Are my huskies fighting or playing?

QuestionsCategory: EmergencyAre my huskies fighting or playing?
Simon asked 1 year ago

I’m looking for some advice about my new rescue husky. I’m unsure whether they’re fighting or playing, a friend who’s had 7 years fostering all manner of dogs including my 1st rescue tells me its playing.  I have a 2 year old female rescue Juno, who was a cruelty case who came to us at approximately 13months old.

She was rehabilitated with an experienced training facility here in Dublin and then went into foster care with a close friend who continued the training for a month before we took her in. Despite the severity of the injuries and the mental trauma that they would have inflicted she has responded beyond all expectations, she does pull towards other dogs on the lead but doesn’t bark/growl usually just licks them tries to play, seems to behave like all the other dogs in the dog park, no issues with crates, fouling in the house or destructiveness (bar a fixation for croc shoes!) she’s been an absolute dream.

We decided to open our home to a second rescue, we have the time and space to accommodate one so over the last few weeks we researched the idea, the pros/cons and do’s/dont’s this site has given us some good advice. We tried 5-6 possible dogs who immediately didn’t get on with our’s they displayed what I would perceive to be obvious aggression signs, the rigid body/stare and lunging growling off the lead and wanting to keep their distance. We eventually found Kali, an 18 month old female who was a pound surrender from an elderly couple (god knows!?) and had spent the last 2 months in the foster care of a young man with 3 other huskies, a 4yo male, a 16mth old female foster and a 20 wk old female pup. When Kali came to him she had some issues with the 16 mth old and fighting, but he said they got less and less over the 2 months. Kali is of similar energy as Juno and her temperament would be very similar, enjoys walking playing just as much as relaxing at your feet. We had a couple of meetings starting at a distance walk leading up to an off leash meet in his home, all which went very positively, all resulting in them playing together as i would perceive it as normal.

Myself and my partner decided to take the plunge and open our home to Kali last Sunday. We followed the advice from this page in regards to introducing a new dog to the home. The 1st night went as expected with Kali crying due to the separation from her last home and Juno being out of sorts with the new addition to ours. What started out with Juno nipping at Kali’s ankles and trying to mount her soon evolved into a tornado of fur and fangs in the middle of the sitting room. Fearing the worst we separated them and tried to calm them down, distraction with a treat seemed to calm the situation down and they seemed happy to sleep next to each other after a long walk.

This has continued through to today where Juno (usually the instigator) will begin licking Kali’s mouth then grabbing at either her legs or actually taking a hold of her cheek or by the scruff behind the neck. This has also happened when they have been lying next to her and they start off looking like they are playfully pawing/biting and then it soon ends up on the feet with me pulling them apart. This usually happens after someone enters the home, if I leave/enter the room or sometimes just happens, I can’t see a specific trigger? In between there is periods of hours where they just relax, watch me do my bits and pieces around the house?

Some advice I’ve had ranges from complete separation i.e. give Kali up, to they are only playing let them at it. I have a bit of video footage of the 2 of them in action on an instance where I let it develop to see what happened it ended after about 2 mins with Kali snapping at Juno and the pair of them collapsing on top of each other and falling asleep? I thought I’d seen  Juno play rough in the dog park and I have seen her let other dogs know when she’s had enough, I’m wondering if this is just rough play or is there a deeper issue that I’m not picking up on?

I’ve read the threads here on aggression etc, they walk beside each other fine on the leash, they seem to stay close to one another when they eventually calm down and don’t seem to show aggression when the treats are produced. If this is rough play and they aren’t going to bite a lump off one another is there anything that can be done to reduce the intensity as I’m concerned if they are going to injure one another off a piece of furniture or a door or something?

I’m now wondering if we’ve done the right thing, were we as prepared as we thought we were, was Juno as well adjusted as we had thought? I’m worrying that I might be making a bad situation worse by the way I’m managing it or am I overreacting to what is normal husky rough play? Any insight anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance
Simon

1 Answers
Paul answered 1 year ago

How did you get on with this Andrew? Huskies are particularly rough players. Our huskies pull at one anothers faces, pin one another to the floor etc.