Havanese are highly intelligent dogs who love their people and are very eager to please. One aspect of their temperament that makes them so easy to live with is their sensitivity to the emotional state of those around them. Havanese have a high degree of emotional intelligence and are aware of what their people are feeling. This, combined with their desire to please, creates a dog who is ready and willing to do whatever you are ready and willing to do. If you are happy, your dog is happy. If you are sad, your dog tries to comfort you. If you want to play, your dog is ready. If you want to chill and relax, your dog is more than ready for some lap time.
This temperament trait is one big reason many people decide on a Havanese as their breed of choice. They are therapy dogs and many people purchase them to help them move past the loss of a pet or loved one, to be a companion in times of loneliness, or to help them heal from something else.
Most positive traits, however, also have their negative counterpart. With the Havanese, this shows up when there are long-term or extreme negative emotions displayed in the dog’s home environment. Havanese dog owners need to be aware that anger, bitterness, long-term sadness, excessive stress or panic, and other negative emotions can have negative effects on the personality or behavior of your Havanese, and in some cases, can cause your havanese to become physically ill. Havanese will use their emotional energy to try to help you feel better and doing this long-term can drain your dog of its emotional resources resulting in negative emotions or behaviors from your dog.
As Havanese dog breeders we have had several cases where people have called us with concerns over negative personality displays or behaviors in their dog that are uncharacteristic of the Havanese breed. After talking with the owners we usually find that there is something else that has happened in the home that is putting a high degree of emotional stress on their dog. For example, lots of anger in a household can create a skittish Havanese. If the dog’s owner is very stressed or upset for a sustained length of time you might find a dog who becomes depressed and lethargic until the circumstances change. These are just two examples and are by no means exhaustive.
The biggest reason we find for negative personality or behavior changes in a Havanese is when the owner has changing circumstances in his or her life and begins leaving the dog alone regularly for long periods of time. Havanese are companion dogs and have a need for another social being whether that be a human or another social dog or animal.
Havanese owners need to think of their dog kind of like a human child. If there is stress in the home it will upset the child. Children are good at bouncing back under normal circumstances but in an environment with regular and sustained stress the child may suffer in personality and behavior.
With this being said, people should understand that Havanese are very good at rolling with life with its ups and downs and most people have absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to life’s stresses and the personality of their dog. They roll with stress and recover very quickly. They are amazing therapy dogs and help people heal. I am writing this so that Havanese owners can be aware of this trait in their Havanese so that in cases of extreme or prolonged stress they can be sensitive to the emotional state of their dog.