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Tips for new havanese puppy owners...

So many people are getting new puppies. Congratulations. I'd like to share some of the things I have learned along the way that really helped me, and would like to ask those with experience to also share what has worked for them. I was fortunate to have a mentor who lived locally who helped me train the dogs and learn so much about them. I also help out in rescue. My dogs are five and four and I have learned a great deal on this journey. We don't get a dog, we get a lifestyle!

This is a thread I'd like to start for those who get a new puppy. These are two articles that absolutely made my life easier, and I had a puppy that grew to a dog who could be trusted to roam the entire house and be trusted.

Gloria Dittman gave me this, we did it and it worked. I wasn't as vigilant with Daisy, and she has accidents...

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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Crate training and potty training for puppies

BY: GLORIA S. DITTMAN (Havanese owner and dog lover extraordinaire)

New puppy owners often worry about the best way to housebreak the puppy or how to keep the puppy from damaging the household furnishings or how to keep the puppy safe when they are out of the house and puppy is left alone. All of these problems can be eliminated with the use of a crate.

Using a crate is NOT cruel. It is viewed as by the dog as a den, which dogs in their wild state slept in for hundreds of thousands of years. Modern dog maintains the “den instinct” which is why use of a crate is so effective in housebreaking. A dog will NOT soil where it sleeps. This is a throwback to the days when dogs were predators in the wild and needed safe places to sleep and rear their young. If they eliminated in the den, other predators would seek them out through the scent and prey upon the young and infirm. Thus, dogs will not soil their sleeping quarters IF they can possibly avoid doing so.

The trick is to make the sleeping area small enough so modern dog cannot use one end as a bathroom and the other end as a bedroom! A crate should be large enough so the dog can lie down and turn around in a tight circle. If it is big enough to lie down in, it will be big enough to sit in. Crates can cost anywhere from $30 to $200 and up, depending on your budget. If you have a puppy that will grow into a large dog, I suggest buying a full-size crate and using a piece of plywood or other material to block off a section for puppy. This can be expanded as puppy grows.

CRATES MUST NEVER BE USED TO PUNISH! The dog has to look on the crate as his special place where he is safe and happy. Many breeders crate train their puppies from the time they leave the whelping box. If you are purchasing your puppy from a breeder (STRONGLY RECOMMENDED!) ask if the puppy has been introduced to the crate. Before bringing puppy home take a blanket or towel to the breeder and ask to put this item in with the litter at night. The blanket or towel will then be permeated with the litter/mother scent and will make those first few nights we all dread much easier.

When puppy comes home it should take all of its naps in the crate and sleep there at night. The crate should also be used ANY time the humans in the house are too busy to keep an eye on puppy. The remainder of the time, the puppy should be in the company of its’ new owners, being cuddled, played with, socialized and generally reassured that it is loved and cared for in its new home.

Keep in mind that puppies MUST relieve themselves BEFORE and within 15 minutes AFTER EATING, IMMEDIATELY UPON DRINKING ANY WATER, and AFTER PLAY AND IMMEDIATELY UPON WAKING. Take pup outside according to the schedule at first. NEVER PUT PUPPY OUT BY HIMSELF! It just doesn’t work. Let puppy walk where it wants and as soon as it relieves itself outside PRAISE IT! Bring puppy back in when you are SURE it has finished. Sometimes you know puppy has to go but puppy is fooling around. WAIT! Don’t bring puppy in before it has done its business – that is just asking for an accident and puppy will be happy to oblige!

Each time you put puppy in the crate PRAISE IT and give it a treat. NEVER let puppy out of the crate when it is making noise such as whining, crying or barking. Correct it by saying “NO! BAD PUPPY!” And only when it has quieted should you let it out, with a “GOOD PUPPY!” If you let puppy out while it is making noise you are teaching it that making noise will get it attention and companionship, which is what it wants in the first place! This mixed message will be particularly difficult to straighten out in the middle of the night, when YOU want to sleep and puppy wants to PARTY! So be firm right from the start. Let puppy out ONLY if it is quiet and NEVER once you have put it in the crate for the night.

Remember that puppy is going to be missing its Mom and littermates NO MATTER WHERE IT SLEEPS and this includes YOUR bed, which I don’t recommend unless you sleep on rubber sheets in a boat! So, keeping in mind that puppy will be upset whether he is in the kitchen, piddling on the floor and chewing the cabinets, or in the crate, PUT HIM IN THE CRATE! At least he will only be making lots of noise and not redecorating your house in Early Destructo style! Many people put the crate in their bedroom where they can reassure puppy during the night. Some people prefer to put the crate, for the first few nights, where they won’t hear puppy crying. There is nothing wrong with either plan although if puppy persists in crying if placed in another room, putting the crate next to the bed where puppy can know you are near will most likely soothe the puppy and make crate training easier on you both.

However, once you have put puppy in the crate for the night, do NOT let him out unless you are fairly certain he has to eliminate. If puppy starts to cry shortly after being placed in the crate and you know it has just eliminated, give it a verbal correction at once (NO! BAD PUPPY! QUIET!). Repeat if necessary until puppy settles down. If you let puppy out of the crate every time it cries, it will never learn to accept the crate.

When preparing puppy for being crated all night it is best not to feed puppy or give anything to drink after about 6-7pm, unless it is very hot outside. It takes about 2-4 hours for a puppy to digest food and water. Exercise puppy LOTS in the evening. Wear the puppy out. Take puppy out as late as possible (11pm works well). Take your time for this last outing of the night. Be absolutely certain puppy is EMPTY before putting it in the crate. Put puppy in the crate with towels, the security blanket and the old stand-bys, a loud ticking clock, or a hot water bottle, or a stuffed animal with eyes, nose, etc. removed first. Praise puppy, say goodnight and go to bed.

As a general rule DO NOT GO BACK TO PUPPY UNTIL ATL EAST 3:30 OR 4AM. By then puppy probably will have to go out for real. Puppy bladders and bowels are just not mature enough to hold it much longer than that. However, some puppies simply cannot go longer then 2-3 hours, even at night, without urinating. If the puppy persists in crying and has been crated for at least 2 hours, assume it has to eliminate and take it outside. Keep these sessions short and quiet. DO NOT socialize with the puppy and once it has eliminated, take it right back inside and crate it again. The early mornings come with puppy territory, like a 2am feedings and babies. By about 5 months (or before) the puppy’s bladder should start to mature and puppy will start sleeping later. But for now all you can do is grin and bear it!

When you take puppy out at the uncivilized hour do so with a minimum of conversation. Puppy should know that this is NOT playtime. When he does his business outside PRAISE HIM as usual and bring him right back in, put him back in the crate and go back to bed. Don’t go back to him now, either. Puppy should be fine now until you are ready to get up at your regular time. Just remember: Once you have put puppy in the crate don’t go back to him for at least 2 hours. If you do, you are teaching him that making lots of noise will get him what he wants – your company. Puppy must learn that nights are for sleeping and his sleeping place is the crate. Once he learns this lesson – and it will only take about 2-4 nights – he will begin to look on the crate as his special place.

Eventually, as he becomes more accustomed to it, he will look on the crate as a refuge where he can get away from running kids, crazy cats, out-of-control vacuum cleaners or whatever inhabits his little bit of the world with him. One day you will look for puppy and find him, curled up in the crate where he went by himself to catch a few zzz’s! Once you have used the crate properly – NEVER TO PUNISH! – Your house will be safe from “puppy destructo raids” and your puppy will be safe from the myriad dangers that lie in wait for lonely, bored and curious puppies such as: chicken bones or other inedible “treats” from the garbage; chocolate left in reach of dogs which is a poison to dogs; electric wires that could electrocute a puppy if chewed; cleaning solutions; toilet bowl cleaners; poisonous house plants; small toys or socks that could be swallowed…. I could go on and on!

So please, use that crate! You will wonder how you ever survived without one and your puppy will have a SAFE place to be when left alone. Please remember that puppies are like babies when it comes to bladder and bowel control. Don’t ask puppy to “hold it” longer than is physically comfortable for puppy and try not to leave a dog crated longer than 5-6 hours at a time during the day if you can avoid doing so.


·· Copyright 1989-2004 Gloria S. Dittman All Rights Reserved Any Reproduction, in whole or in part, in any medium whatsoever, 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].

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Some new puppy tips...

Here are some items that you may consider when preparing your home for your new Havanese puppy. You may not need everything listed before your puppy arrives...
- Metal or Plastic Crate (check with breeder to see which your puppy prefers)

- Old Towels for Crate or cheap washable crate pads (2 will do - one to change, 1 to wash)

Once puppy is reliably crate trained, a "real" crate bed can be used.

- A blanket to cover crate to create a den feeling if using a crate for sleeping. A variety of companies also sell stylish crate covers or you can make one yourself.

- We use soft blankets to cuddle with. We have some from Petsmart that are cheap and can be often found in the cat or dog department for under 3 dollars depending on size. We find them sleeping up to them at a variety of times in and out of the carrying case/crate.

Please realize your dog loves to den and when it is surrounded by something that is familiar with them, they often settle down. We also give them tons of love so snuggling with you will also be a calming moment for them.


- Baby Gate(s) Try baby supply stores - or pet stores sometimes they are available at resale baby consignment shops. We have people in our neighborhood who put them out on the street just to be picked up for free! You can never haven enought of these.

- x-pen if desired with puppy pads. Havanese are known climbers and jumpers, so make sure it isn't the short one! As the puppies’ bladder increases, so will the time that they can hold it.

- Cord protectors (Home Depot sells tubing you can place over your cords that are exposed and they work rather well.

- Plus: Bitter Apple (bitter taste deters dogs from biting, licking, and chewing) This will help them and you through their teeething stage. You can use frozen soothers to help them and or buy baby orajel.

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Tips (many available) from HRI Website -Bite Inhibition

Dealing With Normal Puppy Behavior:
Nipping And Rough Play
When puppies play with each other, they use their mouths. Therefore, puppies usually want to bite or
“mouth” hands during play or when being petted. This behavior is rarely aggressive and, therefore, not
intended to cause harm. Because puppies are highly motivated to exhibit this type of behavior, attempts
to suppress it or stop it are unlikely to be successful unless you give your puppy an alternative behavior.
The goals of working with this normal puppy behavior are to redirect your puppy's desire to put something
in her mouth, such as an acceptable chew toy, and to teach her that putting her teeth on skin is never
Encourage Acceptable Behavior
Redirect your puppy’s chewing toward acceptable objects by offering her a small rawhide chew bone or
other type of chew toy whenever you pet her. This technique can be especially effective when children
want to pet her. As you or the child reach out to scratch her with one hand, offer the chew bone with the
other. This will not only help your puppy learn that people and petting are wonderful, but will also keep
her mouth busy while she’s being petted. Alternate which hand does the petting and which one has the
chew bone. At first, you may need to pet or scratch your puppy for short periods of time since the longer
she’s petted, the more likely she is to get excited and start to nip.
Discourage Unacceptable Behavior
You must also teach your puppy that putting her teeth on skin is unacceptable and that nipping results in
unpleasant consequences for her. Teach your puppy that nipping “turns off”all attention and social
interaction with you. As soon as you feel her teeth on your skin, yelp, “OUCH” in a high-pitched voice,
then ignore her for a few minutes. (In order to ignore her, you may need to leave the room, or
alternatively, have her tethered by a leash while you play, so when you leave she can’t follow.) Then, try
the chew toy and petting method again. It may take many repetitions for your puppy to understand
what’s expected.
NOTE: Never leave your puppy unattended while she is tethered as she may get tangled in her leash and
injure herself.
You may also try wearing cotton gloves coated with a substance that has an unpleasant taste, such as
Bitter Apple. Your puppy learns that “hands in mouth taste bad.” For this method to work, she must
experience this bad taste every time she nips your hand. The possible disadvantage to this method is that
your puppy may learn that “hands with gloves taste bad and those without gloves don’t.”
Remember that these methods will probably be ineffective unless you work hard to teach your puppy the
right behavior by offering her an acceptable chew toy.
Jumping Up
When your puppy jumps up on you, she wants attention. When you push her away, knee her in the chest
or step on her hind toes, she’s getting your attention! This becomes a rewarding behavior and therefore
the puppy will continue to jump because even negative attention is attention. From the puppy’s point of
view, negative attention is better than no attention at all.
So, when your puppy jumps up:
Fold your arms in front of you, turn away from her and say, “off.”
Continue to turn away from her until all four of her feet are on the ground, then quietly praise her
and give her a treat. If she knows the “sit” command, give the command when all four feet are on
the ground, then quietly praise her and give her a treat her while she’s in the sitting position.
If she jumps up again when you begin to praise her, simply turn away and repeat step two, above.
Remember to keep your praise low key.
Try to have every person she meets follow these same steps.
When your puppy realizes that she gets the attention she craves when she stops jumping on you and sits,
she’ll stop jumping up. Remember, once you’ve taught her to come and sit quietly for attention, you must
reward that behavior. Be careful not to ignore her when she comes and sits politely, waiting for your
What Not To Do
Attempts to tap, slap or hit your puppy in the face for nipping or jumping up are guaranteed to backfire.
Several things may happen, depending on your puppy's temperament and the severity of the correction:
She could become “hand shy” and cringe or cower whenever a hand comes toward her face.
She could become afraid of you and refuse to come to you or approach you at all.
She could respond in a defensive manner and attempt to bite you to defend herself.
She could interpret a mild slap as an invitation to play, causing her to become more excited and
even more likely to nip.
A Note About Children And Puppies
It’s very difficult for children under 8 or 9 years old to practice the kind of behavior modification outlined
here. Children’s first reaction to being nipped or mouthed by a puppy is to push the puppy away with
their hands and arms. This will be interpreted by the puppy as play and will probably cause the puppy to
nip and mouth even more. Dogs should never be left alone with children under 10 years old and parents
should monitor closely all interactions between their children and dogs.
2003 Dumb Friends League. All Rights Reserved. DWNN_R1203

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Children and Dogs

By Kathy Diamond Davis
Author and Trainer

Children Need to Learn about Dogs

When a parent says, "My child is good with dogs," what does that mean? Should people be pleased to observe that the family dog "will let the child do anything to her"? The huge gap between how dogs and humans perceive child behavior causes ruined dogs and injured children. Training the dog is not possible as long as children are allowed to carry out what is tantamount to dog abuse, although the parents do not realize it.

Home Base

No child under school age should be left alone with a dog. Supervision by an older child is not sufficient: the person supervising needs to be capable of governing both the child's and the dog's behavior. If there is doubt about the steadiness of either one, you need a capable adult for the child and another one for the dog.

This concept destroys one of the favorite images people have of dogs with kids, which is the dog as perfect babysitter. It's just not safe to put a dog into that position.

On the child's part, the mental capacity for empathy-awareness of hurting another being-doesn't happen until 5 to 7 years of age. The child doesn't understand that certain actions can hurt the dog. The child can give the right answers and behave properly when supervised, but let the adult so much as turn a head away and you'll often see the child start to experiment. This is simply how the human brain develops, and will be a problem with "good" kids as well as "bad" kids.

Older children can have problems dealing appropriately with dogs too, due to childhood inability to understand the consequences of actions. Boys up to age 9 years are prime candidates for serious dog bites. The idea of giving a child sole responsibility for a dog's care does not work.

Specific Behaviors

A parent watching a child and dog interact is at a disadvantage when that parent doesn't know which behaviors from a child are threatening to a dog. Yet this is exactly the situation in which most parents find themselves.

You should never allow a child to:

1. Pull the dog's ears
2. Poke eyes or other parts of the dog with fingers or anything else
3. Swing objects at the dog-whether the child realizes the object is going toward the dog or not
4. Pull the dog's tail
5. Grab any part of the dog's body
6. Chase the dog
7. Tug or otherwise compete with the dog for toys, food, or other items
8. Suddenly get into a dog's face
9. Run up to a bed or other furniture where a dog is resting
10. Disturb a dog who is sleeping or eating
11. Pet someone else's dog when the person is not there for the child to ask permission
12. Pet a dog through or over a fence or when the dog is tied out.
13. Enter the private area (crate or special room) designated as a childfree zone
14. Go near the nest where a mother cares for her puppies
15. Run in the sight of a strange dog
16. Provoke a dog to become agitated (including a dog confined behind a fence or on a tie out)
17. Ride a dog like a horse, lie down on a dog, or otherwise put significant weight on a dog.
18. Be present in any situation that causes a dog to feel pain or fear (this would include someone punishing the dog, an electric collar shock, or any other painful or fearful event that can then become associated in the dog's mind with a child)

From the Dog's Point of View

When a dog becomes convinced that children inflict pain or fear, damage has been done to that dog's trust in children. If the dog believes you will stand by and let this happen, or will leave the dog at the mercy of the child without you being there, eventually the dog will have no choice but self-defense.

By the time the dog shows a reaction, the damage may have long been done. This is especially true of dogs raised from puppyhood with improperly supervised children. As the dog's defense drives mature, and the dog is ready to do something about the kids, the dog's beliefs about kids are set. Parents didn't realize what they were allowing to happen to the dog by being so pleased that the puppy or dog would "let the children do anything to him."

Social Issues

Dogs hugely benefit children when both are properly managed. A great deal of research indicates that children growing up with well-cared-for dogs have mental and emotional advantages that extend throughout life.

On the other hand, an abused dog in the household is a warning sign that there may also be child or spousal abuse occurring. Authorities are aware of this connection and watch for it.

Learning to handle a dog properly helps prepare humans to be good parents. People learn in many of the same ways that dogs do, so learning how to teach a dog will help you teach your children and manage your household.

Because managing a household with preschool-age children and a dog in training (especially a puppy) is complex, people often decide to wait until children are school age before adopting a family dog. Another option is to adopt, raise, and train a dog to positively perceive children before having your first child. Another choice is to seek out an adult dog to adopt who is great with kids and no longer a puppy.

To be successful, any option you choose of bringing a dog into the family with children will require teaching the children how to treat dogs properly and supervising the kids with the dog. These skills will go through life with the grown-ups your children become. Wonderful things happen in the human mind and heart when a person learns to understand dogs and treat them kindly.

Date Published: 4/25/2004 1:50:00 PM

Kathy Diamond Davis is the author of the book Therapy Dogs: Training Your Dog to Reach Others. Should the training articles available here or elsewhere not be effective, contact your veterinarian. Veterinarians not specializing in behavior can eliminate medical causes of behavior problems. If no medical cause is found, your veterinarian can refer you to a colleague who specializes in behavior or a local behaviorist.

Copyright 2004 - 2009 by Kathy Diamond Davis. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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HRI articles for puppies and havanese

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I didn't just get havanese, I got a lifestyle!
Loving Havanese since 2003
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2009, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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Finding your Puppy-Find a QUALITY breeder!

Most pet store dogs come from back-yard breeders and/or puppy mills. I had no idea about this before getting my dogs...those of us who have been around for a while have learned some of the sad tales of dogs from unethical breeding practices. Make sure your puppy is healthy and was treated right from the very beginning.

The following list contains guidelines to help an informed buyer find a caring, Quality Breeder. If a breeder does not meet the following "Twelve Points to Identifying a Quality Breeder"…WALK AWAY…DO NOT BUY!

A Quality Breeder will provide a list of specific health checks done on adult dogs before they are bred and/or on the puppies before selling them. Examples might be CERF (eye), OFA (hips, heart), thyroid tests, von Willebrands Disease (blood clotting) and BAER (hearing) as appropriate to the breed. You must know which problems are likely to occur in your breed and what checks should be done. That is why researching the breeds that interest you is SO important.

WARNING: If the breeder or ads simply say "Vet checked," BEWARE. This statement is too general.

A Quality Breeder will provide a lifetime "take back" guarantee and will require that you return the dog or get approval for a new home if you cannot keep him. Good breeders do everything in their power to prevent their puppies from winding up in an animal shelter or a pen in some friend of a friend's backyard. A Quality Breeder will require that if you must ever give up the dog, he / she MUST go back to the breeder or to a new home the breeder has screened.

WARNING: Don't just take the breeder's word on this…get a "take back" clause in writing.

A Quality Breeder will require a written (or on-line) application from you; he/she will also provide you with a list of references (people who have purchased dogs from him/her) and encourage you to check him/her out, as well. Good breeders put a tremendous amount of work into their dogs. They care deeply about their animals, are justifiably proud of them, and will not sell to "just anyone." Experience has taught them what kind of homes are likely to be the very best for the dogs they have produced. They will require a written application and will screen YOU to make sure you have the proper home, lifestyle and finances to properly care for your new puppy. At the same time, they welcome your questions.

WARNING: A breeder that will sell a dog to you without getting an application and references from you does not care about you or the animals. Don't deal with a breeder who cannot or will not give you references.

A Quality Breeder makes sure you know the breed's temperament and needs. All breeds have special characteristics. If the breed you're considering drools a lot, is hard to housebreak, has a high "prey drive" or isn't good around small children, for example, a good breeder makes sure you understand those traits of the breed. If your dog must be kept as an indoor dog, must always be leashed or fenced, requires lots of grooming, a responsible breeder tells you these things upfront.

Many kinds of breed "faults" are okay for a pet. To a Quality Breeder, a "fault" is a trait that is not exactly to breed standard. For example, the breeder might say "This puppy is going to be oversized, so we won't be able to show him," or "Look at the way he carries his tail -- that's a fault." This is the sign of an honest breeder who wants you to know the specifics of breed and the puppies he/she is selling.

WARNING: If a breeder starts to sound like a used-car salesman, telling you only the good things about the dogs and refusing to talk about the bad ones, or is misrepresenting breed faults as "rare" or desirable characteristics, find another breeder.

A Quality Breeder will provide a written contract with specific requirements and guarantees for both the seller/breeder and the buyer. Your signature on a well-written contract with health guarantees, a spay/neuter requirement for "pet quality puppies," and specific recommendations for care and training is always required by quality breeders when you buy a puppy.

WARNING: If the breeder guarantees health for a short period of time , such as a few days or weeks. then you are NOT dealing with a Quality Breeder. Also, steer clear of breeders who want you to allow your puppy to be used as "breeding stock" at a later date.

A Quality Breeder will provide a written health record for your puppy. This should include the date of whelping, any health problems he has had, the date and kind of each shot he got, and the dates of worming and drug that was used. Your vet will want this information and having it in writing makes it much more likely that your puppy has gotten the care he needs.

WARNING: If the breeder just writes some information on a scrap of paper off the top of his/her head, the record is NOT accurate and may not even be real.

A Quality Breeder carefully plans and "pre-sells" each litter. You will need to be patient and wait for your puppy. Quality Breeders usually breed only when they have enough qualified buyers for the number of puppies likely to be produced from a breeding. You will most likely be put on a waiting list if the breeder feels you are qualified to purchase one of the pups.

WARNING: If you are not patient and want to rush out and get a puppy, any puppy, you will most likely end up with a puppy mill or backyard-bred dog.

A Quality Breeder will invite you to his/her home or place of business. You will have an opportunity to meet the parents of the puppy and observe the conditions in which the animals are kept. The atmosphere should be clean, warm, healthy and friendly.

WARNING: Never meet a breeder in a parking lot, a park, a rest stop, etc. to "make the deal." Quality Breeders DO NOT operate this way.

A Quality Breeder specializes and will only offer one (or possibly two) breeds of dogs. It takes a lot to get to know a breed and the dogs' heritage, needs, requirements, temperament and health. Quality Breeders take this work very seriously. It is very difficult for one person to be a "specialist" in many breeds.

WARNING: Puppy millers and back yard breeders will breed any animals they think will "sell." They often breed more than one breed and may even be dealing in more than one species (cats and dogs, for example, or even cats, dogs, and birds).

A Quality Breeder will socialize the puppies. The pups will be accustomed to people and a home environment.

WARNING: Be very wary of puppies that are kept in isolated environments away from people and normal experiences they would have once they "go home" with you. Isolated puppies will probably not be socialized.

A Quality Breeder will NEVER allow you to take a puppy before it is AT LEAST 8 weeks old. The puppy's age should be verified on well-kept records provided by the breeder. A good breeder knows that a puppy learns many of its "life skills" from his/her mom and litter mates in the very early stages of life. The difference between a well adjusted, social puppy and a fearful biter can be determined by a few additional weeks spent in the security of the litter.

WARNING: Backyard Breeders and Puppy Millers see their animals as a "cash crop;" they want to get the money in their hands as soon as possible and will sell dogs long before they should be leaving their litters. Studies have shown that dogs taken from their litters too early are more susceptible to behavior and health problems.

A Quality Breeder will be accessible. He or she will give you his/her phone number, email address and other contact information. Quality Breeders will invite you to call them if you have any questions or problems with your puppy. They will return your calls when you leave a message. You will know where they live and have visited the place where the adults and puppies live.

WARNING: If the breeder is difficult to find or is elusive about his/her operation, location or contact information DO NOT buy from him/her. You need to have a breeder who will be available should you have questions or problems. Go to and click on the Reverse Lookup tab. Type in the breeder's phone number. If it comes up as unlisted or not available BEWARE. This may be a breeder who is trying to "hide." This is not a sign of a Quality Breeder. Quality Breeders have nothing to hide.

I didn't just get havanese, I got a lifestyle!
Loving Havanese since 2003
RikiDaisyDixie is offline  
post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2009, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Getting through that first night...

I kept the puppy crate right next to my bed at the same level. This way, they were safe yet also felt close. They did not cry this way and felt close.

After they were house-trained, they were allowed to sleep in my bed. This is a personal decision. Many havanese sleep in their crates and are just fine...they have their own den and you don't have to shut the door, they just go in on their own when they need private time.

I didn't take the puppy out on walks until they had finished all their vaccines. We have a lot of parvo in our area, so we just played in the house or in the huge backyard of a friend who had a safe yard with older havanese for socialization.

I also took my puppies to elementary school as soon as they were able to socialize them to as many "good" people as possible.

I'd have the kids sit down and call the puppy to them, so that they weren't picked up or squeezed. This gave the puppy the opportunity to feel safe and make a choice. My dogs love all kids, especially babies. They love almost all people. I'm glad I did this early socialization.

I didn't just get havanese, I got a lifestyle!
Loving Havanese since 2003
RikiDaisyDixie is offline  
post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2009, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Puppy playdates, training, and doggy socialization

I took both of my dogs to puppy classes and group dog classes. We were fortunate to also have havanese only training classes. I don't think there is such a thing as too much training.

My dogs can do obedience, agility, rally, and freestyle. They are canine good citizens and hopefully some day therapy dogs...Havanese are really smart and love to learn. This gives them a job...and they enjoy that. Don't hestitate to start trick training young.

I really like Karen Pryor's clicker training techniques.

We also socialized them with friends bigger dogs we knew were very gentle so they wouldn't be afraid.

My dogs also grew up with cats.

I only use the word COME when I mean it, and it must be followed. Otherwise I say here. Only say a command once, so the dog knows you mean it...just like for kids! This has saved their lives. I also taught them boundary training so that the dogs will NEVER go in a street unless I say OKAY.

When people come over, I have them sort of avoid the dogs for the first few minutes. This way the dogs don't jump all over them and get too excited. We eat first, the dogs eat later. We don't give them treats from the table. I talk to all small children about behavior before they come over...if they aren't following our guidelines, they don't get invited back! And that includes adults too.

And don't forget doggy bags when you go on your walks!

I didn't just get havanese, I got a lifestyle!
Loving Havanese since 2003
RikiDaisyDixie is offline  
post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-27-2009, 05:45 PM
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Thank you so much for posting this - I am book marking this page so I can refer back to it and study for the next few months until puppy comes home!
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