Monday, February 09, 2009

The Siberian Husky and the Prey Drive: a Public Service Announcement

I recently got a comment on my blog from a new Husky owner who asks why a Husky would chase and kill mice, bugs, and other small, furry animals. The Siberian Husky has a very strong prey drive - that is, a chasing and hunting instinct. The Siberian Husky Club of Victoria has an excellent explanation of the Siberian Husky's prey drive:
Prey drive is simply an innate hunting behaviour learned over many hundreds of generations in harsh arctic conditions, where Siberian Huskies were often kept on a lean existence. This was especially so over summer when the Siberian tribes had no use of sled dogs and often turned them loose to hunt for themselves. Because the prey drive is instinctive and cannot be 'unlearned', no amount of training is likely to effectively suppress this desire.
Of course, prey drive behaviour is not appropriate to modern urban living, but the dogs don't know that! The only solution is to not let the opportunity present itself - keep your Siberian Husky away from these other animals at all times.
Ineffectively managed predatory behaviour can be the cause of much misery when a Siberian Husky is allowed to escape and kills or maims another person's pet. The dog can't be blamed for this - it's just obeying its natural instinct. Be aware and don't allow the situation to arise in the first place!
This instinct cannot be "trained" out of a Siberian Husky. The breed is what it is. The prey drive is a big part of what makes it a terrible idea to ever have a Siberian Husky off leash in an unfenced area - you never know when an off leash Siberian will spot a rabbit or squirrel and run across the street, regardless of traffic.
Many places also have leash laws requiring dogs to be kept on their property, and on leash or under the owner's control when not on their own property. A Siberian that escapes and hurts or kill's a neighbor's cat or farm animal could be labeled dangerous or potentially dangerous, quarantined by the local animal control authorities, and may need to wear a muzzle when in public after the incident. This process is usually very costly to the owner as well.
So do the right thing and keep your Siberian in a secure fence or on a leash, always make sure your dog is wearing a collar with a tag, and if you can't keep your dog, please look for a reputable Siberian Husky rescue group to help you find a new home for your dog!


  1. Yummy stuff!

    But yes we shouldn't be pawmitted to khause harm to the property of others...


  2. So far I haven't had much success! I'm either too slow or not sneaky enough!


  3. Mum wants to know why anyone would get a dog without researching the breed first. Honestly.

    Huffle Mawson

  4. Now if we could only get the owners of those little yappetizers to understand this and keep their critters on leash or inside a real fence!!!

    Tail wags, the OP Pack

  5. Hear, hear! Not to mention that the husky I know is a world-class escape artist: there is nary a fence that can contain her.

    Thanks, Indy.