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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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Havanese and Holiday Parties

Last Sunday Momi, Popi, and Ricky were invited to a holiday party. 16 people were in attendance from 18 months to Septuagenarians plus one other toy size dog. Ricky only knew two of the people there and he had never been to the house before. Ricky had been specifically invited.

WOW, Ricky is the ultimate party animal. He made it his mission to meet everyone personally, jump on their lap, and interact with them. He was hyperactive, falling off the back of one sofa and knocking over an end table. He was doing his repertoire of tricks, often without being asked. He had this constant open mouth "grin" on his face with his tongue hanging out. I put a cute doggie Santa's hat on his head and he promptly shook it off and started to shred it, much to everyone's delight, except mine! He thought it was the best party he had ever been to.

Now I realize this doesn't reflect well on Popi. I did make him sit on my lap to distract him, but he struggled and I was encouraged to "let him down" by the other guests who were laughing at his antics, and the more they laughed the more he was stimulated. I tried putting him in the backyard and closing the sliding glass door. He would just stand at the door and repeat high pitched yips and squeals to let him back in. Very annoying!

The children received wrapped Christmas gifts and Ricky was more than willing to help them unwrap them! The kids thought this was a lot of fun.

The party lasted for about 5 hours and in the end he started to run out of gas. We had a long 5 hour drive home and he slept the whole way home, dead exhausted.

I would like some feedback from you all about what I could have done differently. Leaving him at home or with day care was not an option for a number of reasons. He was really a hit at the party, and he didn't cause any real problems for anyone, but still.

Ricky's Popi
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 05:54 AM
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Great question. I'll be watching to see what more experienced say. I always take Chi-Chi's stroller when visiting. Makes a good time out place while still allowing her to enjoy the guests. When the humans have dinner, she is served her meal in the stroller. I let her out for fun but never allow her to do anything I wouldn't have let my young children do.

Sounds like Ricky had a good time and people were enjoying him. The true test is to see if he is invited next year LOL
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 07:42 AM
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I have the same question. We're taking Rudy to visit my side of the family in NJ, but I think we are going to leave him at my parents house who lives nearby my sister (about 15 minutes away) when we go to my sisters house We plan to go back to check on him and take him for a walk while we are at my sisters. We should be gone about 5 hours max. I decided not to take him to my sisters because there will be about 20 people and it will be too much for him.

We will "Havanese proof" the kitchen area at my mother's and block it off with his gates. He will also have his bed and toys there.
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Last edited by Lisa T.; 12-21-2016 at 07:48 AM.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 07:45 AM
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Rudy wishes everyone a Merry Christmas!
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Ricky Ricardo View Post
Last Sunday Momi, Popi, and Ricky were invited to a holiday party. 16 people were in attendance from 18 months to Septuagenarians plus one other toy size dog. Ricky only knew two of the people there and he had never been to the house before. Ricky had been specifically invited.

WOW, Ricky is the ultimate party animal. He made it his mission to meet everyone personally, jump on their lap, and interact with them. He was hyperactive, falling off the back of one sofa and knocking over an end table. He was doing his repertoire of tricks, often without being asked. He had this constant open mouth "grin" on his face with his tongue hanging out. I put a cute doggie Santa's hat on his head and he promptly shook it off and started to shred it, much to everyone's delight, except mine! He thought it was the best party he had ever been to.

Now I realize this doesn't reflect well on Popi. I did make him sit on my lap to distract him, but he struggled and I was encouraged to "let him down" by the other guests who were laughing at his antics, and the more they laughed the more he was stimulated. I tried putting him in the backyard and closing the sliding glass door. He would just stand at the door and repeat high pitched yips and squeals to let him back in. Very annoying!

The children received wrapped Christmas gifts and Ricky was more than willing to help them unwrap them! The kids thought this was a lot of fun.

The party lasted for about 5 hours and in the end he started to run out of gas. We had a long 5 hour drive home and he slept the whole way home, dead exhausted.

I would like some feedback from you all about what I could have done differently. Leaving him at home or with day care was not an option for a number of reasons. He was really a hit at the party, and he didn't cause any real problems for anyone, but still.

Ricky's Popi
Even as I started reading, I was thinking, "Boy, that sounds like stressy behavior". (especially since I know the "real" Ricky" is a well mannered delight) Big parties like that can be tough on dogs and small children, and lead to behavior you wouldn't normally see, even in the best socialized, most friendly dogs.

One of Kodi's first Christmases was similar only worse. Like your situation, Kodi had been specifically invited. The host had given both her dog and Kodi a present to open. Fine. But then, whenever Kodi showed interest in the dog's other toys (which were sprinkled liberally through the house) She would say, "Oh Kodi, that's one of XXX's FAVORITES! Play with your own toy!" And she or her daughters would take it away from him. Kodi isn't a particularly resource guard-y dog, but this, plus all the people, noise and excitement was just too much for him. He started to run away with this screechy growl whenever these women approached him to take away another toy. Finally, he ran under the dining room table, with a wild look in his eyes and wasn't going to let ANYONE near the last toy he'd picked up. (of course he didn't understand that one specific one was meant for him, or why strangers kept taking other ones away) I can't say for certain what would have happened if they had pushed him in that situation, but that's how people get bitten by perfectly nice dogs. I told everyone to leave him alone, and I went in there (we weren't eating yet anyway) and just sat on the floor talking to him until he calmed down and came to me. I traded a yummy treat for the toy and that was that. Fortunately, I HAD brought his crate, so I settled him into the crate in a back bedroom, with his new toy and a nice chew, and he spent the rest of the evening resting there except for a potty break or two. The hosts urged me to bring him back out, but I knew it wasn't in his best interests.

Now, if I have to take my dogs along to a large social gathering, I ALWAYS bring their crates. If the temperature is safe and it's a safe area, I actually leave them crated in the car. (My Variocage locks, so is completely safe, even if the car windows are wide open) If the temperature is too warm or too cold, I crate them in a quiet, out-of-the-way part of the house. If I am urged to bring them out to join the party, I don't cave. I just smile, thank the host politely, and say that they are better off out of all the hubbub of the party. If someone REALLY wants to meet them, I'll take them back into that quiet room and let them meet there for a few minutes, then back in the crates.

One thing that I've learned over 7 1/2 years of dog ownership is that we are responsible for advocating for what is best for our dogs. And that includes not letting other people pressure us into putting our dogs in an uncomfortable situation. The dangers of large gatherings are huge. Not only are they overstimulated and can get themselves in trouble that way, but people, especially kids, are always dropping edibles that could be very dangerous for our dogs. Some dogs will also ingest non-edible things in stressful situations, and you never know whether your dog will, until it has happened. What happens when a little kid drops something, the dog grabs it, and the little kid tries to grab it back? We all like to think our dog would never bite. But this is EXACTLY how small children get bitten in the face by sweet, gentle, family dogs. With our little dogs, we have the added danger of them falling off things, getting stepped on or getting picked up and then dropped by Uncle Dan, who "knows all about how to handle dogs".

It's just not worth it. I no longer care what other people think about my decisions for my dogs. They are my family members, they depend on me, and it is my job to keep them safe.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Lisa T. View Post
I have the same question. We're taking Rudy to visit my side of the family in NJ, but I think we are going to leave him at my parents house who lives nearby my sister (about 15 minutes away) when we go to my sisters house We plan to go back to check on him and take him for a walk while we are at my sisters. We should be gone about 5 hours max. I decided not to take him to my sisters because there will be about 20 people and it will be too much for him.

We will "Havanese proof" the kitchen area at my mother's and block it off with his gates. He will also have his bed and toys there.
That is an EXCELLENT plan.


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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 09:25 AM
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I took Loki's to my sister's for Thanksgiving. She has Bode, an 8 year old Portuguese Water Dog. They did great together so much so that Bode quit eating his food and only wanted what Loki had. I tricked him by pouring his food in Loki's dish. Also, Bode doesn't like to sleep in beds. He usually jumps off when the lights go out. But he slept on the bed with me because Loki was there. Loki hung on his ears and jumped on him, and he was so patient. They both slept under the table on Thanksgiving while we ate. Loki definitely took Bode's cue to be calm. We left them together in the family room and kitchen while we went out with no problems.

Loki's biggest problem was gas and very soft and often poops on Thanksgiving night, including the only accident he had in the house (he had figured out her bell in a heartbeat). I really tried to keep people from giving him food but he obviously got into something, or maybe it was the excitement. For Christmas, I am going to be extra vigilant about snacks and treats for him. Regular food only!!!!

As for toys, I had brought some of Loki's favorites but Bode would take them and tease him with them. It was better to let Loki try and steal Bode's toys (Bode doesn't really guard them he just liked to tease Bode.) and Bode to take them back. This went on for hours. No growling, etc. Bode was so much bigger he would hold the toy above Loki's head while Loki tried to jump for it. It was hysterical. By the end, they were chewing on either end of the same toy.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 10:29 AM
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It's nice that it worked out so well for you and Loki, though it does sound like there were some problems with "dietary indiscretion". (which can be very dangerous, depending on what the dog eats) But in general, these gatherings are not good for dogs, and are best avoided.

One of the biggest things you had going in your favor is that Loki was still very much a puppy, and still under "puppy license" from well mannered, older dogs, which it sounds like Bode is. Things get more complicated when you have two adult dogs who are not usually together, even if they USUALLY get along well, in such a highly charged atmosphere.

Quite honestly, even when we have parties at home, the dogs are in their crates up in our bed room. That's where they are safest.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 03:25 PM
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It's nice that it worked out so well for you and Loki, though it does sound like there were some problems with "dietary indiscretion". (which can be very dangerous, depending on what the dog eats) But in general, these gatherings are not good for dogs, and are best avoided.

One of the biggest things you had going in your favor is that Loki was still very much a puppy, and still under "puppy license" from well mannered, older dogs, which it sounds like Bode is. Things get more complicated when you have two adult dogs who are not usually together, even if they USUALLY get along well, in such a highly charged atmosphere.

Quite honestly, even when we have parties at home, the dogs are in their crates up in our bed room. That's where they are safest.
I agree when the dogs are just thrown together. Luckily, at Thanksgiving I had been there with Loki since Tuesday and stayed until Sunday. For x-mas we are going tomorrow (Thursday) and we will have until Sunday before Christmas dinner. He and Bode will have lots of time sleeping on the kitchen floor with my sister and I as we cook. We only have 10 people coming for dinner which is manageable.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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I was thinking, "Boy, that sounds like stressy behavior". (especially since I know the "real" Ricky" is a well mannered delight)
You give Ricky and me too much credit! Ricky and I are still a work in progress as far as good manners are concerned!

But I am confused, Ricky's behavior was no different than when is playing alone just with me, or just with Momi, or with other doggies. He just plays hard. Are all of his play sessions stressful and therefore I should not allow it? No play would definitely be stressful for Ricky and break his spirit. Putting him a crate in a back bedroom while he could hear voices, especially mine, and laughter would definitely be stressful for him. Leaving him at day care is stressful for Ricky. Leaving him in the car by himself would be stressful for him. Also it is against the law in California to leave children and dogs in the car, unattended regardless of the weather. The police are allowed to smash a window to retrieve the dog and turn it over to animal regulation. It happens somewhat frequently.

I know that some say that a dog with an open mouth and tongue hanging out, panting is a sign of stress. But I don't think that is the case with Ricky. This usually means he is hot, or out of breath after running hard, or happy excitement, or anticipating something good like his dinner. His signs of stress are pacing nervously back and forth or standing up and scratching on my leg or that could mean something as simple as 'pick me up, I want to snuggle.'

For better or worse, Ricky is an exuberant extrovert. It is in his genes. He has a love for all humans and an enthusiasm for life. That doesn't mean that he is going constantly. He takes frequent naps during the day and we limit his playtime to just a few brief periods during the day, but they are enthusiastic. Whatever Ricky is doing, he does it with complete gusto.

I guess I am making excuses for myself but I work with Ricky frequently on good manners using positive reinforcement and he is improving all the time. But honestly, I don't want Ricky to lose his spirit. Lucy, the dachshund next door is about year older than Ricky and she was a wild child when we first brought Ricky home to live with us. She and Ricky were best friends and played together everyday for 30 minutes. Lucy's owners felt she was out of control and they put a stop to their playtime. Her owners were constantly reprimanding her in a negative way. Today, at four years old, Lucy's owners have been successful and she is just a former shadow of herself - no spirit, dead eyes, beat down. My heart aches for her.

I appreciate the suggestions, but none of them are acceptable to me or Ricky. Really, the best solution was for us not to go to the party. All Ricky wants is to be with his Momi and Popi all the time. Anything we do together - walks, obedience trials, parties, going shopping at Home Depot - give him pleasure. Had he gone to the party without us, that would have been stressful for him. As long as Popi or Momi is in the vicinity, all is right in the world for Ricky. I guess what I am really saying is that all Momi and Popi want to do is be with Ricky.

However we will continue to work on good manners and every experience like this last party we use as a learning experience. Ricky and I are currently working on not jumping onto people's laps until he is invited to do so. Ricky is catching on quickly and we are both gaining self confidence. But we still have much to learn.
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