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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Question New to forums - housebreaking issue

Hi all:
I'm Linda from NJ - my husband and I just adopted 2 Havanese sisters from OH. They will be 4-months old in a few days and have shown very little (almost none) interest in housebreaking. We take them out regularly and they may or may not go at that time. Often they do not go and will have an accident in the house within minutes.

Our vet said that she heard that the Havanese is a difficult/stubborn breed to housebreak. They are wonderful and sweet in every other way. We are totally in love with them and are happy we decided to get 2 puppies who were sisters. I do think that the fact that there are 2 of them may be a factor in making this process more difficult.

If anyone has any suggestions, please send them my way. Also, I'm interested to know of your own housebreaking experiences - how long did it take? Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 07:56 PM
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Annabelle was easy to house train but I had only her and am totaly her servant. I'm also home all the time. I think routine is important. As puppies, they need to go out every couple of hours. It is important to keep them in a small area with pee pads, toys and a rest area. Lots of praise when they do well. Patience and enjoy this time!! They are puppies such a short time. Ruthann
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 08:05 PM
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Hi Linda - Welcome you and your adorable girls to the forum! You have hit on the number one topic here. There are plenty of threads on potty training which you can search for. Tom King has given advice on puppy potty training - which is about getting them to go potty when and where you want.

You will find that half the people on the forum have Havs that were easily housebroken, and the other half are still keeping an eye on them at 12, 16, 18 months.

My girl Lola is 10 1/2 months and has regressed this week. After months of intense supervision and area restriction, she was great for about a month. Now she poops or pees inside the house every time I leave her alone. The only solution is to get her back into her crate when I am out of the house. And hope my neighbors don't fine me for having a barking dog during the afternoon.

The key is to spend at least 1-2 weeks with them full time and watching them to get the behavior down. Not sure about sisters - but you may have to take them outside one at a time so they focus on business and not play. Someone who has two will have advice on that.

Watch them like a hawk, train them to know what "go Potty" means, and serious area restriction will get you to success.

Are you using pee pads or litter for indoors?

---Little Lola a.k.a. Princess Pee and Poop and her humom Anne

"Happiness is a warm puppy" Charles Schultz

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by lindaj1183 View Post
I do think that the fact that there are 2 of them may be a factor in making this process more difficult.

If anyone has any suggestions, please send them my way. Also, I'm interested to know of your own housebreaking experiences - how long did it take? Thanks in advance.
Welcome to the forum. Congratulations on your furbabies, they look adorable. You are in for a lot of love and fun with your furbabies.

You will find a lot of useful information on the forum, it is a very supportive and caring community.

I believe that appropriate set up and consistency pays off with house breaking. It is my experience that with consistent routine, they will be house broken well. My both furballs were house broken at 6 months. I took time off from work to train them when they came home and literally took them out to piddle at regular intervals and after sleeping, eating and playing. My breeder trains all her puppies for doggie door use. The ex-pen set up, doggie door access worked for us really well. Praise and treats do wonders as the Havanese really want to please you.

I would recommend the books- "How to raise a puppy you can live with" , "The Havanese" and "Puppies for dummies". They have excellent tips for housebreaking.

Good luck!

Best, Poornima
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 08:37 PM
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What training did they have before they came to you? Are you trying to train them to only go outside? Both of these are very important questions. How many puppies have you trained before?

In early life the Havanese potty methods are completely habit. You won't teach them reasoning just because you want them to have it.

It's always harder when you have more than one. We only kept littermates once, Posh and Belle, and had to separate them some to work on their training. One always learns faster while the other is just distracted.

I can train one of our puppies in a matter of hours once I get one by itself, which is the afternoon the last littermate leaves. It would have to be exceptional circumstances, as in having two completely spectacular puppies in one litter worth keeping, to ever do it again.

Last edited by Tom King; 06-06-2008 at 08:39 PM.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 08:56 PM
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I think consistency is everything. I just recently added a puppy who was very well trained to the same methods I wanted- a dog door which was really nice and I am spoiled!!! However, I read something in my puppy book that really reminded me how house training works. Roll up a newspaper tight with a rubberband. When you find your puppy has potted on the floor, hit yourself with it, you weren't watching your puppy!


P.S. If that doesnt work, send your puppy to Tom for a few hours!!!

Dora, Dasher, & Belle's Mommy

Thinking of adding a Neezer, check out this thread!
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 08:59 PM
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My experience has been totally different with my two boys. The first, Milo was 5 1/2 months old when I got him and I suspect potty training was not high on the list of things to do before I got him. He came to me with lots of bad habits and he's been an ongoing challenge in that department. He was 1 year old on February 23rd.

My second, Bailey came to me a just under 9 weeks and has been much easier to train. He just turned 3 months old on June 1st and he only has an occasional accident in the house, preferring to go outside. Originally I thought an older puppy would be easier but the opposite was true. My guess is it's different for most of them -- unless you have a fool proof method like Tom has.

<b>Just Milo and me, and . . . </b>Bailey makes three . . . until Ruby said, "hey, what about me?"
Geri, Milo, Bailey and HRH Princess Ruby Tuesday

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 09:18 PM
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It's not just that I know how to do it and am willing to give it my undivided attention to start with but we have developed our own system which starts as soon as the babies can toddle around. Knowing what I do now I would not buy a dog to live in the house who was raised on a grill floor or with no incentive to start with to potty in a designated area.

And I also probably wouldn't try to train one to start with to only go outside. Even though dogs are a large part of our lives we do actually have lives.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 09:19 PM
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Housetraining havanese by Gloria Dittman

tips from Glo Dittman at [email protected]
Glo gave me these tips for housetraining a havanese. Her only request is that you not sell this information. She has given permission to share it as long as it is not changed and printed intact.


How To Housebreak
Gloria S. Dittmann (c)

This article is meant as a companion piece to my article
HOW TO CRATE TRAIN. The assumption is that those who
are reading this article are crate training their puppies,
as the crate is an integral part of proper housetraining.

When housebreaking your puppy, two facts must be kept in
mind. The first that that although the need to keep the den
clean is instinctive, the puppy has no idea that your entire
house is now his den. It is your responsibility to show
puppy that the entire house is now the puppy's den and the
puppy is expected to keep the den clean.

The next fact is that puppies, when it comes to bladder and
bowel control, are not much different from human infants. Puppies have
small bladders and bowels at first and virtually NO muscle
control. While a puppy may intellectually understand the
housebreaking philosophy within 2-3 weeks, his body takes a
lot longer to mature to the point where puppy has the
physical control needed to be clean in the house under all
conditions. Do not ask, nor expect, a puppy to 'hold it'
longer than is physically possible for that puppy.

A 3 month old puppy is virtually incapable of going for
6-8 hours at a time without eliminating even once. If you
have a full-time job that will keep you out and the puppy crated for
prolonged periods of time (longer than 3-4 hours), you
should make arrangements for someone to come in mid-day to
let puppy out for some exercise and to be able to eliminate.
If this is not possible, you can use an exercise pen (a
free-standing playpen for dogs) attached to the crate or you
may place the crate inside the playpen. This
way, the puppy can sleep in the crate and then exit into the
exercise pen to get some exercise and to eliminate. Be sure
to place the pen and crate away from walls or
draperies...puppies LOVE to chew on moldings, plaster and
drapery fabric!

Now, when puppy first comes home, remember
that puppies MUST eliminate within 15 minutes after eating,
immediately after drinking water, immediately upon waking,
when excited (when company comes, for example or puppy is
startled by a sudden, loud noise) and during and after play sessions.
Be sure to take puppy out at these times until you learn
your puppy's individual needs and schedule. Also keep in
mind that it takes approximately 2-3 hours for a puppy to
digest a meal. If you feed your puppy breakfast at 7am and
then crate it, it is going to have to eliminate by 11am or
noon at the latest. Keep this in mind when planning your
crating sessions.

Now, until puppy begins to understand what
is expected of him in terms of housebreaking, it is up to
the human family members to keep a very close eye on puppy.
Be sure puppy is always with you except when puppy is
crated. Puppies will usually give a signal to indicate they
have to eliminate. They will walk with their noses to the
ground while sniffing for a likely spot; walk in a circle;
get 'that look' in their eyes that tells you what is coming.
Close observation of your puppy will soon let you know what
your pup's individual signal is. When you see it...get puppy
outside as quickly as possible! Take puppy to the same spot
in the yard each time you take him out, and use a key word
command such as "DUTY! Do your DUTY!" or whatever word you
choose to use each time puppy goes. This way, he will begin
to associate the word with the action and before long, he
will eliminate on command.

When puppy eliminates, praise him! LOTS of praise!
Never let puppy out alone to eliminate!
He needs you there to keep him company and to praise him as
soon as he performs properly. Sometimes it may take puppy a
while to sniff around and explore before he goes. BE
PATIENT! Too often people give up after about 15 minutes,
come in and whammo! Puppy immediately goes on the floor or
carpeting! You are just not giving puppy enough time
outside. Puppies have virtually no attention span at this
age and their memory spans are non-existent as well. They
need some gentle encouragement to keep their minds on what
they should be doing. Try not to make this time playtime as
this will also distract puppy. If you know puppy has to go but
puppy is fooling around and you run out of patience, come back
inside and place puppy in the crate for 10-15 minutes. Then carry
puppy back outside to the usual spot and wait again. Chances are,
puppy will do his business this time, however if he fails to eliminate
once again, put him back in the crate for another 10-15 minutes and
then take him back outside and try again.

If puppy does have an
accident in the house and you do not catch him in the act, do
NOT punish him! Even if you come in 30 seconds later, let it go. As previously
stated, puppies have little or no memory span at this age. A
puppy will not associate a scolding or spanking (and it is
NEVER necessary to spank a puppy for having an accident or for any other reason!)with what happened 30 seconds or 30 minutes ago. Oh, he will
act guilty and contrite, but that is only because he is
reacting to your body language. Dogs are masters at reading
the most subtle body language signals we give off almost
subconsciously. This is how dogs communicate with each
other, so it is not surprising that they use this talent to
'read' us as well!

Rubbing a puppy's nose in his mess is an
old wives tale which does NOT work. All this does is
confuse the puppy and possibly cause him to resent you for
what he thinks of as your unreasonable behavior. If you do
catch the puppy about to have an accident or having one,
immediately growl "NO! BAD PUPPY!!", pick him UP and rush
him outside to a spot he is used to going. Now, he is going
to be very startled by this unexpected development and will
temporarily stop what he was doing or about to do. Just be
there with him and quietly, in a friendly tone of voice,
give the word command you are using. Once he does settle
down and finish what he started, praise him lavishly! Then
clean the area he soiled inside with a good enzyme

These products use enzymes to literally
eat the odor-causing molecules found in all organic matter.
Conventional cleaners such as Lysol, etc. use perfumes to
cover up the old urine scent...but only to human noses!
Canine schnozzes have no trouble at all detecting old urine
sites. Use of an enzyme product stops this cyclical behavior
(going back to the old site to eliminate) by completely
eliminating the old scents.

By closely following this program, your puppy should have
the basics of housebreaking down within a few weeks, although
each puppy is an individual and will progress according to his own internal
body schedule. If your puppy is having trouble with VERY
frequent urination or frequent, loose stool, check with your
vet. Any time a dog's bladder and/or bowel habits change
suddenly and radically and stay that way for longer than
about 24 hours, you should check with your vet as well.

And please remember that your puppy is really not much different
from a human infant. Like a baby, a puppy has to be mature
enough, mentally and physically, in order to completely
control itself in the house. Be patient with that new
pup...he has a lot of learning and growing to do in a very
short period of time! Love and lots of patience will have
that pup turning into the best dog you've ever owned in no
time at all!

(c) Copyright 1995 - 2008 Gloria S. Dittmann. All Rights
Reserved. Any reproduction, in whole or in
part, in any medium without the express permission of the
author is strictly prohibited. For reprint information and
permission, please contact the author via e-mail at [email protected]

I didn't just get havanese, I got a lifestyle!
Loving Havanese since 2003
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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Wow!! Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. I will use the resources that you have recommended; there is so much information out there but it's so much better to have the input from experienced owners. I'm extremely happy that I found this website and I'm sure I'll be visiting regularly.
Have a great weekend!
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