If you are a dog owner, you know the importance of exercising your canine companion. Big dogs tend to require more exercise than their smaller counterparts. Plus, working breeds need even more than your average pup. Huskies are no exception.
Because their ancestors were natural-born hunters and working dogs, most Huskies still retain an energetic temperament today. According to veterinarians and experts, they require at least 1 to 2 hours of exercise a day. Without sufficient daily exercise, these dogs can show sudden outbursts of energy or destructive behaviors.
When looking at this number, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. I won’t lie and say it’s easy, but it’s worth it. Let me tell you from first-hand experience: a large, well exercised dog is a happy dog. That said, let’s explore why exercise is so important for Huskies.
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Why Huskies Need (Plenty of) Exercise
Huskies are naturally active and energetic dogs with very few exceptions. It seems like they’re always excited and playful. In fact, according to the American Kennel Club, these dogs are one of the 15 most active dog breeds!
However, there’s a reason why they’re like this. Because Huskies were bred to be sled dogs, they needed the exuberant amount of energy to run up to 100 miles per day! Without this insatiable amount of energy, the Husky wouldn’t be the world’s best sled dog.
Have you ever seen a Husky experience the zoomies? It’s when these dogs release pent up energy by running around and generally going “crazy” in a short spurt. While many dogs show this behavior, this situation is far too familiar with Husky owners.
But the main reason Huskies frequently experience the zoomies is because they don’t always get enough exercise. While zoomies can be funny and entertaining, Huskies getting insufficient exercise can lead to far worse behaviors.
Since huskies have a high energy level, people sometimes take their playfulness and jumpiness as aggression. When in fact, it’s probably just an unexercised, full-of-energy husky.– Nickmotionless (Reddit User)
It’s not uncommon for unexercised Huskies to destroy the home and everything in it. PetMD explains that because dogs can’t talk to us, they may act out without a positive outlet for their pent up energy.
These destructive behaviors can include; chewing up the couch, destroying your favorite pair of shoes, digging through the trash, or knocking over furniture. This is largely why Huskies are so difficult to train into a guard dog.
What’s worse is the “destruction” from all the pent up energy may be directed at people, making an unexercised Husky dangerous around small kids. Though unintentional, they can easily knock over a child when they’re jumping to greet them.
And if you have cats, exercise is even more important. Thanks to the Husky’s high prey drive, they’re a lot more likely to chase down and often times, kill small animals. But with a tired dog, they’re less likely to pursue them.
Fortunately, it’s not as difficult as you think to meet their physical needs. We’ve compiled some of the top activities that Huskies love. And if you participate with them, it’ll make the “exercising” seem a lot less of a chore.
7 Best Husky Exercise Ideas
When you think of exercising a dog, you may think a fun game of fetch will suffice. While fetch is a coveted game for many dogs and provides some exercise, it is not the high endurance exercise that is required for optimal health in Huskies.
Here are some examples of great exercises for your husky:
- Walking and running
- Hiking and trail running
- Agility training
- Sled or race dog training
- Various games
1. Walking and Running
Huskies enjoy being outside, and they also enjoy running. You will build up to walking or running longer distances with your Husky, but it is important to begin slowly.
Always start off by taking multiple short walks. This will provide exercise benefits to a younger Husky, without risk of injury. As your dog gets more comfortable, you can start increasing the duration.
For running, I highly recommend you get a hands-free leash. The one that I use with the Aussie is the Tuff Mutt Dog Leash.
It’s super durable and surprisingly comfortable for running. I expected the side of my waist to feel the pain after runs, but it wasn’t the case at all. It’s probably because the quality was good.
The most important part of using a hands-free leash is the strong durable bungee. It’s meant to absorb any shock when your dog is pulling away and you want to stop. It’s perfect for running with your dog!
Huskies absolutely love this form of exercise. Not only will they get fresh air, but they will also be able to explore the scents of the wilderness, not to mention scaling hills and other obstacles that they may encounter on the trials.
This type of exercise not only provides physical stimulation but mental stimulation as well. By giving your Husky an opportunity to learn about new smells, you’re working out their minds too!
Because huskies enjoy running, cycling may be the best way to exercise your dog. But if you plan to cycle with your Husky, please ensure you have the proper gear.
It is also important that you have a keen awareness of how quickly you are moving, as it is possible to go too fast for your husky. This awareness will help keep your pup safe.
If you don’t plan to bike very fast, it may be a great idea to get a bicycle leash for your Husky. I don’t personally use the Walky Dog Hands Free Bike Leash (I don’t have a bike!), but I’ve heard so many good things about it.
Apparently, it’s made with military grade strength. In other words, there’s very little chance your Husky is escaping out of this.
4. Agility Training
Dog agility refers to the the dog’s ability to start, stop and change directions quickly. That being said, agility training uses obstacles and exercises to train these particular skills.
Huskies absolutely love this type of stuff! I mean, they practically turn living rooms into agility courses all the time.
Many people choose to use agility training to exercise their dogs. But if you choose to use agility training, it is important that you follow the correct training protocol.
There are many experts that are specifically trained to teach agility skills to dogs. It is worth it to search them out.
5. Playing Games
Like any dog, huskies love to play games with their owners. Fetch is always a good option, but if you want to mix it up, you can toss a frisbee or play tug of war. Both our Aussie and Corgi love nothing more than their squeaky balls.
Another good option is to play a hide and seek game. You can hide treats or food around the house or yard and let the dog find them.
Not only does this provide physical exercise, but it also provides mental stimulation to the dog. Giving your Husky the opportunity to search for their food does a good job keeping them entertained.
6. Sled and Race Dog Training
As you know, Huskies are well known as sled and race dogs. Because of this, they may be particularly fond of exercise that involves pulling.
Chances are, you won’t be living in an area where snow is abundant. However, if you are, it’s a great opportunity to let your Husky tap into their instinctive intelligence with some sled-pulling sessions.
Remember, not all Huskies will enjoy pulling as a type of exercise. If your husky isn’t receptive on pulling, don’t force them to do it.
Depending on where you live, swimming is a fantastic option. It provides high endurance exercise, while helping your Husky cool down during warmer weather.
Because Huskies weren’t bred for swimming jobs, like with the Water Spaniel, they usually aren’t natural swimmers. But with a little training and patience, they’ll love being in the water!
When starting out, I always recommend getting a life jacket. It’ll provide your Husky an extra boost of confidence and you, peace of mind. Our dogs use the Outward Hound Life Jacket.
The life jacket is made with high quality mesh and has a design that seems comfortable on dogs. The rescue handles make it very easy to “supervise” when your dog is starting to learn to swim.
How Far Should I Walk My Husky?
Walking is, by far, one of the most popular methods of exercising dogs. It’s also one of the most undefined methods of exercise, especially when it comes to specific breeds.
Often people wonder just how far is appropriate to walk a dog. This is where your judgment is going to come into play because there isn’t a hard-fast rule for walking distance.
One thing to know about Huskies is that they will go until you stop them. They love to be outside and love to exercise.
This may seem wonderful, but if you have a small puppy, they may not know when they need to stop, so you need to stop them before they become injured.
Remember, puppies’ bones are developing, and excessive added stress can be harmful. While there isn’t a set amount of time that is recommended as “best,” it is important to use your judgment when walking your Husky.
Typically, shorter, more frequent walks are recommended for puppies. As your Husky ages, longer walks will become more appropriate and beneficial for your dog.
What Is The Best Surface to Walk on?
When walking your Husky, it’s important to walk on the proper surface. It is imperative that you pay attention to the surface you frequently walk on for the safety of your dog’s joints.
Pay extra attention to this detail, especially when they are puppies, as their bones are still developing. When possible, it’s probably best to walk on softer surfaces like grass or hiking trails. They provide much more give than pavement.
If the only option you have for walking your dog is pavement, pay attention to the heat of the pavement in the summer. It is very easy for dogs’ paws to burn, which can be very painful for the dog.
Are Dog Parks a Good Option?
Perhaps you live in a city and you are surrounded by dog parks. Dog parks are a great place to provide exercise as well as socialization to your Husky.
When you go to a dog park, don’t go blindly. Although they are typically safe for your dog, there are some things to take into consideration.
- Not all dogs are trained to socialize properly.
- Not all dogs will have updated vaccinations.
- Not all dog owners will be respectful or responsible for their dogs, which means your dog could be in danger.
- Not all dog owners will clean up after their dog, which places your dog at risk for contracting germs.
All caution aside, there are some very nice dog parks with on duty caretakers that monitor the park for cleanliness and dog behaviors. If you choose to exercise your Husky at a dog park, I would recommend using one of these locations.
Also be aware that a lot of injuries can occur in dog parks, such as dogs running into each other, getting tangled in collars, breaking bones, tearing ligaments and other injuries due to the unstructured nature of play.
How Do I Know When My Husky Should Stop?
One common feature of many dogs is their insatiable need to be on the go all the time. When Huskies are puppies, they will go until you stop them, and then they will sleep for hours. While it may be cute to see an exhausted puppy, it may not be healthy for them.
At this point, you may understand a tired puppy, but what about my full-grown dog that seems to have a never-ending supply of energy.
Although they have a huge amount of energy, they are still able to succumb to injuries if they are over-exercised. According to Jeris Pugh, owner of The Martial ARFS, Some things you may want to look for are;
- Panting excessively, respiratory distress
- Eyes bulging
- Mouth wide open
- Tongue extended far out with the tip curled up
- Abdominal effort
- Wanting to slow or stop; resisting continuing activity
- Laying down
- Non-weight-bearing on any limb
These are all signs that your fur baby has overexerted him or herself and needs to slow down. Just like a child, your dog isn’t wired to know when to stop, so you must take charge and be responsible for stopping them.
Should We Go to The Vet?
Maybe you are noticing your Husky displaying the above characteristics on a frequent basis and have concerns. If you have concerns about the overall health and well being of your dog, please visit the vet right away.
They are experts and will be able to rule out any underlying medical conditions as well as create an appropriate exercise plan for your pup.
So, Is the Husky for Me?
After reading about all the exercise options for your Husky, it’s normal that you may feel overwhelmed. What it all comes down to is the fitness level and age of your dog as well as being a responsible pet owner. If you do these things, you will have a happy husky.
- Make sure your husky is getting outside each day and exercising.
- Start slow and build up endurance to avoid injuries.
- provide variety in the exercise.
- Use common sense when determining the length of time and exertion of your pup
- Always provide water during ANY type of exercise.
How do you exercise your Husky or dog? Let us know what your Husky’s favorite activities are in the comments section below!
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