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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Help with Potty Training

We have a wonderful Havanese, Lily. We got her at 4 months old from a woman who owned the mother and father. She is now 13 months old. She is sweet, loveable and very smart. Except when it comes to potty training. We took her to 12 weeks of training and she was so quick to learn everything. The trainer told us we were doing everything right with her potty training, but we are still having some issues.

We have a large kitchen with a doggy door to the backyard. However, if we leave her in the kitchen (with the tile floor) and the gate to the family room closed, she will always use the doggy door to do her business. If we let her free in the house, we have to keep a close eye on her. If we see her sniffing on the carpet, we have to quickly tell her to go outside with us to go potty, and she does.

Last night, she was with me in the family room and right in front of me, she pooped! The kitchen and family room are an open floor plan, and her doggy door is right there! She wasn't sick, so there was no reason to do this.

She was out of my sight a few nights ago, and I found poop in the living room - again, no reason for it.

I'm beginning to think she will never be fully toilet trained. Does anyone have any other suggestions? I would like her to be free all the time, but I can't trust her.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jravner View Post
We have a wonderful Havanese, Lily. We got her at 4 months old from a woman who owned the mother and father. She is now 13 months old. She is sweet, loveable and very smart. Except when it comes to potty training. We took her to 12 weeks of training and she was so quick to learn everything. The trainer told us we were doing everything right with her potty training, but we are still having some issues.

We have a large kitchen with a doggy door to the backyard. However, if we leave her in the kitchen (with the tile floor) and the gate to the family room closed, she will always use the doggy door to do her business. If we let her free in the house, we have to keep a close eye on her. If we see her sniffing on the carpet, we have to quickly tell her to go outside with us to go potty, and she does.

Last night, she was with me in the family room and right in front of me, she pooped! The kitchen and family room are an open floor plan, and her doggy door is right there! She wasn't sick, so there was no reason to do this.

She was out of my sight a few nights ago, and I found poop in the living room - again, no reason for it.

I'm beginning to think she will never be fully toilet trained. Does anyone have any other suggestions? I would like her to be free all the time, but I can't trust her.
There are a lot of Havanese that are still not 100% reliable with full, unsupervised freedom of the house. It sounds like your girl is one of them. That doesn't mean she woun't get ther, but remember it is of the utmost importance that she be set up for success by ALL members of the family, at ALL times. That means that she is NEVER allowed in areas of the house where she might not be trustworthy yet without close (that means 100%, eyes-on) supervision. Success breeds sucess, mistakes breed dogs who take longer and longer to potty train.

Remember that the #1 cause of dogs being surrendered to shelters is house training problems. So do your best to get it right now, for as long as it takes, so that you can enjoy her in a more relaxed way for the rest of her long life!


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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Lily is a member of our family for life. That is for sure. We love her more than anything. It is just me and my husband - our kids are grown and out of the house. We work out of the house, so we keep her in her playpen in our office during the day.

She sleeps in her crate next to our bed at night.

In the evenings, when I am in the family room, she is with me. That is why I was so surprised when she pooped right in front of me.

I wonder why such a smart breed has so much difficulty with potty training?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 12:12 PM
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I think it depends on how they are started out... not ALL havs have such a hard time.

Tammy and Tillie
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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We have had her since she was 4 months old. She was kept outside with her parents until then. She lives inside with us and we started from the first day we had her with all the potty training rules we found - treats, praise, etc. I don't think we did anything wrong, she is just not getting it completely. I realize that not all Havanese have these problems, just wondering if there were some more tricks I am unaware of to get her to finally get this completely.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 12:23 PM
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Perhaps it's because she's a girl?? I had girl bichons (5) our whole married life and it seemed that they NEVER got the hang of it. You'd think they were trained, but then they'd pee just for spite (or so we thought) out of the blue for no reason. And, it wasn't just one. We had 5 in those years and they all did it. Now, we only have a neutered boy Hav and no accidents at all. Yeah!!!
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 12:31 PM
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We have had her since she was 4 months old. She was kept outside with her parents until then. She lives inside with us and we started from the first day we had her with all the potty training rules we found - treats, praise, etc. I don't think we did anything wrong, she is just not getting it completely. I realize that not all Havanese have these problems, just wondering if there were some more tricks I am unaware of to get her to finally get this completely.
That's probably a big part of why she is having trouble. Being kept outside with her parents is NOT a good way for a a puppy to learn good potty habits. Most good breeders introduce puppies to appropriate potty options as soon as they can crawl out of the whelping box. Many have established great potty habits before they go to their new homes at 8-12 weeks. Lily had a lot of formative time to think that pottying anywhere was just fine. It's great that you started to establish good habits for her as soon as you got her, but that kind of start can make it take a LOT longer for the good habits to become completely ingrained. In the mean time, you need to just continue to be patient and diligent.

Lots of small breed dogs are hard to potty train, not just Havanese. Some are WAY worse than Havanese.


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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We had a neutered boy Bichon, but he was a rescue and was already potty trained when we got him (he was about 4-5 years old at the time). As he got older, he had some accidents, but that was just an age thing.

Lily is our second dog and our first puppy. I read that potty training can be an issue with some Havanese. She is so adorable and good, I know she doesn't do this for spite. For some reason, it just doesn't click in her head. When the trainer taught her the "Leave it" command, she concentrated and got in about 5 minutes. You could leave her favorite treat in front of her nose, and you say "Leave it", she won't touch it until you say "Take It". I wish there were some magic words that would just seal it with her not to potty in the house.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 12:34 PM
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Perhaps it's because she's a girl?? I had girl bichons (5) our whole married life and it seemed that they NEVER got the hang of it. You'd think they were trained, but then they'd pee just for spite (or so we thought) out of the blue for no reason. And, it wasn't just one. We had 5 in those years and they all did it. Now, we only have a neutered boy Hav and no accidents at all. Yeah!!!
I don't think it has anything to do with girls vs. boys. We have had other people ask this same question in the other direction.

I DO think it is MUCH harder to get a handle on general potty training issues if you have even ONE other dog having mistakes in the house. Then everyone wants to give it a try. It's like teaching dogs not to bark. Not a huge challenge with one, almost impossible with a bunch of them.


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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Karen & Kodi,

Do you think she will ever get it? I hope so, it would be nice to let her roam around the house.
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