Follow any of the links below for more information and help with your new puppy.
(Houdini was a novice...)
First the disarming puppy love eyes...
Then a quick scramble up with the puppy ninja toes...
and over we go. Free to be naughty.
Meet Shasta. She was the first of her litter (at 6 weeks old) to learn how to scale fences like a ninja.
She wasted no time in teaching the rest of the litter and we immediately had a kitchen full of wild puppies.
Our first and foremost priority when providing information to new families is to make them aware of the extreme intelligence and the independent spirit that comes with the Siberian Husky. They have incredible problem solving skills from a very young age and one of the biggest concerns with this breed is keeping them home and safe. Running is deeply ingrained in their nature. The breed was produced to pull medium loads over a very long distance at a moderate pace. This gives them an incredibly strong drive to see what's around the bend in the path or over that next hill. Once loose, there is often little chance of recall no matter how many treats you have to offer. They can be three counties away before you realize they are missing. The Siberian Husky is not to be considered an off leash breed. Most breeders will tell you that your puppy must be on a leash or confined in a Siberian Proof enclosure at all times.
Unfortunately, Siberians are also extremely clever and fully capable of finding or creating opportunities to escape. Many breeders refuse to place a puppy with a family that does not have a fenced in yard. Siberians need a place to run and play but it has to be a safe place and it has to Siberian proof. A typical backyard fence is generally no match for a Siberian.
One of the first problems with a typical chain link fence is height. Many neighborhoods have 4 foot high fences. Most Siberians can sail over a four foot high fence without even touching it. The breed is extremely agile and can leap like a deer from a stand still. A 6 foot fence is better but still not Siberian proof on its own. Most chain link fencing is attached to the posts, top, bottom and sides, with metal ties as seen in the picture to the right. While they are strong enough to hold chain link to a post under ordinary circumstances, they are flimsy and generally they are only secured to the fence with a single twist on each end. Siberians learn very quickly how to untwist the end, pull off the metal tie and peel back the chain link. They can open a hole in a chain link fence in a matter of minutes without chipping a tooth.
There are several different ways to prevent this. Our response was to purchase 6 to 10 foot lengths of flat 1 inch wide rebar from Home Depot. We cut the rebar to the width of each fence or gate panel and wove it through the chain link at the bottom of the panel next to the post. We then clamped it to the post with fence clamps. This prevents the chain link from being unraveled or peeled back. You can see an example of the rebar threaded through the fence in the picture below. You can also see from the warped chain link above it that the dogs have tested this part of the fence by pulling on it in several places in an attempt to peel it back. The clamps and rebar are much sturdier than those flimsy metal ties in the bottom center of the bottom pole. None of our dogs have found a way to unravel a rebarred fence yet. (They have other methods of escape however).
Once the dogs found they could no longer dismantle the fence, they decided to simply dig underneath it. Siberians love to dig anyway. When a few of them get together and have digging conventions, they can dig you a hole big enough for a swimming pool. Digging a little tunnel under a fence panel is child's play for them and can be done in a matter of minutes. To put an end to the digging out, we purchased a roll of rabbit wire and rolled it out along the inside of the fence. One edge of it was attached to the fence. The rest of it was buried on an angle. When the dogs try to dig out they hit the rabbit wire and have to stop digging. You can see part of the rabbit wire set up in the picture below.
We assumed that once they were blocked from going through and under the fence they would simply start climbing over. Many Siberian owners and breeders have this problem. Once a dog learns how to climb, the only thing that will keep it inside the fence is either a hot wire (electric wire) at the top or a ceiling over the run made from fence, wire or wood. We've faced climb-outs with one of our litters that learned to climb by 6 weeks, however we have never had an adult climb out of our runs so far. Once we barred them from dismantling the fence and digging underneath, they went after the gate latches. The latches themselves were flimsy metal and bent and broke easily when the dogs worked together and yanked the gate backwards repeatedly. From that point on we used a short piece of chain and a padlock on each gate in the dog yard. For now, this seems to have ended their escape attempts.
These have been our own experiences with Siberian proofing the yard. We know others with different issues. Siberians can chew through wood fences, scramble over wood fences, move plastic dog houses closer to the fence to climb up and over more easily. They can learn to open latches or turn door knobs and walk out. Their intelligence and mischief will astound you on a daily basis. Be prepared for it before you bring your new puppy home.