How to Train a Husky to Stay Outside

Medium
4-12 Weeks
General

Introduction

Huskies in the north live outside year round, pull sleds hundreds of miles, and do it all without batting a frozen eyelash! So your Husky can stay outside, even in cold weather, as long as he is acclimatized and his internal furnace well stoked (that means well fed) and his fur coat full and prepared for the weather. 

Huskies have two coats, a top coat made of guard hairs that trap air and keep snow, wind, and water off their thick insulative undercoat. These two coats keep your Husky snug as a bug in a rug! In Alaska and Canada, Huskies frequently live and sleep outside in temperatures of -40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. But it is not a matter of simply kicking your Husky outside. If he is used to living inside you will need to take some steps to ensure he has what he needs to live outside and that he is gradually acclimated and prepared to tolerate cold weather.

Defining Tasks

Although Huskies can live inside with their families and in warmer climates, they often are not comfortable in those conditions. Huskies were designed for the great outdoors with heavy double coats and big furry feet. A Husky that lives inside will develop a less dense coat to keep himself comfortable inside, so if you want to move your Husky to outdoor living you will need to do so gradually to give him time to develop a thicker coat to protect himself from cold weather. You also need to consider that a Husky that has developed a thick coat for living outside will not only be comfortable in a warm house, but if constantly brought inside and then put out he will have trouble regulating his temperature and maintaining his thick warm coat. You need to consider your Husky’s living conditions and be consistent.

Huskies should have a shelter from the elements outside, but often choose to curl up with their nose under their tails or dig a hole in the snow for a den. A curled up Husky with snow on his back is doing just fine; his coat is functioning as it should and keeping his body heat in. If your Husky has a wet coat or ice buildup on his coat his natural insulation has become compromised and you will need to get him dried off and kept protected from the elements until his coat and internal furnace are working properly.

Getting Started

Even Huskies need shelters to stay out of wet conditions, like rain, which can make their thick coats damp and impair their insulative abilities. Many Huskies prefer to curl up or dig a hole in the snow, but providing a shelter with straw so your Husky has an option for shelter is ideal. A shelter should be large enough for your dog to move and turn around comfortably in, but small enough so that his body heat can stay trapped around him.  Straw for bedding should be changed frequently to keep it clean and dry, your dog's body heat can introduce moisture to bedding over time. Huskies should be provided with water when housed outside so they don't dehydrate, and a heated water dish or frequently providing water throughout the day may be necessary in cold climates if water is likely to freeze.

The Acclimatize to Outside Method

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Effective
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Step
1
Spend time with your dog outside
Get your Husky used to staying outside gradually. Put your dog outside and spend time with him outdoors, let him nap, eat, and play outside while you spend time outdoors with him. Garden, read or work outside while your dog gets comfortable with his new surroundings.
Step
2
Leave dog out during the day
Start leaving your Husky outside for a few hours at a time on his own during the day when there is plenty to entertain him, birds, bugs etc.
Step
3
Leave out during the night
Start leaving your Husky outside for a few hours at night, let him in part way through. Do not respond to barking or whining, only let your Husky in when he is quiet so as not to reinforce vocalizations.
Step
4
Keep him well fed
Make sure your Husky is well fed a high protein, high energy diet, that allows him to maintain a good metabolism and keep himself warm with his inner furnace when living outside.
Step
5
Let coat develop
If you live in a cold climate, put your Husky outside in the summer, and let his coat adapt to cooler nights as the summer wears on into fall. Your Husky's coat will fill out and be adequate to keep him warm in the winter if allowed to develop naturally. Do not put a Husky that is used to being indoors outside full time in the winter without adequate coat protection.
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The Comforts of Home Method

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Step
1
Provide shelter
Give your dog a good insulated shelter that is big enough for him to walk in and turn around in, but small enough to trap body heat and be cozy. Line it with clean straw and change the bedding frequently to keep it clean and dry.
Step
2
Keep contained
Make sure your yard is fenced with a secure high fence, or use a dog run to ensure your Husky does not run out onto roads or other hazards.
Step
3
Provide water and food outside
Provide food and water outside and ensure that water doesn't freeze. Use a heated water bowl or provide water frequently if necessary.
Step
4
Provide toys and chew items
Provide favorite toys and chew items or puzzle feeders to keep your Husky entertained when he is alone outside.
Step
5
Provide attention
Visit your Husky frequently, spend time with him outdoors, take him for walks, and give him a job like pulling. Just because your Husky lives outside does not mean he should not get lots of attention and time spent with you.
Recommend training method?

The Canine Companionship Method

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Effective
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Step
1
Find a friend
Dogs are pack animals and Huskies that live outside in cold climates frequently live in groups with other dogs. Other dogs your Husky lives with outside need to also be acclimatized to the cold, so other Huskies or suitable outdoor breeds need to be selected.
Step
2
Introduce
Introduce the dog your Husky will be living outside with in a controlled setting, with both dogs on a leash. Allow dogs to investigate and sniff each other and take the dogs on initial walks together to “pack up”.
Step
3
Increase exposure
Introduce dogs off-leash in an enclosed area and supervise to ensure they get along and establish a healthy hierarchy.
Step
4
Ensure shelter is accessible
Provide a shelter with two entrances so one dog does not block the entrance in or out of the shelter.
Step
5
Double the body heat
Allow dogs to play together for entertainment and cuddle up together for body heat when cold.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Laurie Haggart

Published: 03/21/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Goku
Husky
1 Month
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Goku
Husky
1 Month

He is injured during pay time with chichi she is also a husky 30-40 days old what can I do I don't even know how he injured sorry for my poor English hope you understand

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1129 Dog owners recommended

Hello Hasnain, I am actually a trainer and not qualified to give medical advice. This sounds like a medical need due to the injury. I suspect the injury at that age was unintentional and more related to pup snagging a tooth and getting stuck during play than any true aggression that would be addressed through training. If you would like to ask an online vet about the injury you can do so here: https://wagwalking.com/wag-health Best of luck training Caitlin Crittenden

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Ghost
Siberian Husky
1 Year
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Ghost
Siberian Husky
1 Year

my brother brought his dog here to california from texas and we are supposed to watch him until he comes back from his job at texas, and he will be back around october. My parents won’t allow him inside the house, only in the garage and backyard. This is because he sheds a lot and try to understand my parents are Muslim and they they do not deal with uncleanliness. We have an awesome setup for him in the backyard where we have a patio that is spacious enough for him and we applied the green screen in the first pic all around the patio so he can get shade in there ! It’s actually really nice for him and that is where he sleeps at night and then hangs out in the garage later in the day where there’s more people he can socialize with. I also have a ton of nieces and nephews that come over and hang with him in the back and he loves them! My problem is that he cries all night and morning in the backyard because he has major separation anxiety. Before he lived here, he would be inside my brothers apartment all the time and they would let him sleep with them for a year. Now that he has to adapt into this new lifestyle he doesn’t get enough sleep at night because he’s crying over being lonely. It genuinely makes me upset and I always wake up early to give him company so he can get some sleep. I also argue with my parents everyday to let him inside. I was able to get him into my room today after begging but my room is small and he wants to explore around the house. He’s been with us for three days so maybe there’s still time to get used to it! It’s just that he loves being around people and he just watches us from outside through the sliding door while we’re inside and he’s just waiting to get in (whenever we leave him alone). That’s when he starts crying, even if we hang out with him outside for hours and bring him a bunch of toys and treats to give him company when he’s bored. The point is that he needs human interactions at all time because of his separation anxiety, I want to know if I should wait if he adapts into this environment or should I recommend to my brother that he takes him to someone else tht allows him inside? That way he can sleep peacefully ? He is never lonely during the day, only in the night. but he cannot go a minute without someone by his side

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1129 Dog owners recommended

Hello Karin, I think the answer to this question depends a lot on how much attention pup gets in the day. Many dogs are crated in rooms away from their owners inside at night for various reasons, which is not that different than your situation as long as pup is safe, the temperature is okay, and there isn't something specifically going on outside that's causing the anxiety other than not being with you (like other animals trying to get in, fireworks/thunder/gunshots, ect...). I would focus on proactively providing pup with mental stimulation through training and play, and affection during the day to make sure those basic needs are being met. At night, I would work on teaching pup how to be by himself, knowing that you have done what you need to do during the day to ensure he isn't being neglected then. If pup is being given what he needs during the day, then pup should be able to learn how to be quiet and sleep alone at night - when pup shouldn't be having a lot of interaction anyway due to being asleep. Pup will of course want to be with you at night, and it would be ideal for pup to sleep in your room in a crate at night for company, but sleeping outside for a few months should be okay for him as long as the daytime needs are met. First, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet while by himself on the patio when you are inside 5 minutes, quietly go place a few treats on pup's bed without interacting, then go back inside again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hours, ect... that pup stays quiet. Practice this for 1-3 hours a day periodically each day that you can (that can be one long training session, lots of 10 minute sessions, or a few 1 hour sessions, whatever is easier). If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries outside, tell him "Quiet" once. If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only open the door enough to do this if pup is waiting at the door - give at little attention as possible while doing this. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. Practice for a few days until he is doing well during the day. You can either continue what you are currently doing at night, ignoring the crying, during this process or go ahead and jump into what I explain below for night time training - waiting until the day is good before starting the night or starting the night and day both at the same time. When he cries at night before it has been 8 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell him Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. Giving pup a dog food stuffed chew toy, like a kong with kibble that's been mixed with water until mushy, loosely stuffed in the kong, then frozen, may also help pup occupy himself if he wakes up during the night. I wouldn't give it when pup cries or that will reward and encourage more crying, but simply put it out on the porch for pup when you go in for the evening to go to bed. I am not sure what pup's access to an area to go to the bathroom is, so be aware that giving any food right before bed might make pup need to poop during the night, so that might not be ideal if pup doesn't have access to a potty area outside on their own at night. If pup isn't improving with the pet convincer, it's probably because of the amount of attention pup still gets for barking even when corrected. In that case, you will probably need to switch to a remote training collar with a wide range of stimulation levels and a vibration setting, finding pup's working level and correcting remotely to remove the reward of your presence when they bark, and only reward with your presence when you give the treats for Quietness. Correcting remotely is the ideal way to train this, but the collar is a lot more expensive than trying a pet convincer first, it requires a lot more training knowledge to use the collar safely and effectively, and many dogs do just as well with only the air spray so don't need the more expensive option. How to find the right level and fit for a remote training collar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Dior,Kane,shadow,boyo
Siberian Husky
3 Months
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Question
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Dior,Kane,shadow,boyo
Siberian Husky
3 Months

It’s 40F is it too cold to take my puppies out for a while?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
257 Dog owners recommended

Hello! About 20-30 minutes is completely fine. As they get older, they can stay out longer than that on cooler days.

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