Huskies make beautiful, energetic, and challenging pets for adults, but how are they with kids>?
The truth is, Huskies make great companions for older children. Siberian Huskies are compatible with kids of all ages, with a little preparation, but they aren’t the only breed of Huskies.
At the end of this article, we have a list of other breeds of Huskies and the differences in their temperaments. Please read this section before you bring other breeds of Huskies home to your children.
But the secret to happiness with a Husky in a household that has children is to make sure that everyone understands the Husky’s needs for training.
Everybody in the home, including the kids, will have to treat the Husky the same way.
Huskies are not without reason considered high-maintenance dogs. But they are friendly, loyal, playful, energetic dogs that will get along with everyone, including toddlers and preschoolers.
They need to be supervised around young children, and they need rigorous training, but Huskies make great family dogs.
Even senior Huskies are puppies at heart.
Huskies live life with gusto. Even if you just took them for a walk five minutes ago, they will be ready for a backyard play session with your child.
Huskies are the extroverts of the canine world. They like everybody. They make horrible watch dogs because, as one commentator puts it, “they would gather in front of the burglar’s get-away car just in case he needed a tow.”
These energetic dogs are a match made in heaven for energetic children. They can wear each other out.
But Huskies and children need adult (human) supervision. Huskies like to communicate with their mouths.
If they aren’t well-trained by their mother when they are about four to eight weeks old when their puppy teeth are coming in but they are still nursing, these dogs tend to be “nippy.”
They can take playful nips at dogs, cats, and people, including kids. This can set up some tragic misunderstandings.
Getting your Husky ready to meet your children begins with the breeder.
If you are getting a rescue Husky and you have kids, you need to invest in obedience training before you take your Husky home.
You can even bring home a baby if you own a Husky, but you have to establish some ground rules first.
Baby-proofing your Husky
Huskies will show love and affection for your infant as the newest member of the pack, but you need to train them on how to relate to babies before you bring your baby home.
Or you need to find a foster home for your Husky until you do.
Making sure your Husky will behave well
Don’t even think about putting a Husky and a baby together until Husky has learned basic commands such as stay, sit, lie down, and come.
You or a trainer may have to practice each of these commands up to 40 times before your Husky learns them.
Then every member of your household will need to say each command the same way for your Husky to respond.
Huskies are usually curious about new sounds. Before you bring your baby home, play recordings of baby sounds.
Let your Husky hear a recording of a baby’s cooing. Let them hear a recording of a baby’s crying. Let them hear a recording of “baby talk.”
Before you bring your baby home from the hospital, let your Husky smell their blankets or caps or a towel or shirts and onesies in which they have been wrapped.
For dogs, scents are the way to make introductions. When you bring your baby home, smells and all, your Husky and your baby will have already met.
Or if that’s not possible, let the new mother greet your Husky when she gets home.
She can say hello to the dog, display some baby clothes, and put off further introductions until she is ready.
Whether you are keeping your baby in a nursery or in a crib in your own bedroom, put up a baby gate at the door.
At first, your baby gate will really be serving as a doggie gate. Don’t let your Husky inside when you know she is calm and friendly. Be very careful how you introduce your baby to your dog.
When your baby reaches the crawling stage
Babies crawl around as part of their visual development.
Babies are nearsighted. Crawling around helps them develop eye-hand coordination as well as motor skills. They begin to associate seeing things with the ability to feel them and know they are there.
When your baby crawls around and finds your dog, it’s only natural for your child to feel your dog’s nose, and maybe his teeth, and maybe rub his back and pull his tail.
Let these discovery sessions for your baby and dog unfold with one parent or a responsible, older sibling on the floor right there with both of them.
When it is obvious that your dog accepts your baby and your baby will be gentle with your dog, it’s OK to allow them longer sessions together on the floor.
Huskies and babies need close supervision at first
You need to supervise your Husky’s contact with your baby until it is obvious:
- Your Husky is completely friendly with your baby, or
- Your Husky is completely disinterested in your baby.
Never leave them together alone until you are sure that your dog will not accidentally harm your child.
Most Siberian Huskies adjust to babies quickly, forming a bond that will last the rest of your dog’s life.
Raising older kids and Huskies together
Many of the lessons you teach your toddlers are also lessons you teach your dog.
Both kids and Huskies need to learn to go to the bathroom at acceptable locations.
All Huskies and even some children have to be trained not to bite, even playfully.
Kids must learn not to pull their dog’s hair or tug at their legs and shoulders or feel their teeth, and Huskies need to learn not to nip, bite, and knock children over.
Huskies grow to be big dogs. American Kennel Club (AKC) standards for female Huskies are 36 to 51 pounds (16 to 23 kg) weight and 20 to 22 inches (50 to 56 cm) height, measured from the floor to their withers.
The AKC standards for male Huskies 44 to 60 pounds (20 to 27 kg) for weight and 21 to 24 inches (54 to 60 cm) for height.
Your Husky will probably be twice as large as your two-year-old.
You can’t allow any kind of rough play, because your two-year-old is likely to be the one who gets hurt. Both your child and your dog must learn to be gentle to stay friends.
Activities for Huskies and older kids
The very best activity for Huskies and children at least old enough to be in elementary school would be sledding.
There aren’t a lot of places in the continental United States where this would be possible, and it would require a pack (more than six) dogs.
But involving children in canine care routines gives Huskies the attention they crave and helps build bonds between dog and child.
Huskies don’t need a lot of trips to the groomer, or any trips to the groomer, but they need weekly combings throughout the year, and your child could be kept busy vacuuming when your Husky sheds its inner coat twice a year.
All dogs need to have their teeth brushed several times a week.
Your children should learn how to brush their dog’s teeth to prepare them for a lifetime of responsible dog and cat ownership.
Like all other dogs, Huskies need to be fed, given water, and kept at tolerable temperatures.
Training your children to care for their dogs in these ways helps them become responsible dog owners for life.
There are also many things Huskies and kids can do for fun.
- Running through the sprinklers. Both kids and Huskies enjoy running through the lawn sprinklers on a hot summer day.
- Swimming. Both dogs and kids enjoy playing in the water. Both dogs and kids need safety preparations for water fun, however.
- Sports. Huskies enjoy coming along to soccer games. They are great companions for hiking, biking, and running.
- Pet-friendly parks. Children and Huskies enjoy time in the sun.
- Tug of war and fetch. These classic activities for dogs and kids never go out of style.
- Crafts. Your children can decorate your dog’s bed, your dog’s crate, and your dog’s bowl. They can also build platforms for food and water bowls for older dogs that may have trouble bending down to the floor, and ramps for dogs with hip problems.
One more activity for dogs and kids? Training!
It’s critically important for everyone in your family to use the same commands in the same way with your Husky.
When you train your dog, train your kids to train your dog.
Making sure the whole family is on the same page with command words and training methods helps your Husky learn faster. The ability to get your dog to stop or stay could someday save its life.
Do breed differences matter?
Siberian Huskies are generally good with children, but Siberian Huskies aren’t the only breed of Huskies.
There are three other kinds of Huskies, and even within the “Siberian” designation, there are multiple breeds of dogs.
Different Huskies have different temperaments.
Here’s what you need to know about the breeds you could take into your home.
- Alaskan Huskies are descendants of Siberian Huskies. They are typically adventurous and affectionate.
- Malamutes are heavier and taller than Siberian Huskies. They may stand 25 inches (63 cm) tall and weigh up to 100 pounds (45 kg). They are affectionate to their owners and their owners’ children, but they are aggressive toward other dogs. They have an unusually long and thick coat. In the lower 48 states, they are prone to heatstroke in summer.
- Greenland dogs are taller but lighter than Siberian Huskies. They may be as much as 27 inches (68 cm) tall, but they may weigh only 35 pounds (16 kg). They are vigorous sled dogs.
Within the Siberian Husky species, there are subtypes.
- Akitas are strong, independent dogs that don’t really make good watchdogs, but are aloof with strangers. They are like other Siberian Huskies around your children, but they don’t want to play with your neighbors’ children,
- Samoyeds gentle, intelligent, and kind to both children and adults. They are friendly and loyal. Because they were bred for finishing races, they can be strong-willed. They are less suitable as single dogs than other Siberian Huskies, especially if they have to be left home.
Schipperkes sometimes get lumped in with Siberian Huskies. They are actually from Belgium.
These wonderful shepherd dogs have two coats of fur one of which they shed twice a year, like Siberian Huskies, but are a separate breed.
As shepherd dogs, they are agile and fearless, but they are also very friendly with children.
Huskies of all breeds are like the Siberian Husky in that they are faithful to their owners and are friendly to their families, including small children.
Huskies are often faulted for being too friendly o strangers, but they will be a welcome presence in almost any neighborhood.
Other articles you may also like: