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Advice for 1st time dog owner

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Member Since
01/09/2013
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 9, '13 4:34am PST 
A fam. member received a husky this past christmas. She was unable to keep the dog and she is now in my possession. As i'm told, the family that she came from did not have the time for her. Bella (husky) is about 11 months old. Any advise for a first time dog owner would be greatly appreciated. TIA
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Mika

blue/brown eyed- girl!
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 9, '13 10:21am PST 
First of all good for you for taking her in, Huskies make wonderful companions. They truly are amazing dogs.......for the right people though. You need to make sure a Husky is right for your life as well.....they need a ton of exercise and a ton of love. They are escape artists, so you will need a very high fenced yard or a very long lead you can put them out on. They jump high and can dig under fences as well. They can get destructive if you do not provide enough exercise. They are friendly to all (usually) of course every breed has dogs that dont quite follow the norm. But if you treat the dog well she will treat you well and you will get along just fine. They love to run and love to be around their humans. So if you are the type of person who is not home more often then not then this may not work out...any other questions please feel free to ask, and Good Luck with your new addition!! way to go
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Member Since
01/09/2013
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 9, '13 12:16pm PST 
our home has walls about 5'6" high, fences are all planted in cement, and more info on exercising would give me a better idea on what we're in for. i've seen several post about plenty of exercise, can someone be more specific in terms of how often or maybe how long of walks is considered good. also any tips on feeding (twice a day?, how long should i give her to eat?, should i remove the food that has not been ate?) She hasn't seemed to eat anything since i picked her up yest. morning, i gave her food early this morning which all seems to still be in the bowl. (i fed her dry food which was given to me with the dog). maybe these are dumb questions, but again i've never owned a dog.
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Ember FDX

Go Go Devil- Bunnies!
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 9, '13 8:31pm PST 
No dumb questions! It's hard to take a dog in on no notice and make it work!

"more info on exercising would give me a better idea on what we're in for. i've seen several post about plenty of exercise, can someone be more specific in terms of how often or maybe how long of walks is considered good."

It sounds like you've only had her a day, so take it easy for a little while. Stress is a HUGE drain on our bodies. She actually needs a lot of time to just relax right now. Walks and play time are excellent, but don't push too hard all at once.

Once you're past settling in, think in hours and miles. Ember ran about 3 hours a day until she was almost 5 years old, with energy left over. Vance wasn't as crazy... He probably averaged closer to 2 hours a day and then just wanted to chill. We're training with a sled team right now who's currently running 13 miles at a time, and will work up to more.

The complicated part of exercising a Husky is that they absolutely require mental exercise, not just physical. That's why I go out of my way to socialize my dogs, we play flyball, agility, are starting training with a sled team and have dabbled in tracking and obedience. These aren't dogs you can get by with fetch in the back yard. Most of them won't even play fetch - it's repetitive and boring, and your back yard is boring too (after the initial zoomies).

I have also sunk huge amounts of money into treat-dispensing toys (specifically from Primer and Kong), bully sticks, and raw, meaty bones. I'd like to try Nina Ottoson's puzzle toys too. Foraging = entertainment, and chewing appropriate things = my house is one piece.

"also any tips on feeding (twice a day?,"

Once or twice is fine... You'll get mixed opinions on this. I base it off how the dog is doing. Some refuse to eat more than once a day. Others get an empty stomach and start puking bile if they don't get frequent meals.

"how long should i give her to eat?, should i remove the food that has not been ate?)"

15 minutes is plenty. If she hasn't decided to eat by then, she's not going to. When she's done, yes, remove uneaten food. Food of any sort is a haven for bacteria when left sitting out. Plus, dogs can learn to take their food for granted if they constantly have access to it. This can lead to finickiness (why eat now when it will still be there later?) and resource guarding (I found it here, therefore it is mine and I can protect it).

She hasn't seemed to eat anything since i picked her up yest. morning, i gave her food early this morning which all seems to still be in the bowl. (i fed her dry food which was given to me with the dog).

Normal. Huskies tend to be one of the more difficult breeds to rehome. They get severely depressed about it. Stories of dogs going almost a week without eating are common. Ember didn't eat for 3 days, then just picked for another 2 weeks or so.

I prefer to keep a new rescue on what they had been eating if possible. Any stability you can offer is good. However, Huskies tend to not like dry food and don't do great on it. All 3 of mine had serious problems on kibble. With me, they are raw fed, happy to eat and doing great.

You may also want to drop off a fecal at the vet, if you haven't already. Worms are common, and can cause stomach cramping so bad they don't want to eat.
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Fritz

Fritz, cats are- fun when they- run
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 9, '13 8:43pm PST 
All good questions.wave Dogs are all different, but your fence would easily keep me in. If Bella isn't overweight free choice food can work well, if your husky starts to get chubby you can change the feeding routine.

If you do leave out free choice food, remember to put out fresh every day. Don't let the food sit around in a dish for days to get stale or add new food to what is already there.

You might want to check out the dog food forum So You Are Confused By Dog Food or try Dog food Advisor

Huskies are notorious for being picky eaters and having delicate tummy's. My favorite food is Taste of the Wild, it is a high quality grain free food. I eat 3/4 to 1 cup of dry food twice a day.(We don't do free choice, Tipper would explode or get so fat she would need wheels to get around)Diamond Naturals is pretty good and less expensive. I never eat foods with corn, byproducts, unnamed meat or fat, or soy.

You seldom find the better foods in the supermarket. We get ours from the feed store or from Tractor supply. Petsmart, local pet stores...all should carry the better foods and a plus about getting your food from a good pet store is that if your dog doesn't like the food, you can take it back and exchange it for another brand.

Huskies are friendly wonderful dogs, don't trust them off leash. They have high prey drive and sometimes can't resist a cat or squirrel. Be aware that some of us aren't safe around cats, small animals or small dogs. (I am a cat killer, but I do fine with little Cocoa. (10 pounder little dog) Some of us are fine around cats, just be aware and observe until you know your dog better.

Bella may take a while to settle down and feel comfortable in your home. She has been taken by a stranger to a new house and doesn't know why. You will need to give her some time to really warm up and to get comfortable in her new home

Edited by author Wed Jan 9, '13 8:46pm PST

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Mika

blue/brown eyed- girl!
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 9, '13 9:14pm PST 
No they are never dumb questions when it comes to learning like this. In fact I applaud you for asking these questions, I have said it before and I will say it again, far to many people get certain dogs without bothering themselves to learn about the breed and then these dogs end up in shelters or kicked out on the street.
Anyways, I will answer what I can and I am sure other pups will join in also and offer some help.
Exercise- you said you have a nice fenced in yard so that is great for her to run around in throughout the day when you let her out for a pee etc...But that is not enough, you will have to learn what your Husky needs as you get to know her, some simply have more energy then others. I take my Huskies for walks twice a day (morning and evening) for about an hour per walk...sometimes a bit more sometimes a bit less depending on the day. Then as I said they have my yard to run and play in throughout the day, my dogs are indoor dogs but I have them outside often to let them play and run around with them. If Bella is good with other dogs and up to date on her shots it is a good idea to see where the closest off leash fenced dog park is. I take my dogs there every weekend and it is great for socialization not just with other dogs but people to! They run around like crazy for a while and burn a lot of energy, plus it stimulates them mentally.
On your walks BTW it is good to switch up where you walk so that she can get new smells and sites, otherwise she will get bored. Exercise doesn't have top be just outdoors either, do things inside with her, hide treats for her to find around the house, provide lots of chew toys, my huskies prefer stuffed animals, but go through them fast! I am not sure if Bella is trained or not but whether she is or isn't do short happy training sessions every day. It is stimulating and a good bonding time.
A big thing with Huskies BTW is to work on recall. Meaning if she gets off the leash or darts out the door on you a good recall will bring her back but I will tell you Huskies run, all it takes is the right smell and they are gone! If you read anywhere online or do any research anywhere they all plainly say and in capitol letters DO NOT LET YOUR HUSKY OFFLEASH EVER!!!!!! (unless fenced properly) Some people will disagree with this and say their Husky goes off leash and thats fine to each their own but I have heard even the most trusted huskies who have been off leash a long long time get that ONE smell just that ONE day and boom, gone. So sorry to those who do have their Huskies off leash but I will never again risk it, I have had a bad experience myself! Anyways ok,
~Food: Huskies eat far less then your average dog. Also it depends on the food you feed. Dry? Wet? dry and wet? Raw? If the food is good quality they eat even less then because they dont need to fill up on fillers. I feed dry Blue Buffalo myself. Whatever the bag of food says to give....your Husky will eat less, so judge on what your dogs "tells" you, it wont take long to get to know her and her needs. Mika didn't eat for almost 3 days when we got her, we had to start adding some wet food to her dry so that she would eat, but she was only stressed as I am sure Bella is. She will eat give her time and feel free to add wet to her food for a few days to try and help. Mika will only eat once a day, some dogs prefer twice, so again you just need to learn what she needs. If you decide to feed twice a day, just split in half her one serving and give half in morning then half in evening. People have different opinions on leaving the bowl down or putting it up, I leave mine down and Mika whenever she is hungry she will go eat and thats that. But if you choose to pick the bowl back up, I would give her 15 mins or so and if she hasn't ate pick it up then try again later until she eats. Make sure she always has fresh water, Huskies will drink what they need and not overdo it so a big bowl of fresh water always is best. I recommend a harness for walking not just a collar, it is much easier to control and easier on their neck and my dogs seem to pull a lot less with a harness and I have heard that is because when dogs feel tension on their necks their instinct is to pull against that tension.
Grooming: you will need to groom often! They do shed like crazy and about twice a year they have a "blow out" Meaning they lose a lot of their fur so at that time ( you will know when it is) you need to groom every day probably for a half hr maybe long for about a week! You will most likely have dog hair all over your house but you really can keep it under control if you do a good brushing at least once a week, plus it is good for keeping an eye on their skin as they do have sensitive skin, you need to make sure they dont get hot spots.
Well I should end this now, I could go on all day about Huskies, they are such an amazing breed and I am sure Bella will be a wonderful dog for you, she obviously has a good owner who is willing to learn all about her. They say a Husky is not for a novice dog owner but keep doing what your doing and it will work out, I promise just stick to it, train often keep her stimulated and exercised and you have a friend a family member for LIFE!!! I really hope this has helped you! smile
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Member Since
01/09/2013
 
 
Barked: Fri Jan 11, '13 1:02pm PST 
Thnx for all the responses. i have been giving Bella the food that was given to me with her. I will try taking a single serving and splitting it into 2 meals for a bit and see how that goes. I will also try adding wet food as well. As far as exercise goes, i have been taking her on 30min walks twice a day (a little over a mile each time). Because this does not seem to be enough today i walked her 30min (a little over a mile), and then rode my bike the same route ( & distance) giving her about another 10-15min run. Her energy seems through the roof. I also bought her 2 different kong toys, she enjoys the peanut butter but didn't give treats inside of the toys much more then a few sniffs. Due to getting her at about 11month old we keep her outside. I have brought her inside the house and allowed her to sniff around. For now i bring her in for about 30mins a day. I'm not sure if the original owners had her inside or if it's that my cousin had another dog, but she seems lonely, she crys/howls a lot. Because i work nights and sleep during the day right now her crying/howling seems to be the biggest issue. I'm hoping that if i start to allowing her to be inside during that period that it helps out. The flip side of course is that she's not lonely but hyper, and what she really wants is to go out for a run, at which point bringing her inside might be a bigger prob.
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Mika

blue/brown eyed- girl!
 
 
Barked: Fri Jan 11, '13 5:47pm PST 
you work all night and sleep all day and she cries all day while she is out? Are you sure you have time for her? Not that it is my place to say but it doesn't sound like you have time to care for a Husky. I know a lot of people have outdoor dogs and stuff but Huskies really like being around their people and if she is crying she is lonely and needs you, she is probably very scared right now and anxious in a new home but being by herself. Huskies need time and love and I dont think 30 hr walks twice daily would be enough....or at least it wouldn't be for my dogs anyway.
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Member Since
01/09/2013
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 14, '13 12:11pm PST 
the walking part is something i can work with. "you work all night and sleep all day and she cries all day while she is out?" this is correct. i would much rather have an outside dog. if this breed is not an outside dog that is something for me to consider. as far as her crying during the day while i'm trying to sleep, how different would this be if i worked during the day? other then i wouldn't be home to hear the crying. "Not that it is my place to say but it doesn't sound like you have time to care for a Husky." i not only appreciate your (& other members) advice but your honest opinion. prior to me taking her i'm not sure as to what was going to happen to her. i do know that my cousin was not able to keep her. with that being said i should have done my research prior. at this point i'm really tying to make it work, as well as trying to keep her best interest in mind.
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Mika

blue/brown eyed- girl!
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 14, '13 8:38pm PST 
As I said before i do applaud you for trying to find out as much as you can. The dog needed help and you helped her and that's great. I am though starting to think now how this will work for both you and her with your work schedule. I am hoping some other people will help with this because my opinion is not "expert" I am not a dog trainer, vet or anything of that matter, just a dog lover, have had my dogs my whole life and a Husky fanatic!!! So please keep that in mind. I am sure some dogs are fine being outdoor dogs, just dont know if a Husky would be, they just love so much to be around their people and need that attention and love.
you have a good point in saying it would make no difference if you werent home and she was crying. It just really seems if she is crying all day and night being outside she is just not happy, and to me it doesn't seem fair to her. I dont know maybe I am wrong to some people but I think of dogs similar to children, they need to be with us and if they cry we make it better.
I do hope someone else will say their opinion and also please keep us posted on what you decide and if you need help with anything else.
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