Why Are Huskies So Stubborn? (10 Common Reasons)

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This article has been fact-checked by Dr. Dilber Hussain, DVM, to ensure we're providing the most up-to-date guidance. READ MORE

Huskies are an incredible breed. They are breathtakingly beautiful, friendly, loyal, and playful. However, along with all these wonderful personality traits, lies an issue. They can be incredibly stubborn.

But why are huskies so stubborn? There are many reasons. A few common reasons are because it’s a genetic trait of the breed, they are improperly trained, or there’s a problem with their diet, health, or exercise routine. 

Is It Bad If Your Husky Is Stubborn?

It’s not necessarily bad, but it is challenging. It’s important for you and your husky for them to be trained properly and obey your commands.

A stubborn husky makes training difficult, and can easily lead to power struggles. The good news is that you can learn to help your husky overcome their stubborn streak.

10 Reasons Why Huskies Are So Stubborn

Let’s take a look at the 10 reasons why huskies are so stubborn. It’s important to note that more than one of these may apply to your pooch.

Huskies are stubborn because:

  1. It’s in their genes
  2. Not properly motivated
  3. Struggle for dominance
  4. Lack of exercise
  5. Boredom
  6. Improper training
  7. Health issues
  8. Poor diet
  9. Distraction 
  10. Their personality

1. It’s In Their Genes

The husky breed is well known for having a stubborn temperament, but why is this?

Much of it comes from their history. Huskies are descendants of the Taimyr wolves of Siberia. They were domesticated by the Chukchi people of Siberia. To live and work in these harsh conditions, huskies had to be self-reliant.

The Chukchi found huskies were excellent companions, and would happily pull a sled through the snow for days. At the same time, the huskies knew how to survive. Some records suggest that the huskies would stay with the tribe in winter, and be on their own during the summer months.

Even the job of pulling a sled requires stubbornness or at least independence. They must be able to obey commands, but they must also use their own judgment to make fast decisions and work together as a team.

2. Not Properly Motivated

Getting any dog, or human, to do what you want involves motivation. Some breeds are motivated by a desire to please their owners, and require little motivation beyond a job well done. Huskies love their owners, but their independent mindset means that they aren’t highly motivated to obey you just to please you.

Huskies are typically highly motivated by two things; food and attention. Most owners find that combining these two rewards is the best motivation for a husky.

3. Struggle For Dominance

If you and your husky are in a power struggle, this will certainly trigger their stubborn side. If you’ve ever raised a child, you know what I’m talking about. The smallest instructions become a huge battle because both of you want to have control of the situation.

Dog society has a hierarchy. The “top dog” is known as the alpha. In wolves and wild dogs, there will be an alpha male and an alpha female.

Huskies are highly pack oriented, which means that socialization and having a pack is very important to them. To them, you and other members of the family, and any other dogs, make up their pack.

If you aren’t established as the alpha, your husky may attempt to be in that position. This isn’t because they are power-hungry. It’s simply that nature hates a vacuum. If there’s an important role to be filled, someone must fill it.

We often get the wrong idea of what an alpha is, thanks to pop culture. In wolves, the alpha will make sure the rest of the pack eats, even if it means they miss a meal. Alphas are leaders, and more like parents, than domineering, harshly authorative figures.

It’s important for you to be the alpha of your pack. This means that you are in control. You should be calm and confident when interacting with your husky. Being an alpha doesn’t mean being aggressive, or forcing your husky into submission. It means guiding them and allowing them to feel safe in your leadership.

4. Lack Of Exercise

Huskies have mountains of energy and endurance. They can run up to 100 miles in a single day, and reach speeds of 30 mph. If you want your husky to obey you, you’ll need to ensure they are getting enough exercise.

Huskies typically need about 2 hours of exercise each day. This should include some high-intensity exercise, like running. You can also set up a pull sled or a variation. Many owners find that letting them huskies pull them on a bike is a great way to exercise and bond with them.

5. Boredom

You’ve certainly noticed that your husky is intelligent. This means that, in addition to physical exercise, they also need plenty of mental stimulation. If your husky doesn’t get enough mental stimulation, they will become bored. This makes them stubborn and difficult to handle.

A husky with one blue and brown eye laying on the floor

Many owners neglect their husky’s mental needs because meeting their physical needs is a lot of work. However, both mental and physical exercise are essential for your husky. In fact, mental exercise can help settle your dog and get rid of excess energy, as well as, if not better than, physical exercise.

6. Improper Training/Lack Of Training

Huskies require training. Always. All the time. It’s tempting to think that once you’ve done basic training with your husky, training can stop.

Training provides mental and sometimes physical exercise for your pooch. It also helps establish you as the alpha, and allows them to practice obeying your commands. If you’ve never trained your husky, or you aren’t being consistent with your training, a lack of training is likely why your husky is stubborn.

However, the problem can also be the wrong training. You can’t force a husky to do anything they don’t want to do. If you try to make them do something, you will simply make them even more stubborn. If you punish them, they are even less likely to obey you.

It’s true for all dogs, but it’s particularly true for huskies, because of their temperament.

So, training should be consistent. You should also use positive reinforcement, and never punish them.

Never, or almost never, attempt to force them to obey.

The one exception to this is if they are risking their safety or someone elses. If they try to run into the road, you should absolutely physically stop them. If they are jumping on someone, physically make them get down if necessary. However, don’t force them to do things as a method of training.

7. Health Issues

No one is at their best when they don’t feel well. If your husky suddenly becomes stubborn, they may have a health issue. If they are sick or have a health condition, you’ll notice some other symptoms as well.

They may be lethargic, lose their appetite, have a rash, a cough, or have stomach issues, to name a few symptoms.

Huskies are like our kids. When a child is sick, you just know. You may notice a few symptoms, or notice they aren’t well before the symptoms start. It’s best to follow your own instincts, and observe your pooch. If you suspect something is wrong, it’s time to give your vet a call.

8. Poor Diet

Have you ever noticed that diet and behavior are closely related? Are you more friendly and effective when you eat well? A study conducted by Nutrition Research Reviews found that nutrition plays a significant role in human and dog behavior.

Unfortunately, not all dog foods are created equal. Commercial dog food may not meet all your husky’s nutritional needs, which can lead to them being stubborn. Like us, huskies need a balanced diet that consists of quality ingredients. It’s also likely that some dogs, like some humans, are more sensitive to dietary deficiencies than others.

Choose high-quality food designed for large or energetic breeds. You may also want to add a supplement to their diet. Omega 3s are great for your husky’s mental and physical health, so it’s a good place to start with supplements.

9. Distraction

Distraction is another reason huskies can be stubborn. If you notice that your husky is normally well-behaved, but becomes stubborn in certain situations, this may be the cause.

Does your husky become stubborn when outdoors, or around other dogs? Do loud noises or busy areas tend to trigger their stubborn streak? Distraction is likely the issue.

10. Their Personality

Each dog, like each human, has their own personality. Huskies are well known to be stubborn as a breed.

However, some are more stubborn than others. Your husky is an individual, and they may be less or more stubborn than the average husky. The good news is, even if your husky has a more stubborn nature, the factors mentioned above likely play a role as well.

What To Do With A Stubborn Husky (How To Train Them)

How do you get your husky to stop being stubborn? First, you’ll need to identify the reason, or reasons, why your husky is stubborn. If the issue is a lack of exercise or mental stimulation, the solution is simple. If they have a health issue, you’ll need to work with your vet.

In many cases, issues with training cause, or contribute to, husky stubbornness. Let’s take a look at how you can train them, regardless of how stubborn they seem.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is the way you should train your dog. Remember, huskies will only become more stubborn if you use punishment or coercion. Instead, you should focus on rewarding them when they follow your commands.

When giving them a reward, do so immediately after they do what you want. If you provide the reward minutes later, they may not connect the two events.

You should also reward them every time, particularly when you are working on initial training or helping them overcome stubbornness.

Most huskies are food motivated, which means that food treats are particularly effective. You may also choose specific treats only for following certain command that they find difficult. For example, you may give them freeze-dried liver or chicken bits for following the stay command, and choose a different treat for other commands.

As you work with your husky, you’ll learn which treats are their favorite.

You can also use praise, toys, and games you play with them as rewards, along with, or instead of, treats.

Husky looking towards the camera and panting

Calm, Confident, Consistent And Patient

Working with a stubborn husky means you’ll need lots of patience. Celebrate every success, no matter how small. Keep it consistent. It’s a good idea to choose a certain time of day to work on training, so your pooch knows what to expect.

Being an alpha means being calm and consistent. Use an authorative but calm voice. Never yell at your husky. If you find yourself getting frustrated, step away and take a break. Your husky can sense how you are feeling. Believe in your husky, and in yourself. This will eventually get them to respect and listen to you.

Choose The Right Time And Place

If distraction is a problem for your husky, you’ll need to consider this during training. Work on training when they are in a familiar, quiet area.

Once they are confidently following the command, you can begin training them in areas where there are distractions.

You should also choose the right time to work on training. Generally, the best time for training sessions is after your pooch has had some exercise.

They shouldn’t be hungry or hyper when you train them. Of course, if you plan to use treats, it’s best not to train them right after a meal. Just avoid training sessions right before meal times as well.


Are Huskies The Most Stubborn Dog Breed?

It’s hard to say if they are the most stubborn breed, but they are certainly one of them.

Their temperament and personality are part of their charm, but it also makes them challenging.

Are Huskies Hard To Train?

Huskies are harder to train than most breeds. This is due to their independent personality, and their disinterest in pleasing their owner.

Training your husky doesn’t have to be painful. It simply requires the right skills and techniques.

What Age Are Huskies The Most Stubborn?

Huskies are typically the most stubborn during their adolescent phase, around 8 to 24 months, or 2 years, old. Many owners surrender their huskies during this phase because they can’t handle them.

Can You Hurt A Husky’s Feelings?

Yes. Huskies are tough and independent. However, they are also very sensitive. When working with your husky, remember that they have feelings too.

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About The Author

Hi, I’m Carrie! I’ve always had a special connection with nature, and animals of all shapes and sizes in particular. I’ve been a writer for nearly a decade and recently joined the Malamute Mom team. I love providing information to other dog lovers.

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