Hello everyone, I have been reading this forum for a few months but only recently started actually contributing. This is one of the nicest nooks of the internet - no snarky and sarcastic comments, very helpful advice!
My 2 year old Havanese boy was rescued by social workers from a hoarding house, where he lived since puppyhood. He did not know anything - how to walk on a leash, how to go up and down the stairs, he had never been outside before, so he ate his poop and peed inside... But he had not been abused, and he is affectionate and friendly to most people and making great strides in learning how to be a good, although shy, doggie. He is scared of men, so my dh and Max have a rather cold relationship and he mostly bonded with me, but we are working on it.
Good for you for giving this little one a new/better chance in life!!! I bet he and your hubby will warm up to each other with time. You might try having your hubby be the person who feeds him all his meals.
I have a few questions to more seasoned Havanese owners:
1. How much do your dogs like walking? Max refuses to walk if the temperature is in high 80's, but when it is cooler he can be tempted to walk with me. Gets exhausted after one hour, which suprised me since all my previous dogs (mini schnautzer, and two tiny mutts) loved walking and could never have enough of smelling bushes, peeing on mailboxes etc. The vet said he is healthy, has no hip dysplasia or anything, do you think we need to work on his stamina, or do all Havaneses like to be bums?
I think the answer to this one is, "it depends". We have people on the forum who have "diva dogs" who think that half a block is plenty for them, and we have others whose dogs will hike for hours in rough terrain. Kodi is one of those. That said, MOST of them don't like to walk far in very warm weather. Remember, they have thick fur AND they are very close to the baking pavement. It's a lot hotter down there. They can actually burn their feet if you aren't careful. On really hot days, either walk very early, very late or find places to walk without pavement.
I also think that in the case of your little guy, if he has never even been outside, he may just not be fit enough for more than that. You may have to work him up to longer distances over time.
2. What do you do with eye tearing? I wipe Max's eyes every day with a warm cloth, is this enough?
Some Havanese do tear quite a bit, while others don't. I'm lucky that Kodi doesn't. But the people here who have Havs that tear a lot seem to do what you are doing, and just make sure they clean and dry the dog's face daily. You're lucky that he has a dark face, so at least you don't have to worry about staining!!!
3. Anyone has any advice on fetching? Max just gets excited and steals the toy/stick and heads away to chew on it.
Remember that Havs are not bred to retrieve, so for many of them, it's not a natural activity. (though most can learn to love it!) And, again, your guy has had a fairly "deprived childhood".
I would teach him to fetch with a "jackpot" toy. This is a toy with a velcro pocket, where you can hide treats. Then put the toy on a long string and through it. This way, you don't lose control of it, even if you have to manually "reel" it (and him!
) back in. When you get the toy and him back, ask him to drop it. If he doesn't, grasp the toy on either side of his mouth, but DON'T get pulled into a game of tug-of-war. If he tries to tug, just keep your arms loose and don't let go, but don't pull back. eventually, he will let go. At that point, you produce the treat out of the toy, and make a big deal about what a great dog he is. Eventually he'll get the idea that bringing the toy back gets him a treat, and it doesn't (always!) mean the end of the game.
My guess is that if there were toys around in the hoarder's house, there were always a number of dogs vying for them. So he has learned that he'd better hold on and run away, or he'll lose it!
4. Both my hubby and I work full time and the kid is at school. As a result, Max has to be in his crate for for 7-8 hours per day. Do you crate your dogs when you are out or do you let them roam the house? He is not a destructive fellow, but he may shred the newspaper or something when he is bored.
A full day is a long time for any dog to be left alone, let alone a small dog with a small bladder. (and especially if his house training is a bit iffy at this point) If at all possible, I'd suggest having someone come in in the middle of the day to take him for a short walk play with him for a few minutes and allow him to relieve himself. If that is absolutely not an option, I would still not confine him to a crate for that long. That's just too small a space! Instead, either set up an ex-pen for him, or confine him to a small room with and easy to clean floor and nothing he can get into. Give him an option of an indoor potty spot, whether it is pee pads (if he won't rip them up) a UgoDog, Potty Patch... what ever. He shouldn't have to hold it all day, and if you give him an acceptable potty option, you are setting him up for success.
If you HAVE to leave him alone all day, I'd also give him some interesting toys and nice, appealing chew items, whether they are stuffed Kongs, marrow bones, antlers... what ever he seems to enjoy.