New Hav owner- need advice/help!! - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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New Hav owner- need advice/help!!

Hi there- I am the proud new mother to Max, a 4 month old white fluffball Hav. We are already so in love with him!! We have always had Labs or Golden Retrievers but I fell in love with the Havanese breed about a year ago. After researching them online for months, I felt like one would be the perfect fit for our family. I finally was ready for a new dog after putting my 14 yr old Lab down last May and we picked this little one. We have had him since last Friday. He has been great but I do have some questions- in fact I know I will have lots of questions so thank you in advance for being patient with me! This website has been so helpful and there are some very experienced owners on here with great advice. So here goes my first few questions- unfortunately I am not very short winded so this will be long!!

- The one thing that has me VERY concerned is that he has growled at several people- he has been wonderful and loving with my husband and my children but when friends have come over, he has growled in a mean way towards them. He will will crawl in one of our laps and wants nothing to do with anyone else. We went to Petsmart today and he growled at 2 of the workers who tried to pet him (I warned them he had growled at others so they were very careful with their approach and he still growled) After all the reading I did on the breed, this has me a little surprised. He has been doing very well with us and is really coming out of his shell but still is very timid at times. So wanted to see what advice any of you might have on this as I do not want a snappy dog. At Petsmart they advised to socialize him more by getting him out of the house and to enroll in puppy classes- which I plan to do in the next few weeks. This just scares me that he is growling like this at such a young age...All the Havs I have been around have been so friendly...But again, I haven't had a puppy in 12 years (we still have a 12 yr old Golden) so I feel like a new mother who just brought a baby home
from the hospital (well, actually that is true!!)

-The other area I wanted advice on is the area of potty training and sleeping. He is very well pee pad trained and has been doing well on going outside so far. I am trying to crate train him and he does well in the crate thus far. But I don't know if I am defeating the purpose since he has been sleeping with us at night in bed (I know many will say this is a big no no but my dh- the one who said he didn't want a small dog- insisted on it the first night- he is a smitten kitten!!) He gets me up in the middle of the night to go potty which is fine but I started thinking last night that I could be starting a very bad habit and we could be right here a year from now. So would it be better for me to put him in the crate for now at night so he can learn to go the whole night... He will be sleeping with us though eventually even if we crate him at night now... Believe it or not, before we had children, our 100 lb Lab and 110 lb Golden slept with us in bed.... I have never crate trained a puppy before and our last 2 dogs basically potty trained themselves so I want to make sure I do things right. My sister has a Maltypoo and they were never consistent with their training and she is a nightmare now. I am a SAHM so I have the time to devote to do what needs to be done.

As I stated earlier- he is adjusting well but still very timid at times- is this typical- will it take a few weeks for him to get totally comfortable? I think at times I might be expecting too much too soon so I just want to know what is normal...And again, I know this is the first of many questions so thank you to everyone for reading this and any advice you might have!!!
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 12:39 PM
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Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your new puppy!
We would LOVE to see pictures when you have the time...
If Max is growling at people just make sure that he has a chance to meet A LOT of new people in the next few months...if you have a Home Depot nearby they allow dogs in the store and it's a great way to get them out of the house.
I carry a bag of Todd's favorite treats in my pocket and offer people one to feed to Todd when they meet him...he loves food and so he's more likely to be sociable if they offer a
I think that as long as he gets a chance to meet many people in different situations he'll do fine..
Crate training has been great for me but many people don't use them and that's fine's personal preference...I love to have Todd in bed with us but my husband has a hard time sleeping when he's there so he sleeps in the crate unless hubby's out of town..

Eva, Mom to Todd....2 year old short hair Havanese
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 12:51 PM
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Congrats on your new puppy Max! He sounds adorable!

Quincy did this growling kinda thing as well at about 6 months. I gave him a firm correction by saying "no" and he quit doing it after a week or two. I did things on purpose to get him to react for the correction. One of the growling times was when my son or I would kiss him on his head/ear area. I'm not sure exactly what it was about that that he didn't like,but I suspected the hmm kinda sound you make before the smooch. None the less----he got even more kisses on his head and ears and he absolutely just quit doing that growling/cranky sound after that. I asked a good friend about it with havs and I was told that Havs kinda go through a "teenager" stage and this was most likely it.

Quincy came crate trained,and I loved it. He was crated at night till he was probbably an year-year and a half. I wanted to be absolutely positive he was housebroke before I let him loose at night. He never has slept a night in our bed. Hubby wouldn't allow it.

Vincent-Quincy's playmate

"Behind every unstable dog is a lesson for the owner"-Cesar Millan
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 01:03 PM
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Welcome to the forum and congrats on your new hav pup!


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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 01:06 PM
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I'm not an expert but it sounds like Max's growling may be fear based? Although Tess was an adult when I got her and didn't growl, she was terribly afraid of people. To get her past her fears I started carrying a bag of treats with me. Whenever a stranger approached I would give them a treat and ask them to kneel down and show Tess the treat and let her approach them. It didn't take long for her to realize strangers = treat machines. Once she was comfortable with that I had strangers approach her and offer the treat but not try to pet her. Now we're having people offer the treat while petting her lightly.... you get the idea. Take it in small steps.

Good Luck!

Jill - Tess & Cody's mom

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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 01:24 PM
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How old is your pup? What kind of breeder did the pup come from? "It's Me or the Dog" states strangers are to treat, treat, treat the dog, which I agree and eventually the dog will learn that strangers have treats and the dog will be nice.


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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 01:31 PM
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As for sleeping in the bed.....A lot of Havs sleep in the big bed with their owners. Just how much room can a Hav take in the bed?

I am opinion only, that if you let your Hav sleep with you now, it is going to be harder to train him to go back to the crate.

My reasoning for letting Dexter sleep with us....He sleeps with my dh on the sofa, so.............What's the difference?

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"One Hav is NOT enough to enjoy the RLH skills!"
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 01:54 PM
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Home Depot allows dogs? Good to know! I think I will be visiting more often, then. Maybe it will inspire me to do a renovation project. Yeah right...

I think too, just keep exposing him to positive experiences with people and if he is food motivated, have people treat.

Seems like there are a couple people on the forum right now who recently got older puppies or adults, and possibly they weren't exposed to enough new people and new dogs early on. (Like with the growling at strangers - like Jill said, it does sound fear-based.) The more I read, the more I realize how crucially important those first weeks and months of their lives are to expose them to as many new sights, sounds, people and dogs as you can and make it a positive experience so they gain confidence, or if it's not, to not make a fuss and coddle when they are afraid of something like a new environment or machine or whatever. Doesn't mean it can't be turned around, clearly some of the rescue dogs here make great strides, but it seems to take a lot of work and attention.

My breeder is advising the puppy doesn't sleep in the room with me past the first couple of nights if I want her to be a more independent dog. In my case that makes sense because I work at home, and being in close proximity with her 24/7 could create some separation anxiety later. If it were me, I would crate him at night or have him in an ex-pen, stick to a regular feeding schedule, and take the water up in the evening so that he doesn't have to pee in the middle of the night. He is probably at or close to an age where he should be able to hold it overnight. I'd be a zombie if I had to get up every night with a dog past the very early puppy stages, I don't think you'd want that to continue. Plus what happens if you go away and have to kennel him or have friends take care of him, and he's been used to sleeping in bed with you every night? Lots of people here sleep with their dogs, though, and they might have some good advice about that.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for your input... The treats are a great idea- I will stuff some in my purse along with the treats I keep for the kids in there!! He is almost 4 months old. I will try to post some pics soon since we think he is pretty darn cute (minus the growling!!)

I guess I still have the question about the sleeping in bed/vs crate training right now... He will sleep with us - that is a given-be it now or after I crate train him. But should I put him in the crate right now to get him to used to going the whole night without being let out or keep him in bed with us-where he wakes me up in the middle of the night for me to let him out.. Worried that he will do this for the next year... Hope I am making sense.....I am so glad I found this forum- hope you guys don't get sick of me and all my questions....

As far as socializing, he will get a good go at it this extended weekend- we are going to the beach and will be around my inlaws and then have friends coming down with their 4 kids....Will bring lots of treats!!!!!
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 02:05 PM
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We started Dexter off in sleeping in a dog bed right next to the bed and he was tethered to the bed. Dexter was pretty much potty trained by the time he really wanted to sleep with us.

Dexter & Jack
"One Hav is NOT enough to enjoy the RLH skills!"
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