If you own a Havanese or are considering getting one, knowing how long they can stay home alone is something to be taken seriously. This article explains everything you need to know about how Havanese handle being left alone.
Havanese don’t cope well when left alone for long periods of time. 3-5 hours is the maximum amount of time that most Havanese can handle alone. If they spend too much time alone on a daily basis, many negative behavioral/health issues can develop.
Can Havanese Be Left Home Alone?
Havanese are not the kind of breed that copes well when left alone.
This is important to know considering most households are left empty from 8 am to 5 pm. Work, school, and running errands mean our little fluff balls spend an unfair amount of time on their own.
Havanese are highly-social and were originally bred as a companion breed. That’s why they are incredibly friendly and LOVE human interaction. It’s how they got their famous nickname “Velcro”.
If you already own a Havanese or are considering getting one, it’s crucial to take a moment to think about your routine. If your house is left empty for the majority of the day, extra steps will need to be taken in order to keep your Havanese stress-free and happy.
How Long Can You Leave a Havanese Alone For?
Naturally, the next question is “how long can you leave your Havanese home alone?”.
The initial answer is that it depends… Some Havanese will naturally be able to tolerate a longer amount of time alone than others. For some, it may be as little as 30 minutes, and for others, it could be 3 hours.
It’s commonly agreed upon that Havanese should not be left alone for more than 3 hours.
And regardless of your Havanese’s natural tolerance level, you will still need to put extra measures in place to prevent her from developing negative health problems.
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Ways To Keep Your Havanese Happy When Home Alone
This section will run through everything that can be done to make your Havanese feel more comfortable when home alone.
1. Hire a dog sitter or ask friends & family
Despite all the tips and tricks, the only true way to keep your Havanese happy is for her to have company. This is why I need to put this one first.
If you are able to have friends or family look after your Havanese when your household is empty for many hours, then this will be by far the best thing you can do for her.
The other option is to hire a dog sitter. This is a very well-established service nowadays and with a simple Google search, you will have many legitimate options in your local area.
Due diligence should always be taken when hiring someone, but you can typically see reviews and even interview the person beforehand.
2. Invest in a pet camera
Pet cameras are great, and if you will be regularly leaving your Havanese home alone, it’s a must.
These cameras can be mounted in the room where she stays when you are gone. And within seconds you will be able to see a live-stream from your smartphone wherever you are. Some cameras even allow you to speak through them. (our favorite)
You will instantly see whether she’s sleeping, playing, or looking anxious and frustrated.
Not only will you learn a lot about her tolerance, but this will help you with separation training which I will cover below.
Plus, if you see that she looks irritated you are better ready to help her. Whether this means taking a short break from work or asking a friend to help out.
Without a pet camera, you have no idea how she’s holding up.
3. Exercise her thoroughly before leaving
As Havanese love attention, it’s a wise idea to give her as much of it as you can before you need to leave her alone.
Havanese don’t need much exercise in general but it’s still wise to give her 30 minutes of running around, chasing the ball, and close interaction before you go. You could do this inside your home, but it would be better to go outside for a proper walk.
If she receives a good morning dosage of you and your attention, she’ll be better ready to rest and even sleep while you are gone.
If you wake up and leave she will be full of excitement and pent-up energy.
4. Provide interactive puzzle toys
Interactive puzzle toys provide excellent mental stimulation, prevent boredom, frustration, and are all around, a great source of entertainment.
There are many different styles of puzzle toys but some are more suitable for when you are at home to assist them with it.
Our favorite puzzle toy that can be safely left with your dog while alone would be the StarMark Bob-A-Lot. This toy is simple, durable, and will entertain your Havanese.
Putting this toy down just before you leave will take her mind off the fact you are gone for a considerable amount of time.
5. Leave the TV or Radio on
It’s completely true that leaving the radio or tv on helps dogs when left alone.
But it has more to do with what they can’t hear than what they can hear. It’s not the beautiful sounding voice of the radio presenter or Tv host that will make your Havanese feel at ease.
It’s true that leaving the radio on will drown out other noises outside of the home that would have otherwise spooked her.
People walking by, traffic, construction noises, and other animals including your neighbor’s pets can keep her on edge and anxious while you are gone.
The radio will make all of these scary noises, far less noticeable.
6. Leave her your unwashed t-shirt
Want to know the ultimate comfort item? Your old unwashed t-shirt.
Dogs can smell up to 100,000 times better than we can. This is exactly why they use their sense of smell to understand the world around them, for their entire life.
Your smell to your Havanese represents you. By leaving her an unwashed t-shirt inside her crate, you are essentially giving her a potent source of your scent for her to constantly smell.
This will reassure her and help to keep her calm even though you are not actually there.
It’s a simple but powerful tip you can implement every time.
If she rips things up, place the t-shirt where she can’t reach it. It will still give off your scent.
7. Work on making her comfortable in her crate
The crate can be a powerful tool when used correctly.
If your Havanese learns to see her crate as somewhere she can feel safe and have fun then being home alone won’t be half as bad.
All dogs are known as “denning” animals. Which means they use dens to feel secure, safe, and comfortable. This is why it’s crucial to work on familiarising her crate in a positive stress-free way.
Never force her to go in her crate if she doesn’t want to, and certainly don’t use her crate as a punishment area. This will create negative associations for her with her crate.
Focus on creating good associations between her and the crate and this will become her very own den when left alone. It will help her feel enclosed (in a good way), safe, and secure.
8. Start Separation Training
This technique benefits those who have a brand new Havanese puppy the most. Building her up from a “clean slate” so to speak, is much easier than if she is already afraid of being left alone.
Separation training simply involves building her tolerance up. So for 1-2 weeks, start by leaving her alone for only 30 minutes at a time (leaving the house completely). And assuming she is managing ok at 30 minutes, raise it up to 1 hour alone. And so on.
Important notes: This kind of training shouldn’t start immediately after getting her. Ideally, when you first get a puppy, there is someone in the house at all times. Separation training can start once your puppy is familiar with her surroundings which may take a couple of weeks.
Not only that, but I understand that most people may not even have the time off work in the first place. This is another issue altogether which I will cover below.
Getting A Havanese When You Work All Day
Despite all the tips and tricks outlined above, it still doesn’t mean that a Havanese can be left home alone for several hours at a time.
So if your household is empty for several hours each day, you really have to ask yourself if getting this breed is appropriate. And some would even make the point that getting any dog would not be responsible. I wouldn’t personally go as far as saying that but it’s something serious to think about.
If hiring a permanent dog sitter to come to your home every day doesn’t sound practical to you then you may come unstuck.
You could choose a different breed that is more capable of spending time alone, but even then, you will still need to put these kinds of extra measures in place.
And lastly, if you were to get a puppy, the puppy needs to have someone with them constantly for the first 3-4 weeks.
Puppies are fragile, not just physically, but mentally too. When puppies are removed from their mother and siblings, they still need to be “mothered” a bit longer. Many behavioral issues can develop in these early stages if puppies are not properly nurtured and cared for.
What Can Happen If Your Havanese Spends Too Much Time Alone
There are a range of potential health conditions your Havanese may suffer from if left alone too often for too long. Let’s run through them.
There are many different varieties and levels of anxiety, separation anxiety being the worst. This is when your Havanese becomes instantly stressed and anxious the moment you leave or even before you leave.
This is a serious form of anxiety that many experts say is incurable once developed. Not only will this condition make life extremely hard for your Havanese, but also for the owner.
The more she gets left alone the more she will start to fear being left alone. To the point where simply picking up your car keys could trigger erratic anxious responses.
Other issues include things such as:
● Behavioral changes (more aggressive and aloof)
● Destructive behavior
● Isolation distress
As you can see, these are all serious and life-changing conditions.
Dogs are highly social animals and Havanese are a breed that craves our attention and interaction more than most others.
I hope this has encouraged potential Havanese owners to consider their own situations and what measures will be taken to ensure this works out well.
If I have failed to cover anything on this topic, please contact me and I will happily add relevant sections.
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