What do the hackles being up really mean

QuestionsCategory: TrainingWhat do the hackles being up really mean
bookey asked 5 years ago

I have a 4 and a half month old huskamute. Just recently his hackles have being going up every time he meets a dog even ones he knows and plays with. He’s very confident and always wants to play. There’s never any aggression, its purely play, but the hackles stay up even when playing, but do eventually go down. I also want to know what another dog might think if they see his hackles up.

Thank you.

4 Answers
Best Answer
Paul answered 5 years ago

Dakota my husky always has her hackles up when greeting another dog, in her case it’s definitely over excitement. But some dog owners look at it as aggression.

Margit Maxwell answered 5 years ago

Hackles raise due to the piloerector muscles causing hair to bristle or rise. This is a reaction to a high state of arousal and excitement. It does not have to be an aggressive arousal but high states of excited behaviour when meeting other dogs is not desirable as it tends to set off the other dog. Then suddenly you are dealing with two over excited dogs and that can spell trouble. Often if another dogs sees the hackles go up he may interpret this as a state of aggression. Timid dogs may be triggered by the sight of this too. Huskies are naturally reactive dogs and have to be taught and reminded to meet other dogs calmly and using good doggy manners. Good and thorough socialization helps this problem.

bookey answered 5 years ago

Thanks for your help. I do find it difficult teaching him how to properly great other dogs and try every time we’re out, but its hard when the other dogs are off lead and just run straight up to him, so I can’t do it gradually. Its definitely excitement with my boy too but I feel the need to explain every time that he’s just happy and the hackles aren’t up for aggressive reasons as I don’t want the other owners to think they are. I aim to socialise him with other dogs every day but quite often the only dogs around are small and defensive so I keep him on lead. We met someone today with a dog bread I’ve not seen before, looked similar to a poodle but wasn’t. She obviously didn’t like snow dogs as she told me ‘they should be in the arctic really, shouldn’t they?’ and walked to the other side of the field so her dog couldn’t play with mine. 

Margit Maxwell answered 5 years ago

It can be a real challenge to teach naturally reactive dogs to calm down when meeting other dogs. And I agree that when other people’s off leash and pretty much out of control dogs run up to your dog that makes it even harder to keep things under control. Again, lots of good socialization helps to take the edge off the excitement of meeting up with another dog.  I am including a link to my article about how to help your dog meet other dogs politely https://www.snowdog.guru/teaching-your-husky-to-greet-other-dogs-politely/