Husky chewing is completely natural, but when it becomes excessive there is usually an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. These problems can relate to a lack of exercise, boredom, teething and several other things.
In this guide I’ll explain everything there is to know about husky chewing; from when it is natural to when there is a problem that needs to be addressed. I’ll also cover the basics for training your husky to not chew things you do not want them to.
What Causes A Husky To Chew?
Huskies, just like other dogs, need to chew to keep their jaws strong and teeth clean.
But there can sometimes be other reasons why they are chewing, and these are usually due to some kind of problem or learned behavior. Let’s take a look at what can cause huskies to chew excessively.
Husky Puppies Learning Their Bite Force
Puppies are born knowing how to bite, but they need to learn how hard to bite and how to control it; this is known as bite inhibition.
Learning bite inhibition is not the same as chewing, but the two are often confused. Most huskies learn bite inhibition through socialising with other puppies during their first few weeks, but if they are removed from the litter then they often learn bite inhibition from their owners.
Luckily it’s quite easy to train. Get into a closed-off area with no other options for your husky pup to bite apart from yourself.
When they bite too hard, simply say ‘Ouch’ and leave the area for 30 seconds, completely ignoring your pup. Return and repeat this process until they understand that biting too hard is not allowed (for full steps click here).
Huskies start teething between 2-3 weeks old when their puppy (deciduous) teeth start to grow in.
Over the next 8 months teething will continue as the puppy teeth fall out and the adult teeth (all 42 of them) grow in. During this time your husky pup will be much more likely to chew as a coping mechanism for the discomfort of teething.
You can start training at this time, but just be aware that you won’t be able to prevent every instance of chewing. It just isn’t realistic.
Huskies are prone to separation anxiety, which is a condition where a husky will become distressed when left alone leading to destructive behaviors. It can be caused by several things such as past trauma or a new environment and can be dealt with by taking steps to reduce their anxiety when left alone.
If your husky chews everything in the house when you go out for a period of time this is very likely due to separation anxiety.
Chewing is a classic destructive behavior that huskies exhibit for several reasons:
- Lack of exercise – Huskies have a big exercise requirement, and if it isn’t met they can become unsettled and have excess energy to burn off in destructive ways such as excessive chewing.
- Lack of mental stimulation – Huskies also need mental stimulation to stay happy. Playing games like fetch or using dog puzzles are great ways to increase this.
Teething and separation anxiety can also lead to destructive behavior, but I have included them separately as there is more to cover with those issues.
Learned behaviors are when a dog, in this case a husky, repeats an action if it has a positive outcome.
Dog owners are guilty of teaching unwanted behaviors to their dogs without realising it all of the time. For example if you come back home and greet your husky with lots of love and affection but they were chewing just before you opened the door they might associate this positive outcome with chewing.
Tips For Preventing Husky Chewing
As chewing is normal for huskies, you won’t be able to stop them chewing completely and this isn’t something that would be healthy for them anyway.
Instead, you should provide plenty of chew toys and take steps to stop excessive chewing (when chewing is a problem). This can be done with the tips below:
- Exercise – Exercise is absolutely crucial to keep your husky satisfied and happy. Aim for at least 2 hours of exercise per day and your husky shouldn’t be as restless when they are at home, meaning less chance of them turning to chewing out of boredom.
- Chew Toys – You should always have lots of chew toys available for your husky to use. I recommend using chew toys with different textures, and also those with flavors to keep things interesting for your husky.
- Mental Stimulation – Exercise is great for mental stimulation, but you should try and supplement it with games like fetch (if your husky likes to play it!) or puzzle toys that give a reward (usually a treat).
If you’re meeting the criteria above and your husky is still chewing excessively then you’ll need to implement a training routine.
How To Train Your Husky Not To Chew: 3 Easy Steps
Sometimes, despite meeting all of the care requirements of a husky, your dog may still chew on pieces of furniture or anything else they can get their teeth around.
Here’s what you need to do if your husky is chewing:
1. Stop Them
If you notice your husky is chewing something that it shouldn’t be, shout ‘No!’ firmly.
At first, they might not listen, but as soon as they do you need to move on to step 2 quickly.
2. Replace With A Chew Toy
Once they stop chewing immediately replace whatever they were chewing with a chew toy.
This is also a good time to train other commands such as sit or stay, but that can be done once you’ve tackled the problem of chewing.
3. Positive Reinforcement
If your husky takes the toy and starts to chew it you need to praise them.
This is positive reinforcement in practice – your husky will associate choosing the chew toy over whatever they were chewing before as good behaviour and one that is rewarded by you. And that’s pretty much it.
This process should be repeated as many times as needed until your husky starts to choose their chew toys naturally on their own. If you observe this without intervention, then make sure to praise them.
Summing It Up
Huskies will chew naturally, and you should encourage them to chew toys rather than household items in this case.
When chewing becomes a problem there is usually an underlying problem relating to boredom, anxiety or something else. In this case, you need to read through the list in this guide to identify the problem and work towards resolving it, alongside the basic chew training steps above.