How much exercise does a Husky need

How much exercise does a Siberian Husky need

siberian huskyThe Siberian Husky is a working dog that was originally bred to pull sleighs. They are the fastest and lightest dog that was bred to do this type of work.

Huskies are an extremely active high energy dog and require at least one hour a day of energy burning activity, but more is preferred. If they don’t receive the exercise they need to release their pent-up energy they can become quite destructive. They are also masters at digging holes and jumping over high fences so they are prone to escape if they are bored and looking for activity.

The Husky is also very intelligent so it is important to challenge their minds. They can tend to be quite strong-willed which means they need a patience owner when training.

Being a breed that was bred for cold climates it is important to take precautions when exercising your Husky in warm or hot weather. Read “Exercise for dogs in hot weather” and “How to keep a dog cool in hot weather” for helpful information.

Husky Exercise Requirements

There are three main types of exercise and activity you must provide your Husky every day.

  • 1. Daily walk
  • 2. Purposeful High-Intensity Activity (see Husky exercise ideas below)
  • 3. Mental stimulation

Husky Walking Time

Husky walkingThe daily walk is essential for a Husky not only to release some pent-up energy. The walk allows your Husky to stimulate the mind with the sights, sounds and smells they come across.

The length of the walk is only limited by your time and energy as a Husky can go all day long. Ideally, the minimum should be 30 to 45 minutes daily. This can be just once a day, or two walks a day would be better if your schedule allows. Dogs also like routine, so try to schedule the walk for around the same time each day. Daily walks are much better than nothing all week and a big walk at the weekend.

If your Husky has good recall and comes on command, walks at the park off the leash are ideal. Alternatively, you can use a retractable leash to allow them more freedom while maintaining control. Due to their natural hunting instinct, you may find it hard to get a Husky back once they are off the leash.

You can add extra resistance to the walk by using a weighted vest or dog backpack. It is recommended that no more than 10% of their body weight be added. This is more than sufficient to tire them and strengthen their muscles without overworking them. Other ways of increasing the resistance on the walk are to walk on sand or include uphill sections in the walk.

Husky Exercise Ideas

The Husky is energetic, strong and has bucket loads of stamina. Ideally, you need to find activities that can burn energy in a short period of time and use these skills. This can include high-intensity games and strength training is recommended to keep their muscles in peak condition. By keeping the muscles strong they will support the joints and tendons preventing injury. These are some of the recommended activities and exercise ideas to play with your Husky.

Flirt Pole

Flirt pole is like a giant cat tickler for dogs. It has a long handle with a bungy type rope with a lure or toy attached to the end. You simply move the lure along the ground around in circles or in different directions as your dog chases it. This activity is ideal for a Husky as it works the whole body and strengthens their muscles. Be sure they have a good “leave it” command and don’t allow them to destroy the toy. It is important that this be a controlled exercise.

Fetch

Playing Fetch with your Husky is another fantastic way to burn pent-up energy. Huskies are generally ball or toy crazy can play this for hundreds of throws. A great alternative is to use an Automatic Ball Launcher so your dog can play Fetch by themselves. As the Husky is highly trainable as long as you focus their attention they learn to use this quickly. For more information check out “Automatic Ball Launchers for Dogs

Jolly Ball

Jolly Ball is a nearly indestructible ball for dogs that they push and chase around. They come in a variety of sizes, styles and are also available with a handle or rope attached for tug of war. Check out the video to see what great exercise and fun they are for dogs.

Frisbee Toss

Most dogs can chase and catch a ball. But a Frisbee requires a little bit more skill, coordination, and timing. Huskies look spectacular playing this due to their agility. Roll the Frisbee on the ground towards your dog. They will instinctually want to grab it in his mouth. Once you’ve accomplished this, try tossing it at a very low level first to your dog. If you feel like your dog is ready to go to the next level, toss the disc a little higher and further. Great energy burner and you may be amazed at your dog’s agility and acrobatic skill.

Backyard agility

Set up an agility or obstacle course in your backyard. You can use items you have around the home, build your own agility or you can get reasonably priced agility sets on Amazon. You can include tasks such as the weave, hurdle jumps, tunnels or jumping through hoops or a platform to jump on and stay.

Stair Sprints

A good energy burner if you have stairs in your home. Start at the bottom of the stairs and have your dog “stay”. Throw the ball to the top of the stairs and then say, “Go!” Let your dog dash up the stairs as fast as they can. Have them return down the stairs at a slower pace to avoid injury.

Walking up stairs or a hill strengthens the rear legs as the full body weight of your dog is on each leg as the step. As they descend the stairs they are using the opposing muscles for stability.

Running, biking or skating with your dog

The faster your dog is moving the more energy they will release. Try running, biking or skating with your dog to really get them moving. As the Husky has good levels of stamina and can go for long distances, they can make great running partners. Just be sure to build up distance and intensity of the activity over time to prevent causing injury to your dog. Read “Running with your dog” for more on this.

Tug of War

A firm favorite of all strong dogs.  Make them crouch and pull back to use extra energy. Ensure that this is a controlled game and they release when you want them to.

Spring Pole

spring pole is simply a spring connected to a rope that hangs from a tree branch or beam with a lure or toy attached to the end. This allows your dog to play tug of war with him or herself even if you are not there. Popular with a lot of dogs that love a good game of tug of war.

Urban Mushing

Urban mushing is similar to regular mushing with wheels and no snow. To get started you need 3 things. A wheeled vehicle such as a scooter, a pulling harness for your Husky, and a scooter line for the dog to pull you along in your scooter. It is important to use a  correct pulling harness. These distribute the stain evenly over your dog’s body to avoid injury.

Weight Pulling

Weight pulling is an actual dog sport but you can incorporate this type of exercise into your dog’s muscle building and strength programme. The most important thing is that you use a proper weight pulling harness. These are designed to distribute the weight evenly over your dog’s body.

Start with a light amount of weight and have your dog drag the weight 10 to 20 metres. Give them a rest for 2 minutes and repeat. As with conditioning your dog to run, start off easy and gradually increase the amount of weight and number of repetitions over time.

Dog toys that move on their own

There are many dog toys available that shake, rattle, roll and move about on their own. This activity would be best as a supervised and control game as a dog like the Husky could destroy these type of toys. See “Dog toys that move on their own” to learn more.

Self Playing Dog Toys

There are a variety of dog toys that your dog can use to play by themselves. These are great for times when your dog is home alone, you don’t have the time or you are otherwise occupied. This way your dog can still get some physical activity and mental stimulation without your direct involvement. See “Self Playing Dog Toys” for some ideas.

Play with other dogs

Provide the opportunity for your Husky to play with other dogs. This is not only great to burn energy and stimulate their mind, but teaches them important social skills. Not all Huskies are dog-friendly, so ensure yours is to prevent the possibility of fighting.

Dog sports

There are many dog sports that your Husky would enjoy including agility or fly ball. Consider enrolling your Husky in a local club. You can enter as a serious competitor or simply for fun.

Provide a digging area or pit

Many dogs love to dig, especially Huskies. Provide an area or digging box for them so they can dig to their heart’s content. You can get a toddlers paddling pool and fill it with sand and hide their toys or a bone in it for them to find. Just be aware that if the weather is warm the sand may get hot. You can wet it down with the hose if it is.

There are countless more activities you can do with your Husky to burn pent-up energy quickly and condition their muscles. For more ideas, check out “How to tire a hyper high energy dog” and “Tire a dog quickly”. You may also like “47 Boredom Busters and games for dogs”

For more information on strength and muscles conditioning activities check out “Muscle building and Strength exercises for dogs” and “How to make your dog gain muscle

Mental stimulation and enrichment.

All dogs need an outlet for their minds. If they are not provided the opportunity to challenge their minds they will come up with their own ways to achieve this. This usually manifests itself in bad behavior such as excessive barking, digging, escaping and other destructive behaviors. Read “Mental stimulation and mind enrichment for dogs” to learn about the 6 types or categories of mind stimulation a mental enrichment and some great ideas to provide this.

Some ways to provide mental stimulation and enrichment include;

Puzzle Toys

Puzzle toys are ideal for dogs like the Husky to challenge their minds and test their problem-solving skills. Due to their high intelligence, try to find puzzle toys that are a bit more challenging as they tend to work these out quite quickly. Check out “Top 7 puzzle toys for dogs” for my top picks.

In addition to puzzle toys, Kongs for dogs are another great way to get your Husky to solve a problem and challenge the mind. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs“.

Scenting and nose games

Huskies can have a keen nose. Playing scenting and nose games helps to provide mental stimulation. Read “12 Scenting and nose games for dogs” for some ideas.

Chew Toys

husky chew toyProvide your Husky with good strong chew toys. Chewing is a great way to occupy them. In addition, chewing releases endorphins and helps to relax a dog. Many dogs hold stress in the jaw.

For more on the benefits of chewing and the best chew toys click here.

Learning

Teaching new commands and tricks is also excellent to provide mental enrichment. A popular game that involves learning is to teach them the names of their toys. Dogs can learn hundreds of words and names.

Over exercised dog symptoms

Huskies can go hard and keep going, often not knowing when to stop. With any dog, it is possible to over-exercise them, especially in hot weather. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a dog that has overdone it. Read “Overexercised dog symptoms” to learn more.

How much exercise does a Husky puppy need?

Husky puppiesThe exercise suggestions above relate to a healthy adult Husky. The exercise needs of a puppy are quite different. With puppies, their bones, muscle, and joints are still growing and developing.

Overly strenuous walks are not necessary and in fact, could possibly cause harm. An activity that is high impact on the joints should also be avoided.

The best exercise for a young puppy is free play with age-appropriate toys. Socialising with other puppies or friendly adult dogs is a great way to burn some of that puppy energy along with teaching them the social skills they need.

As your Husky puppy gets older you can take them for short informal walks allowing them to sniff and explore and get used to being on a leash. Puppies under three months probably haven’t had all their vaccinations so shouldn’t be walked in public. Check with your vet when it is alright to venture out to the park or street.

The general rule of thumb for walking a puppy is around 5 minutes for every month of age. So, for example for a 4-month-old puppy, a walk of 15 minutes to 20 minutes is enough. Monitor you Husky puppy on the walk for signs such as lagging behind, lying down or panting. End the walk if they seem too tired.

For more on exercise for your Husky puppy read “How to exercise your puppy

How much exercise does an older Husky need

As a dog gets older they become less active and have lower energy levels. However, it is still important that they remain reasonably active to keep their joints and muscles mobile and to manage their weight. Read ” Dog exercise for a senior dog” to learn more.

Many dogs develop arthritis as they age. Exercise for them becomes a balancing act. It is important to keep their joints mobile and manage weight, but too much can make them sore. Read “How to exercise an arthritic dog” to learn more.

In conclusion, how much exercise does a Husky need

The Husky is high energy, strong and has good levels of stamina. They are also very smart and need to have their mind occupied as well. It is crucial to provide adequate physical and mental exercise and activity to release pent-up energy and prevent boredom. A minimum of 60 minutes a day of exercise plus purposeful activity including muscle strengthening and activities that provide mental stimulation is recommended. The cost of not doing so can be an unhappy and frustrated dog. This can lead to behavior issues such as barking, digging, escaping and destructive behavior.

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