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Forum THE LOUNGE Siberian Huskies and Bunnies?

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    • Nova
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         My fiance and I are thinking of getting a dog next year. We want to get a Siberian Husky type dog and raise it from a pup in order to get the dog adjusted to living harmoniously with our rabbits. We have two rabbits but may end up with a trio someday. They are not free range rabbits, they do have a nice cage set up but we let them have (supervised) free range run of the living room for at least 3 hours a day.

        I was getting some Christmas deals on holiday dog clothes for my buns Christmas photoshoot this year (lol) when one of the rescue volunteers was talking to me about her Huskies. I told her the Husky is the dog breed I want and is best suited for me, but when I told her that I’m a very serious rabbit lover/owner, she said NO WAY! To stay away from the Husky breed.

        I asked specifically why, and her reason was that her Huskies “love to chase down any small animal that wanders into the yard.” 

         

        But… those are wild animals, running around a backyard like prey   and her Huskies weren’t raised around other pets. 

         

        I’ve been doing exhaustive Google researching and on the Animal Planet website and others, it basically concludes that Huskies will tolerate and be friendly with other household pets so long as they are raised that way. 

         

        Any advice?


      • Monkeybun
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          I am very wary about having a large dog near any rabbit, they are conveniently toy-sized for dogs, and even the gentlest of dogs can get a bit over excited and hurt a bunny by accident.


        • Nova
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            I agree… I hate to sound partial but if I had to choose between my dog and my buns, I’d choose my buns over the dog. I’m just a very serious rabbit owner.
            coincidently I am also a serious dog owner, just, prefer rabbits most. I need a dog because I’m recovering from a health issue and need to get back out there and excersie – jog, walk, etc. I even would like to take my dog mountain biking with me, and I will also do a lot of walking in the cold…it’s mostly cold here. So the Husky will be perfect for me, I just dont know about its prey instincts.
            It’s freaking me out to think about it, but then again my rabbits do live in a (large) locked cage, and when they are out, I am supervising them.

            ugh :\


          • LoveChaCha
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              Huskies are known to have extremely high prey drives. You will need a very big fenced backyard, as they have A LOT of energy and need a ton of exercise. My boyfriend’s sister has a half Husky, half Lab and she can’t even keep up with the dog at times. I also had a former coworker that has a Husky, and it is the most mellow dog she has ever had.

              I think it depends upon the personality of the dog, but it is really going to take a lot of training for a Husky. They indeed have a mind of their own.


            • Nova
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                Right. And, they are very smart. So I’d have the dog’s crate pretty secured and the buns’ cage even more secure. I’ve had dogs all my life growing up as a kid – big ones, little ones- and never had a problem with my buns at playtime, even when they weren’t raised together. JUST so long as I supervised them.

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmS-fahggIQ – here’s an actual video of a bun napping…on his back…on top of a Husky. I’m guessing it is possible, but will require rigorous training and infinite supervision during Bunny playtime. Perhaps even taking him outside when the buns have playtime. (or crating the dog in summer – Huskies can’t tolerate heat)


              • LoveChaCha
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                  I am not saying that you shouldn’t get one That is definitely your choice. It is good that you are doing research and asking questions


                • Monkeybun
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                    Lots of research, and tons of training and patience and time I suspect. If you are getting a puppy, wait until it is fully grown and has basic obedience training to even introduce the critters together at a distance. Would hate for an over excited puppy scare the buns.


                  • Nova
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                      This is what I intend to do…
                      http://www.rabbit.org/journal/1/dogs.html
                      It’s the how-to for familiarizing your dog with rabbits… and is how I’d do it…

                      …IF I even go for the dog. but. I’m still undecided. I’ve always been the kind of person that said, even a 99.999999999% risk, still carries a risk. *sigh*


                    • Nova
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                        Thinking maybe an American Eskimo dog might be a better choice than a Husky at this point. It enjoys the same activities but is easier to train and more obedient. It kind of crushes my dreams of being best friends with a Siberian Husky but my bunnies are my kids.

                        I wonder if any bunny slaves here have larger dogs, and how they handle them with their buns.


                      • LBJ10
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                          My dog is a doxie and they are said to be “not the best choice” when it comes to a dog and a small animal living together. She just loves small animals though. The chinchillas loved to play with her and she was always so excited to see them. The rabbits don’t play with her, but she is still excited to see them. LOL She will go up to them, wagging her tail, and they usually just sniff her and lose interest right away. She will lay on the floor, hoping they will come to her. Poor thing. I know huskies are said to have a high prey drive. I think it depends on the dog though. Each dog is different. My dog loves the rabbits, others might think it’s a good idea to chase them. With any dog though, I wouldn’t leave them loose together unsupervised. The rabbits have their own room and the dog is only allowed in there when someone is with her.


                        • MimzMum
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                            We just got a new puppy this month. She is part husky mixed with dachsund and pomeranian. She is a sweet thing but very wild in character. I already know there is no way I am introducing her to my three bunnies. The idea of her even being in the house with them right now scares me, but I did not bring her home.
                            That being said I also have an older (3 years) Yorkshire terrier. She lives in the room with me and my rabbits. Historically these dogs were bred to kill rats and other small animals so I was very wary of bringing them all into contact and yet my yorkie and my mini rex can be on the bed together and the dog hides under a blanket. They’ve sniffed one another with no aggression. They are never left alone together and whenever they are near one another I am on guard. It’s nerve wracking but I do feel Jenna is an unusual yorkie in her tolerance of other pets. A contradiction to her ancestry.
                            HOWEVER. I do NOT trust any dog around rabbits as they are natural opposites for centuries in the wild. I don’t know how I could live with myself if either of my dogs EVER hurt any of my rabbits. It would kill me and I would never feel the same about my dogs…not to mention how awful I would feel for my bunny.
                            The thing is, accidents happen no matter how careful we are. You have to ask yourself if it’s worth the chance that dog and rabbit would ever meet and the result be catastrophic. I don’t say this to be a downer. Just that it’s been known to happen. Please choose carefully.


                          • Kokaneeandkahlua
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                              I don’t think the size or breed matter-unless you are talking something bred specifically for hunting rabbits and small animals-that will be difficult to overcome.

                              Know your breed tendencies-Huskies and other spitz’s TEND to be aloof, so they don’t respond much/well to human emotion and tone (Contrast to some dogs who know your every mood and will respond to only your tone, early on in training). Huskies are not big hunting dogs-they are bred for a look and stamina and braving the cold. So you are on the right track with a non-terrior type breed. Now-that’s all I’ll say on breed.

                              What’s your experience training and what method are you planning on using? I would very much recommend reading Karen Pryor’s books ‘Don’t shoot the dog’ and ‘clicker training: reaching the animal mind’. Clicker training the puppy with some goals: a calm command, a drop it command, a gentle mouth command, a no-lick command. These are some of the commands I taught on my very prey driven dog that I adopted. He can very calmly go into the rabbit room and calmly eats poops and licks ears-he doesn’t try to play, try to roll, mouth them or act too excited. That took a lot of work AND I have a lot of experience training.

                              So my thoughts are -aside from tendancies, breed doesn’t play too much of a role. Genetics do certainly -but breeds are not hard wired to be the same. And you need to know your stuff so I’d suggest reading up on positive/clicker based training and start training as soon as you get that ball of fur home.

                              And last but not least-we NEED to see pictures of puppy when she/he comes home!


                            • Mandyyy
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                                From a dog lover/trainer who works with the very misunderstood Pit Bull, I say I would be careful (like with any dog) but Huskies do tend to have a high pray drive. But with ANY dog, a dog is an individual. I had a husky lab mix (both high pray drive breeds) that loved ALL animals. It also doesnt have to start off young to be good with animals, hence my abused Pittie who loves my bunny. Like I said, depends on your dogs personality. If I were you I would look for a dog that has a calm personality and has been tested (or lived) with other animals, rather then getting a husky pup you know nothing about and hoping for the best.

                                Ps: I agree with what Kokaneeandkahlua said, a lot of good info in their post.


                              • LittlePuffyTail
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                                  My friend used to breed and train Huskie sled dogs and her dogs were super gentle with humans but killed several cats that wandered into the yard and pulled the tail off her neighbor’s Sheltie. They are just one of those breeds with a lot of horror stories and I just wouldn’t risk it. Bunnies are too fragile and just having a dog chasing them can literally scare them to death.


                                • Stickerbunny
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                                    Huskies do have a high prey drive in general – BUT with proper training, you can make dogs safe around prey animals. The MOST important command to teach ANY dog around a prey animal is “leave it” – as one dog trainer who also keeps birds and writes for a magazine about prey/predator mixing said, “your dog should drop a t-bone steak at your command if you are going to let them be around your prey animals”. I had a skunk at one point and my chowchows and my doxie mix just thought of her as a very small cat (and they loved cats) and never tried to harm her, were even super gentle with her while playing and they were horrible about hunting anything they could get their teeth on (I have a scar on my stomach from my doxie mix trying to get to some ducklings while I was holding her), so prey drive doesn’t mean they won’t accept an animal either.

                                    Now, I am bias against huskies from personal experience, but I know they can be great dogs and I just had a miserable owner to blame for the dog I knew. My brothers gf was given a husky when they lived with me and my mother and that dog was not trained at all, they had no time for her. I got a scratch down my leg from thigh to just below my knee so deep I couldn’t get out of bed for about a week without tearing it open from her, she killed our geese (including the one that followed me around like a puppy), would jump the 6ft fence around the yard with no trouble at all and before she eventually ran away (yes, horrible owners, I hope she found a nicer home to stay with) she started trying to fight our little dogs.

                                    LPT, I wouldn’t judge a breed off dog sled animals – they are bred and trained way differently than pets and when your life is spent so much on a short lead tied out in the snow, you have to be “tough”.

                                    Go to a rescue that works with huskies or a VERY GOOD breeder and find one who is more of a calmer, gentler spirit and start training ASAP. Introductions should be slow and I would keep the dog on a leash to start with. Huskies are super smart and though a little head strong, proper handling would turn one into a good pet.


                                  • Nova
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                                      Wow, you guys have no idea how much I appreciate these well written and thoughtful replies.

                                      First and foremost: I don’t think I’ll ever let my dog and rabbits have playtime in the same room together. Even though I truly believe that it can be done, and dogs can be trained well, I just don’t want to do it. so my concerns will lie in training my dog to:
                                      1. not taunt or scare my rabbits, whether they are in their cage or not. e.g., not go up to the cage and start digging at them
                                      2. be indifferent to my rabbits. For example, in the event that one of my rabbits jumps out of their cage while the dog is in the same room (one of my buns loves to just dart out of the cage as soon as I open the door)
                                      3. to never try and get into my bunny’s cages when I’m not around (which shouldn’t be too hard as I’d have my dog either outside or in a crate when I’m not home).

                                      Does that sound reasonable? :\

                                      If I do someday decide on the Husky, training will be strict and daily, yeah, but I am nervous about it because I’m so ameture. I’ll need help and coaching from someone experienced.
                                      Something else worth noting, is that “animal-y” speaking – I’m the alpha in the house. My fiance is not a take-charge kind of person. He’s just passive and when an animal misbehaves, he doesn’t really do anything but complain to me about it. He’s also a white-collar worker and a couch potato. A husky would get really bored and lonely with my fiance. Frankly, it’s annoying.
                                      But this will be my dog.

                                      Stickerbunny brought up a really good idea that has crossed my mind. Working with a Husky rescue. The rescue I did talk to was for dogs and cats of any breed, which is great, but the woman acted like she wanted to “scare” me out of a Husky. I’m sure she assumed I was an ill-informed little girl who just wanted a pretty dog and would never be responsible or do my research. A lot of rescues assume this of people (and rightly so).

                                      So just to drive home how serious I am about my pets: I will never have children. My pets ARE my children. I have no family really – my sister died in 09 and the rest of my extended family lives elsewhere. I have a medical condition which I’m recovering from. Obviously, I will devote my time to my animals. During and after recovery from my health problems. I’ll never have to worry about a baby getting in the way. My only responsibilities are college, this old house, my fiance, my health and my pets. When I’m done with college and if health situation improves, I’ll still have seizure disorder – it’s not like it’ll ever get cured – and doctor says I can’t work full time. So. College may be exchanged someday for a part time career in my field of study. Therapist strongly urges me to have a bigger active dog instead of some lap dog (nothing against them – my mom has a Chihuahua and they are perfect for each other) that will only encourage me to be lazy. These circumstances suck, to be honest. But they are what they are, they probably won’t change, and I like animals better than people anyway.
                                      So to wrap that paragraph up – yeah, I am very devoted to my pets.

                                      An observation I’ve noticed a LOT. whenever someone mentions, a “horror story” about any dog really – I notice it almost always involves a dog that has darted off, outside, didn’t obey commands, and the owner lost control of the situation (and sometimes the dog too). This is a big no-no for Huskies. Huskies will run away never to return and should always be controlled in that manner. They will run and run and chase. So like stickerbun mentioned it was obviously the owners, not the dog, that resulted in it running away… and it wasn’t on a leash!

                                      The videos of the Pittie hanging out with the buns really says something about training, although it did give me shivers to watch.

                                      Here’s my plan. This summer I’m going to start spending time with Huskies at a husky rescue. I’m also going to try and meet other dog breeds that may be more obedient/less hyper but still fit the Spitz line (I love Spitz’s), like the Eskie for example. It’d also be good if the dog is already trained to tolerate other animals. I can get to know the owners of Huskies and learn good training methods. The books were a great suggestion too, thank you guys!
                                      It’s a start anyway, and no one can say I went off half cocked and brought a puppy home irresponsibly.. right?

                                      And for sure: I’ll definitely post pics like a troll when I do get the dog! It’s a long ways off though. I’mjust doing research now


                                    • Stickerbunny
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                                        Yeah a lot of rescues try to keep large breed dogs away from homes with other animals and huskies really do need a researched owner, so you’ll probably run into that a lot, they are just trying to make sure the owner is being realistic and huskies ARE high maintenance. If you don’t plan to let them meet without a cage in the way, honestly that training will be pretty easy. I would be wary about leaving any dog access to the bunny cage when gone, but like you said, crate or otherwise taken away if gone for extended periods. Even my highest prey drive animals were pretty quick to learn “cage means leave it alone”.


                                      • Joyfull_music
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                                          Hun feel free to contact me directly if you want more info or to talk about having a high prey drive dog with bunnies. My boxer/lab is EXTREMELY high prey drive, was NOT raised from puppy hood with Momo, but they coexist quite nicely. Maybe I will try to get you all some video of Momo playing with my dog, and her bff Seven, the giant a$$ cat.


                                        • Sam and Lady's Human
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                                            Well, it sounds like you have your heart set on it, and I don’t blame you! I would call around and get some quotes/ start some convos with local dog trainers, see what their experience is in huskies. Since you’re amateur at being the alpha dog, and they are a bit different in training than bunnies are ( for example, instead of giving them their own space, you need to dominate that space) getting a trainer would be your best bet


                                          • Nova
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                                              Stickerbun – *nods* ‘zactly..we are on the same page.

                                              Joyfull…. I will likely send you a PM in the very near future. I’m still trying to figure out if a Husky is even in my future. I’m so thankful for you reaching out to me though. I need some coaching from someone who deals with the same situation.

                                              Sam and Lady – I can’t afford a trainer, which is probably why I will buddy up to the folks who run the rescue. I can’t find a local one though. I’m from western Pennsylvania. >_<


                                            • Sam and Lady's Human
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                                                How much are trainers out there? I didn’t think it’d be more than a couple hundred for a couple good lessons?
                                                Here’s one-http://www.superiork-9.com/#
                                                I just googled Dog trainer in western Pennsylvania and a bunch came up

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                                            Forum THE LOUNGE Siberian Huskies and Bunnies?