Siberians are a very active breed, bred to run hundreds of miles on very little food across a harsh, unforgiving arctic tundra. This makes them great companions for runners, hikers, and active households, but for the rest of us it can be a little challenging to give them all of the physical and mental stimulation they need.
Here are a few ideas for how to make your Siberian Husky's life a little more interesting, whether you are at school or work or just want to let them play a fun game while you get something done around the house.
**NOTE** These ideas on their own are not substitutes for regular walks and exercise.
#1 - Kong Toy Kongs are treat-dispensing toys with a hole at each end. They can be filled with soft or crunchy treats or spreadable pastes like peanut butter (make sure to get dog-safe peanut butter containing no Xylitol!) and the dog must lick and chew to get the rewards out. A favorite "recipe" for a Kong is to spread a bit of peanut butter around the inside rim, then fill with treats and put it in the freezer overnight to make the peanut butter last longer. You can also fill it with fruits, veggies, small pieces of meat - anything you think your dog will enjoy.
#2 - Kiddie Pool Our dogs love playing in the water on a hot day. One easy and cheap way to let your Siberian have fun and cool off is to buy them a kiddie pool. They'll love digging and splashing in the water!
#3 - Sandbox Siberians love to dig (as many Siberian owners have unfortunately figured out after the dog did some "landscaping" and made their garden look like the surface of the moon.) A sandbox can be bought or made at home, and filled with fine sand or a combination of sand and tiny gravel to give it a more varied texture. Place it wherever you would prefer your dog to dig and then make sure to praise and reward them whenever they dig in the sandbox instead of your flower bed, and soon it will become their preferred play place!
#4 - Snuffle Mat A snuffle mat is made up of several pieces of cloth, and treats are hidden in between so that the dog can hunt for them. This is a great way to let your Siberian exercise their sense of smell, and can be moved around and placed anywhere in the house.
#5 - Chew Bones Dogs' natural instinct is to chew, and it is always better for them to have appropriate chews provided than for them to find things around your house to chew on instead.
There are several types of safe artificial chews on the market, Nylabone being the most popular brand, and fresh, uncooked beef knuckle bones can also be a great treat. Make sure to remove them if any pieces break off or they are chewed down small enough to be swallowed.
**We advise heavily against rawhides, as many are treated with unsafe chemicals and preservatives and present the danger of choking or intestinal blockage if a piece is broken off and swallowed.
#6 - Flirt Pole A flirt pole is essentially a "fishing pole for dogs" with a long elastic cord and a fluffy toy or plastic bag on the end for the dog to chase. The lures on the end can be changed out to find your dog's favorite. They are also used to get dogs interested in the plastic bags used for lure coursing. If you think you might have an interest in coursing, try tying a small kitchen trash bag to the end with a few treats inside, and let the dog catch and shred the bag to find the treats. This will make them much more likely to stay "on the lure" during a coursing test!