If your Havanese is constantly following you around from room to room, you will either find it endearing or extremely annoying. For most people, it will be the latter! This article will explain why Havanese do this and what you can do to stop it if you think you need to.
Havanese are well-known for following their owners closely and have even earned themselves the nickname “velcro dog”. Although this behavior is natural for most Havanese, there may be other reasons including separation anxiety or accidental reinforcement of the behavior.
4 Reasons Why Your Havanese Follows You Around
Let’s run through the main reasons why your Havanese follows you around everywhere.
After this section, I will cover exactly how you can start rectifying the behavior. Let’s get into it!
1. It’s A Breed Trait
There are many breeds that are known for developing strong bonds with their family, but Havanese take this to a new level.
They are well-known for being very affectionate lapdogs that LOVE to be by their owner’s side at all times.
And, after all, it makes a lot of sense… Havanese were originally bred to be companion dogs to the Cuban Aristocracy throughout the 1800s. So in reality, they are just doing a good job of what they were bred for.
For most Havanese, this will be the No.1 reason and will explain the majority of the following behavior you have to put up with on a daily basis.
2. You Are Accidently Encouraging The Behavior
This is a surprising, yet common reason why dogs end up following their owners around everywhere.
It’s incredibly easy to reinforce this behavior without realizing it.
Your Havanese may have learned that by hanging you around long enough, “good things happen”. Which to her, could mean extra treats, tidbits, belly rubs, or attention in general.
So the more she follows you around, the more good things end up happening, even if you are getting annoyed with the behavior.
It’s as easy as dropping a little piece of ham for your Havanese while making a sandwich, or giving her a good belly rub after she has jumped up on the couch… she will understand this as a reward for being there, right by you.
3. Your Havanese Is Seeking Attention
Your Havanese may be following you around if she’s actively trying to gain your attention.
She may be letting you know she needs to be let out, or perhaps it’s getting close to her dinner time, or typical walk time.
It may also be to receive attention in the traditional form, like being petted or to receive a belly rub.
Attention seeking could be the result if your Havanese isn’t receiving enough of you throughout the day in general. If you have been out of the house for many hours, she may be inclined to stick right by your side the moment you come back home.
4. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is typically defined as not being able to tolerate any amount of time without her owner (or someone else) being present.
Separation anxiety is a serious condition that some experts claim can never be cured once developed. It can reach a point where your Havanese may completely freak out the very moment you leave her alone.
Following you from room to room doesn’t necessarily mean she already has separation anxiety, but it is certainly one of the first common signs.
Separation anxiety typically comes with other behaviors such as:
● Destructive behavior when left alone
● Increased disobedience when training or giving commands
● Erratic behavior every time you prepare to leave the house (touch keys, put shoes on, etc)
● Frequent potty accidents when left alone despite being potty trained
● Excessive panting or drooling throughout the day
● Shaking and trembling throughout the day
Separation anxiety is an extensive topic to discuss, and I have found a particularly good article that explains the full workings of this condition and how to overcome it here. Although that article is geared towards huskies, all of the principles can be applied to other breeds.
If you are worried your Havanese has separation anxiety, I strongly recommend checking out that article.
This is original content produced and published by The Puppy Mag | www.thepuppymag.com
Ways To Stop Your Havanese Following You Around
Let’s run through the best ways you can limit her tendency to follow you around the home. Please note, these methods work in combination with each other rather than one over the other.
1. Stop Encouraging The Behavior
The first thing is to become aware of when you are accidentally encouraging the behavior. This can be quite difficult to assess so the very best thing you can do is only reward her and show her attention when she has done something to earn it from now on going forward.
Limit all treats, tidbits, and your best “good girls” to moments when she has obeyed one of your commands or successfully carried out a training exercise. Rewards shouldn’t just come because she happened to be next to you.
By following this new rule, she will quickly learn that rewards don’t come just by following you around, which should help to limit a significant portion of this behavior.
2. Consider Her Physical Exercise Requirements
Havanese may be small, but these little fluff monsters can go for a long time! They need their fair share of exercise every day to keep feeling calm, relaxed, and happy.
Most Havanese will be content with two 30-minute walks per day, once in the morning and another in the evening. Be sure to include a lot of running around, fast sprints, or ball chasing. If you are primarily just walking her, she may need longer.
Exercise is crucial for all dogs to feel content and relaxed. And by having less energy, your Havanese will be happier to rest, lay down, and nap, at least for a short while!
3. Consider Her Mental Stimulation Requirements
Mental stimulation is often overlooked and shadowed by physical exercise requirements, but it’s just as important and without it, many behavioral issues can develop.
Dogs need their mind to be challenged and they need to feel like a valuable member of the family. The way to achieve this is to ensure they engage in mentally stimulating tasks like practicing training commands, learning new tricks, playing with interactive puzzle toys, and consistently engaging with news dogs and people.
Do whatever you can to increase her daily mental stimulation and she will feel more content, satisfied, and as though she has received an adequate amount of attention. Which in turn, will decrease the tendency for her to follow you around.
4. Practice Separation Training
The goal of separation training is to teach your Havanese to become more and more capable of spending time away from you. In the beginning, this may be as simple as going to another room, which can further develop into leaving her home alone altogether.
The first stage is to get her extremely comfortable with being inside her crate throughout the day, with the door open. She needs to consider her crate to be a safe zone, and somewhere she thoroughly enjoys being. You can do this by playing with her in and around her crate, throwing treats in there, and building positive associations with the crate. Never force her inside or use it as a punishment.
After a good relationship has been established with the crate, you can start using it to begin separation training. After a satisfying play session, encourage her inside her crate (which shouldn’t be a problem if she likes being there), pop a treat in, close the door, and leave the room for 5 minutes.
Repeat this a few times per day, gradually increasing the time you leave her after every day or two. Until you are able to leave her in another room for 30 plus minutes without any issues.
By continuously practicing this, you are effectively breaking the habit of following you around that she has been used to for such a long time.
It’s important to practice this several times per day, so it becomes almost normal for her to remain in one room when you get up and walk to another.
After a few weeks of daily repetition, she should be able to remain in the same room when you get up and leave, whether you put her in the crate or not.
But please remember, your Havanese must REALLY love her crate before you try doing this. The crate must be considered her safe zone, and not somewhere she dislikes. If a good relationship with the crate isn’t made first then this training will not be effective.
When This Behavior Becomes “Too Much”
It’s important to remember that this is a fairly natural behavioral trait for Havanese. They are lap dogs who love to cling to their owners, and for the most part, this kind of behavior should even be expected.
However, if you honestly believe the behavior is becoming excessive then it’s a good idea to try and limit it for one very important reason. Separation anxiety.
If your Havanese is progressively getting worse with following you around, it could suggest that separation anxiety is developing.
Separation anxiety is a serious matter and prevention is far better than cure when it comes to this condition. Some experts claim that once SA is developed, it can never be fully cured or rectified. So avoiding it in the first place is so crucial.
If you think that your Havanese is following you around at a level that you consider to be acceptable, and at a level where it will not develop into something worse (like separation anxiety) then you may not need to do anything about it.
Last Thoughts – Key Takeaways
The key takeaways from this article:
● Your Havanese likely follows you around due to her natural behavioral tendencies, you’ve been accidentally reinforcing the behavior by rewarding her when she follows you, she’s seeking attention, or she has separation anxiety.
● The two most important ways to limit this behavior are to stop accidentally encouraging and reinforcing the behavior and to start practicing separation training.
● If this behavior is progressively getting worse, then you should act quickly and start training against it to prevent a full-blown case of separation anxiety.
● And don’t forget, Havanese are naturally affectionate dogs. This breed LOVES their human family and for the most part, following you around is just their way of showing you their love, loyalty, and devotion.