From playing to aggression, the Havanese dog can nibble and bite at any point. Does that make these dogs dangerous? Not if they are properly trained. But why do these dogs bite a lot?
Why does my Havanese bite so much?
Biting is used by Havanese dogs for several reasons: to protect, defend, or let out emotion. Havanese dogs are no different and will bite for the same reasons. Many times, these playful dogs will nibble or bite if they get overexcited.
It is always important to understand why your dog does the action it is doing. Understanding why your Havanese dog is biting will inform you if they are being playful or aggressive. Biting isn’t usually a problem if it’s playful.
Just like how kids will roughhouse with their siblings and friends, dogs can show similar behaviors with other dogs or their owners. The Havanese dog might lightly bite the hands or arms of their owners while playing.
Playtime is super exciting for your Havanese dog. They might get overexcited while playing which can unleash some typically aggressive behaviors.
These dogs might bite harder or start to bark. They never mean this to hurt or scare you, it is simply their way of letting out the high amount of excitement that they are feeling. It’s like when kids accidentally hurt each other while playing because they got a little too rough.
Fear or Pain
If you have ever gotten bitten when you accidentally stepped on a paw or tail, then you aren’t alone. Feelings of pain or fear can elicit a biting instinct in your Havanese dog, causing them to react aggressively to you.
This usually happens to dogs who have experienced abuse, but any dog can show this instinct as well. Unless someone is intentionally trying to harm your dog, then the biting response is never on purpose.
They are Threatened
This is a little different than fear or pain. While the reaction to fear or pain is more instinctual, reacting to a threat takes more time. If your Havanese dog is feeling threatened, it will feel defensive and bite at the thing that is making them feel unsafe.
An example of that is a stranger coming up to a dog too fast. While Havanese dogs are super social and do well with strangers, a Havanese dog that has experienced abuse in its past will be more cautious.
A stranger coming up too quickly will make the Havanese dog feel in danger, and it might bite the stranger as a response. Training can help make sure that strangers coming to your home are safe from any biting.
“I Want Attention!”
You might get a few love bites here and there if your Havanese dog is feeling particularly affectionate and needy. These dogs love to receive all the attention that they can get. If they aren’t receiving enough in their mind, they will resort to any measure to get the pets that they want.
Sometimes, your dog will ask for attention by nudging your hand. If that is not getting the response that they want, they might nip at your hand to get your attention. Nipping and love bites are super soft bites and they will never break the skin, though they might startle you if you aren’t paying attention.
Trying to Dominate
Havanese dogs that have not been properly trained might show more aggressive behavior. This can present itself by your Havanese dog trying to dominate you or the other people in your household.
Dominating behavior can include biting, barking, herding, or any other uncontrolled behavior that can cause them to control those in your house.
If your Havanese dog is showing dominating and aggressive behavior, you will want to contact a professional dog trainer to rid of this behavior. It is better to train this behavior out so no one in your family or guests gets hurt.
What Can I Do to Stop My Havanese Dog from Biting?
If your Havanese dog is showing unwanted biting behavior, such as nipping to get your attention or when playing, there are ways to reduce the amount of biting they do.
Make Sure They Aren’t Hurt
If your Havanese dog is biting a lot more than usual, make sure that they aren’t biting from pain or some sort of illness.
This can usually be identified if the biting happens when you get too close to your dog or touch it. Normally, a Havanese dog is super affectionate and won’t shy away from a loving hand. If they are refusing that, take it to the vet to make sure it isn’t sick or injured.
Have Your Havanese Dog Get Plenty of Exercise
If your Havanese dog is biting from overexcitement, a way to reduce their biting is by reducing the energy they have.
Allowing your Havanese dog plenty of time running around or playing games will allow them to get more exercise in. You can also take them on plenty of walks around the neighborhood or to a dog park.
Overexcitement can happen from too much energy while playing. A Havanese dog will have more controlled reactions while playing if they don’t have too much energy.
Training the Behavior Out
If other solutions aren’t working, you might need to train your Havanese dog not to bite. You can either take them to a professional trainer for this or train them yourself. However, it is recommended to use a professional trainer if this biting is due to aggression or an attempt to dominate.
First, it’s important to know that training out a behavior will take time and persistence. You need to make sure that you practice training with each unwanted bite so that your Havanese dog can learn quickly.
Sending mixed signals due to inconsistent training can confuse your Havanese dog and prolong the training.
For this training, we will use the example of biting to get your attention. Whenever you notice your dog biting you for attention, whether it’s before you started petting or after, you must ignore the action and not give them attention.
If they bite before you begin petting, don’t start petting them. Instead, move your hand out of their reach and don’t pay them any attention. If they bite after you’ve started petting, stop petting them and remove any attention that they were receiving.
This action shows your Havanese dog that biting will not get the attention that it wants. Once your Havanese dog has calmed down, you can start petting it. Any time that your Havanese dog starts biting, however, remove the attention.
Repeat these steps until your Havanese dog stops biting entirely. It will take time to learn, but once your dog understands your hand will be free of unwanted nibbles.
A similar structure can be done for biting while playing. If your Havanese dog starts getting overexcited and biting, stop playing and let them calm down.
For this method to work, you must stop as soon as your dog tries for the first bite. That way it will know exactly what action they should not be doing anymore.
Is it Hard to Train Havanese Dogs?
Havanese dogs are super eager to please and always want to make their owners happy. They might not be the smartest dogs, but their need for praise makes them easy to train. These dogs will want to show off all that they have learned to their owners which pushes them to learn new commands and behaviors faster.
It is always a bit harder to untrain a behavior than to train in new behavior, but you should still have a relatively easy time doing the training. To make training the easiest, make sure that you are persistent and have patience.
Give your Havanese dog time to absorb and practice the information that they have learned from you.
Don’t send mixed signals to your Havanese dog. Make sure to go through the same motions every single time your dog tries to bite. This will ensure that your dog won’t get confused because you are letting it bite you one minute but not the next.
Havanese dogs aren’t known to bite all the time, but they still might bite more than you would like. Most of the time, these dogs will bite because they got too playful or they want attention. An abused dog might bite more often due to their past trauma and it is important to help your dog through training.
For most causes of biting, you can train your Havanese dog to stop biting on your own. However, aggressive biting should be taken care of by a professional.
Havanese dogs don’t try to hurt their owners. They have too much love in their hearts to purposefully cause pain or injury. Just like how you might accidentally hurt your dog from knocking into them or stepping on a paw, they might accidentally hurt you. Even so, they still deserve plenty of love from their owners and families.