Huskies are known for their goofy and dramatic behavior. They’re big dogs with even bigger personalities.
This dramatic and weird behavior, otherwise known as “reactive” behavior, is one of the signature personality quirks of this breed.
In the following article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about their reactive behavior. You’ll learn about different reactive behaviors and the reasons behind them.
Then we’ll provide a few guidelines to help you determine whether your husky’s dramatic behavior has gone too far, along with tips to help reduce inappropriate behaviors.
What is Reactive Behavior in Huskies?
Reactive behavior is any behavior your Husky shows in reaction to an event.
This can be a reaction to either good events or bad ones. The following are a few different reactive behaviors common in huskies.
- Barking, Chirping, Whining, and Other Vocalizations
- Pacing or Staring
- Childlike Behavior
- Faking Death
1. Barking, Chirping, Whining, and Other Vocalizations
Huskies, like most dog breeds, bark when they aren’t happy about something. However, many husky owners are surprised the first time they hear vocalizations that aren’t barking.
For example, huskies may also make chirping noises. These sounds seem like a husky’s imitation of bird sounds.
Your Husky may also “talk” or howl. As you spend more time with your husky, you’ll realize they have a whole range of different vocal sounds, all used in different situations. These strange vocalizations are just some of the reactive behaviors common in the breed.
They often use these sounds to get your attention. They may also use vocalizations to signal that they’re afraid of something or someone.
Softer sounds, such as low howls, may also be an indication that your husky is happy and loves you deeply.
2. Pacing or Staring
Huskies may also pace or stare, especially if they’re reacting to discomfort. They often pace when they are in pain, anxious, or feeling uncomfortable.
Pacing may also be a sign of impatience or irritation. For example, they may be irritated by a disturbing sound and pace around the room until it stops.
Huskies are also known to stare at their owners. This staring is often their way of telling you that they need more attention.
You can learn about the reason your dog is staring at you so much and what you can do about this strange behavior.
3. Childlike Behavior
Huskies can throw tantrums, acting like a petulant child. Sometimes this behavior is because they need to go to the bathroom.
Although trained huskies will signal that they need to go out, tantrum-like behavior shouldn’t be ignored (unless you want them to have an accident in your home).
Since huskies are bright dogs, they sometimes learn that tantrum-like behavior helps them get what they want. They might throw a tantrum in an attempt to get their favorite toy or treat.
4. Faking Death
Some huskies would rather pretend they’re dead than follow your command, especially if they don’t want to do what you’re asking them to do. This reactive behavior occurs when their will and your own are opposed.
It’s uncommon to see this behavior in other dog breeds, making it one of the most peculiar reactive behaviors in huskies.
This behavior may be alarming to new husky owners, especially those unfamiliar with the breed’s reactive behavior.
Why Are Huskies So Dramatic and Weird?
Now that you know what reactive behavior looks like, you’re ready to learn about why it occurs.
In general, reactive behavior happens when a husky is reacting to something in their immediate environment.
This can be something positive (like enjoying their favorite treat) or negative (like responding to a command they don’t want to carry out).
One of the biggest causes of reactive behavior is a husky’s stubbornness. They are one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs, but this means they’re also one of the most stubborn.
When they don’t want to follow through on a command, they might display dramatic behavior to avoid the unwanted action.
This isn’t true of all huskies, though. Some huskies are more obedient than others. In general, obedient huskies tend to show less reactive behavior than stubborn or strong-willed huskies.
When a husky is being stubborn, they might exhibit reactive behavior like howling, whining, tantrum-throwing, staring, or playing dead. Their behavior may remind you of a child who’s upset for not getting their way.
Huskies also exhibit weird behavior because they’re naturally energetic and playful. When they’re asked to do something, they might have a big reaction because they have so much extra energy to use up.
In some cases, their reactive behavior is an attempt to spur you into action. For example, your husky might run and bounce around to get your attention when they want to go outside to play.
When a husky is stressed, they’re likely to have reactive behaviors. They might make loud howling sounds or bark when they’re experiencing stress or discomfort. In addition to vocalizations, they may pace around the room.
If you ignore their pacing and vocalizations, they may become even more dramatic. They don’t handle stress and unease well, so they’ll do anything they can to alleviate those feelings.
When you don’t jump into action to relieve their stress, their reactive behaviors may become increasingly disruptive.
4. Immediate Environment
Everything in your husky’s immediate environment can be a trigger for reactive behavior. Sometimes their unexplained reactive behavior is the result of something in their environment.
Background noise can be particularly distressing for these reactive dogs. They may vocalize when they hear doorbells or passing vehicles.
While sounds are the most common environmental trigger for reactive behavior, anything can cause them to react. Flickering lights, strong smells, and other stimuli can make them reactive.
Sometimes there’s no real reason for your husky’s reactive behavior. They may be making noises or bouncing around for no other reason than their own self-expression.
Their curious nature and abundant energy mean they’re more likely to make sounds just to hear themselves.
While you should rule out the above causes for your husky’s dramatic behavior, sometimes they’re being dramatic just because they can. When this is the case, there may not be much you can do to curb the behavior.
When Reactive Behavior Becomes Problematic
As entertaining as reactive behavior may be, it can sometimes become problematic. The most common issue with reactive behavior happens when an owner is taking their husky for a walk.
In these cases, reactive behavior may be paired with aggression, whether toward another dog or a person.
While aggression is on the extreme end of reactive behavior, everyday reactive behaviors are troubling to some owners. If your husky’s dramatic behavior is disruptive to your household, reinforcing their obedience training may be in order.
In general, though, their reactive behavior is harmless. Many husky owners love their goofy and strange behavior.
Their big, dramatic personalities are one of the things people love most about the breed. In most cases, you can sit back and enjoy witnessing their strange antics.
How to Stop a Husky From Being So Dramatic
If your husky’s reactive behavior has become problematic, you may need to take steps to reduce these behaviors.
It’s very important to make sure you aren’t rewarding their reactive behavior, since this can teach them that bad behavior gets them what they want.
While you should always comfort your dog when he’s anxious or stressed, rewarding tantrums or excessive vocalizations with attention or treats will only teach your husky that their behavior is okay. You should never offer treats during these events.
For example, suppose you tell your husky to come inside. Instead, he pretends to be dead to avoid following the command.
Instead of bribing him with a treat to get him in the door, don’t give in to his stubborn and reactive behavior. This will only teach him that pretending to be dead lets him have what he wants.
Obedience training is essential if you want to curb unwanted reactive behaviors. Since their strong wills and big personalities make them prone to dramatic behavior, it’s important to instill a strong sense of obedience in them from a young age.
When your husky is taught to obey your commands, they’re less likely to use reactive behavior to try to get their way.
It’s also of utmost importance to make sure that your husky gets plenty of mental stimulation.
Mental stimulation, like physical exercise, is an essential component for your husky’s care. Teach them new tricks and provide regular enrichment activities to help them burn off their excess energy.
Dramatic behavior and weird antics are some of the things people love most about huskies. These large dogs are full of life.
No matter how well-trained your husky is, he’s likely to exhibit dramatic behavior from time to time.
This behavior, called reactive behavior, is a common trait in huskies due to their high intelligence and high energy.
Reactive behavior may include things like vocalizations, pretending to be dead, or throwing a tantrum (much like a small child would).
While these behaviors can sometimes be amusing, it’s important to refrain from rewarding reactive behaviors. Instead, reinforce obedience training to minimize disruptive reactive behaviors.