Why Do Huskies Run Away? (Causes & How To Prevent It)

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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 known for exploring and even escaping if given the chance, but why do huskies run away and is it normal?

Huskies don’t ‘run away’ intentionally. It is almost always related to their curiosity or prey drive and steps should be taken by the owner to prevent these factors from causing them to run away.

In this guide I’ll walk you through the most common reasons for huskies running away and how to deal with it.

Is It Normal For Huskies To Run Away?

Huskies are highly independent and intelligent and are known as escape artists for good reason.

They don’t intentionally ‘run away’, and rather like to explore and will do so if they are given the chance or if the area where they are kept isn’t secure. For example, if your yard has a small fence they will jump right over it or if you leave the door open they will go through it.

They can also become easily distracted by small animals due to their high prey drive which can also cause them to run off.

3 Most Likely Reasons Why Huskies Run Away

1. Boredness/Curiosity

Huskies are intelligent and get bored easily. If they aren’t given enough mental and physical stimulation they will resort to other outlets for their energy, including exploring new areas and figuring out ways to get to them.

2. Prey Drive

Probably the worst scenario for a husky running away is due to prey drive. Huskies have a high prey drive by nature and are prone to chasing small animals, which is a reason why they aren’t great to keep with other small dogs or cats.

When prey drive takes over your husky will have little control over what they are doing and lack response to recall. This is a natural response but it is something that a lot of owners fail to understand.

This can result in your husky running away with little chance of recalling them back, and it can put your husky in danger depending on where you are and if there are nearby roads.

3. Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a term used to describe the condition where a dog – in this case a husky – becomes stressed when left alone for periods of time.

In severe cases, your husky may pace around and start to look for chances to escape to try and find you. Luckily there is plenty of things you can do to prevent it.

Tips For Preventing Your Husky From Running Away

If you’re worried that your husky might run away then you’ll find the tips below useful.

Secure The Area

Due to their high curiosity and intelligence, you need to make sure that your yard and house are secure at all times, especially when you can’t keep an eye on your husky.

As I mentioned before, they will try everything in their power to explore new places and obstacles like fences or gates simply provide a challenge for them to overcome. Fences need to be at least six to seven feet high and fitted properly into the ground to stop them from digging a hole underneath.

Take Steps To Deal With Separation Anxiety

If your husky suffers from separation anxiety they may try to escape due to stress when left alone.

Providing plenty of toys as distractions and meeting their exercise requirements are great ways to reduce stress caused by separation anxiety. Our dedicated guide has plenty of other tips that you can use to help with separation anxiety as well.

Keep Them On A Leash

We recommend keeping your husky on a leash at all times when outside in an unsecured area

This is for their own safety; if your husky spots a small animal and decides to chase it they will have little control over their actions and won’t respond well to any command. Shock collars are the only effective measure that can be used, but in our opinion, these should not be used.

Meet Their Exercise Requirements

Huskies have a very high exercise requirement, and if they aren’t given enough exercise it can lead to boredom, separation anxiety and generally a higher chance that they will try to escape.

Aim for at least 2 hours per day of intense exercise as well as other mental stimulation such as obedience training or games.

Train Recall

Recall training should be part of every huskies training routine, given how prone they are to getting into areas where they shouldn’t be.

Training recall is quite straightforward and can be done in a variety of ways. Here is a basic method for recall training that can be applied to many situations;

  • Show your husky a treat and praise them as they come to work towards you. Reward them with a treat if they come towards you fully.
  • After a while, use a verbal cue when your husky starts to come towards you such as ‘Come!’ or ‘Here!’ and praise them as they do so.
  • Extend this to using the verbal cue when they are in another part of the house or outside in the yard. Reward with the treat if they complete the recall.

That’s pretty much the basics of recall training; issue the verbal cue and reward if they come. Praise, as they make their way towards you, is essential for positive reinforcement.

What To Do If Your Husky Runs Away

If your husky runs away it can be terrifying. I’ve owned several dogs over the years, and I’ve had 2 separate instances where one of my dogs has run off during a walk and ran all the way back home, so this may be the case with your husky if they become confused.

In other cases, the best thing to do is to stay calm, as difficult as that may seem. If you get worried and start shouting at your husky they may not want to return out of fear of getting punished.

Tou should stay calm and turn the other way while recalling them as you have done in training. You can also try a simple command such as sit or lay, as these can oftentimes be more effective.

Why Leashes Are Important For Huskies

If your husky runs away due to prey drive, there is very little you can do and ultimately the responsibility is on you if something happens. This is why we highly recommend keeping your husky on a leash.

In the worst-case scenario, you need to ensure that your husky has an up-to-date microchip and ideally ID tag so they can be returned as soon as possible.

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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