You may have heard that Huskies are escape artists and brushed it off as a myth. Sorry to say, but it isn’t a myth.
Huskies are well-known escape artists who are perfectly capable of scaling high fences, digging escape holes, or finding some other way to escape your property.
Knowing how to stop a Husky from escaping requires an understanding of why a Husky has a desire to escape in the first place.
In this guide, let’s look at why Huskies are escape artists and how to deal with it.
Why Do Huskies Try to Escape
Huskies try to escape because they are bored, restless, or curious about something outside your yard. A Husky’s intelligence and curiosity can quickly turn them into escape artists.
The first thing to understand when dealing with an escape artist Husky is that it’s in their nature. They’re curious dogs and if something outside of your yard grabs their attention, they will want to investigate.
Your Yard Isn’t Interesting Enough
As you will see later, keeping a Husky mentally stimulated is a powerful way to stop them from trying to escape.
A common misperception I see online is that some people think that having a big yard is enough to keep a Husky entertained while you’re away.
Some people think that a Husky won’t try to escape if they have a big yard to run around in.
As I explain in this article, a Husky does not care about a big yard unless you’re in it to play with them.
We have a large yard and our first Husky still escaped more times than I want to admit.
A large yard won’t stop a Husky from wanting to escape and see the outside world up close.
Not Enough Exercise
Huskies are energetic dogs and love to run or walk. They are perfectly happy to roam for hours if they could.
If a Husky doesn’t get enough exercise every day, they have no way to release the built-up energy inside them.
This built-up energy can be released in ways mistakenly seen as ‘bad behavior’ such as digging holes, ripping up furniture, or escaping.
If your Husky has been trying to escape your property, take a look at their exercise routine.
Not enough exercise can be a sure way to frustrate your Husky and drive their desire to escape and roam around.
Not Enough Mental Stimulation
Huskies have a desire to escape because they are curious. If a Husky’s curiosity isn’t stimulated by you, then they turn to the outside world.
Some Husky owners mistakenly think that a Husky’s training is over once they learn to sit and stay.
If you stop training and mentally stimulating your Husky with games and reward-based challenges, then it should be no surprise if your Huskies develop behavior issues as digging or escaping.
Even if you manage to secure your property and stop your Husky from escaping, unless you deal with the underlying problem you’ll simply create new issues.
The below photo is an example of what might happen if you don’t provide your Husky with enough mental stimulation.
Huskies who are bored or aren’t given enough mental stimulation are significantly more likely to escape. If they can’t escape, they’ll turn their built-up energy to other areas such as digging or destruction.
Common Mistakes When Dealing With Escape Artist Huskies
Before we look at what to do to try and stop your Husky from escaping, it is important to look at what not to do.
There are some things that can make the problem worse, so make sure you avoid these things.
Don’t Punish an Escaped Husky
If your Husky escapes and you find them, your natural instinct will be to punish them. Resist that instinct.
Punishing an escaped Husky is a huge mistake.
It’s a mistake because your Husky won’t understand why you’re punishing them. They may have escaped hours ago, so in their mind, you’re punishing them for a different reason.
It is far more likely that your Husky will think you’re punishing them for coming to you!
Think about it from your Husky’s point of view – they’ve been having a great time roaming around, then when they see you and run over to you, they’re greeted with a punishment.
Of course, you will be angry and frustrated, but your Husky won’t understand. They will only think that they were wrong to come to you, which can lead to worse behavior.
Don’t Use Electric Fences
If a Husky is climbing a fence or digging under it, some Husky owners believe the solution is to use an electric fence.
The problem is that an electric fence only deals with the symptom and not the underlying problem.
The underlying problem of an escaping Husky is a lack of exercise or mental stimulation. Yes, an electric fence may stop your Husky from escaping, but it creates other problems.
A strong-willed Husky will repeatedly shock themselves in attempts to escape and the frustration of getting shocked over and over can lead to serious problems.
Don’t try to cover up the problem with an electric fence. It doesn’t stop a strong-willed Husky and it can create serious behavior changes in your Husky that will be worse to deal with.
Don’t Leave Your Husky in a Crate
Crate training is a useful strategy for a variety of situations, but it isn’t a long term strategy for an escaping Husky.
While a crate will stop your Husky from escaping your property, it doesn’t stop your Husky from wanting to escape.
If your Husky is trying to escape, crating them doesn’t deal with the underlying problem. This can quickly create other behavior issues.
While crating isn’t a long-term solution, it can be part of a short-term solution while you’re working on the advice covered below.
Remember that a Husky shouldn’t be crated during the day for longer than 6 hours. So if you’re hoping to crate your Husky while away at work, it isn’t recommended.
How to Stop a Husky From Escaping
The good news is that it is possible to stop a Husky from trying to escape. It will take time and effort depending on your Husky, but the behavior can be stopped.
There are three main ways to stop a Husky from escaping:
- Drain your Husky’s energy every day with exercise
- Mentally stimulate your Husky every day
- Fortify your property line
Most people focus on fortifying their property to try and prevent a Husky from escaping. While that is part of the solution, the focus needs to be on training and exercise.
Drain Your Husky’s Energy With Exercise
A well-exercised Husky is significantly less likely to try and escape. They lose their desire to escape.
Our first Husky was a notorious escape artist. I would often get home from school, only to find that he wasn’t there.
I would then have to jump on my bike and go searching for him. Sometimes it would take me hours to find him roaming around the neighborhood. Fortunately, I found him every time.
He suddenly stopped escaping after we made one simple change to his routine: we started walking him in the mornings instead of only in the evenings.
A 30-minute walk in the morning was all it took to completely change his desire to escape.
The change was so sudden that it became crystal clear to us that his desire to escape was a result of his boredom or built-up energy.
If you already walk your Husky in the morning, look at how tired your Husky is after the walk.
You may need to go for a longer walk to drain excess energy or try running with your Husky.
Exercising your Husky in the morning and evening can stamp out a lot of bad behavior.
Mentally Stimulate Your Husky
Huskies escape as a result of not getting enough mental stimulation.
Huskies are intelligent dogs (although incredibly stubborn) and love to be mentally stimulated.
Playing games and setting challenges for your Husky is a great way to not only teach them new things but to also stop negative behaviors such as escaping or digging holes.
A mentally stimulated Husky won’t feel the need to dig holes or try and scale a fence.
Here are some things you can try to keep your Husky mentally stimulated:
- Train your Husky to come in different situations (eg: at the park, beach, noisy environments, etc.). Reinforcing this behavior is important if you’re having problems with your Husky running away. You want your Husky to come to you in any situation and not just when you’re at home. This will also help to avoid situations where your Husky might run away.
- Train your Husky to stay calm. I know this sounds impossible, but it is simple if you are consistent with your training. If your Husky is overly excited when somebody arrives home or you’re about to take them for a walk, don’t encourage that behavior. It trains them to think that the world outside of your property is more interesting than at home. This leads to a desire to escape.
- Give your Husky something to chew on. Huskies love to chew and it provides a lot of mental stimulation. Giving your Husky a suitable bone or toy to chew on when you leave home can curb the desire to escape. Read this guide on the types of bones Huskies can and can’t chew.
The key to success when trying to train a Husky is consistency. Some days your Husky will be stubborn and won’t comply. Try again the next day and make sure you follow best training practices.
While it may seem like hard work compared to putting up a higher fence, it actually deals with the problem. A happy Husky won’t want to escape.
Fortify Your Property
This action is covered last because the other two actions above are far more important in dealing with an escaping Husky.
Fortifying your property may help prevent your Husky from escaping, but it must be used in combination with increased exercise and mental stimulation, or else your Husky will take their frustration out in other ways.
Stop your Husky from digging under the fence: If your Husky is digging holes, it’s a clear sign of frustration. Some people think that digging is normal Husky behavior. It isn’t.
Try out placing or spraying the fence line with various digging deterrents to see what stops the behavior.
It takes trial and error to figure out what deters your Husky. Placing our Husky’s poop along the fence was enough (in combination with increased exercise), while other Husky owners have used various sprays such as citronella oil, citrus, or vinegar.
Stop your Husky from climbing fences: how to stop your Husky from climbing your fence depends on how they currently get over your fence.
For example, if your Husky needs a running start to jump the fence, having a short fence a few feet away from the main fence will be enough to stop them from getting a running start.
If your Husky grabs the top of the fence and climbs up with their hind legs, you need something that stops your Husky from getting a grip on the top of the fence.
The below photos show two effective approaches:
Adding some fencing that curves back (shown in the left photo) will stop your Husky from grabbing the top of the fence and climbing up.
The pipes in the right photo spin freely, which stops your Husky from being able to grip the fence.
It’s important to remember to keep your Husky safe. Some Husky owners have tried to add chicken wire or barbs to the top of their fence to discourage their Huskies from climbing.
While the below photo isn’t too bad, imagine if the end of those wires weren’t bent down. They could easily scratch or slice open a Husky’s soft belly.
This can quickly become a serious medical issue as it won’t stop a stubborn Husky. If the fence could pierce your Husky’s belly, it’s not a good option.
The above photo should make it clear how easily a Husky can hurt themselves trying to climb or escape through a fence.
Make sure any modifications you make to your fence keeps your Husky safe.
Microchip Your Husky
In the worst-case scenario, you want people to be able to identify your Husky if it escapes.
While dog tags should be fine in most situations, what if it gets caught in a branch or fence and comes off?
Make sure your Husky is microchipped so if somebody finds it, they can get it identified.
Escape Artist Huskies FAQ
Here are some common questions about Huskies and their escape artist behavior.
Can Huskies Find Their Way Home?
A Husky can have trouble finding their way home because they love to roam and are naturally curious. This means even if a Husky doesn’t get lost, they may prefer to keep exploring rather than find their way home.
My first Husky managed to escape many times before I fixed the problem and he never found his way home. Every time I had to go looking for him and every time I found him happily roaming around.
Keep in mind that every Husky is different and there’s a chance your Husky will find their way home.
Can a Husky Jump a 6ft Fence?
While a Husky can only jump around 4ft, it is possible for a Husky to climb a 6ft fence. It depends on whether the Husky can get a good grip on the top of the fence and if they can get a decent grip with their hind legs.
Instead of thinking whether a Husky can jump a fence, think about whether your Husky can climb it. A Husky can easily climb a 6ft fence or higher if the fence provides decent grip for their paws.
If you have a 6ft fence and are worried about your Husky climbing it, read the earlier advice on how to modify the fence to prevent your Husky from climbing it.
Think about it this way, if a child can climb over the fence, your Husky probably can as well.
Do Huskies Get Lost Easily?
Huskies can get lost easily due to their curiosity and desire to roam. While Huskies are intelligent, they can quickly become distracted and lose their bearings. Huskies can easily get lost because they are perfectly happy to constantly roam around and explore.
Other Huskies may know how to make their way back home, but they choose not to. Instead of going home, they choose to continue to roam around. This makes it seem like they’re lost when they’re just having fun exploring.
As a Husky owner, I know this can be frustrating. If your Husky has escaped, there is still the chance that they make their way back home.
Do All Huskies Try to Escape?
While Huskies are well known for running away, not all Huskies will try to escape. A well-exercised and mentally stimulated Husky will have little desire to escape.
While my first Husky was an escape artist, he stopped trying to escape after we increased his exercise routine to include long morning walks.
Our current Husky, Sasha, has never attempted to escape and seems to have no desire to run away. Every Husky is different, so if somebody says that all Huskies try to escape, that’s not true.