In order to keep your husky or sled dog healthy and happy, and your house, garden and sanity intact, it is important to keep them entertained and stimulated. The Siberian husky and other breeds of sled dog have a reputation for being destructive, which indeed they can be. Most of the time destructive behavior arises when they are BORED!
A bored husky or sled dog will find a way to entertain itself, and that may be by stripping the wallpaper off your walls or eating your shoes/bed/sofa/house etc. So… the best thing to do – keep them entertained so they don’t go looking for their own fun. Chewing provides mental stimulation for dogs, as well as keeping their teeth clean and their jaws strong. Chewing during puppyhood and juvenile growth seems to be important for good jaw development and a correct “bite”.
Sled dogs will usually find their own ‘chew toys’ of you don’t provide them with something adequate to get their teeth into. Don’t let your dog decide for themselves what to chew on, because they will probably pick something inappropriate – your favorite shoes/your mobile phone/the TV remote. Instead offer them something acceptable from the outset.
While on the subject, it is important to remember to keep TV remotes/cell-phones etc WELL OUT OF YOUR DOG’S REACH!!!! Apart from the annoyance and expense of having to replace them, they can be very harmful to dogs. The batteries inside contain acid which is very dangerous, and your dog may swallow small parts which can cause harm internally.
While it is nice to invest in a few high quality, durable toys that will last for a long time, there are many things you can give your do to play with that will keep them quite happy. Dish-towels tied in knots make great toys for tug-of-war. Make sure that anything you give to your husky to play with or chew will not break into sharp pieces orsmall bits that could be swallowed.
Puppies need toys to chew on to ‘cut their teeth’ and to help their jaws develop properly. During teething you can put their toys in the freezer before you give them to them to help soothe their gums. For an extra treat, Kong toys filled with a yummy treat and then frozen are great for pups and adult dogs.
Kongs are resoundingly popular amongst husky and sled dog owners. They are VERY DURABLE chew toys that come in a range of sizes and can be stuffed with all sorts of yummy foods and treats which your dog will spend much time trying to extract!
In all our time as sled dog owners, to my knowledge we have never had to throw a Kong away because it was damaged or worn out: they’re definitely worth investing in!
We go for medium sized Kongs for our adult Sibes, and ‘giant sized’ Kongs are great for Malamutes. Puppy Kongs are made of softer rubber and so are perhaps more suitable for young pups. ‘Extreme’ Black Kongs are designed to be extra durable for extremely determined dogs.
For oldies, the Senior Kong is now available.
There are many things you can stuff a Kong with, from regular canned dog food to home-made delicacies.
One really good tip is to stuff the Kong with something soft and the stick it in the freezer for a couple of hours. Give it to your dog once the filling has frozen and it will take them a lot longer to get all the good stuff out! Frozen Kongs seem to go down especially well on hot summer days.
Rope ToysNylabone chew toys are very much appreciated by our dogs. They are made from durable plastic that has various ‘flavors’. We still have some Nylabones that we bought over a year ago that are pretty much intact. We buy the ‘Wolf’ or ‘Giant’ sized Nylabones for our Siberians – they seem to prefer chicken flavor, and – suprisingly to us – really like the ‘original’ vanilla flavour too. For more determined dogs, large or extra large Nylabones for ‘powerful chewers’ are also recommended. Nylabones for puppies are available too, including more flexible items for teething pups.
Rope Toys are really good toys for interacting with your dog. Playing tug of war is a favorite with out lot, even if we only let them win on occasion! They also chew on rope toys quite a bit, which is said to be helpful in keeping their teeth clean. Scruffers Rope Toys are widely available and pretty inexpensive – we find they tend to last longer than other non-branded products.