If little Tilly lay on a sheepskin rug one could easily trip over her! She is an eleven-year-old Havanese who came to live in her new home about fifteen months ago. Her new owners worship her. It can be hard when you’ve not had a dog before, and believe you are doing the best for your dog.
With the thousands of dogs I have been to, I have never met a Havanese before. The reason could be twofold – that they are rare and also that they well adapted to living as companion dogs.
A Havanese is the national dog of Cuba, considered an ideal family pet. They don’t like being left alone. Tilly is very distressed indeed when the lady in particular ‘deserts her’. In fact, she has become progressively worse over the past year or so, confirming that it’s the human behaviour we need to look at (as usual;).
All dogs can be acclimatised to short periods alone if it’s done correctly – even the less independent breeds. Tilly is waited on hand and foot – by the gentleman in particular, a warm and loving man. He is up and down following her about and seeing to her every whim, constantly touching her and fretting. The lady is over-anxious about Tilly’s happiness and welfare, and at times the little dog is the centre of constant care, attention, petting and anxiety. This isn’t good for her.
Tilly will be asking to go out and when the door is opened refuse to go! When they themselves want her to go out, extreme measures are used to entice her to go, a treat trail along the floor or hyping her up with ‘CATS’! She will only do things under her own terms. She jumps onto them every time she wishes, but if asked to come she refuses and turns her back. She licks the gentleman constantly. It is all too much and it makes her stressed.
Tilly is inseparable from the lady and follows her wherever she goes. When the lady is there she refuses to have anything to do with gentleman – unless it’s to jump on his lap and lick him obsessively. This is a recipe for separation issues when they go out. The gentleman is at work all day, but the lady simply has to go out from time to time. It needs to be worked at gradually, with comings and going being a lot more matter-of-fact. Tilly has to learn that whenever the lady goes out of sight she always comes back.
This little dog is severely stressed by being the chief decision-maker and centre of the universe. Like many people, what they think is kind actually is not at all. Many things need to be the very opposite of what a kind and loving human may be doing. Welcomes need to be casual, touching and petting needs to be rationed, the dog shouldn’t be obeyed every time, food should be offered but the dog shouldn’t be begged to eat or hand-fed. They worry that she’s not happy if she’s simply away from them, lying quietly.
Humans really shouldn’t be at the constant beck and call of a dog. A dog needs a few consistent rules and boundaries; it doesn’t need servants or slaves.
If that dog were a child, she would be showing signs of insecurity for sure. They love Tilly dearly and are up for the self-sacrifice needed for the happiness of their little dog.