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Can Havanese Be Aggressive? Here’s The Surprising Truth

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If you’re considering getting a Havanese, you’ll want to know whether or not they can be aggressive. Maybe you have young children in the household, existing pets, or you just want to avoid an aggressive breed altogether. This article has everything you need to know.

Havanese are not a naturally aggressive breed and typically always very friendly towards strangers, new animals, and children. Ensuring your Havanese is well-socialized early on will result in a friendly, approachable dog with virtually zero aggression.

Can Havanese Be An Aggressive Breed?

Technically speaking, yes. Under the right wrong circumstances, any breed can be aggressive.

But this typically isn’t the case for Havanese.

In fact, Havanese are often regarded as one of the world’s friendliest dogs, typically ranking within the top 5 friendliest breeds. So that speaks volumes!

Havanese make great family pets, are extremely affectionate towards their families, and have even earned themselves the nickname “velcro dogs”. They are a true companion breed that was originally bred to sit on the laps of royals.

So, as Havanese are not a naturally aggressive breed, the only issue that could cause aggressive tendencies is a lack of socialization.

Frequent exposure to new people and pets is crucial for any Havanese to remain as friendly as they can be.

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What May Cause a Havanese To Become Aggressive

As previously mentioned, a lack of socialization is the main culprit in the vast majority of cases.

If a young Havanese pup doesn’t receive enough time interacting with their siblings, mother, new dogs, and strangers, then they will likely become aloof to new dogs and strangers in the future.

These are very common questions regarding socialization, let’s run through them.

Why is socialization so important? Socialization increases a dog’s ability to act appropriately when meeting a new person, unknown animal, or a new dog. Acting appropriately means to remain calm, friendly, and welcoming to the new situation, instead of getting scared, fearful, protective, and then aggressive.

How does socialization make a dog friendly? By constantly interacting with new people and new dogs, as well as experiencing new environments and situations, a dog will learn not to fear these encounters when they next happen. And will in fact see them as a fun and exciting opportunity to interact and even play.

What counts as socialization? Socialization counts for more than just interacting with new people and new dogs, although that is the best form. It also includes going out into new environments, going for walks in places that they have never been before, even going for a car ride with the window open will act as some form of exposure to a new situation.

Is it ever too late to start socialization training? Thankfully, no. Although it’s only fair for me to say that socialization is the easiest and most powerful throughout puppyhood. But even if you have a Havanese adult that’s showing aggressive tendencies, socialization training can still be the answer, but extra caution will need to be taken and progress will be slow at first.

Other reasons why Havanese could become aggressive include

Being left alone too often for too long
Being poorly trained
Too much rough play
Punished or reprimanded incorrectly
Abuse or neglect

When it comes to Havanese that have been rescued, it’s even more of a difficult situation to understand. Oftentimes owners won’t know to the full extent of why the Havanese ended up in a shelter, and regardless of the specifics, spending time in shelters is a very traumatic event to happen to any dog. Behavioral issues are almost certain with rescued dogs. But that’s not to say they can’t be rectified.

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How To Prevent Your Havanese From Becoming Aggressive

It’s my time to say “prevention is better than cure” and that’s certainly true for any kind of behavioral habits you wish to avoid.

Let’s clarify the ways in which you can prevent your future Havanese from ever showing an ounce of aggression.

Socialize like it’s 1989. When you take your puppy away from her siblings and mother you need to remember that she’ll need a new form of socialization very soon after. Even before your puppy is fully vaccinated, you CAN safely allow other healthy, fully vaccinated dogs into your home to interact with your puppy, that’s okay, and is encouraged.

Dog-park heaven. Once your puppy is fully vaccinated and ready for the outside world, make sure she spends time in the dog park every day. Of course, be cautious of other dogs and always avoid a potentially dangerous situation. But most dogs off-leash are friendly, and this will prove to be invaluable socialization for your still-young puppy.

Doggy meetups. As socialization is such an important task with young puppies, there are many organized groups that all meet together with other vaccinated and friendly pups for the purpose of meeting and being exposed to new dogs. Again, activities like this are all compounding in their efforts to create a well-socialized Havanese.

Training. Havanese are incredibly intelligent, and their little minds need to be worked. It’s crucial that you take the time each day to implement basic command training. Learning basic skills like sit, stay, come here, and drop won’t just increase obedience but will make your Havanese mature and better behaved in general.

Simply put, the more exposure your Havanese receives to new people, dogs, and situations, the friendlier she will be whenever a new encounter comes her way. Couple this with sufficient obedience, and you will also have full control over the situation and how your Havanese responds.

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What If You Have an Aggressive Havanese?

If you have an aggressive Havanese, the first thing you must consider is the exact issue/situation that’s causing the aggression.

Does the aggression show when a stranger comes close? Perhaps when you try picking up your Havanese? When small children try playing with your Havanese? In response to an unfamiliar dog approaching? Maybe aggression only shows when inside your household?

All of these questions are very important. When aggression shows itself you must identify what caused it.

Should you directly respond to the aggression?

There’s a lot of debate when it comes to how you the owner addresses your Havanese in a situation of aggression. Some say not to tell your Havanese “no”, and others say you must always address it.

The best thing to do is to break her moment of aggression with a change of focus (a distraction).

If you directly address the aggression you run the risk of actually reaffirming it to her. Dog’s take our responses in many different kinds of ways, sometimes, simply by reacting to her aggression (even if you say “no”) it’s reinforcing to her she did the right thing.

By breaking her focus, you instantly calm her down and redirect her brain into something else. This can be done by changing your direction of walking if you are outside on the leash, or if you are at home, use a toy to grab her attention.

The breaking of aggression is how you are able to eventually curb the aggression altogether.

The more you are able to expose your Havanese to the very situation that she becomes aggressive in, the more you can break the habit of aggression.

Eventually, your Havanese will be more tolerable of the situation happening in the future, without the need to react aggressively.

It can take many weeks of practicing this, depending on the severity of her aggression.

Resolving aggression can be very challenging, and if you are not able to overcome it alone, it’s worth hiring a professional trainer to help.

Last Thoughts

Havanese are usually incredibly friendly. After all, they are often regarded as one of the friendliest breeds we know of year after year. So in general, the easy answer is that Havanese are not an aggressive breed.

But, even with Havanese, aggression is still possible if she has not received enough socialization, or had to endure past traumatic events involving abuse, neglect, or anything substantial along those lines.

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Disclaimer

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