Let's face it, some dogs and some breeds are predisposed to over barking. A yappy dog not only barks at motivators, he also barks at shadows, sounds and movements, for attention or simply for the sake of barking.
Havanese are not considered a "yappy" breed, however this is no way means they are silent. Havanese are very alert and excellent watch dogs. They will bark an alert if anything seems untoward in their household as well as announcing the mailman, paperboy etc. They will also bark to let you know of a squirrel invading their territory or a stray cat in the yard. They generally do not continue barking and usually desist once you acknowledge their efforts. Most Havanese are relatively quiet pets, however some are more vocal than others.
Unchecked barking can become a habit and a nuisance. If yours is a more vocal Havanese, there are many things you can do to bring over barking under control. Training is the first priority. Teaching a "Quiet" or "That's enough" command will stand you in good stead. Teaching acceptable limits is another thing. Sounding an alert is acceptable; continuing non-stop is not. After a few barks, distract him or call him away to stop barking. Some owners have found a shaker can useful. Indoor use ultrasonic correction devices are available which deliver a warning sound for continued barking. These do not prevent alert barking as 2-5 barks are still allowed before a correction tone is emitted but they may help curb over barking. Some owners have found that limiting outdoor views can help dramatically. While keeping curtains drawn is an alternative, some have found that applying semi transparent window cling film to the lower portion of the window where your Havanese look out, goes a long way to minimize barking at outdoor motivators. Semi transparency allows natural light while still blurring the view out. Less triggers mean less barking. For sound-sensitive Havanese, leaving a Television or Radio on during absences may help mask sound triggers.
Havanese crave and need the companionship and attention of their families and do not do well left alone for long periods. Havanese are a house dog and lengthy unattended outdoor sojourns should be rare situations so outdoor nuisance barking is unlikely to develop. If outdoor barking is an issue, there is an assortment of anti-barking products on the market though largely inappropriate for Havanese. Citronella collars and permanent mount ultrasonic devices are two options to curb outdoor barking. Both of these are of limited use however and have mixed reviews. While they may be useful tools they are no substitute for attention and training.
While some Havanese do bark more than others and over barking may be an issue for some, thankfully very few are nuisance barkers.
- Previously published in Dogs in Canada – October 2005