Havanese are extremely sociable and form very strong attachments to their families. This trait can be very endearing and is one of the reasons that many of us selected the Havanese as our chosen breed; however this strong attachment and high need for attention and companionship may also come hand in hand with other less welcome issues. One of these is separation anxiety, which is quite common among Havanese to varying degrees.
Havanese who exhibit separation anxiety become overly anxious when they are away from their beloved humans. This anxiety can translate into whining, crying, howling, soiling, chewing, digging, scratching and other destructive behaviours. They are in no way being spiteful about the separation, but simply cannot cope with it. As anxiety levels escalate, behaviour may deteriorate. Such Havanese are extremely uncomfortable with being away from their families; some may even exhibit these same symptoms of anxiety if they can see the owner, but are separated from them.
While it is very normal for your Havanese to miss you when you are gone, Separation anxiety is anxiousness to the extreme, in some cases to the point of panic . There are several steps you can take to help your Havanese cope with separation.
Crate train your Havanese puppy when he is very young to accept being left in his crate for short periods. To start, place him in his crate when he is tired and less likely to make a fuss. These minor separations when you are at home will help to condition your Havanese to spending time alone. Do lots of practice runs of varying duration. When you must leave, keep your departures and arrivals low key. Go about your business as usual. Over emotional departures and arrivals will only increase anxiety levels. Normal house sounds and human voices from a TV or radio left on may help a distraught Havanese to feel a bit more comfortable and less alone. When you are away, restrict your Havanese to a confined safe area. Some Havanese are even more anxious if left in a very small area like a crate, especially if they have not been crate trained. An X-Pen or enclosed room may be better options.
A special toy or chew treat (like a stuffed Kong®), given only when you are gone, may give your Havanese a positive outlook as well as providing a non-destructive outlet. Unfortunately, some Havanese are so anxious when left alone that even the most tempting of treats cannot distract them from their distress.
All of these things can help your Havanese to cope better with being left alone. Havanese who have one or more companionable animals to stay with, will have a lot less anxiety at your absence.
Many Havanese owners have found that the very best solution for anxiety is to have another Havanese or other pet.