Don't Choose Your Havanese Piuppy The Way I Did - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-25-2011, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Don't Choose Your Havanese Piuppy The Way I Did

I now know why so many dogs (puppies) are in rescue centers, shelters and the SPCA

I'm writing this with tears in my eyes and a very large empty spot in my heart.

And I'm writing this in the hope that anyone thinking of buying a Havanese (or any puppy), will learn not to make the heart-breaking mistake I made.

When I decided to get a companion dog I researched every breed on earth and happilly determined that a Havanese was what I wanted.....and I still feel that way.

When I picked my puppy she was 4 weeks old. A beautiful brindle red sable daughter of champion show dogs. I immediately fell in love with her at first sight. (mistake number 1-love at first site).

When the breeder later showed me the results of the Volhard Puppy Aptitude test for my puppy (at 7 weeks), I didn't understand exactly what the numbers meant and even though the breeder said she wasn't the ideal puppy for me (she later admitted she should have been more insistent on another choice but because I wanted mine so badly se relented), I went ahead and bought her. (mistake number 2-not listening to the breeder).

In hindsight I now recognize (after trying to correct personality based behaviours that were beyond my abilities as a first time puppy owner), all the behaviour signals that I chose to not see in the Volhard testing.

It took a lot of how-to research and failed attempts at behaviour modification, accompanied by a lot of stress (for me and her), to finally come to the very hard decision that my puppy wasn't the right one for me and I wasn't the right owner for her.

And in discussing escalating negative behaviour, my breeder unhesitatingly said "Bring her back".

The following day was one of the saddest in my life. I said many many many goodbyes and I love you's during the night and during the morning getting her ready to go back.

I had tears in my eyes from the time I left the house until I returned several hours later.

I don't want to go through that again!

It's been 24 hours since taking her back and I still tear up and feel empty inside. I stare at the place I had her xpen set up and can't believe she's gone.

I know I'll get over this heavy loss over time and will get another Havanese puppy. But next time I'll DO IT RIGHT! Because I now know how to recognize a puppy's personality traits and will understand the Volhard testing to choose the right one for me.

I strongly encourage anybody buying a new puppy to understand the significance of the Volhard testing. Also, DO NOT BUY A PUPPY FROM A BREEDER WHO DOES NOT DO THIS TESTING. You're going to spend many years with your dog, make sure it's the right one for the sake of both you and her(him)!

If you want a dog that will spend the rest of it's life as your companion in a healthy, balanced and loving relationship, you will heed this advise.

The worst thing (I feel) you can do for a dog is to raise it by attempting to change it's personality and inborn desires. Yes, you can train it in a positive way, but you'll never permanently change it's personality!

In attempting to do so, you will resort to techniques that will only confuse and create a frightened, reluctant (even aggressive), unhappy follower. Not a real companion who lovingly wants to be in your presence.

Do you really want an unhappy life-long companion?

Take your time in choosing. If the absolutely right personality isn't in the litter you're considering, then wait untill the next litter or try another breeder.

Consult dog behavour information on how to recognize dog personalities. The stuff is all over the internet. It's not rocket science (in hindsight) and worth it's weight in gold.

I'll end by saying that a big part of my sadness is due to the fact that I've wanted a dog since I was 10-years old. And when I finally did get one, I really messed up in my choice. But the next Havanese - and there will be another puppy - will be the perfect match

Good luck with finding the right dog. The right one is a treasure. The wrong one will make life mizerable.

Last edited by chica; 01-27-2011 at 11:04 PM. Reason: Title better reflects what I want to communicat. I don't want to give a negative impression of Hav's
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-25-2011, 05:08 PM
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Ohhh I am really sorry you are going through this. I don't know what to say other than I hope your heart heals soon, Big hug for you.

Ache and Yunque's mom
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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-25-2011, 05:14 PM
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I am so sorry you had this heartbreaking experience. I'm not sure how much of it was "picking the wrong dog" or you being a first time dog owner with expectations that might not have been met by the reality of life with a little puppy. Not that it matters of course, the outcome is sad and I can feel your pain.

I will give you the other side of the coin though from someone who has rescued dogs all my adult life and who chose each one of my havanese without having met them in person or having them temperament tested. I had no expectations of what their personalities would be like. My only expectation and hope was that I could give them the best life possible and let them know they were loved, no matter who they turned out to be. Sort of like having a baby. You get what you get.

The only reason I share this is because your experience, though terribly painful and disappointing, is not necessarily the experience any other person would have when getting their puppy, or older dog.

I think the best advice for anyone considering the adoption of a furry friend, is to know yourself and be painfully honest with yourself. Know your own limitations and expectations, then move ahead.

Once again, I really feel for you and I'm so sorry.

<b>Just Milo and me, and . . . </b>Bailey makes three . . . until Ruby said, "hey, what about me?"
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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-25-2011, 05:42 PM
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I have to agree with Geri. My dog was given as a gift and I didn't have any certain expectations of him, I just gladly excepted him for how he was. I think you do have to know what your getting into when it comes to buying any puppy. It's nothing like the movies LOL and even though I also wanted one since I was young, I never fully understood how much work it takes. I hope your able to get through this quickly and I'm very sorry it did not work out as you would have liked it to
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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-25-2011, 06:13 PM
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I'm not sure if a breeder can completely guarantee personality and/or temperament, telling the alpha dog personalities. I know what I was told about Gucci's personality turned out to be true, but it is an advantage we have picking a pet, I mean.....we can't pick personality and temperament with our human children..

In some ways, I've adapted to Gucci's personality, probably the only reason why I don't have more than one hav is because she's much happier with humans than she is with other dogs, I'm not sure she even likes short term engagements involving other dogs, she'd rather play with the human guests

Your story is oh so sad and it IS a big reason so many dogs end up being given up, they are bought on appearance only and nothing else is taken into consideration, and I do think they can be a bit more high maintenance then other breeds, just in general.

Sorry you went through all of this, but its nice to hear your breeder has stepped in to help.

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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-25-2011, 06:34 PM
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Sorry for your unfortunate situation. But I have to disagree with your statement ..."The worst thing (I feel) you can do for a dog is to raise it by attempting to change it's personality and inborn desires. Yes, you can train it in a positive way, but you'll never permanently change it's personality!"
Temperament is not immutable. It can very easily be changed especially in puppy hood. Your problem was probably not being prepared to know how to bring up a puppy . Don't feel bad. A lot of people are in that boat. A lot of professional trainers do not have much faith in the Volhard puppy tests. It is a snapshot and is very limited, and quite often is not performed accurately. Breeders would be better off working on areas that are not up to par. eg. shyness rather than labelling it with a score.
To quote Ian Dunbar. "While a puppy temperament test can provide some insight into a puppy's personality, there are serious limitations on their ability to predict how a dog will behave when it grows up. Far and away, the most important factor in an adult dog's behavior is the training and socialization they received throughout their life. Any puppy can be trained, regardless of how they perform on a temperament test.
Temperament Training

Unlike obedience training and behavior modification, temperament training must be viewed in a developmental context and MUST be accomplished during puppyhood. Preventive intervention is the key; to delay is utter folly. Preventative measures are easy, efficient, effective, virtually effortless, and even enjoyable, whereas in most cases, treating temperament problems in adult dogs is so time-consuming, so difficult and often, so dangerous.

Just as it is impossible to breed a dog that always scores a perfect 300 in the ring and never breaks sit-stays, it is impossible to breed a dog with a perfect temperament - a dog which never fights and never bites. Certainly good breeding is essential but by itself, selective breeding is not sufficient. Perfect scores and reliable stays are largely the product of good training. Similarly, dogs have to be trained not to fight and TRAINED never to bite people.

The temperament of every dog needs to be modified to some degree - molded to suit the owners' lifestyle. All dogs are different: some dogs lack confidence, whereas others are too pushy, some are sluggish and others are too active, some are shy and reserved, standoffish, asocial, or antisocial, whereas others are overly friendly, or rambunctious. People tend to forget that a domestic dog is not domesticated until it has been adequately trained and socialized. If the dog is not socialized and has not learned to inhibit biting, then the so-called domestic dog (of any breed) is much worse than a wild animal.

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Last edited by davetgabby; 01-25-2011 at 07:06 PM.
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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-25-2011, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your replies. I'm smart enough to know you can't predict the future development of a puppy. My problem was grounded in ignoring the warning signs of a pup that had demonstrated personality traits that I didn't want. She wasn't a cuddle bunny, she was aggressively biting from day one me and my wife and would act this way like a switch had been flipped, even during calm sitting in our lap moments. It was like Jekyl and Hyde. She drew blood on both of us several times. She tore our clothing on some of these unprovoded attacks as well. In the 2 months we had her she was socialized with more than 200 humans and several dozen dogs. Just because some traininers disagree with Volgard doesn't make it less important. Lots of trainers disagree with Cesar Milan too but how many of them have a tv show or are as well known as he is? Trainers aren't behavioural experts. Perhaps we were not properly prepared as new owners (we think we were). What's done is done. We will try again with another puppy from the breeder but not until we work through our grief. Thanks again to all.

Last edited by chica; 01-25-2011 at 11:42 PM.
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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-26-2011, 12:25 AM
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I am very sorry you are so disappointed. Puppies have sharp little teeth they have to be taught not to bite, their little teeth can rip clothes this is normal. It sounds like you had a lot of unspoken expectations. Dogs do not need to see many people or many dogs for socialization, a few will do and the most important thing is that the dog has a positive experience. Since you have seen Cesar Milan you have heard him say he does not train dogs he trains people. A good trainer can help you with skills to redirect your dogs behavior, they can also help you understand what is normal development. I have a trainer that is a Behaviorist, she no longer advertises as a behaviorist as she will not see vicious dogs. She is a wonderful trainer. I grew up with dogs and horses and big responsibility for them. My grandfather trained dogs for the blind, I grew up with them. Two of my dogs and I still have one were mill dogs. I know a little bit about training and never had a problem. Then came Yogi, I never had a dog so out of control, nothing was working. I could have just kept him at home and never let him around people or out in public, but I did not want that for him. I went out and found help and went about it wisely. My boy has come so far and because of him, we do obedience and now I am hooked.

I hope someday you get another dog. You might consider a dog that is about 6 months old, sometimes breeders keep one or two for possible show, often they know basic comands and are house trained. You will still have to deal with reinforcing housetraining in the new home. Also you will have to bond, but you have to do that with any dog. Best of luck.

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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-26-2011, 06:47 AM
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I'm so sorry for all you are going through, Chica. I'm sorry for you and your pup. One thing you did do right is choose a breeder who will always put this puppy first and keep her safe – even if she didn't hear the warning signs loudly enough before placing her in your home. I'm sure you learned a lot during this process and will be prepared to make more fitting choices for your life in the future.

Good luck.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Mom to Toro & Dita!
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-26-2011, 08:09 AM
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I am sorry to read this. It is so easy to follow your heart and forget what your head is saying. This does not sound like a typical havanese behavior though. I find that most havanese are gentle, love to be held, and calmer than a lot of the other small breeds.
My freddie was off the wall as a puppy. He was so hyper! He was like a demon havanese I called the breeder almost every month thinking about returning him. If it wasn't for my husband telling me, no, I probably would have returned him. He would beat up Bella all day long. It was a year long torture for her and me. After a year, he calmed down and is the most passive dog now. I'm not sure what happened. Maybe it was just a year of being held and cuddled that made him settle down.
When I got Scudder, temperament was the most important thing. I finally learned and he has the best personality I could have asked for.
I wish you luck finding the right pup for you. Good luck.

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