When my husband and I were in the process of choosing a dog, a big factor was if he or she could live outside. I really wanted a Husky, so I did some digging and this is what I found.
So, can Huskies live outside? Huskies can be trained to live outside all year round, although not every dog will love it. After some basic training, a Husky can learn to live and thrive outside. Make sure your dog has some sort of shelter outside, and that the yard is fenced in.
A Husky who is used to living inside will have a hard time learning to live outside, so it will take some training but it is possible.
Huskies Living Outside
It’s not cruel, either. Huskies have a long history of adapting to climates, and even in places like Alaska, the dogs sleep outside.
This is because Siberian Huskies are from, well, Siberia. Thousands of years ago, they were bred by a group of people indigenous to northeastern Asia, called the Chukchi. Here, Siberian Huskies lived in sub-zero temperatures. Sometimes the weather got below -70 degrees, but they were still able to survive.
Huskies are able to stay out in the cold because of a thick, double coat that they develop to adapt to the climate. During the summer, they “blow coat” and shed, so they can stay cool in the hot months.
Siberian Huskies can, therefore, live in the cold and in warm areas. In fact, many people want their Huskies to live outside because they love it.
Another reason that people keep their Huskies outside is that they shed. Shedding usually happens twice a year, but in warm areas, that shedding is constant.
Even if you love dogs, getting dog hair all over the house is still a pain in the neck. So, if you want your dog to learn to live outside, and actually like it, there are some steps you should take to properlly train him or her.
Ways to Train your Dog to Live Outside
First things first, make sure your Husky has basic training, and early on if you can control that. Huskies are stubborn and a bit on the sassy side so learning manners and behaviorisms early can help eliminate some problems.
Really these tips are helpful for a dog who is used to being inside most of the time. Some Huskies will have an easier time than others.
- Spend time with your Husky outside – A great way to get your dog to want to stay outside is to make sure that he or she is having fun. Run around, play with toys, things like that. You don’t necessarily have to be babysitting your dog. Just sit in the backyard or sunbathe, read. Just show your Husky that you aren’t afraid of being outside.
- Leave your dog alone outside – After your dog seems comfortable with being outside for long periods of time, let your dog be out there by himself or herself. Starting out, leave your Husky for a couple hours, then increase the amount of outdoor time. At night, leave your dog out for a couple of hours, or halfway through the night. If your dog is crying or howling, don’t cave in. It might be hard, a bit like letting a child cry it out when it’s nap time.
- Give your dog plenty of food – Something that will make training go a lot easier is if your dog is being well fed. Hungry dogs are grumpy dogs. Your Husky will also be using up a lot of energy, chasing squirrels or bunnies, and running around, so make sure they aren’t underfed.
Things That You Will Need
If you decide to train your dog to live outside, you’ll need to do some preparation. This will sometimes be as easy as going to the pet store to pick up a toy, or it could mean spending some cash to reinforce your fence.
You should not leave a Husky outside all the time if they have nowhere to sleep. One of the first things that you should get if you are interested in training your Husky to live outside is a doghouse of some sort.
This will protect them from snowed or rained on. Huskies fur does not insulate them as well when wet. It will also help them have a place to curl up in and some sort of shade in the summer.
Also, if you don’t have a dog house or something similar, there is a very good chance that your Husky will dig into the ground for some shelter. So for the sake of your dog and for your yard, just buy a dog house.
The dog house should be big enough for the Husky to move around in but not small enough that his or heat bodyheat is able to warm the shelter.
Here are a couple of good dog houses available that are highly rated:
- Internet’s Best Outdoor Dog House – $65.96
- Petsfit Dog House – $159.99
- Suncast Deluxe Dog House – $67.98
A Good Fence
It is important that you have a fence that is not flimsy if you are planning on keeping your dog outside. Even if you aren’t going to have your Husky live outside, it’s still a good idea to bulk up your fence.
As mentioned, Huskies dig. They dig a lot, they have high-energy, they are stubborn, and they love to run. This could mean having your Husky dig under the fence and run away.
This is a somewhat common problem with the Husky breed, but it’s not because they don’t like you, it’s just in their blood.
Reinforcing your fence is going to help your dog from being able to run away. Some owners just put bricks along the fence. Some people pore concrete under the fence so the dog can’t dig.
The last thing that you’ll want to do is to leave your dog unsupervised if he or she could get out. So, if you are thinking of training your Husky to live outside, make sure that you have a sturdy fence to keep your dog safe and sound.
Food and Water
This one is pretty basic but you should always make sure that your Husky has food and water during the day. Check the bowls often and make sure that the dishes stay clean.
It’s okay for a dog to not have water available at night. Sometimes water will freeze. Just make sure you check the water in the morning.
This is not cruel. Owners of all breeds have a time of night they cut off water to make potty training earlier. If your really worried about it, you can make the extra effort into going out in the middle of the night with a fresh bowl of water.
Your Husky will get bored if you leave him or her all alone for hours. Make sure you have toys out there, especially if you aren’t going to be out there too.
Anything will really help the boredom. You don’t have to go out and buy a new toy. You could use a tennis ball or an old shoe. Basically, anything that you would have indoors is great.
Having toys out there will also help with any digging problem.
Shade in the Summer
It is so, so important to have shade for your Husky if you are going to leave him or her outside in warm weather. It doesn’t matter if it’s just hot for the summer or year round, your Husky will need a break from the sun.
Plant a tree, have a deck, have a shed open, a dog house, anything will help.
If you have any more questions on what to do in the heat for Husky, click here.
When You Shouldn’t Leave Your Dog Outside
Even though it is possible to leave your Husky outside year round, it is important to know that there are stipulations. These are to keep your dog healthy.
- When your dog is acting ill – this could be anything from symptoms of heat exhaustion, to heavy and irregular shedding, vomit, or not drinking water.
- When your dog is used to being inside and it’s winter – A dog who is used to a warm climate AKA inside, he or she will be unprepared physically for the cold. A Husky will only have as thick of a coat as he or she needs, so drastically switching environments will be terrible.
- When they are puppies – Puppies, like little, very young puppies, should not be let out on their own. Their coats might not be thick enough.
- When it is too hot – Huskies have definitely adapted better to live in the cold than the heat. So if it’s usually not hot, but it’s a high temperature outside, make sure that you check up on your dog. Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and dehydration. If it’s getting to be too much, bring your Husky inside.
How cold can a Husky tolerate? Huskies have adapted to live in negative 70-degree weather, but it’s not ideal to force your dog to live in that cold of a place. Their history and use as sled dogs has allowed them to learn to tolerate these temperatures.
Is it cruel to keep a dog outside? Some dogs, like a Siberian Husky, can live in cold weather. Other dogs, especially small dogs or dogs that do not have a dual-layer coat of fur should not be kept outside because they might freeze.