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Introducing my husky to other animals  RSS feed

 
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Hi, I have a 4-year-old Malamute/Siberian husky. I've had her since she was 4 weeks old. She's great with my boys one is 1 year old and the other is 8. She's an inside dog. She does hang out outside time to time but mostly shes in the house hanging around our family. She is not neutered if that matters. Well, we are moving out of our suburban lifestyle and moving to a home that is on five acres and it has about 6 adult sheep. We are also thinking about adding a small breed of goats and chickens. Is it possible to train her to protect the sheep or at least get along with other animals?
 
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You are going to have to be super alpha pack leader, and then let the dog know that said farm animals are under your protection/you get 1st pick on any eating or killing that is going to happen.
 
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Having almost 40 years of on hands husky experience (I use to show, breed, and work in harness), I'd have to say that it depends upon the dog. A few can be trained to be compatible with other animals, but most cannot. These breeds have a very, very  high prey-kill instinct. A pup growing up with cats and farm animals will often be fine with their own animals, but kill a neighbor's cats and livestock in a flash. So they can distinguish between "mine" and "not mine".

The fact that your dog is fine with the family is a start. But as I said, it may not be enough to get beyond the mine vs not mine hunting instinct. And just because your dog kills your sheep doesn't mean that it's not safe to be around your children. I've had plenty of Siberians who were 100% child safe but would kill the child's pet rabbit in a second. It's just what these dogs do.

As for her protecting your livestock, I'd say, not a chance. Huskies aren't protection dogs. I often joked that my dogs were great watch dogs ---- they'd watch a burglar take everything out of the house without lifting a paw or saying a word. They were house protectors only because they were big, liked to stare at people without making a sound, and looked scary. But livestock guardian dogs they are not.
 
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I would suggest good fencing. Then more good fencing. Set her up for success by making sure she can't do anything wrong. That means expect your kids or husband to accidentally open a door, or leave a gate unlatched which leads to the dog getting in with the livestock -- then prevent that from happening. Don't leave her outside unattended until you are sure she won't dig under (or jump over) the fence.

Never had a husky but have had lots of other breeds. From  my experience if your fencing is good the dogs eventually lose interest in the livestock (but if they manage to get in and all hell breaks loose they will continue trying again and again). Ignoring the livestock is likely the best you can hope for.

If the yard isn't currently fenced in I would try to have one installed before you move in (the sheep are already there and moving in is a chaotic time). With a backyard fence the house doors can be opened without concern. Then maybe put a double gate in going from the back yard into the pasture/barn area (like doggie park gates so a dog can't slip through accidentally).
 
Su Ba
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Lucrecia, excellent advice!! A well fenced dog doesn't have the opportunity to make mistakes or develop bad habits. The first 10 years or so that I had huskies, I had a single fence....either the dogs were in a kennel pen or a backyard. I had my share of breakouts......either climbing the 6 foot high fence, digging under, tearing the chaunlnk fence off the frame, or chewing right through the fencing. I finally wised up and had them behind double protection, giving me time to discover their breakout before they became entirely free. And all gates were double entry. That double fencing saved my skin a number of times. Plus the fenced play area (1/4 acre not double fenced) had a shock wire top, bottom, and midway up.. Some of the clever ones tried to get past it but were never successful. And they were smart enough to listen to see if the shock wire was on or off. If off, they'd climb right over. Yes, some huskies can be a challenge, but not all at like that.

I presently don't have a husky. The farm dogs are all mix breeds. But I still have the entire 20 acres fenced so that they don't get out, plus I took the time to perimeter train them not go out gates without a command.

Hope things work out for you!!!
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Su Ba wrote: A well fenced dog doesn't have the opportunity to make mistakes or develop bad habits.



Yes from what I have heard Huskies are notorious escape artists. And I can just imagine a Husky chasing panicked sheep in a field for 20 minutes while the owner screams and frantically stumbles after them. Afterwards there are traumatized sheep and maybe even a vet visit is required.

It is all about preventing problems, and if we screw up and don't prevent obvious problems that is on us, not the dog. We can never underestimate what our "fur babies" are capable of.
 
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I have 3 malamutes and they are the sweetest dogs to all people. They love to kill everything else. All jokes aside, they can get along really well with other animals. Mine were trained not to jump our deck fence which was only 2 feet high, and they also get along with our cat as long as they don't run. But I've also had them kill multiple deer that were unlucky enough to jump inside of their fence line.

I agree with Su Ba on this and say it is really particular to the dog. Our friends who have litter mate to mine have it going on well with a new kitten so nothing is impossible.

Screenshot_SmartSelect_2018-10-18-15-34-22.png
[Thumbnail for Screenshot_SmartSelect_2018-10-18-15-34-22.png]
 
Su Ba
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Beautiful photo!

I too have had huskies that willingly adopted new additions to the household, such as puppies and kittens, but never accepted a bird or livestock babies. Bit then....my last husky adopted everything except neighbor's dogs. She'd even accept lambs! But she would chase every stray dog that dared to enter the farm. She was even good around the wild turkeys and my own chickens. On the other extreme, I've had other huskies that would kill everything, even husky puppies that weren't their own.

Yes, it depends upon the particular dog. Some have higher kill instinct than others, but the breed in general is not good with livestock. Regardless of this drawback, I still love this breed intensely. I'm a husky person through and through, but wise enough to know that I'm no longer up to having one.
 
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Daniel what a beautiful shot it's stunning :)
 
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I've had about 60 huskies for dog sledding. Most of them Alaskans, but about 10 Siberians also.
All can be trained to ignore small livestock when you are also around, but there aren't many that can resist the temptation to chase or kill them when you go inside and leave them together, unsupervised, for more the a couple of minutes.
So I agree with what others have said above. To be safe, try to keep your livestock fenced in. And make the fence high enough. Husky's kan easily jump 6 feet. Better save then sorry.
 
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