If you own a husky, you must already know by now that they are an active breed. But given their double coat, are huskies good running partners? This guide is about huskies’ exercise needs and whether they can be your next running partner.
Initially bred by Chukchi people as sled dogs in extreme cold, huskies love outdoor physical activities. While huskies have no problem running for miles during winters, summers can be troublesome. If you live in a hot climate area, your husky may already have difficulty adjusting. But, worry not, all in all, your husky can make for an excellent running partner, given you follow some essential tips.
Siberian huskies have high endurance and energy, so running can be an excellent way to meet their physical needs. Apart from that, running together can also be a fun way to bond with your husky.
Things To Keep In Mind While Running With Your Husky
Your husky might not be as inclined to run by your side and may wander away. Dog encounters, busy roads, and dry and hot weather all add up to make running with your husky a tricky affair.
Overheating And Hydration
Their thick-double-coated fur can easily cause your husky to get overheated, especially during the summer months. If you plan to run with your husky in warmer months, schedule your run for early mornings or late evenings.
Make sure to carry a water bowl and bottle for your husky and yourself. It is recommended that you take a breather every 15 minutes and give your husky a good drink.
To give your husky enough freedom to run and yet keep an eye on it, use a comfortable retractable leash. You can get a medium or large leash, depending on your husky’s size. You can let your husky run ahead of you or alongside you.
Be mindful that if you ignore leashing your husky, they may wander in different directions. A grown-up husky can be stronger than you and difficult to control. So to avoid the heart drop, use a shock-absorbant and lightweight leash.
Huskies can run for great distances without showing any sign of tiredness. Regardless of whether your dog is panting or not, you must give them frequent rest breaks.
It can be tempting to run for long distances at once, but you must build your husky’s stamina slowly and gradually. Start with few miles at first, and scale up from there. You can alternate between walking and running to avoid over-exhaustion.
Bred to bear extreme colds, huskies do not particularly love running in high temperatures. If the temperature is soaring above 70 degrees F, try sticking to under 5 miles a day.
Alternatively, you can even take your husky for a nice swim or exercise indoors.
On the other hand, if you live in a colder region, with the temperature dropping below 70 degrees, you can train your husky to run as far as 10 miles. The colder the weather, the better it gets. If you live in snowy areas, running outdoors can be equivalent to heaven for your husky.
Plan Your Path
Your running path may be filled with other runners, dogs, or even cars. All these can act as obstacles for your husky. While it is not always possible to have a clear path, you can avoid significant distractions. Steer clear from roads with heavy traffic to save your husky from potential injury.
Make a mental note of the route that you will take while running with your husky. In an ideal world, you’d be able to walk your husky in lush green paths with no other animals or human interference.
Training Your Husky To Run With You
Huskies are incredibly intelligent yet stubborn beings. You need to train them to prevent any potential injuries while running carefully. But before you begin to train your husky to run, make sure they are well adept with basic commands like sit, stop, come here. It is also crucial that your canine already knows how to walk using a leash. Once these two things are met, you can begin training them to run alongside you.
Equipment You Will Need
- Leash/harness/hands-free belt
- Water bottle or portable water bowl
Step 1 – Begin with casual but speedy walking. You can make use of a hands-free belt to allow your husky to walk ahead of you. Walk your canine like this for some days to help them adapt to fast walking.
Step 2 – Once your husky is set with this walking style, draw him closer to yourself to have better control. You can switch to a retractable leash to let your husky have some breathing space while having significant control over them.
Step 3 – Before running, you can position your husky in a running posture. Ask them to sit by your side and give them a treat when they do so. Try repeating this for the first few times before you go on a run.
Step 4 – Now that you have your canine’s attention, let him know that you have more tasty treats. You can then start walking him while having a firm grip on his leash.
Step 5 – Every now and then, stop and praise your husky for their efforts. Reinforce their behavior with their favorite treats. Also, make sure to let them sip water in between.
Step 6 – Once your husky masters walking in this style, slowly change the walk to a jog. Repeat the reinforcement cycle, stop, praise, and reward with a treat. After some practice, you would no longer need treats, and your husky will run alongside you.
With time, you can switch from a regular leash to a hands-free dog walker. But, make sure to always leash your dog while running, no matter how obedient they seem. It will help you gain control over difficult situations like traffic.
Make sure to make a gradual switch from walking to jogging and then to running. This will help your husky to build endurance and adapt to running.
When Can Huskies Start Running?
Veterinarians advise not to take your husky for a run before he turns 1 year old. This is because, before his first birthday, your husky’s bones and ligaments are still fragile and tender. Jogging and running at this stage may cause permanent injury to your dog.
By that time, make sure to exercise your husky at home. Once your husky is old enough to run, begin by slow jogging and gradually increase speed.
For How Long Can Your Husky Run?
While a healthy Siberian husky can run for up to 100 miles, it is not advisable to exhaust your dog. Start with 2 miles, and take it up to 10 miles at most. If you want to retain your husky’s health, do not over-exhaust them with too much running at once.
Huskies need regular moderate running, rather than all at once. So, walk your husky for few miles. You can run them for a greater distance in the cold months of winter than in hot summer months.
What To Do If You Encounter Other Dogs On The Way?
Your husky may lose control of encountering fellow furry mates or animals along the path. You can try running in an open space like a park or beach to maintain distance between your husky and other dogs.
It would also offer you sufficient time to try and maneuver your husky away from other dogs. Moreover, if the other dog is vast and hyper, it is better to walk away as soon as you spot them.
But if the other dog seems under control of its owner and is wearing a leash, you can allow your husky to go past him. You can try and slow down your husky to not elicit a frenzied response from the fellow dog.
Having said that, if your husky is known to cause trouble on seeing other furry friends, it is better to steer clear. Running and other physically demanding exercises can heighten your husky’s hyperactivity. Know your route in advance, and do your research before you step out with your husky.
Given the right training, your husky can be your best motivator when it comes to running. Chances are you will get tired before your husky does, but they still need to stop for rest. You must take care of the temperature, route, and get a comfortable leash to take your husky for a good run.
While running during winters is easy, you need to take particular care to let your husky run in summer. Take frequent rest and water breaks, and stop the running if your husky looks tired. Use treats to reinforce the positive behavior of your husky and encourage them to answer your command.