Ever since my Husky, Keno, ran away during a family vacation in the red rock canyons of Lake Powell, I've been primed to perk my ears up when I hear stories about other runaway Huskies. Are they really canine escape artists or is it just a myth that's been perpetuated by stories like mine?
I sat down with Gina DiNardo, Vice President of American Kennel Club to do a little myth-busting. The short answer from Gina? It's true. "Huskies are a very independent, headstrong breed that has been bred to think on their own out in the tundra," she says. "If they have the opportunity, they are definitely prone to run off on their own."
According to DiNardo, "run" is the key word for this breed: Paired with an independent nature, they have an inherent love of running. (Marathoners, you've met your ideal training buddy.) If Huskies don't get enough opportunity to exercise and romp around, they will seek it independently. They can dig, climb and jump their way out of closed in areas with alarming ease if they feel pent up. Ironically, the best way to keep your Husky at home is to get him out frequently and on your terms—not his.
In addition to giving your Husky plenty of exercise, Gina has some tips for keeping a them content and nearby:
Huskies are explorers by nature and can bore of the same routine. Satisfy their need for adventure by mixing up their exercise routine: Try a variety of trails, parks and paths to resist getting stuck in a rut.
Don't get complacent. A large, fenced in yard with plenty of room to run around will not be enough, they need to go exploring. If you don't have time or energy to properly exercise your Husky, hire it out.
Don't let your Husky off leash in an open or unfenced area. Even a well-trained dog might catch a scent or see potential prey (real or imagined) and instinct takes over before you even realize they're gone.
Keep up on training. Teach your Husky command skills (sit, stay, return) and reinforce them with daily training in a variety of contexts, beginning in a quiet environment and working your way to situations that have more distractions.
Make sure your dog is always wearing a collar with current tags. If your dog has a micro chip locater, keep your information up to date so that in the event your Husky runs away and is found, it's easy to find you.