Recently, Czar was a bit on the skinny side, so we started giving him a small dinner in the evening as well as breakfast in the morning with the others. We often check the dogs over and we'd decided that his ribs were a little too obvious - this needs to be done by feel, as the husky coat tends to hide the view. After a couple of weeks, he was feeling much sleeker - we'd gotten to the stage where only his last two ribs were easy to feel, so it time to taper off the dinners. Smaller serves, then every other night an even smaller handful in training rather than in the bowl. Last night, it was time for nothing.
Last night, we went to the movies (Jack Ryan: Shadow Agent, not too bad). When we got home, J let the boys in from the pen and Czar immediately plonked himself in his crate. He waited expectantly, but J called the others and headed to the bedroom, with Ishka, Frankie and Bolo trotting along behind.
J suggested that we wait him out, that he should come on first command and not need it reinforced. (As discussed here.) Although I agreed on principle, I also thought we had a pretty low chance of winning the battle. Siberian huskies have earned their reputation for being stubborn!
So I went out to the kitchen and checked the tank, fed my amphibian and ignored the mammal in the crate. He watched and made no move to follow me when I switched the lights off and left. Round one, Czar.
I went off to the bedroom, where we got ready for bed. PJ's, teeth brushed, nothing. Round two, Czar.
We pottered around, putting away laundry and killing time. Nope. Round three, Czar.
We started loudly praising and patting the three dogs who were quietly waiting on their beds. Still nothing. At that point, we conceded, and as an act of surrender, we called Czar. He immediately got out of the crate (it's floor makes a distinctive creak, so we knew he hadn't moved til that point) and trotted through the house to the bedroom door. We made a big fuss, "good boy!", and put him to bed with Bolo.
Ok, husky, you won the battle, but we will win the war!
Now, plenty of other dogs would be just as stubborn. But Sibes are regularly described as "having their ears painted on", or "middling bad obedience dogs." J loves the meme where the husky says "I know how to do it, but what's my motivation?" (Which I can't find at the moment, dammit.) A friend with many years experience with Mallies does a great impression of trying to convince her new Sibe to do as it's asked - it's funny because we've all seen the same thing!
This disobedient streak has actually been deliberately bred into huskies. When you're caught in a blinding snow storm, do you want a lead dog who will follow each command immediately? Or a lead dog who will look around and go, "no, I'm not turning right, that's the edge of the cliff, you poor short sighted human"? Even here in Australia where most of us only see snow when we travel to the mountains, that selective disobedience helps - I've heard it said, "any medium sized breed can pull a scooter and learn to turn left and right on command, but a husky will wait for the break in the trees before they take the turn!"
This is the same idea as training a service dog to selectively disobey. This helps them stop blind people walking into hazards and make diabetics check their blood sugar when they're busy. Not that I think a husky would make a great guide dog. Not unless the blind person was prepared to wear roller blades and LOTS of padding!