What a fun and interesting two weeks it's been as my new Havanese puppy Rory joined me. In that two weeks she has settled right in and become my little shadow. (In one photo below though you can see her sad face as she's leaving her breeder.)
All of the attributes that drew me to the breed are present in spades; she’s a loving, affectionate, playful, and devoted companion. I especially appreciate her ability to match her energy level to mine. If it's play time she's 100% engaged and fetching happily. If I'm working at my desk she's content to lie across my lap or nap at my feet, even when there is a comfy donut bed three feet away.
If you've seen any of my housebreaking threads you know that I was highly anxious about the process and bought every gimmicky housebreaking aid out there. I finally just took a deep breath and decided to trust her and trust myself, and we'd work on it day by day. I'm pleased to report we've had no accidents in the last three days and we continue trying to figure out how to communicate better with each other. I've found Piddle Place to be the cleanest and most convenient housebreaking aid
Rory went to my family's Christmas celebration at my brother's home and she was a perfect guest, joyously romping with the kids and charming all the adults. One of the breeder's pre-purchase interview questions had to do with what might become of the puppy were something to happen to me. If I were to die today my body would not be cold before my family members began to vie for her. She's in her elf suit with my niece in one of the pictures.
My adult son has been by and seeing all the supplies I've marshalled commented that she appears to be a high maintenance dog. It's true that the family German Shepherd that he grew up with did not require daily grooming as Rory does, but I don’t mind the time at all, and find it somewhat relaxing. She happily stands or lays, as the case may be, for grooming will girl a girl and does not fidget when I clean her ears or the corners of her eyes. She stood for a bath in the tub without drama of any kind. The book “From Nose to Tail
” is an excellent resource for daily care and grooming of the Havanese.
If there is an issue that concerns me it is separation anxiety; mostly because I work from home, and she is with me so constantly that infrequent separations can be jarring. Her breeder has counseled me to stage some 'fake' separations so Rory can gain confidence being alone, and we are making good progress with those.
I really appreciate that she is not overly reactive to noises in the building or people at the door. Between UPS, FedEx, Jimmy John's sandwich delivery, pizza delivery and family members coming by she just takes it all in stride happily.
At Heritage Park she romps merrily with the other dogs. At Marina Park she attempts to herd the ducks on the shoreline. She's not like other toy breed dogs I've met; she's not skittish, fragile, or yappy - and she loves a nice marrow bone from the butcher. She has an interesting personality - she is very bonded but will take her "me time" to cavort, or bury her toys under blankets and sofa cushions in what appears to be a very organized fashion.
She's doing really well on Darwin's raw food diet
. Because you only feed 2-3% of body weight I don't think it's much more expensive than kibble, if it is at all.
I'm still working on a spay strategy for her; I would like to do a tubal ligation after her first heat cycle but can't be sure that I can find a surgeon to do it. Dr. Karen Becker's video on the subject of spay and neuter
is very compelling.
She was not leash trained when she arrived but learned that, and a number of basic things like 'sit' and 'down'. I have a lot to learn about the breed, but am very glad I became acquainted with the Havanese and will start the New Year with this little one next to me. Thanks to everyone on the forum that helped me get to this point.