Huskies are known for their intelligent, reliable, and energetic personalities. A lot of traits that Huskies possess are key qualities that a service dog must have.
Huskies are known for working as service dogs; however, each dog needs to be tested for the right drive and temperament before deciding if they are a good fit for this role. The way they are raised and trained can make or break whether a Husky becomes a great service dog or not.
Many different types of service dogs can assist their handlers with tasks that they may not be able to achieve themselves. If you are interested in learning more about Husky service dogs, be sure to read to the end.
Do Huskies make good service dogs?
Huskies can be great service dogs because of their drive to work and please their owners. Because of their high energy, it’s important to choose a dog whose temperament will be a good fit for this job. They are especially great at being guide, and mobility assistant dogs.
Here are some traits that Huskies tend to possess that make them great service dogs:
- High work ethic
Note: Huskies are often born with the traits that make them great service dogs, but if they are not extensively trained, they may not do well as working service dogs.
Huskies are very smart, loyal, and love having a job to do. Loyalty is a necessary trait for any service dog. Along with being extremely friendly and energetic, Huskies are also very eager to learn.
One trait that makes Huskies exceptional service dogs is their ability to maintain their youth. A Husky life typically ranges between 10–14 years. Maintaining youth throughout their time as service dogs can help greatly when they are required to help their handler consistently and effectively.
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Since Huskies are originally hunting and sled-pulling dogs, they already have a lot of traits that make them great service dogs; specifically, being able to guide their handler.
Their guiding behavior contributes to them being able to lead their handler with caution and care.
Being a larger breed dog is also an advantage that Huskies have as service dogs. They can easily help any handler that has balance or mobility issues!
Cautions to consider when choosing a Husky as a service dog:
There are some things that could make a Husky not a good choice for a service dog.
- They can be independent and aloof
This trait can sometimes make it difficult to get the proper connection with your service dog. It is important when getting a husky puppy to make sure that the parents have highly sociable personalities. It’s also important to socialize the puppy early!
- They can be stubborn and sometimes difficult to train
Because Huskies can have such strong personalities they sometimes will be assertive in proclaiming themselves as the Alpha dog. This can make it difficult to train them. You will need to be sure that you can be the dominant personality and give your husky the direction and authority that they need.
- They have an extremely high prey drive
Huskies have a history of hunting dogs so this is bred into their DNA. Some huskies may not be able to overcome this trait. Most huskies can be trained and socialized, but it does make it more difficult than some other service dog breeds.
How to get a Husky service dog / who qualifies?
Service dogs are generally trained for people with disabilities that affect their quality of life. Meeting with a healthcare professional is the first step in receiving a Husky service dog.
Different service dogs have different methods to obtain them. For example, to receive a psychiatric service dog, it’s helpful to have a licensed mental health professional provide a statement saying that you are able to obtain a service dog.
For physical disabilities, it’s helpful to also meet with your doctor and have them provide the necessary statements as well; this is the easiest and best way to receive a service dog.
If your healthcare provider states it is necessary for you to have a service dog, the next step is to find a Husky that you love and set them up with a professional service dog trainer or service dog program, you also have the option to train the dog yourself!
If you are interested in your Husky becoming a service, therapy or emotional support dog, keep reading to find out more!
Types of service dogs
The term “service dog” is a very broad definition. This term typically describes dogs that are trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities or impairments who otherwise could not accomplish the task.
There are many different types of service dogs that specialize in helping people with different disabilities. Service dogs must undergo intense training, they are not household pets. Here are some of the different types of service dogs:
- Guide dogs: These types of dogs will be able to assist their handler who has vision loss or impairment. They will help their handler avoid any dangerous situations (like running into obstacles).
They will also complete tasks such as opening doors, helping their handler with transportation, and helping them cross the street.
- Hearing dogs: These dogs assist their handlers with sounds they can’t hear themselves. They can alert their handler to sounds such as smoke or fire alarms, doorbells, alarm clocks, phones, etc.
They will also guide their handler out of any dangerous situations that a certain sound may signal.
- Medical alert dogs: These dogs can help their handlers who suffer from seizures, epilepsy, diabetes, and other medical conditions.
Medical alert dogs can notify their handler of any upcoming medical emergency that they sense and get them to safety as quickly as possible (for example: if their handler is about to have a seizure). They can also help with other conditions such as heart disease, allergies, and asthma.
- Mobility assistance dogs: These dogs can help their handler who suffers from spinal injury or other injuries that have affected their ability to walk, stand, or balance. These dogs can help their handler walk, stand, and retrieve items for them so that they don’t have to move.
Psychiatric Service dogs are different types of service dogs. These dogs assist people with mental disabilities, mood disorders, or any unseen/unnoticeable disabilities.
These dogs experience specialized training that will teach them how to help their owners with any needs they may require. Here are some tasks that a psychiatric service dog may perform:
- Retrieve medication/remind handler to take their medication
- Find quiet space for their handler
- Provide comfort
These dogs are tasked to assist with mental health issues rather than mobility issues. They can assist anyone suffering from depression, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, panic attacks, etc.
Here are some other tasks and conditions that both service dogs and psychiatric service dogs can complete and assist with:
- Retrieve help
- Pull wheelchair
- Retrieving dropped items
- Night terror alert
- Providing distraction for handlers with repetitive behaviors (such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD))
- Pressure therapy (grounds the individual and offers a distraction from anxiety, depression, panic attacks, etc.)
- Autism assistance
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Social Phobia
Types of assistance dogs
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), dogs that are not required to undergo intense training are not considered service dogs. These dogs include therapy and emotional support dogs.
Therapy dogs provide emotional support and comfort to people who are or have experienced traumatic or stressful situations. These dogs are often used in nursing homes, hospitals, or brought to people after they have experienced stressful situations.
While these dogs do not perform specific tasks for people with disabilities and are not required to receive intense training, they should undergo a test arranged by the American Kennel Club (AKC) which is called the “Good Citizen Test.”
This test ensures that the dog can complete tasks such as walking on a leash without pulling, not barking, growling, or biting, and ensuring that they obey their handler. Therapy dogs are at-home pets when they are not providing support to other people.
The other type of assistant dog that requires no intense training is an emotional support dog. This type of dog can provide emotional support to its owner. There is no requirement for training or even a test for a dog to become an emotional support animal; however, a note from a professional healthcare provider is encouraged.
For all your questions about service dogs and information about what makes a service dog and therapy/emotional support dog different visit this website: ADA Frequently Asked Questions
Do Huskies make good emotional support / therapy dogs?
Huskies are not only great emotional support dogs because of their personalities, but they are also typically attached to their owners. They love to please! This is a great trait not only for an emotional support dog but a service dog as well!
Huskies are alert and aware of their owner’s presence, always making sure they are okay, their mental alertness is incredible.
Huskies are natural socializers and are also comfortable in many different situations. They like to be petted and greatly enjoy human interaction, this is a great trait for therapy and emotional support dogs!
Tip: It is important to keep your Husky constantly socializing if you are planning on them being a therapy/emotional support dog and also keeping them as an at-home pet/family dog; attachment to one owner may become an issue. Your Husky may become more loyal to one person and not have interest in engaging with other family members or people.
Rights for service dogs
Only service dogs and psychiatric service dogs that have extensive training are officially recognized as service dogs and are protected under federal rights. Therapy and emotional support dogs are not protected under these rights since they are not required to have extensive training.
These rights include the dog being able to accompany its handler anywhere. Here are some of the rights that are given to people with service dogs:
- Public access (including hospitals, hotels, stores, restaurants, etc.)
- Travel (Click here for more information on traveling with a service dog.)
- Fair housing
- Educational Facilities
As long as the service dog is well behaved, harnessed, and does not break any public health rules, the dog will be permitted anywhere.
Service dog certification and registration
Certifying and registering your service dog is not required in the United States; however, it is helpful in order to avoid any complications. Your dog will receive official paperwork, a service dog ID, a service dog vest, and will be entered into a global database.
Having your dog certified and registered will help situations such as travel become easier.
Note: Training does not end here! Becoming a service dog is a lifetime commitment. A service dog should pass two more tests (first at 2 years of age, and then another third test).
A service dog should then be tested every 18 months for the rest of its life to ensure its abilities and to keep its certification valid — It’s a good thing Huskies have a lot of energy!
How does a Siberian Husky become a service dog?
For a Siberian Husky to become a service dog, they must complete intense training throughout their lives.
Service dogs typically begin training around 6 weeks of age; they should pass their first test by age 2. Since Huskies are very sociable dogs, they are typically ready to start at this early age because they are eager to please.
It is also helpful to begin a Husky’s training as early as possible because they are known to be a stubborn breed and can sometimes be difficult to train.
If they begin training at a later age, it may take longer to train them because they are already too independent and used to their current way of doing things.
Note: Huskies are exceptionally great at working as seeing-eye dogs because of their history in sled pulling!
Here are some of the necessary steps a Siberian Husky must take to ensure that they turn out to be a great service dog:
1. Training (professional trainer or trained by owner/handler)
3. Service dog certification and registration (not mandatory)
4. Further training
How do I train my Husky by myself to be a service dog? (step-by-step)
Since certification and registration are not mandatory for service dogs, you may decide to either hire a professional service dog trainer or train your Husky by yourself. Unless you are very experienced with training dogs it’s recommended that you get professional help.
Tip: Be aware that training your Husky yourself to become a service dog will take a lot of time and commitment!
First step (training):
- Start socializing your Husky at an early age (typically around 6 weeks)
- Huskies rely on praise to know that they are doing well, by rewarding them, they are more likely to keep achieving tasks consistently.
Tip: Since Huskies love being rewarded for their good behavior, they are compelled to complete their tasks if they think they will receive a reward.
- One method that is popular with training Huskies is using a clicker. If the dog hears the click of the button that their handler is pressing, they will do the behavior or task because they associate the noise of the clicker with the reward that they know they will be receiving if they do the job well!
- The goal of the clicker is to slowly ease off of how many treats the dog is receiving, making it to where they will achieve the behavior or task just by the clicking noise alone, not expecting a treat in return.
- Be consistent! — It is important to constantly train your Husky if you want them to become exceptional service dogs. It is also necessary that you maintain a consistent training schedule to keep the dog on track.
Second step (testing):
- Huskies should complete a public access test that proves they can control themselves in public. This test is designed to ensure that the Husky can present good behaviors and is not distracted or prone to any inappropriate behaviors in public settings. Some of these unacceptable behaviors include:
A service dog participating in this test will also need to know verbal and hand signals such as sitting, waiting, walking quickly or slowly, etc.
Third step (becoming a service dog):
Once your service dog completes the necessary training. It is up to you to decide whether or not to receive their certification and registration.
Oftentimes service dog owners find it helpful to have certification and registration proof for their service dog to set appropriate boundaries with strangers or in public settings.
It is also important that the service dog upkeep their training for the rest of their lives!
Should I get a Siberian Husky service dog?
Whether or not someone should get a Siberian Husky service dog depends greatly on what the handler’s condition is.
Since Huskies are athletic and require frequent exercise, this may be an issue if their job requires them to be still for long periods.
Huskies tend to excel as service dogs with handlers who can keep them moving (example: a guide dog that is required to lead their handler around — seeing-eye dog). Huskies may be better suited to assist as a service dog for a handler that can be in motion — Huskies may become restless by being still for long periods.
Tip: Keep in mind that Huskies’ coats need constant upkeep. If a handler is unsure whether they can maintain their dog’s coat, it may be a good idea to consider a service dog with an easily maintainable coat. For more information on maintaining Siberian Husky Grooming, check out our comprehensive grooming guide: Siberian Husky Hair Care (Complete Grooming Guide!)
How much does a Siberian Husky service dog cost?
Service dogs, in general, can range between $15,000–$30,000. Unfortunately, service dogs are typically not covered under health coverage, meaning that they can be very expensive.
A Siberian Husky service dog in particular is more costly than some other service dogs. They typically range between $30,000–$38,000.
Prices of service dogs vary on multiple factors such as their specifically trained skills and what they are trained for (service dog, psychiatric service dog), their age, if they are purebred or not, etc.
While we strive to give the most accurate and helpful information about your pet’s health that we can, this article is meant to be informational only and not medical advice. Never disregard, avoid or delay in obtaining medical advice from your veterinarian or other qualified veterinary health care provider regardless of what you have read on this site or elsewhere.