Keeping a husky off-leash is one of the most controversial debates surrounding the husky breed; but should you let your husky go off-leash or not?
Huskies should not be trusted off-leash for the majority of owners for two main reasons; they have a high prey drive and are also very curious and independent and will happily wander off to places where they shouldn’t be. Experienced husky owners can train a strong recall, but it’s important to understand the risks that are associated even if you are experienced.
This may sound cruel, but it’s something that is difficult to understand until you have owned a husky and know about the breed. If you want to learn more about the reasons why your husky shouldn’t be trusted off-leash then keep reading.
Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Husky Go Off-Leash
The AKC recommends that huskies should be kept on a leash/harness or in a fenced yard at all times, but why exactly is this the case?
Huskies have a high prey drive, which is why they are not suited to be kept with other small animals (most of the time). If you let your husky go off-leash when on a walk, hike or run and your husky spots a small dog or animal it’s very likely that it would instinctively go after it.
This is a situation that neither dog owner wants and can become an even bigger problem if your husky manages to get hold of the other dog.
The other big reason why you should never let your husky off-leash is that huskies are very curious, intelligent and independent by nature, which has earnt them the reputation of being escape artists. Even the most advanced husky owners struggle to stop their huskies from running away when off-leash.
There are many reasons why your husky might be motivated to run away or escape when off-leash, ranging from sexual roaming to simple boredom, and it rarely matters how much of a bond you think you have with your husky.
When Your Husky Can Go Off-Leash
The only time a husky should be off-leash (aside from when they are inside the home) for most people is when they are outside in a secure perimeter, such as a fenced backyard.
This is a great time to play games with your husky like fetch or let them socialise with other similarly sized dogs. Other husky owners like to keep their huskies outside during the night which is another time when they can be off-leash, provided the area is fully secure.
Can You Train A Husky To Go Off-Leash?
Experienced husky owners and trainers are able to train a strong recall for their huskies, but the risks associated with letting a husky go off-leash are still there – particularly relating to prey drive.
When a husky spots a small animal and decides to chase after it there’s very little chance it will respond to a recall, even if you are a very experienced trainer.
How To Train Husky Recall
Please note that we don’t recommend letting your husky go off-leash, due to the reasons stated in this article.
If you are an experienced husky owner and want to train recall to let your husky go off-leash you are doing so at your own discretion, and you should always be aware of the risks that are associated with it. We do, however, encourage recall training in case of emergencies where you need to recall your husky immediately.
Start With The Basics
Training recall begins with getting the basics down, these include sitting, laying, coming and staying in place.
The best way to train these basics is to start young and use the clicker method. The clicker method is proven to be highly effective, and you can find a rundown of it in our guide here.
Take The Basics Outside
Once your husky is comfortable staying and coming on command, take them into the yard (make sure it’s secure) and practice the commands outside.
There’s a strong chance that your husky won’t behave the same way outside as they would inside, so you need to go over the basics again outside until they are comfortable with them.
Practice Recall Outside
There are a lot of different ways to practice husky recall, and the training specifics can be found in this article by wagwalking.com.
Practising recall in a secure and safe outside location is key to building trust between you and your husky, and it will take months to develop.
If you want to let your husky off-leash you will have to consider using an E-collar.
The reason for this is simple; no matter how much recall training you do with your husky there will always be a risk of them running off, particularly due to their prey drive. If they run towards a busy road then an E-collar is probably the only thing that would be able to stop them.
Again, we do not encourage walking your husky off-leash or the use of e-collars on huskies, but it’s important to mention this topic.
To Sum It Up
Even if you train a strong recall, there is always a chance that your husky will run off if they aren’t on a leash.
That’s why we always advise using a leash, but it is obviously a personal choice. There will always be exceptions to the rule, just as there are huskies who live their entire lives alongside cats with no issues – just keep the risks in mind.