Because of their quirky personality and size, many people wonder, “Are huskies aggressive?” According to the breed standard, “The Siberian Husky’s characteristic temperament is friendly and gentle…he does not exhibit the possessive qualities of the guard dog, nor is he overly suspicious of strangers or aggressive toward other dogs.”
But just because huskies aren’t an aggressive breed doesn’t mean they won’t become aggressive under the right circumstances. We’ll walk you through the types of aggression, how to handle an aggressive husky, and how to spot the warning signs of impending aggression before it starts.
Different types of aggression
Because there are different types of aggression, any dog, any breed, can be aggressive. Dominant aggression, predatory aggression and territorial aggression are the most common forms of aggression in dogs.
While dogs can show only one type of aggression at a time, they can also react with more than one type at a time. Recognizing the signs of any aggression in your husky is vital in correcting their behavior. Let’s take a closer look at the different forms of aggression in dogs.
Dominant aggression occurs when dogs try to control their environment, including the people and other animals in it. Common signs of dominant aggression include climbing on people and other animals, refusal to obey commands, and more aggressive displays such as growling, snapping, and biting. Dogs that feel they have power over people and other animals will exert their influence to maintain a sense of control.
Early signs of dominant aggression often show up when your dog is a puppy. Don’t excuse his behavior if he snaps or growls when you reach for his food bowl or favorite toy. Correcting this behavior at a young age will prevent it from getting worse as your dog gets older. Signs to look out for include a rigid stance, growling, a steady and unblinking gaze, an erect tail, and looming over other animals.
To correct dominant aggression, you must serve as the pack leader. Do not allow your dog to control you. Speak forcefully, but without aggression in your tone. A muzzle helps minimize the risk of biting and professional help from obedience training may be needed.
Unfortunately, predatory aggression is a common problem for many working dogs. Because they have a strong prey drive, huskies can see smaller animals — including small children — move as a source of prey. For that reason, we recommend keeping your husky in your direct line of sight around children and other animals. If you have cats, small dogs, or small pets, a husky may not be the best breed for you.
Signs to look out for include a steady, direct gaze, excessive lip licking, the body tensing up in preparation for the lunge and an erect tail. If your dog attacks a group of animals, children or even adults, it is a clear sign that he is reacting to his instinctive prey drive. This behavior must be curbed immediately so that your dog learns that you will not tolerate these actions.
Because the prey drive is instinctive, training your husky to be non-aggressive requires firm handling and consistency. Every member of your family should be strict with your dog. In most cases, a sharp “no” will suffice, but if the behavior persists, you may need the help of a professional dog behaviorist.
Many dogs are fiercely protective of what they consider their property, including their home, yard, and family. While some dogs welcome guests, others react aggressively to a perceived invasion of their personal space. The behavior of territorial aggression often resembles that of dominant aggression and can include snapping, snapping, and biting.
It is important here to convince your dog that you are in charge of the house because dogs are less likely to become territorial when they see their space as your territory rather than theirs. Because dogs respond to non-verbal cues, they will sense when you are anxious or afraid of strangers.
You must show calm leadership when interacting with strangers around your dog. Let strangers pet or walk your husky at a dog park so he is used to strangers. Introducing your dog to the mailman or delivery person is a great way to teach your dog that he doesn’t have to protect your home from every stranger he sees.
Huskies are very loyal, intelligent and affectionate dogs. In general, huskies are not prone to aggression. However, aggressive behavior is possible in all dogs and this behavior should be corrected at the first sign of dominance, becoming territorial or following prey. Stay firm with your dog, correct his behavior whenever it occurs, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you need it.
Aggressive dogs are not bad dogs; they are dogs that need proper training. As their owner you can provide it.