Havanese Separation Anxiety: All You Need to Know

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Havanese Separation AnxietySeparation anxiety is a common dog behavior and it’s more prevalent in some breeds than others. The more your pooch is attached to you, the more likely it is to suffer from canine separation anxiety.

If you have a Havanese or plan to adopt one soon, here’s everything you need to know about Havanese separation anxiety and how you can reduce and even treat it.

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What Is Canine Separation Anxiety?

Canine separation anxiety is quite a common problem for many pet parents. It is also quite difficult to understand or identify as a new pet owner. For instance, you leave your pooch by itself for a short period and they become destructive with your belongings – is this poor manners or separation anxiety?

Essentially, dogs who become upset when their owners leave suffer from separation anxiety. Behaviors are often extreme, to the point that the dog may even cause self-injury and destroy household items. The reason is that the dog is fearful, feels trapped, and wants to escape, so most of the damage is done next to exit points (such as doors or windows).

Dogs who suffer from this condition become distressed when they see their owners getting ready to leave, such as starting to drool or showing anxiety. There are other common symptoms of this problem, such as barking, howling, chewing, and destroying items (which may result in damaged nails, cut paws, and broken teeth), and escaping.

There is no clear reason why some dogs develop separation anxiety. However, it is more prevalent among dogs adopted from shelters – who have previously dealt with abandonment and fear it may happen again whenever you leave the house.

It may also become a problem if you abruptly change your schedule; for instance, if you used to work from home, then you suddenly change to a 9-5 office job, leaving your dog alone for so many hours, it may suffer from separation anxiety. Any family changes may also lead to this disorder, such as going through a divorce or a loved one passing away.

Are Havanese Prone to Separation Anxiety?

Yes, Havanese dogs are prone to separation anxiety. This dog is friendly and sociable, which means that it loves spending time with human companions rather than by itself.

As mentioned above, there is not a clear reason why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and others do not – this may be a change in schedule (such as getting your pooch used to being with it all day long, then suddenly leaving home for many hours) or simply, some dogs form deeper bonds than others.

This breed, in general, depends on their owners and sees the owner as their own guardian, so leaving them by themselves could trigger fear and loneliness, which lead to separation anxiety.

How Long and How Often Can You Leave Your Havanese Alone?

This may vary from dog to dog – some dogs may be okay by themselves for a few hours, while others will struggle even with 30 minutes. In general, you should avoid leaving your Havanese alone for more than three hours per day.

If you need to leave the house for a longer stretch of time – as an isolated event – the best you can do is either look for a pet sitter or ask a friend or family member to come and spend time with your pooch. This breed is not known for taking loneliness very well, so it’s important to maintain your dog’s mental and physical health by ensuring its needs – including socialization – are met.

In a separate article we wrote in more detail about how long you can leave a Havanese alone and how to deal with a situation when you need to leave your pup alone for longer.

What Will Happen If Your Havanese Suffers From Separation Anxiety?

If you leave your Havanese on its own for too long, separation anxiety symptoms will most likely appear.

Some of the most common consequences include urinating or defecation inside, pacing, trembling, chewing and destruction of household items, and even self-injury – in a desperate attempt to escape. Barking and howling are also common symptoms when your pooch suffers from this problem.

7 Ways to Reduce Your Havanese’s Separation Anxiety

Fortunately, there are quite a few things you can do to help your furry friend handle this canine disorder. These could be applied to reduce the Havanese’s separation anxiety, or even to lengthen the time until they start feeling lonely when you are not at home.


Counterconditioning is perhaps the first thing you should try if your pooch suffers from separation anxiety. This means that you will give your Havanese something to keep it busy while you are gone, such as puzzle toys and toys with treats hidden inside.

It’s best to start counterconditioning for very short periods of time (such as leaving the dog in a room while you go in another room with the door open) and gradually increase the time.

It’s not recommended to use food toys whenever you leave your home for a longer period of time – once the dog finishes the food, it will realize you are gone and it will panic. Over time, this could make the dog fearful of food if they suffer from severe separation anxiety.

Each time, you should return when the dog is still calm – if your dog starts barking, howling, or shows anxiety, you are progressing too fast and you need to step back. For instance, if you leave your dog alone for 30 minutes and it is still calm, then the next day you leave for 2 hours, all the progress will be lost. This is because the dog loses the trust that you are coming back home before it starts to panic and become fearful.

Playtime and Exercise

If you need to leave for a short time, you could exercise and play with your pooch right before. This will make them tired and more likely to sleep through the entire period – hence, they won’t know you are gone for a longer time.

You could go for a long walk or have a longer playtime using interactive toys. Both physical and mental stimulation is important to get your puppy ready for a long nap.

Prepare Your Home Before You Leave

Pups experience separation anxiety because their beloved human and guardian leaves – which makes them feel lonely. Hence, you could prepare the home to make them feel safer once you leave. For example, you can leave the radio or TV on, play some music, and leave some of your t-shirts around, so they smell like you.

Desensitize Your Dog

Some dogs start showing separation anxiety symptoms as soon as they see their owners putting shoes on or picking up the keys. If that’s the case, do those things, but don’t leave – simply put your shoes on, then sit down on the sofa. Get the keys and prepare dinner – doing this many times per day will help your pooch cope with these activities.

When they no longer have a bad reaction to this, you can start leaving the room for a few minutes, then increase the time. Always make sure the dog is relaxed before you leave.

In addition to this, you should not overreact when you leave or get back home. If you get too emotional when you leave the house, the dog will become more fearful when you are gone. Also, when you return, you should be quiet and show affection only after your pooch calms down.

Start Training Your Dog from Puppyhood

To decrease the severity of separation anxiety, you should start training your Havanese from puppyhood. You may want to start separation training as soon as possible – even if it is only you leaving the room for a few minutes – so that they get used to being by themselves for a certain period of time. Then, slowly increase the time while making sure your dog is calm.

Crate training from puppyhood can also be a major ally in preventing separation anxiety. When used correctly, crate training will teach your dog that there is a safe and fun place inside the home.

However, it’s important to make crate training fun and safe for your pooch – as in, always put interesting dog toys with treats inside, so your Havanese is happy to spend time in there.

Dog Camera

If you must leave for a longer time and are worried about your pooch, investing in a good quality dog camera could solve all your issues. Some models allow for voice as well – so you can soothe your dog, and others come with a two-way monitor so the dog can see you, too. In addition to this, a dog camera may be a key tool when training your pooch or diagnosing separation anxiety as you can see its behavior when it is on its own.

See a Behaviorist

If everything else fails, seeing a behaviorist will surely be a fruitful approach to helping your pooch. A canine behaviorist is a professional trained in animal behavior who knows how to modify certain behaviors. They will present you with a personalized treatment plan and teach you how to implement it successfully.


Unfortunately, separation anxiety is not always treatable or preventable. Once it starts appearing, it is quite difficult to treat or tone down. If your Havanese struggles with separation anxiety, talking to an animal behaviorist may be the quickest way to find a personalized treatment plan for you.

Some dogs may experience separation anxiety due to a traumatic past; others may just develop bonds that run too deep. Either way, it’s important to avoid stressing the pet and make small steps toward teaching them to feel safe on their own.

Whether you are looking for food for your dog or other pet supplies, Chewy.com has them all. Right now, they are even running a promotion where you get 40% OFF your first Instinct Raw Frozen autoship order.