As we prepare for winter here in the palace there is much to do. Cut and stack a supply of firewood, close the swimming pool, power wash the deck, get the driveway sealed, and my least favorite…stain all the wood decks.
This weekend I tackled staining the decks. This is a laborious undertaking and to be quite frank the paintbrush and roller just don’t fit my hand. Physically yes, but mentally no. I hate painting in all forms, and then the cleanup is the cherry on the cake.
So, this morning I worked on the front deck. This deck looks down and out on a quarter acre of fenced in grass (Weeds and clover) that make up the stomping grounds for the queen and her loyal subject Mr. Cooper.
I was not in the best mood but I got busy because I’m running out of warm days. From my vantage point above the grounds I got to watch another episode of “Huskiness.” Yes, the drama between two huskies who don’t know how to paint any better than I do.
Typically, each morning begins with the distribution of frozen marrow bones. Each dog patiently awaiting these royal delicacies. It’s ritual that started with me trying to take a shower and drink at least one cup of coffee undisturbed.
You see when I get up I need some time and “QUIET” until I’m a functioning person. I don’t like to hear dogs throwing fits over anything. I like to ease into the day, not be forced into the middle of some hurricane uproar and the bones help. With the bones, I get at least 45 minutes of peace and quiet.
I guess after several months of this Queen Nikki discovered she was being hoodwinked, bamboozled, and how her royal highness was being made a fool of in front of all dogdom.
Once she discovered this, the amount of time of my tranquility has slowly being cut shorter each morning. You can dupe the Queen for a while, but eventually she sees through the plan.
Queen Nikki has practiced her Ninja skills and honed them to a fine edge. A process made easier by Cooper’s easy go attitude and lack of concentration. He knows the Queen would like to have his bone as well as hers. In fact, she would like to have every bone in all the kingdoms be under her control.
And even though Cooper knows all of this he sometimes blinks. His attention going elsewhere to some dog walkers or a cat cry.
In an instant, the Queen becomes a supersonic black and white cruise missile. She races forward with bone in mouth and snatches up his bone. Even with two bones in her mouth she releases this loud “Roooodle!” To let the whole block, know that she is still, “The Queen!”
I’m still amazed that this little mouth stuffed with two bones can achieve the volume of a marching band on steroids! The tone is that of a dying calf in a mud hole. I’m surprised animal control has not been by to check on complaints of animal cruelty.
To add to this is Mr. Cooper. He Roo-Roos constantly until I come out and save him from the Queen.
I run out to stop the noise…the noise of two dogs that sounds like a pack being boiled in oil.
I’ve talked of this before but today things changed. If you followed me you know I’ve said how huskies never stay the same for long. They think and they learn. Even Cooper who is not so fast in the brain department learns and adjust his plans. It just takes him a bit longer to solve a problem than Nikki.
Today was Coopers day. I had a seat in the balcony of my deck and got to see the whole episode.
Now, I’m staining the railing and not really happy about it. Nikki has buried one bone and stolen Coopers as an extra bonus. She is laying down there in front of him taking her time knowing on it.
Coop is not happy and begins his “Roo-Roo” speech. I told him to shut-up as I’d only had one cup of coffee. This he does and plops down with his head on his front paws eyeing the Queen.
I take notice because he actually did something I told him. But for once his brain is clicking and I was lucky enough to witness it.
He rolls around and plays like that bone really doesn’t matter to him. He’s looking around goes trotting off snooping the fence line and such. This bother’s the Queen because her fun of teasing has ended.
The Queen is momentarily off her guard at this new display or lack of attention to her and the bone.
So, Coop comes back and plops down, not seeming to care in the least about the bone she stole from him. Only 3 or 4 feet separate them as he gets up and does the husky stretch. First the front leg bow, and then the rear leg stretches.
Dumbfounded Nikki watches him with the bone between her front legs. He appears to not even notice as he appears to be just trotting by her.
With the reflexes of a cat he snatches up the bone from between her legs and goes into full after-burner. He is 50 yards away before she even realizes what had just happened!
I swear she was blowing smoke out of her nostrils when she went after him. The Queen was pissed off!
Her one subject had just duped her and was quickly vanishing with the bone!
I was laughing as she chased him all over the property. Now Coop is 20 pounds heavier but several inches taller with a huge stride. Whenever she got close he just exploded in a burst of speed that made her even more mad.
After several laps around the acre of ground both of them were exhausted. Coop dropped the bone and settled down for a nap. Nikki was tired as well and joined him.
No walk was needed this morning after that display of husky sprinting. Cooper was content that he’d outfoxed his tormentor.
I went back to work on the deck. Another chapter in the behavior of my dogs logged in my head.
They are quite the pair, and I’m happy I got to see Coopers revenge.
I ran across this meme the other day when I was looking for husky pictures, and it reminded me of why I went to the trouble to write a book. This is exactly the reason for it. So many people buy or obtain a husky and then expect it to act like a plain old lap dog.
I tried to attack the problem of so many displaced huskies at the source. My mistake was thinking that most people would do some research before they get one. When I want to get something that I have no experience with, like a car or scuba gear or whatever, I research it first.
I looked for a book on huskies that wasn’t a detailed, never ending encyclopedia of information, I didn’t understand. I wanted the basics…good and bad. Not a book covering up the challenges of owning a husky. I tried to write such a book, its small… but I told the truth from my own lessons I learned.
Alas, most people don’t research. They impulse buy based on beauty or cuteness. I suppose they also buy a freshly painted car that looks fantastic, but won’t run 5 out of 7 days a week.
This meme I posted makes me sad, and makes me think about how much an owners anger can turn into abuse of a husky. Just because they don’t have a clue about what a husky really is. That’s why I always try hard to help someone especially a new owner.
You should do the same. We may not have all the answers, but we have the experience. I’m pretty sure If I don’t know the answer I’ll be able to find someone who does.
That’s the reason behind FaceBook groups. If we can help each other, or even just one person and their husky… we are helping both of them.
Some can do rescue, most of us can’t. But maybe we can save some dogs by sharing our knowledge and stop somebody from giving up on their dog. We do that by helping them understand their husky. Understanding is most of the battle.
And by helping and supporting those who think the devil just moved into their nice peaceful home. It’s not the devil…it’s a Husky!
I was inspired when I saw this picture of my friend’s new baby husky. A whole lot of things boiled up in my head about this new little life.
I’ve been down this road before, having raised two pups in the last two years. Just like having children I took the lessons I learned from the first baby, and it made the second one much easier. Just like any new parent I made mistakes, and tried to learn from them.
There is so much at stake with a new life under your care. It’s even more difficult with a husky because you are not of the same race, you don’t speak the same language, and you might not even understand what a husky is.
Like all animals Huskies have instincts that drive them more than reasoning ability. Thousands of years of DNA is hardwired into them. How else would a first-time mom know how to take care of the young during birth?
A husky will reach the mental capacity of a two-year-old human at best…and be armed with fang & claw and a pro athlete’s abilities. They truly are an empty cup waiting to be filled. What you do in that first year is critical to the tone you set for your new husky as they grow and learn to adapt into our world.
Unlike a human child, that little bundle of fur will start to grow at a fast rate. That mind will be empty but soak up information like a sponge. A lot changes take place in a husky’s mind that first year. What you do in that first year will probably last for a lifetime. Think about that and re-read it again. What you do that first year will last for a lifetime!
Potential, your husky has so much potential. They can be a positive member or a negative member of your pack (Family) Do the work that first year, and your life will be so much easier the next year and from there on.
You are the leader; it is your job to figure out this dog you brought home. You have the big brain that the husky does not. He is instinctual from his DNA, and it’s up to you to do the rest. Not an easy task, but if you put in the work now it will pay off in the long run.
Remember a husky is NOT HUMAN! This is the biggest mistake all dog owners make!
To put human standards of reasoning and intelligence on them is not fair, and will not work. Treat them with the compassion and understanding you would give a two-year-old toddler. Learn what a husky is and why he acts like he does.
Do not expect them to think like you do! For if you do, you will be very disappointed.
You cannot expect any dog to suddenly forget thousands of years of DNA because you don’t like it.
You can’t use reasoning like you would a human child. They are DOGS! I can’t stress that enough.
A husky is a unique animal that is also intelligent enough to know how to fit into your family if you guide him properly. It’s up to you to understand this breed, and to work within the limits of their intelligence and your own natural instinct to baby them like your own child.
This leads to discipline problems, and anger and frustration on your part. And the truth of the matter is you are the one who caused it because you tried to make them human. You tried to treat them fair as you would a child. It’s very easy to get caught up in that because me and you love them so much. But you must remain firm.
Be fair, be consistent, and above all be patient. Rome was not built-in a day, and neither will be your husky. A husky is challenging because the normal dog rules don’t apply. He has the capability to question your commands, the intelligence to ignore them, and the biggest loving heart you will ever know. But if you don’t understand the breed, then you are bound to have some problems.
The potential of your new puppy is in your hands. What you get in the end will be a product of your work… or lack of work that first year. It is all up to you as the owner of this empty little being waiting to join your world and family.
As you begin a journey with this amazing dog, don’t forget that “Trials and Tribulations” will join you on your journey, but your Husky will help you if you help him/her. It is a partnership, keep that in mind as you raise them.
Music by Bruce Springsteen
I’ve told you so many times that I just sit back in my garage and observe the Husky. I’m like a fly on the wall with a camera. I let my dogs be dogs, some people don’t do that, and you are missing some important life lessons.
When Nikki was a puppy I kept her sequestered for the most part because Cooper was just too rough with her. She was growing fast, and so was her spirit. At the age of six months I put them back together in the garage to see what would happen. After a few battles for dominance, they took a nap together.
This may not seem so important to you, but let me tell you what I saw.
I can’t speak to all dogs but I can to speak to the actions of my Huskies. This breed is fierce and full of life. They live on the edge, never giving any quarter, or quitting. The pack is a family of sorts, it doesn’t matter if they are all Huskies but they seem to recognize one of their own.
It’s sort of like some families. You fight, and maybe disagree intensely! But then you all sit down to Sunday dinner that seems to melt away for a short while. It’s the right of blood…to a dog it’s the same only the pack is family. The pack is everything!
They fight and try to climb the ladder just like we do in our world. They have ambitions as much as anyone who works in the corporate world. The difference is when the fighting is over, they are happy with the outcome. They don’t hate like we do, they accept their place in the natural order of things.
Although humans command the highest intelligence on earth, it comes with a price. Sure, we can solve complex problems, we can send men to the moon, and invent amazing machines. But we’ve lost some of the basics of life.
Dogs and animals in general are not burdened by complex intelligence. The live, love, reproduce, and die. It’s just four simple things that seem to get lost in our own lives. Humans fight, and try to outdo the neighbor. It’s all about the material things in life, and not what matters most.
Having a pack to belong to, to be a member of the “Family” no matter what your station, is more important than being alone to a dog. The pack may not particularly like every member, but they accept them because they are one of them. They will never desert them or leave them alone.
Your own family may scorn you for being you. Especially if you do not happen to fit their mold of what you should be in their eyes. That’s okay, because it’s your life to live not theirs.
Expectations from your family, boss, society, and just about anyone else with an opinion, cloud what is truly important in life. Higher intelligence isn’t always correct.
I cannot change who I am, any more than my Huskies can change who they are.
We are all unique, and subject to be who we are. No matter who wants us to be something different than what we were put on this earth to be.
I’m part of the pack, the leader, even if I must enforce acceptable behaviors my furry friends. Do they hate me for maintaining discipline? No, they expect nothing less than fair and equal treatment.
They give you love and acceptance, but they expect the same in return. A bad member of the pack who breaks this rule will be turned out. There is no worse punishment to a Husky than being left alone.
They want and need the security of their pack mates. Someone has their back if you want to look at it that way. It’s a two-way street in the dog world, and in ours.
When the daily battles for dominance and pack order have been fought. My Huskies lie down at the end of the day, and enjoy being close to each other. I’m with them, and they feel secure enough to let me see the loving part of their lives. I feel very privileged to be part of it.
I observe and learn what most of us have lost.
The lesson I’ve learned is about being true to what you are. You cannot change who, or what you are, no matter what anyone else wants.
When the day’s battles are over, huddle close to those who accept you into their pack. Even if you don’t always agree with them, they accept you for whom and what you are. Your soul belongs to you, it makes you what you are. Dogs know this, they don’t even think about it…they are what they are.
Be what you were meant to be…hold those close who except that, and ditch those who do not.
Everyone has a pack, a band of brothers and sisters who feel the same as you. Embrace your life, don’t doubt it…just live it!
Now I can only speak of huskies, I have never owned a Mal but I don’t think they are that much different other than size and a few personality traits. So, temper anything I tell you with your own knowledge of your dogs.
For thousands of years the northern breeds had one job. And that was to pull things, and for that they were fed and protected like any member of the family. The family of humans and dogs made up the pack. Each relied on the other to live in the harsh lands of ice and snow.
This is the essence of these dogs. Thousands of years of DNA drives them in ways you may not have considered. This is what a northern breed does better than any other dog on the planet. They survive and they work just like all of their ancestors did for thousands of years.
They need you, and you need them. A partnership that was formed many years ago. To really understand them you need to understand where they came from. How they survived and the ties they have to man. They have needs that are very basic, and for that they will lay down their lives for you if called upon. They will run until dead if you are a bad leader and ask it of them. That is a husky and probably a Mal as well.
They were bred to think, not go quietly into the night by a Musher with no clue. This saved many lives as the dog knew better than to follow a command that would kill the pack. And that is why a husky will look at you and think about what you ask of him. Then he will make his own decision of what is best and do it regardless of your commands and cussing.
There is nothing simple about these dogs. They think and they have their own way about almost everything. They are not slaves and will let you know it if you are a bad leader. You have to meet them half way. You have to be an active member of the team, and a partner, not a God who delivers ultimatums.
Keep this in mind as you make your journey with them. You want to mush dogs? Then you need to understand them as much as you can.
The first thing is to teach them some commands. This might seem as simple as using a turn signal but this is where it all begins. It’s not really all that hard as they are very intelligent and learn quickly.
Start with this: Gee means turn right. Haw means turn left. On-by, means straight ahead, Leave it, means you don’t want them to eat the dead squirrelly on the road, and “Whoa!” should be self-explanatory.
You teach by walking because speed will kill you. You walk and you give a command like, “Gee!” then you turn 90 degrees and you cross the road or turn a corner. A forceful command, not a wish. Command voice is command.
Then you practice “Haw!” the same way and mean it. They will follow and soon they will be doing it on command.
This is what you do before you ever hook them up to wheels. You walk and you work until you are confident that they will do it out of repetition. To not do so will end in disaster, at dog speed you don’t have time to argue the point. Things happen fast and you better have control.
My little video is very basic, but you will get the idea from it. You follow your own trail and modify it to fit your own dog(s) and then we will get to wheels.
I hope this helps you on your journey. The trail is full of dangerous things for you and your dog. But by training you will get better and better…you will become a team that trust each other. You will reach the point that makes you one, as you overcome obstacles. You will become as one, and that is when the magic happens.
I pen this post with a heavy heart. I see the future for my beloved huskies and it is not one that I would choose for them.
If a husky has any faults that will do him in, it is beauty. When God made this dog in all his glory he could not have done any better. The husky is a magnificently beautiful dog, but that is only skin deep. So many people buy them based on this. As beautiful as they may be, that is not even close to what they really are.
What lies beneath that exterior is one amazing animal. A free independent dog that thinks and probably was not designed for apartment life. For thousands of years they lived in lands that would kill most humans. They not only lived but thrived because they were bred for this very purpose. A purpose that most people don’t like or even understand.
They are constantly being bred to meet the demand. But not being sold to people who will give them what they need. They need to run and pull things. That is what they do and it pains me that nobody seems to care. People complain about how they destroy things and dig, and pace around.
It’s because they are not being allowed to be who they are. They are being forced into a world that they don’t want or understand. Sitting on a couch and looking pretty is not a husky. Yes, they can do that but only if what is inside of them is satisfied. The need to run, the need to explore, the need to be free.
It seems like human nature is to destroy things. To force our will and desires on to others no matter the cost. We have an idea of what is perfect in our world, and we find a way to force that on those less strong.
Sadly, that is the fate of the husky. He is to be looked upon and not heard. No matter how loud his heart speaks… it will be ignored, for he is only a beast we control. And if he can’t be controlled we will cast him aside and let someone else deal with his pain.
Now you may speak of all the inequalities in this world of ours. Black lives matter, right wing, left wing, gays, and transgendered. But who speaks for those who cannot?
We do, or we should. That is what God would do…he would speak for those who cannot. He would stand up for those forgotten, and those who slowly slip to the edge of the abyss. He created the husky for a purpose, and to deny that is truly a crime.
You cannot change a person or dog into something they are not. You should rejoice in what they are for it is unique and special. They have no voice, they have no vote, but you do.
Do not let this soul slip from us and become something less from what he was designed to be. Let him be what he was meant to be. Let him run, whether it be on a skateboard, bike, or anything else you can figure out.
Huskies need to run…just like they have for thousands of years. It is what they are, and to deny that is wrong. That is their job and what they do best. They are not ornaments, or conversation pieces for dinner with your boss.
They are Huskies!
Find a place for them in your world. Meet them half-way because they need you to help them fit into this world. And they have to be what God intended them to be.
If not, they will soon be gone, just a shell of what they were.