This is Yuuki. I can’t remember if I’ve introduced her before, but if not, here she is. I remember spending hours trawling in the internet trying to learn about Siberian Huskies before getting one, and even drove around most of England finding breeders and spending time with them and their dogs to really get a feel that it was the right breed for me. I’ve only ever owned Labs or mongrel large dogs. I’ve trained them myself, and sort of thought “Hmmm Huskies have a great track record with humans, there must be an amazing understanding that I can explore.”
This was mostly influenced by my mum’s accident which rendered her with brain damage. Part of her rehabilitation was to spend time with dogs so it was my focus to find a breed that had a great intuition… plus a sprinkle of 80’s influence from Wild Fang. I had been mildly obsessed with Malamutes and Huskies for a while and was finally in a position to own a dog of my own…. so I went on the wild goose chase for the right husky.
It wasn’t easy. First, I had to try to convince my boyfriend it would be a great idea to get a puppy to live with us in our top floor apartment that we had only just refurbished to a ridiculously expensive standard. We should’ve just got a kitten. But no, I was stubborn.
I hunted far and wide for the right breeder, and it was my boyfriend who coincidentally found a whole host of amazing people who we subsequently visited. We met all sorts of hardcore husky breeders, from those who had practically given their life to the dogs, through to people who just wanted to make extra money and had less of an emotional connection to their pups. It certainly made us want to meet a breeder who really cared about their dogs.
We came across a registered breeder halfway up the country who dedicated her life and soul to her beautiful huskies. We chatted for a long time on the phone, amidst watching disturbing YouTube videos of huskies tearing up furniture and causing havoc, we eventually met the puppies when they were 2 weeks old. The breeder told me how the Alpha male who wasn’t very cuddly, once spent an entire evening cuddled up to her friend which was seemingly pretty odd behaviour. Her friend later found he had a brain tumour and unfortunately passed away soon after.. This also coincided with my brother who was working on a project based on epilepsy, seizures and dog behaviour. All of which pointed to getting a dog to help my Mum… I think it was mostly my Disney-esque belief that a husky would be the right breed!
Whilst hunting and researching abut Huskies I kept reading about how they should never be let off the lead, they run away, strong pray drive etc etc. At first I didn’t believe it… I assumed that this sort of thing could be easily handled and they could be trained out of it with a rigorous training regime. So, Yuuki entered into her new life going straight into intensive training with myself and two other trainers for a year.
It was tough. We spent a lot of money on treats which she very quickly got bored of. We also trained her whilst she lived in an apartment with no garden, so her toilet training skills had to be second to none, and to our surprise, we managed it.
HOWEVER, the recall……… She was great. Fantastic at recall. She still is. When it’s on her terms. If she’s not chasing anything with a pulse, she will come back, no problem. After 2 and a half years of continual training with her, it is typical husky nature that puts her into tunnel vision and ensures she 100% cannot hear or see you.
We’ve lost her for 3 and a half hours before. In a forest with deer. We’ve lost her in the back garden and found her in a cow shed. I’ve lost her from the back garden at midnight and found her in a sheep field, using the Land Rover full beams to determine where she was (but alas, she knew the sound of the car and bolted home as she knew she was going to be beaten as she had escaped from her lead). I’ve lost her when leaving her at home and she had magically escaped by learning to open the door (Which I had forgotten to lock as I’d just moved into a new house and didn’t realise it didn’t shut properly). And more recently, I returned home to find her wearing the cat flap from a failed attempt of escaping the house.
Husky will power is incredible. She amazes me if anything. She can be within 4 feet of me and completely ignore me unless you ‘wake her up’ as it were through a squirt collar or grabbing her or something… But huskies are intelligent. They’re not fool! And she can escape and outwit you in a second.
Nevertheless, a husky, although hard work, is incredibly rewarding. She’s a gentle calm soul who takes care of my Mum when they’re together, and is calm as anything around the house and with vulnerable people. I trained Yuuki as a Pet Therapy dog and she spent the first year of her life working with young people with life limiting illnesses with me.
And now we’ve come to a point in her life where we’ve moved house again — a house specifically bought for Husky protection with a 10 foot wall around it in fact — and we’re about to get a puppy.
This puppy is a Hungarian Vizsla, we decided to go for a velcro dog. A strong, gentle hunting dog who loves people and playing rough. We met our first Vizsla a year ago whilst walking Yuuki, and swiftly made friends with a dog who played very rough with her. They could run around for hours and it was great! So after meeting more Vizslas and studying the breed a bit more, we’ve decided to get one. Now we just need to figure out how Yuuki’s husky nature, does not rub off on the Vizsla… which hopefully it won’t, if the training is fair and structured for both dogs.
Again, this new puppy is half way across the country… And Yuuki has no idea what the hell is about to happen to her little world.