Havanese generally do not bark without cause and make great alert dogs for this reason. This is natural behavior for them and easily curbed by simply blocking their view of whatever causes them to bark. If your Havanese is barking excessively, then this is likely due to human error. But the good news is that training it out is a simple matter!
The difficult part of training out excessive barking is our natural response to ‘speak back’ to the dog. But your dog doesn’t understand your words, so they just think you’re barking along with them! With that in mind, the first step to control your dog’s barking is to never yell at them to be quiet!
Like any training, the two other most important things to keep in mind are:
- Consistency! Don’t let your dog get away with barking sometimes but not others, and don’t let other people in the household allow your dog to get away with barking either. Everyone in the family must be on the same page!
- Positivity! Havanese respond best to positive reinforcement and a gentle hand.
With the basic principles out of the way, now it’s just a matter of learning how to curb your dog’s barking. Depending on the severity of the excessive barking, this may require an entire lifestyle change for both you and your Havanese!
The first thing you need to learn to do is ignore your Havanese’s barking. This may sound counter-intuitive, but dog’s operate on kid logic; that is, any attention is good attention. By acknowledging your dog’s barking in any way, you are providing them that attention and encouraging the behavior. The second your Havanese quiets down on their own, you can then praise them and give them a treat. Eventually, you can add a command to this (e.g. “quiet”) by saying the command once your dog quiets, and then praising and rewarding them. Your dog will learn to associate the command with their ceased barking.
The second step is to remove all temptation to bark where possible. If your Havanese barks at passersby from the window, then block them from the window. Dogs continue barking at a trigger because they receive some sort of reward for it. In the case of passersby, the person leaves. While this has nothing to do with your dog barking at them, it indirectly rewards your dog for their barking. By blocking off any access to this source of barking, you can prevent the situation entirely.
The third step is to keep your Havanese exercised and mentally stimulated! A tired dog is a well-behaved dog. While Havanese do not require a lot of exercise or mental stimulation, they still do require some playtime and brain exercise. If your Havanese is bored, they will be more likely to seek out sources of entertainment, and some of those entertainment sources may lead to barking.
The final step is to give your Havanese alternative options to barking! By giving your dog something to do other than bark, they will be too occupied mentally and/or physically. For example, you can try giving them a favorite chew before a guest comes over.