This first installment was inspired by the need to be able to accurately pinpoint why my grandmother’s Siberian Husky pup behaves the way she does.
One theme that this book teaches is how to instill manners to the Siberian Husky. The author talks about her own experiences in either dealing with pet dogs or others’ experiences with dogs. She also emphasizes the fact that dogs do not have the same concepts of egalitarianism that humans do, rather they only respect dogs (and humans) who are alpha, so it would be best for the owner to earn that title. She also mentions that the dog will not hold it against the owner, rather will respect the owner. Though considering how this installment has not been updated, I have a problem with the word alpha when referring to dogs, when it has been confirmed that the alpha-beta dichotomy does not apply to dog/wolf packs, since a study conducted by Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center published in the same year discussed how the original study which popularized that dichotomy involved wolves who were not related, and then suggests that wolf packs are composed of family units. So, if anything, the owner would have to be the head of the family unit pack.
Morgan constantly talks about how unique the Siberian Husky is from the other breeds of dogs. Although they are distinct enough from them, they are also not (as popularly misconception goes) a wolf hybrid–though they share traits of distant ancestors who were wolves native to Siberia. However, they are unique enough to not only tolerate the cold, but thrive off it; since they are at their most happiest when being outdoors in cold weather.
The book also gets into detail about the history behind the breed and how they were traditionally used for hunting by the indigenous Chukchis of Siberia, until they were brought to Alaska and trained to push sleds through snow. Of course, there is an entire chapter dedicated to training your Siberian Husky to become a sled dog.
There is that distinctiveness that can make any Siberian Husky a unique pet, though they also have unique challenges as well. Once they run outside of the property, there is little hope of them ever returning.
Another unique problem is that they are not adapted to heat, which is explained by the fact that they have been bred in the coldest regions of the world and have a thick coat of fur. They need to be hydrated constantly during the warm weather and keeping them inside the car is not an option when it is above just 60 degrees outside.
The book also discusses the diet that Huskies should be accustomed to, and goes on to explain that it will change when the Husky gets older and cannot produce enough protein so it would need to be fed extra protein. They should also avoid all cleaning products and certain plants, since they are poisonous, as well as foods like chocolate and onions.
Morgan talks about joining any Siberian Husky clubs in the surrounding area as a way to provide support for the pet Husky. There of course would not be a Siberian Husky guide without mention of any surrounding sled dog competitions and mushing organizations. Of course, the primary purpose of the book is to not make any Siberian Husky into a liability. Although they are a friendly breed of dog, there are moments when they can be aggressive and it would need to be addressed as soon as possible.
Since Luna does not technically belong to me, I formed a bond with her as much as the rest of the family. I simply used this book to provide advice whenever there is a problem they do not know about. It seems to work, since they were already trying to find information about raising a Siberian Husky, which none of us know how to.
Since there are no sled dog competitions in New Jersey (at least ones not in the same scale as the one in Iditarod, Alaska), I have not thought about helping to have Luna trained as a sled dog. I’ll be completely honest, but I never wanted nor expected to have a Siberian Husky for a pet. The only time I would have wanted a Siberian Husky would be if I were to move to a big farm in the Alaskan frontier, marry an indigenous woman, and have a large family; and I would need supplies brought in or I need to be warned by an approaching bear.
As far as being a Jersey schmuck, I am left with a small backyard with Luna to run around in and my aunt walks her throughout the neighborhood. However, Luna does not seem to have a problem with any of that, though I am worried that the fence would not be high or deep enough, especially since Morgan notes that Huskies can dig their way out since digging is a characteristic of them. Although she has not actively started climbing the gates, she does see an opportunity to dart out once the gates are opened.
What Have I Learned?
I definitely learned more from this book about Siberian Huskies than what stereotypes could ever tell me, such as the myth that they are wolf hybrids–even though wolves do not have bright, blue eyes. I look forward to reading more for this Dummies Studies series, since I find it a unique niche that I can include in this blog in such a way as to provide introductory information to any readers–and myself. In this case, if I learned a lot about Huskies from this book, then there would be more to learn from any nearby Siberian Husky organizations. However, I would like to see this installment updated, especially since it is exactly 20 years old.
- Morgan, Diane. “Siberian Huskies For Dummies.” Wiley & Sons. 2000.