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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Maybe a Stupid Question

I read here all the time. I reply when I have something to say. Most of the time, I reflect, I learn from all of you. Here's my question...
After 2 or 3 months here, I still haven't figured out why a Hav should be any more difficult to housetrain than any other dog. We got Rico at 18 months (him, not us poor grammar there). He was advertised as house broken and once we got rid of his worms (yuck!) and he figured out our routines, door placements etc and we figured out his signals to us (easy as he literally walks over and paws our shins at a frantic rate) we have never had a problem. So mentally, he gets it. We have Taffy, a terrier, five lbs more than Rico, got her at 6 months, she was fully housebroken in a week.

We've never been without a dog in almost 40 years, almost always with 2 dogs at a time. I've had Afghans (and if any dog is dim, they were it), Bassetts, Golden Retriever and Shar Peis up until 3 years ago. The Welsh Terrier and Rico have been our first small dogs. I mention the terrier because lots of Havs are her size so it cannot be a physiological problem. Rico is probably the smartest dog I've yet to be fortunate enough to love so it's not that they are dumb. What would make a Hav any harder to housebreak than any other dog? I am really interested to hear what you think...
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 03:57 PM
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I have wondered this myself...

They are small and don't pee in the room you use most, which they see as their "den". For some the rest of the house seems like outside perhaps?

I took Riki outside and reward him for each doing his business. The only time Daisy will pee in the house is if it is raining or if I haven't taken her outside often enough. Riki will go down two flights of steps to go out the doggy door when we are sleeping or they are alone. Daisy will not.

Riki is housetrained. Daisy is to a point...I'm not sure why she will sneak away and pee...but I try not to give her that opportunity. I take her outside as soon as she wakes up, my husband takes her out at lunch, me when I get home usually at five, again after dinner, and before we go to sleep.

It is frustrating that she is so hard-headed and wants to sneak off and will walk all the way downstairs and then pee in front of the doggy door. Argh, she is five!

Riki only will pee in the house to mark where she has...sigh.

I didn't just get havanese, I got a lifestyle!
Linda
Loving Havanese since 2003
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 03:59 PM
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I don't really understand the reputation either. These are the smartest and easiest to train dogs that we've ever dealt with.

They are very much creatures of habit maybe more so than other breeds we've had. I think the reputation maybe because bad habits are started early and then are really hard to retrain. Raised correctly from the start they are little trouble to housetrain.

There are a lot of sideline breeders who are gone all day, and of course so many raised in mills now. They should never learn to live in filth and let it fly any kind of way. I think the worse conditions they are raised in, the more difficult it becomes to housetrain.
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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 04:03 PM
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I don't have an answer for you. I've only had larger breeds until I got my first Hav. I have four small dogs now--2 Havanese and 2 Chinese Cresteds and both were about the same to train. My Hav's I had from pups and the Crested's were older and from different situations but I felt they were the same to train. Only Marley is oblivious to the rain, the cold, the wet grass.
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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 04:07 PM
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I wonder, too, and would like to know. I figure it has to do with the house seeming so large to them, like Linda said, that the rest of the house seems like the outdoors. Or, the carpet just soaks up their small potty so they don't smell it enough to register?

It don't believe it has anything to do with bladder size, because their bladder is in proportion to their body size compared to any other dog, as is their water consumption.

I wonder if there is some gene that is different in Havs and another couple of small breeds... (although I'd box anyone's ears that tried to say my Tucker was not smart! )

Whatever the reason, I do wish someone would figure it out and fix it! Ha! I got Tucker knowing housebreaking would take a long time of intensive effort, (which it did!) None of my bigger dogs took long at all to housebreak, with a whole lot less diligence required on my part.

But, if I ever get another dog, it will still be another Hav!

ETA: I also will look for a breeder that does start the house training process from the youngest age! I do know that the breeder I got Tucker from just let the pups go on paper where they wanted to in their ex-pen. Maybe with the small breeds that makes all the difference. (My larger dogs, however, didn't have special training started by their breeders and they were easy to train.)

Sheri, Tucker's Mom

Last edited by Sheri; 02-04-2010 at 04:11 PM.
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 04:29 PM
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well if you ask any trainer this question they are going to say human error. We tend to let the smaller dog's become more domesticated than larger dogs, how many of us would allow a large dog to jump all over us when we get home or jump on the couch when ever they wanted? We tend to provide better structure to the bigger dogs than we do the smaller ones.

Now if someone could teach my boy's it's ok to use a pee pad when I am home instead of dragging me out in the pouring rain & freezing temp I would be one happy momma, my boy's prefer to potty outside.

Leeann, Riley, Monte & Rumor


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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 04:55 PM
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I don't know that they are harder to train, but with this forum we hear most of the problems not the very fast learners. Smarty was trained very quickly, although I probably posted my daily frustrations with the process. Galen another story altogether, as a mill rescue at 4 months, changed locations 3 times before she came to us I began to believe she was hopeless. She would stop playing, do her business and go back to what she was doing, she did not hide or leave the area. A dog that hides knows better, she didn’t. It took a very long time for her to let us know. I remember crying and posting here that she barked at me to go out. Galen is now 14 months and I still leave pee pad in the bathroom but she goes days without using them. At times I’m not sure she has the total concept of holding it.

Other than that, my Havanese are very intelligent. Anything I’ve spent time trying to teach them they have gotten pretty quick and it sticks.

Sandi, taking a new road with Smarty and Galen
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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Now if someone could teach my boy's it's ok to use a pee pad when I am home instead of dragging me out in the pouring rain & freezing temp I would be one happy momma, my boy's prefer to potty outside.>Leeann

this is another issue...pee pads, the modern version of newspapers. I've never paper trained as it just seemed one more step to "unteach" the dog. I know some people would start on paper moving it closer and closer to the door as the puppy aged.

I am retired now. The last dog I got while working was a shar pei. They are notoriously easy to train. I've found it to be true (I've had 3). So this is sort of opposite of the Hav training reputation. Maybe, as Sheri posited, there is a genetic component. I got the last shar pei when she was 8 weeks. I actually set the alarm for 2 AM every night to take her out for a pee when she was very young. She was crated all day while a pup (very large crate btw). She never went in her crate nor in the house her entire lifetime. I retired when she was a year old so most of the time she had me home. She was only crated for maybe 6 months.

I just think all of this is interesting.
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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They are very much creatures of habit maybe more so than other breeds we've had. I think the reputation maybe because bad habits are started early and then are really hard to retrain. Raised correctly from the start they are little trouble to housetrain.>Tom

I think this is spot on. It's like imprinting. In a way, somewhat like the research that shows that the few feral children found after the age of 5, could never be taught to speak. It is hypothesized that the human brain's area for speech acquisition, unless activated by a certain developmental stage, becomes permanently inactive and nonresponsive to speech stimuli.
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 05:19 PM
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I got Riley when he was 10 months old. One reasons I wanted an older puppy was because of the difficulty my brother had in training his Hav. He is very experienced small dog owner, but his Hav, Pedro, was a real challenge to housebreak. He is 6 years old and still has accidents in the house.

Riley's previous owner did a great job training him. He is on a schedule. He goes out in the morning, midday, late afternoon, after dinner and before bed. He can easily go 10 to 11 hours at night without going outside. When we are gone, he has full run of the downstairs and has never had an accident.

When we were at my parent's house for Christmas, I caught Riley peeing in my Mom's closet. He gave me this look like "I know I should not be doing this, but just can't help it." My parents have 4 dogs and I think he just felt compelled to mark the area. My Mom said one of the other dogs had peed there once. It was little embarassing after all the bragging I had done about Riley. Dogs will be dogs...

Debbie and Riley

Last edited by dbeech; 02-04-2010 at 05:50 PM.
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