you’re training your dog recalls.
#5: Give your Husky lots of exercise
If your Husky is spent from exercise, there will be no room for running away.
Not just physical exercise, though. It is not enough. You also need to give them mental stimulation.
Physical exercise and mental stimulation are the perfect recipe for a tired and happy Husky.
Because Huskies are balls of energy, they need at least 2 hours of vigorous exercise per day. An hour in the morning and another hour at night.
Sky’s the limit when it comes to activities. Don’t settle on an hour walk, though.
That’s child’s play for a Husky. It won’t be enough to release pent up energy.
Make their exercise a combination of running, chasing, hiking and lots of sniffing.
Keep this a routine to reduce your Husky’s desire to run away.
Note: Hire a dog walker if you can’t exercise your Husky.
#6: Give your Husky what they want
Not running away. Running.
Keeping up on foot with a fast runner may be difficult. Even for the most fit Husky owner.
Consider investing in a bike and go bikejoring with your Husky. Bikejoring is a fantastic way to keep your Husky fit when it’s not snowy.
Or put their running to good use.
Several Husky owners recommend you use a skateboard or rollerblades. Then have your Husky pull you.
This is a terrific way to tire them:
Make sure they’ve got the right equipment for pulling. This weight pulling harness does the work.
If you can’t get your Husky to pull you on a skateboard, maybe teach them to skate. It’s not as physically tiring, but it gives them mental stimulation.
K’eyush definitely had a blast riding his skateboard:
#7: Give your Husky lots of attention
Huskies are attention-seeking dogs.
If not given enough attention, they might run away.
In this case, attention refers to many things. It could be time that you should spend playing with them. Or time training them.
Attention could also refer to giving the things a Husky needs.
But with plenty of time for activities, games and training, your Husky will love your company.
#8: Teach your Husky the front door training
The front door training teaches your Husky self-control.
The good thing about this is that your Husky will learn to ignore distractions.
What’s more, it facilitates positive reinforcement. Many previous studies have proven the effectiveness of positive reinforcement in training dogs.
This study, in particular, recommends the use of positive reinforcement.
Before starting the training, put your Husky on the leash. You don’t want them escaping while doing this training.
Step #1: Stand by the door. Have your Husky sitting calmly and facing you.
Step #2: Drop a treat to the floor. Before your Husky can get it, call their name. If they look at you, that’s the first success of the day. Let them have the treat.
Step #3: With them sitting next to you, tell them to ‘stay.’ Then open the door a crack, even 2 inches wide, and close it immediately.
If they stay by your side, immediately reward them with a treat. If they attempt to escape, try again.
Keep practicing until your Husky learns to resist lunging for the door.
Step #4: Repeat Step 3, gradually opening the door wider than the last time. Help your Husky keep their focus on you with your commands.
Everytime your Husky resists going for the door, lengthen the time they’re sitting while the door is open. Then close the door and repeat Step 4.
Step #5: It’s time to level up. Throw a treat outside the door. Use commands and your hands to keep your Husky’s attention on you.
If your Husky focuses on you, close the door and give them a treat. Your Husky has learned the basic front door training.
Note: Keep practicing to strengthen your Husky’s self-control. Your dog will eventually learn to sit by the open door and watch as people, dogs and vehicles go by.
#9: Don’t let your Husky off leash
Some Huskies learn to not run away. But others don’t.
If your Husky belongs to the latter, don’t let them off leash. Particularly when you’re in an open area.
There will be times when they won’t be able to resist the urge of prey drive. They could easily take off and be gone in a second.
#10: Keep on exploring
Having a yard where your Husky can run is a huge benefit.
You’ve got a secure and safe place for your Husky to run.
Unfortunately, this will not be enough. Your Husky could get bored from doing the same thing over and over.
So keep exploring. Take them places. Introduce new activities or games.
#11: Neuter or spray your Husky
Get your Husky spayed or neutered as soon as possible.
By doing so, they will not go through heat cycles. And they will not be looking for a mate.
Bonus: What to do when they run away
If you’re running after your Husky in order to keep up, don’t let them see you doing so.
Or they’re going to think you’re in a game.
Instead, stand still and wait for them to see you. Then run away. Go the opposite direction.
If they think this is a game, they’ll run after you. That will be your chance to catch them.
Or, hide behind a tree. Hopefully your Husky gets curious and goes back to check on you.
Step out from your hiding place and catch them by the collar.