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Old 12-30-2012, 06:10 PM   #1
esther620
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Advice Please

Hello, I have been stalking this forum on and off for a couple of years and have spent many days reading through all the posts/advice. I have also read all of the articles and websites that davetgabby and others have posted throughout in regards to puppies and training and watched all of the youtube videos from kikopup on clicker training etc... I think my mind is in havanese overload the last few months! We finally got our havanese puppy on friday. He is 8 weeks old and my kiddos named him Bandit. I am so upset about some of his behavior thus far. He has started to growl when he gets picked up. It has worsened and gotten louder and louder over this period of just a couple of days. I try to limit the time that he gets held and picked up but sometimes it is necessary (eg. taking him inside/outside, putting him in his crate, or removing him from an area that we don't want him in). Also, if he mouths when playing I have told my kids to make a noise, give him a toy, and ignore him. Well, this evening my 7 yo did just that and our puppy began to bark at him. I told my son to ignore the barking and to not pay attention to him. Puppy then went over and started to hump my sons leg. When I moved him from doing this he growled loudly at me. Anyways, this doesn't seem like "normal" behavior. I researched Havanese and was certain that this would be the right fit for us. I feel just sick over this. Am I over reacting?? Any advice would be great. I am going to visit the vet this week and plan on talking to her also.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:28 PM   #2
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Esther - I had the same issues with both of my havs with regards to my son. I think small dogs aren't very comfortable when little kids pick them up. Try to have your children sit on the floor with them and give them treats. I was also told to have your kids do all the feeding and affection with the puppy and have the adults back off. I found this to be impossible because they are in school all day.

My dogs are funny. When Alec gets home from school, they bark like maniacs and rush to greet him, but then that's about it. They much prefer my company. They are fine with Alec and he plays with them and they play back, but when it's all said and done, they are definitely Mommy's dogs.

As for the humping, Jinx humps me all the time - mostly out of jealousy when I'm petting Gryff. I hold him down and tell him NO very firmly. He will stop immediately, but he hasn't stopped the behavior. I need to work more on this because it is really annoying.

Don't give up! They are wonderful little dogs.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:37 PM   #3
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It sounds to me like everything he is doing is well within the range of "normal" 8-12 week old puppy behavior, no matter what the breed. I think you would ALL benefit by getting a trainer to come and help you get started on the right foot with these "little puppy" problems. Also, if you haven't already done so, sign him up for puppy kindergarten as soon as possible. Puppy K will give him vital socialization, both with other people AND other puppies, and at the same time, will give you a chance to ask about troublesome puppy behaviors as they come up!
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:49 PM   #4
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Hey there! Sorry your new pup is causing you angst! I just got my puppy in early November and had a similar experience. Before we got him, I read 5+ books on raising puppies/small dogs, watched lots of puppy/training videos on youtube - the whole nine yards. I think what happened to me is that I got so used to reading about the way puppies "should" react, so used to watching puppies in training videos respond well to a command on the first try, that I lost sight of how a real puppy would come along with its own set of unexpected challenges. He whined a LOT when we first got him, nipped painfully and constantly, and humped and bit my girlfriend to the point where we both started panicking that he was a little nuts. With time, patience, and some clicker training every day he has come so far in two months - farther than I would've hoped!! It sounds like you know what you're doing - have confidence in yourself and be patient. He will mature and start to figure out what behaviors he can do to make you happy. And he'll start to look more like all those well trained puppies in the videos
Good luck!
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:22 PM   #5
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My Hav, Molly, is now 17 weeks old. She didn't start the growling thing until the last few weeks with my 7 year old daughter. I find that this mostly happens when the dog is tired and cranky...especially when my daughter goes to pick her up while she is laying down and taking a nap...I can't say I blame my dog - I growl when I get woken up from a nap, too! ;-) Sometimes I find that Molly gets too much stimulation and starts displaying undesirable behavior..when she does this, I giver her (and us) a time out by putting her in her kennel. I think there is just a lot of "getting to know you" when you get a new pup..it's early and things will get better!
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:38 PM   #6
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Hello!! Welcome and Congratulations on your baby!!

First off great job researching the breed before jumping in!!
I am wondering a few things, did your puppy come from a reputable breeder who health tests AND does early socialization???
Also, how old are your kids? Our hav DEFINITLY bonded stronger with our older child who was 7 when we got Tillie. They have a very loving relationship. Our youngest child who was barely 5 when we got Tillie has always tried to be 'the mama' and control Tillie... which of course Tillie does NOT like.
Also, I agree, getting a trainer in asap would be a good idea. It is WAY better to train then right from the start then to re-train a bad behavior...
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:22 PM   #7
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Thank you for the advice and encouragement. To answer some of your questions, we have four children still at home. Their ages are 17, 8, 7, and 2. And then a 19yo in the Army. I homeschool the little ones so they are at home with me and our new puppy Bandit during the day.
I think I had this idea that a Hav was a perfect dog and would NEVER do something like this. We did visit the breeder and all of her dogs for a couple hours when Bandit was 5 weeks old and have chatted both on the phone and through emails many times. I did address some of these concerns with her before settling on a puppy and before settling on a male puppy. I do not know what socialization the puppies had.
I definately notice that there are some triggers. The biggest one is when he is outside and the other is when he is in the midst of playing and has to be bothered he gets angry. He growled loudly and nipped me tonight when we had to come inside. What should I do in situations like that? I read about positive reinforcements and ignoring but in a situation like that neither of those two would work. I also have had my kids have treats in hand and letting him sniff the treat, then pick him up while feeding the treat. This works well as long as a treat is present and he is food motivated at the time. Also, we feed him all of his food from our hands. We work on clicker training and click and treat when he is in a calm state. I called his breeder yesterday and she advised me to give a sharp deep "no" when he growls like this and to not put him down until he settles. But this seems to go against the positive correction that I've read. She also tried assuring me that this is just a puppy phase.
Anyways, I hope to go to the vet tomorrow and then we will be signing up for some training classes. Hopefully we can get this figured out. Thanks again and anymore advise would be great.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:19 PM   #8
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New puppy behaviors can be difficult for sure. There is also the scale of submissive/dominant within the scope of the breed. While Havs are overall submissive compared to other breeds, there is a range and some can be more dominant/assertive than others. Don't panic--he is just learning how to live with you and what you expect from him. This is a breed that wants to please you and do the right thing--that will prevail, probably more quickly than you think. Great idea to take some classes and get training tips. Definitely stick with positive reinforcement as they are very sensitive. When my pup bites I tell him No in a deep voice and if he gets too wild I put him in his crate for some Settle Down Time. As for the growling, I agree that you don't want to encourage that. It sounds like you are doing all the right things. Hang in there! Puppyhood is short and all your hard work will pay off.


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Old 01-01-2013, 07:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esther620 View Post
Thank you for the advice and encouragement. To answer some of your questions, we have four children still at home. Their ages are 17, 8, 7, and 2. And then a 19yo in the Army. I homeschool the little ones so they are at home with me and our new puppy Bandit during the day.
I think I had this idea that a Hav was a perfect dog and would NEVER do something like this.
I think they ARE "perfect" dogs, but they are STILL dogs, and do dog things. More to the point, at this age, they still do "puppy" things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by esther620 View Post
We did visit the breeder and all of her dogs for a couple hours when Bandit was 5 weeks old and have chatted both on the phone and through emails many times. I did address some of these concerns with her before settling on a puppy and before settling on a male puppy. I do not know what socialization the puppies had.

Quote:
Originally Posted by esther620 View Post
I definately notice that there are some triggers. The biggest one is when he is outside and the other is when he is in the midst of playing and has to be bothered he gets angry. He growled loudly and nipped me tonight when we had to come inside. What should I do in situations like that? I read about positive reinforcements and ignoring but in a situation like that neither of those two would work.
I would say OWWW!!! As loud as I could, in a high pitched voice, (whether it hurts or not) and then move my hand into a position where he can't nip it. If he stops right away, fine. If he doesn't then he needs to be placed in confinement (crate or expen) without any more words, for s couple f minutes when you get him inside to settle down.

It sounds to me like he might be getting over-wound. Are the kids playing with him when he's outside? At this point, until he learns better self control, play needs to be VERY quiet and gentle. Puppies can wind themselves up quite nicely without any external help!

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Originally Posted by esther620 View Post
I also have had my kids have treats in hand and letting him sniff the treat, then pick him up while feeding the treat. This works well as long as a treat is present and he is food motivated at the time.
Really, at this point, only your 17 year old should be picking him up. The others are too young to really read his signals in terms of whether he WANTS to be picked up, and they are also much too likely to drop him if he gets wiggly. Even little puppies can be surprisingly strong and VERY quick if they decide they want to get away, and a drop to the floor can be VERY dangerous!!! Your younger ones should sit on the floor, allow him to climb onto their laps and play with him there. One GREAT game is to have them sit as far apart as possible, and then one at a time call him over (saying JUST his name, clapping hands, patting the floor, NOT using the word "come") and give him a treat when he arrives. This is a great start toward a strong recall, and fun for everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by esther620 View Post
Also, we feed him all of his food from our hands. We work on clicker training and click and treat when he is in a calm state. I called his breeder yesterday and she advised me to give a sharp deep "no" when he growls like this and to not put him down until he settles. But this seems to go against the positive correction that I've read. She also tried assuring me that this is just a puppy phase.
I agree that it is just a puppy phase, but I DON'T agree with saying "no". Puppies hear that word ALL the time, and quickly tune it out. IT doesn't mean anything to them, because they don't know what they shouldn't be doing, and they they haven't got a CLUE what they should be doing instead. That's why a sharp "OWWW!" followed by a short "ignore" is a better response. It is ONLY for this behavior, and is what another puppy would do in the same circumstances. Puppies don't continue to play with other puppies that hurt them. If the puppy wants to play, he learns to play nice!

Also, it's a really bad idea to discourage growling. Dogs that are ingrained that it's not OK to growl are the ones who are MUCH more likely to bite "without warning", because they have been taught that the "warning" is not OK. At this age, I would totally ignore the growling when you NEED to do something with him... Just talk to him in a matter-of-fact tone, and keep on doing what needs to get done. But I would be teaching your KIDS that when he growls, it's his way of asking for space, and they need to give it to him. It could be that with all your kids, he's feeling kind of overwhelmed with all the love, well-intentioned as it is!

Quote:
Originally Posted by esther620 View Post
Anyways, I hope to go to the vet tomorrow and then we will be signing up for some training classes. Hopefully we can get this figured out. Thanks again and anymore advise would be great.
You will all get the hang of it, him included. He's very young, and it's a big adjustment going into any new home, especially an exciting one with so many young children. Remember, he is a VERY little baby right now, and they grow REALLY fast!!! Just give him AND your family time to get used to each other!
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:08 PM   #10
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I got Maddie at 8 weeks and it worked out fine because my house was just two old people. That age is very influential as far as the development. Some say not to get a puppy before 14 to 16 weeks old. Their are so many things they learn from their mother and siblings. I hope you can figure it out and start enjoying your new pup. I have videos of my two called the sisters and you can see how ruff they play with each other at a young age. I'm crossing my fingers that it will all work out,
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