In order to keep your sled dog healthy and happy, and your house, garden and sanity intact, it is important to keep your dog entertained and stimulated. The Siberian husky and other breeds of sled dog have a reputation for being destructive, which indeed they can be. Most of the time destructive behavior arises when huskies are left alone and bored.
A bored husky or sled dog will usually find some way to entertain itself. This may involve stripping the wallpaper off your walls or eating your shoes/bed/sofa/house etc.
So... the best thing to do? Keep you husky entertained so that they don't go looking for their own fun.
Chewing provides mental stimulation for dogs. It also helps to keep their teeth clean and their jaws strong. Chewing during puppyhood seems to be important for good jaw development and a correct "bite".
Sled dogs will usually find their own 'chew toys' of you don't provide them with something adequate to get their teeth into. Rather than letting your husky decide on its own 'chew toy', offer him or her something acceptable from the outset.
While on the subject, it is important to remember to keep TV remotes/mobile phones etc WELL OUT OF YOUR DOG'S REACH. Apart from the annoyance and expense of having to replace them, battery operated items and electronic equiptment can be very harmful to dogs. Batteries contain acid which is very dangerous, and dogs can swallow small parts which may cause harm internally.
It is a good idea to invest in a few high-quality, durable toys that will last for a long time. There are also many 'home-made'things you can give your dog to play with that will keep them quite happy - Tea-towels tied in knots make great toys for tug-of-war. Just make sure that anything you give to your husky will not to break into sharp pieces that could cut their mouths or that they may swallow.
Puppies need toys to chew on to 'cut their teeth', and to help their jaws develop properly. During teething you can put your puppies toys in the freezer before you give them to them to help soothe their gums. As an extra treat, Kong toys filled with a yummy treat and then frozen are great for puppies and adult dogs.
Kongs are resoundingly popular amongst husky and sled dog owners.
They are durable chew toys that come in a range of sizes. Kongs can be stuffed with all sorts of yummy foods and treats to keep your dog occupied for a longer.
In all our time as sled dog owners we have never had to throw a Kong away because it was damaged or worn out: a kong is usually a good investment if you own a sled dog.
We go for medium sized Kongs for our adult Siberians, and 'giant sized' Kongs are great for Malamutes. Puppy Kongs are made of softer rubber and so are more suitable for young pups. 'Extreme' Black Kongs are designed to be extra durable for extremely determined dogs.
For oldies, the Senior Kong is now available.
There are many things you can stuff a Kong with, from regular canned dog food to home-made delicacies.
One really good tip is to stuff the Kong with something soft and the stick it in the freezer for a couple of hours. Give it to your dog once the filling has frozen and it will take them a lot longer to get all the good stuff out! Frozen Kongs seem to go down especially well on hot summer days.
Nylabone chew toys are another favorite of our huskies. They are made from hard, durable plastic and come infused with various 'flavors'. We still have some Nylabones that we bought over a year ago that are pretty much intact. We buy the Wolf or Giant sized Nylabones for our Siberians - they seem to prefer chicken flavor, and - to our surprise - like the 'original' vanilla flavor too. For more determined dogs, Large or Extra Large Nylabones for 'Powerful Chewers' are also recommended. Special Nylabones for Puppies are available, including more flexible items for teething pups.
Rope Toys are good for encouraging interaction with your dog. Playing tug of war is a favorite with out dogs, even if we only let them win on occasion! Our huskies also chew on rope toys quite a bit, which is helpful in keeping their teeth clean. Scruffer's Rope Toys are widely available and pretty inexpensive - we find they tend to last longer than other non-branded products.