Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Training: Previous owner
Posted December 23, 2014
My experience with a husky is pretty unique, but may have some lessons for others, particularly those considering adopting an adult husky. I got my dog not from a shelter or breeder, but directly from a rural owner who could no longer afford to care for him. The dog had seen some abuse in its early years, or at least neglect, and carried some physical and emotional scars.
Huskies, for better and worse, are the ultimate pack dog. They depend on their humans not only for food and shelter, but for a very specific kind of companionship. They need a little more structure than some other breeds, and thrive under a strong but kind training regime. They are extremely loving, to the point of being quite needy and often having separation anxiety problems. That was the biggest issue with my dog - I couldn't leave him alone without causing my neighbors some serious distress. He would bark for hours, claw at the door, anything that might get my attention or get me to come back. The other issue was nipping and even biting. I've never seen this with another husky, and I put it down to his early mistreatment, but it's worth noting.
My experience with a husky is not standard, but I think this is a particularly difficult dog to adopt as an adult. If the previous owner has not treated the dog well, bad habits will be very hard to train out. Interestingly, every husky I know was a breeze to potty train. They are protective of their homes, and that includes not wanting to get it dirty. I've seen a husky pee into a potted plant, but only because it was the closest they could find to outside when they were left too long.
Huskies are very smart dogs, which of course has its ups and downs. Emotional damage can stick with them for a very long time, but they will also genuinely appreciate any human that takes them out of a bad situation and cares for them. I would only recommend a rescue husky to someone who has a job that allows them to stay with the dog a lot, especially in the first year after rescue, and someone with a lot of patience. They are great dogs, but not easy dogs.