If your husky has been cowering a lot you are probably wondering why and what can be done about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why your husky might be doing it and what you can do about it.
So, why does my husky cower? Possible reasons are that someone mistreated it, it’s unsure of its surroundings, previous owners neglected it, illness, injury, being aggressive around it or it might be going through a more fearful stage if it is a puppy still.
There are actually many reasons why your husky might cower but there are a number of things that you can consider to help figure out exactly why your husky has been doing it. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become a lot easier to deal with it.
Why your husky cowers
The different reasons that your husky cowers will likely come with some clues in the way that it does it.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your husky might cower and what would make them more likely.
Someone mistreated it
The reason why it has been cowering could be that someone mistreated it. This would be more likely if it started cowering suddenly after someone was aggressive towards it or if it cowers only when a certain person is around.
However, if it does seem to get anxious when a certain person is around it could also be the case that it just doesn’t trust them yet. This would be more likely if it has not had many interactions with that person yet or if it is a puppy.
It’s unsure of its environment
If you recently adopted your husky or moved homes, it might be cowering because it is unsure of its environment. Being unsure of its environment would make it fearful because it would not know whether or not its environment is safe or not.
In this case, it would be likely that your husky will cower less over the course of weeks or months. It would also help to give it positive attention in the form of exercise, training and by playing with it.
Previous owners neglected it
It might be the case that it is cowering because previous owners neglected it. This would be more likely if you adopted it from a shelter and you do not know who the previous owners were.
In this case, it would also be likely that it will improve over the course of weeks and months and it would help to also give it positive attention. If it does not improve over the course of weeks and months, it would help to consult with a vet and/or a dog behaviorist.
Illness or injury
If it has started cowering suddenly it could be due to being ill or injured. This would be more likely if it has also been showing other signs of being ill or injured such as by vomiting or limping. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
You are aggressive or emotional around it
If you are aggressive or emotional with your husky, it could be why it cowers. This would be especially likely if it only cowers when you are around. Huskies were bred to work alongside their owners for hours on a daily basis. As a result, they tend to be highly responsive to the emotions of their owners. If their owner acts aggressively or emotionally with them, they will likely become uncomfortable because of it.
It is still young
If your husky is still a puppy, it could be going through a more fearful stage that puppies can go through sometimes. It would still help to follow the tips below. If it does not stop cowering after a few weeks, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Things to consider
If your husky always seems to cower
Considering whether or not your husky only cowers at certain times would likely help a lot.
If it only seems to cower at certain times then it would be likely that it has something to do with what is going on around it at that time.
Whereas, if your husky always seems to get afraid of things then it would make it more likely that it has something to do with being mistreated when younger or not being able to socialize when it was younger.
When it started doing it
It would also help to consider when it first started cowering since it could be the case that there was an event that triggered it to start doing it.
If it started cowering suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as being mistreated by someone, you were aggressive towards it, illness or injury. It would help to consider what happened when it started doing it.
Whereas, if it has always been cowering, it might be the case that you have inadvertently trained it to do it by rewarding it when it does it or it could be because previous owners mistreated it.
Who is around when it cowers
It would also help to consider who is around when it cowers. If it only seems to cower when a certain person or animal is around then it would be more likely that it has negative feelings towards that person or animal.
How to get your husky to stop cowering
Below are some things that you can do to get your husky to stop cowering.
Be calm around your husky
As mentioned above, huskies are highly responsive to their owner’s emotions. This is why it is important to be calm around your husky and to use positive reinforcement training to get it to behave the way that you want as opposed to using aggression.
Give it exercise and play with it
Huskies are a breed that requires a lot of exercise daily to be properly stimulated. Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day. When they do not get enough exercise, it can cause them to develop behavioral issues.
If your husky is not getting that much exercise, it would help to make sure that it does by walking it yourself or by getting a dog walker to do it for you.
Reward it when it does not cower
It would also help to reward it when it does not cower when it normally would and to stop rewarding it when it does start to cower.
It would also help to recognize when it is likely to start cowering and to redirect its focus onto doing something else such as laying down. I have written more about how you can teach it the “down” command here.
Avoid rewarding the cowering
It would also help to avoid rewarding it when it cowers. If you reward it when it cowers by giving it things such as treats, toys or attention it might train it to cower more.
Instead, it would be better to reward it when it is well behaved and to redirect its behavior onto something else when it is about to cower.
Avoid physical punishment
If you punish or reward your husky when it shows signs of cowering you might be reinforcing the behavior.
Instead, it would be better to avoid reacting when it does things that you don’t like and to use positive reinforcement training techniques instead of punishing it.
Get help from a vet
If you cannot figure out why your husky has been cowering, it has been doing it for months or it has been showing signs of illness or injury, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular husky and to ensure that it is not ill or injured.
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