If you live in an apartment, and you love Huskies, you may wonder if it’s possible for a Husky to be happy in an apartment. Chances are that you will get a lot of advice like this:
“Siberian Huskies are not good apartment dwellers. They need daily exercise. They need consistent training. They need cool temperatures. A bored Husky will find ways to get into trouble.”
That being said, the writer of this article once had a happy Husky in an apartment in Austin, Texas, and didn’t have any problems except for occasional calls from the grocery store that dog had escaped and was sleeping on top of a frozen food display.
Fortunately, the supermarket manager loved dogs and had a great sense of humor. Eventually, it was possible to train the dog to stay out of other people’s freezers.
It is possible to keep a Husky in an apartment. It just takes a lot of extra work and some prior experience with dogs.
Questions to ask yourself before adopting a Husky
If you are considering adopting a Husky, whether you live in an apartment or not, there are questions you should ask yourself:
- Have you owned dogs before? Huskies aren’t the best breed for a first canine companion experience. On the other hand, if you can take care of a Husky, you can take care of any dog.
- Do you live in a cool climate? Or, if you don’t, are you willing to turn up the air conditioner and turn down the heat? Chances are that your local supermarket won’t be happy to find your Husky snoozing on top of the frozen orange juice section.
- Do you enjoy outdoor exercise? Huskies make great companions for daily hiking and biking. They love to tag along on a leash when you take a run. If you are a sedentary person, they may become frustrated, and you may, too.
- Do you travel a lot? A Husky is not a dog to be left home alone very long.
- Do you live alone? If you work at home, your relationship with your Husky might work. Otherwise, one dog will need the company of several people.
- Do you have a collection of blown glass or a windowsill filled with indoor flowers, or collections of macramé or Hummel figurines? Delicate objects and indoor Huskies are not a good mix.
- If you don’t have indoor space, is there a nearby outdoor space where your Husky can burn off excess energy? Huskies were bred to pull sleds across miles and miles of snow. They aren’t happy if they don’t have space to roam every day.
- Are you willing to commit to weekly grooming? And do you have an industrial-strength vacuum cleaner? If you are keeping your apartment above 0 degrees (either Fahrenheit or Celsius), your Husky is going to shed. A lot. Think carpet on top of your carpet. But it is possible to keep a Husky groomed and your house dog hair- and dander-free.
- Will your Husky be able to spend most of its time with you and your family? By most, we mean 3/4 of your dog’s waking hours. Huskies are pack dogs. They are bred to have company 24/7/365. They suffer separation anxiety if they don’t have their people. Of course, you could always adopt 20 Huskies and plan your vacations around the Iditarod. But one Husky is about the maxi for even the most spacious apartment.
- Do you have the extra money for food, vet bills, toys, and anything else that might come up (like buying the 136 cans of frozen OJ your Husky slept on to keep the grocery store manager from calling animal control)? If you do, then you may be able to afford to become a Husky pet parent.
If the answer to these questions suggests a Husky-friendly result, you’re ready to have a Husky.
Having a Husky in an apartment will involve its own learning curve.
We have some tips on how to make your relationship with this amazing breed work when your home is an apartment or condo.
Buy Your Husky, Don’t Adopt
Siberian Huskies are an extremely popular breed. The American Kennel Club ranks them #14 out of the 197 most popular breeds of dogs in America. They are even more popular in Canada.
Husky puppies cost $600 to $1400, and a puppy with an exceptional breeding line may cost as much as $6,000.
So, why would you ever find a Siberian Husky in a pet shelter?
Most of the Huskies you can adopt from shelters are about two years old. Chances are that their owners found that their howling, shedding, and need for exercise was more than they anticipated.
These Huskies are not bad dogs. They just didn’t get the training they needed to be easy dogs. With the added stress of keeping a Husky in a shelter, you should let someone with a house and a yard or a second home in cold north woods adopt them.
When you buy your Husky puppy from a registered breeder, you can be sure it’s healthy.
It will have had genetic testing to make sure there are no health conditions that come as a surprise. Prior knowledge that your Husky has a condition like malignant hyperthermia (it’s a Husky that can’t stand the heat), or degenerative cone disease (it has a risk of developing night blindness), or degenerative myelopathy (a condition similar to muscular dystrophy in humans) doesn’t mean you can’t have some happy years together.
But you need to know before you adopt your Husky.
When you buy your Husky puppy from a registered breeder, you can be sure it’s socialized.
It will be OK with kids, cats, people of all colors and sizes, household appliances, and car rides.
It won’t have phobias that puppies that aren’t socialized can have. It won’t need training school from the start, because its whole life will have been a training school.
When you buy your Husky from a registered breeder, you have a built-in connection to a Husky expert. You will have a place to go for advice. And you will know what kinds of parents your Husky had, because you will meet them, too.
Don’t invite the double whammy of bad habits and apartment living. Make sure your Husky has been bred and raised to make a great pet.
Set expectations for your kids before you bring your Husky home
Huskies are the sort of dog you should bring home as a surprise.
You, your kids, and your Husky need some advanced preparations for a happy homecoming.
Talk with your kids about the right way to pet a Husky puppy. If they have experience with other dogs, this shouldn’t be a difficult conversation.
Make sure they know to avoid sudden movements that might scare your puppy, and remind them to be gentle.
Kids excited to meet their new dog can jump around and accidentally poke it in the eye. That’s a bad way to start with a new dog.
Make sure your children understand that puppies bite. Usually, the mother dog will have spent a month or so biting puppies back when they bite her nipples, so dogs get the idea that biting is a no-no.
But puppies bite to explore, and there isn’t a lot of exploration space in an apartment. Make sure you all understand how you will train your Husky not to bite.
Make sure everybody knows that any kind of response to biting has to be immediate.
You can’t wait to ask mom and dad if it’s OK, or your Husky won’t know what’s wrong. But it’s correction, not punishment. Children need to control their reactions.
Make sure that there will be times that your Husky puppy needs to go outside right now to avoid an accident. Prepare them for the eventuality of clean-ups.
Get everyone in the family on board about not overfeeding your puppy. Make sure treats are reserved for reinforcing good behavior.
And make sure your children understand that they will sometimes need to say “No” firmly.
Prepare your children to be respected as authority figures by your Husky as much you expect your Husky to respect you.
Husky-proof your apartment
Huskies love to explore. Outdoors, Huskies will explore with their noses. Indoors, Huskies will explore with their mouths
Get into the habit of leaving bathroom doors closed to prevent toilet-paper eating incidents.
Keep the bathroom off-limits to your Husky so they won’t chew and eat soap, brushes, toothpaste, and washcloths.
Close the lid on the trash can tight, and make sure your kids do, too.
Huskies love to explore the garbage. It’s important to keep them away from grapes, chocolate, and cooked bones that may be in your trash can
Keep medications, shampoos, soap, household cleaners, insecticides, batteries, and children’s toys with small parts out of reach of your Husky. Secure electrical cords and glass objects.
Make sure you don’t have any toxic houseplants, especially lilies, tulips in your home, and put away any cannabis edibles.
Crate-train your Husky so they have a place that you can keep cool.
Otherwise, they will sleep right next to AC vents and cut off ventilation to the rest of your apartment.
Finally, keep in mind that Huskies are escape artists. If you don’t already, make sure you keep the front door, back door, sliding glass patio doors closed and locked.
Barking and Howling
Huskies bark a lot less than other breeds.
Barking in dogs is usually territorial. Huskies naturally live in packs. They are very non-territorial.
However, Huskies love to howl. Howling is your Husky’s way of communicating with you, but what is your Husky trying to tell you?
- Howling can mean that your Husky is hurt, sick, bored, or just want the company of other Huskies or humans. If your Husky only howls when you are around, it’s probably a cry for attention. Your neighbors may let you know if there’s a lot of howling when you are out.
- Howling with whimpering, especially if you are in another room, is a signal something is wrong. There could be a storm on the way, there could be someone prowling on the patio, or your Husky could be picking up an alarming smell.
- Your Husky may howl along with other dogs, either 3D dogs in earshot or dogs on television
It will take some time to train your Husky not to howl except in extreme situations. When your Husky howls for no apparent reason, tell it in a firm voice “Quiet.” Then if your dog actually is quiet for a few seconds, give them a treat.
Sooner or later, your Husky will come to associate staying quiet with treats. At that point, even if you don’t offer a treat every time, your Husky will obey the “Quiet” command.
You get better results with intermittent reinforcement because your dog will be thinking “Maybe if I stay quiet just a little longer, then I’ll get my treat.”
Grooming Your Apartment Husky
There’s a golden rule for grooming Huskies:
Never, ever shave a Husky.
Huskies have double coats. They have guard hair and an undercoat,
Huskies shed their undercoats twice a year. When this happens, you will need to take them outside for combing their hair.
You will need to do a lot of extra vacuuming about your apartment. But the rest of the year, when they are shedding guard hairs, you will just need to give them a combing once a week to keep them looking good. Trips to the dog groomer aren’t necessary.
Do this, and you’ll keep shedding in your apartment under reasonable control.
Provide Your Husky with Outdoor Experiences
It’s possible to find happy Huskies even in high-rise apartments, but only if they have lots of room to roam every day in dog parks or tagging along on hiking, biking, and jogging trails.
You can have a great experience with these beautiful dogs in your apartment home, but you’ll be spending a lot more time outdoors.
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