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I don't know how to do a poll, or else I would, but here is my question....

Those of you who have (or had) a Havanese and children, did you pup like the kids? I have heard conflicting information about this breed and kids. Though I tend to think that the ones who don't like children didn't grow up around them for the most part.

I am about 99% decided to get a Hav, but since I have a 7 year old, that is something that I keep going back to...
For the record, my son is well aware of the no-picking up/carrying a puppy rule, and just finished reading a puppy-training book, he is as serious about this as a 7 year old boy can be :laugh2:
But then I read about Hav's who growl at kids and jump at every noise, and this worries me...kids are noisy and make a lot of sudden movements! I am all about harmony between all the creatures in my home.
 

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My son is grown and out of the house, but we have children over frequently. We also have several children's programs here on the property (we live on a 50 acre church property). Our Havanese has interaction with kids of every age nearly every day. She LOVES kids and is always happy to see them. We make sure that children are treating her well. She is the little mascot here at church. When we go out of town, she stays at a friend's house who has a golden retriever and 5 children. Our dog loves their house so much! They have told us that if we need to find a home for her for any reason, they would take her in a minute. I don't think we would ever need to, but its nice to know they love her and she loves them just as much and has a second home. Our Havanese is a little over a year and a half.
 

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Jojo is a puppy! 7 months old! We do not have young children in our home anymore. We are empty nesters. But Jojo is
encouraged to meet children as part of our socializing efforts and during our travels etc. I can tell you she has only had great experiences with all whom she’s met, children and others. But, it’s children that she loves the most!!! She NEVER sprinkles with children but the enthusiasm to see them much more than with with other strangers! She has been allowed to play with the neighborhood kids and I’ve let them all hold her and carry her lay in the ground while she jumps in them and licks etc! She can’t get enough of kids and USUALLY they can’t get enough of her either! We have met the occasional child who is afraid of dogs and oddly enough even more so puppies! They are just to rambunctious for some children. It disappoints Jojo but hold her back from those types of littles!
 

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I think it will depend a lot of the breeder's home, the dam and sire, and the socialization of the puppies ahead of time. Our breed has unfortunately become more popular and that tends to bring out the people just out to make money, and not improve and continue the fabulous temperament of the puppies. If you have heard negative things about a Havanese temperament, I think there lies the issue. :-(
 

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I don't know how to do a poll, or else I would, but here is my question....

Those of you who have (or had) a Havanese and children, did you pup like the kids? I have heard conflicting information about this breed and kids. Though I tend to think that the ones who don't like children didn't grow up around them for the most part.

I am about 99% decided to get a Hav, but since I have a 7 year old, that is something that I keep going back to...
For the record, my son is well aware of the no-picking up/carrying a puppy rule, and just finished reading a puppy-training book, he is as serious about this as a 7 year old boy can be

But then I read about Hav's who growl at kids and jump at every noise, and this worries me...kids are noisy and make a lot of sudden movements! I am all about harmony between all the creatures in my home.
Greetings! I am also all about harmony in the home and I can tell you for sure... a puppy disrupts that lol! I also enjoy a challenge and bringing an 8 week old hav into our home (while also working part-time from home starting a new business) with a 4 yo and 1 yo has been just that. (I should note my husband also works from home and he helps a lot.) It sounds like our situation is quite a bit different than yours considering our children are very small. It took my 4 yo about two months before she was completely comfortable with our puppy Ernie. Part of the reason we decided to bring a hav into our home was to help her overcome her minor fear of dogs. Our life is definitely wild and chaotic right now but Ernie fits in well and we all love him so much. He is a puppy and has a lot to learn but he seems to really enjoy the kids for the most part and I truly believe that their relationships will continue to grow and the love will deepen- despite the regular grievances. Ernie is my first hav so I don't have a lot of experience but my impression is that this breed is great with kids. They are eager to please and very trainable. I think involving your son in training would be an excellent idea. So yes it's stressful and everyone will have to be prepared to deal with sharp puppy teeth, new rules, loud barking, holes in clothes, toy chewing, etc but for us it's been totally worth it and I don't regret it AT ALL. He enriches our lives so much and I know it will only get better with time. I hope that's helpful, keep us posted!
 

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Boo loved children in his younger years. Every week, during the summers, his trainer took him on walks to a small park by the beach. She used to tell me that the children in the park would come running to see Boo. Of course, Boo adored all the attention, and performed tricks for them (but this was many years ago). Although he does not go out much these days, his groomer told me that he still likes to cuddle with her young girls.
 

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We got Kodi when my younger son was in high school and my older son was in college. Both boys had left home by the time the girls joined us. So my dogs were not raised with small children. I think they are a range of "Havanese personalities". Kodi has never met anyone he doesn't love. Panda is a "mama's girl", but also extremely social and easy-going. Pixel is a little more of a worrier, and takes a little longer to get used to people she doesn't know. Even so, all thee of mine do FINE with gentle, well behaved children of all ages.

These are the photos I could find quickly. All of my Havanese with my granddaughter. As you can see, they accept her without question, and she loves them! And they did NOT grow up with her... She decended on them as a one year old and lived with us for a year! A well bred Havanese that is being handled PROPERLY and GENTLY by a child who has been properly trained and is properly supervised when interacting with a small dog/puppy should not be shy or sharp tempered. That would be a Havanese with an incorrect temperament.

That is NOT to say a Havanese will never growl. A growl is a warning and should ALWAYS be taken seriously and honored as the dog telling the humans around him that he is uncomfortable with what is going on. it is not the dog doing something "wrong". It needs to be taken in context, and see what's going on. There will ALWAYS be times when dealing with dogs and young children when the child will need to be be reminded to respect the dog's space.

Growling is most likely to be seen when the dog is eating or enjoying a chew or bone or a favorite toy. So this is something that is pretty easily managed with some forethought. In our house, all the dogs have their own meal spots, away from my granddaughter. My dogs (the Havanese) eat in their crates. My son's dogs, when they are here, eat gated in our front entryway. If they are given bones or chews, that is also either in those places or out in the yard. My granddaughter knows that the dogs MUST be given their space when they in their crates or eating and should not be bothered.

I guess the bottom line is that there are no guarantees with living creatures. But it would be entirely out of character for a properly bred, well-raised Havanese to "growl at kids and jump at every noise". That said, they are dogs. and dogs will do what dogs do. Just as kids will. Both can be unpredictable. There is NO dog breed that is not true of, however. If you can't live with managing that level of uncertainty, your family is probably not ready for a dog of any breed.
 

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Thanks for the responses and cute pictures!

I should say that this is not my first dog, puppy or dog with a child. My Bernese was still alive when my child was born, and lived until my son was about 3 1/2. My dog had not been around children much, but through slow introductions over time, he was 100% fine around him by the time my son was 1.
I think it is mostly just proper training and socialization that is needed, most likely toy breeds get a bad rap because owners tolerate behavior from them that they wouldn't in a larger breed. I would never have tolerated resource guarding or growling at a family member from my large dogs once they were adults. It really is all about the training. I am fortunate that we have great trainers and dog "schools" were I live as well.
 

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We brought home our puppy when my kids were 11 and 12 but in retrospect I think a Havanese would have fit into our family easily once they were grade school age. It would have been more work around preschool age, as Mama Mills described, but I think it could have worked for us then, too. It really depends on the dynamic in the family, the kids, how much time you spend at home and your general lifestyle, etc. I think it will be important to find the right breeder. Possibly some of the mixed messages you are reading have a bit to do with some breeders observing children not handling Havanese well, and families purchasing Havanese puppies from not so great breeders. I do think there’s sort of an unspoken myth that “good” children are good with animals, and only those children should have dogs. 99.9% of children benefit from dogs, if it’s the right time for the family, and supervision and teaching can occur. Expecting children to just know how they should handle a puppy when most children aren’t exposed to animals unless they have a pet, or expecting them to have good enough judgement to be responsible for a puppy, is the problem, not that children and puppies shouldn’t mix. Personally I think puppies and children can both be enriched by each other, but it’s up to us as parents to protect them both and consider if it’s the best time for us to teach them. We also have to be objective about what our kids need to learn.
 

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Thanks for the responses and cute pictures!

I should say that this is not my first dog, puppy or dog with a child. My Bernese was still alive when my child was born, and lived until my son was about 3 1/2. My dog had not been around children much, but through slow introductions over time, he was 100% fine around him by the time my son was 1.
I think it is mostly just proper training and socialization that is needed, most likely toy breeds get a bad rap because owners tolerate behavior from them that they wouldn't in a larger breed. I would never have tolerated resource guarding or growling at a family member from my large dogs once they were adults. It really is all about the training. I am fortunate that we have great trainers and dog "schools" were I live as well.
Dogs are dogs, whether they are large or small. And they can be trained pretty much the same way. Just remember that when you say you "won't tolerate" growling... When you take away that option from a dog, THOSE are the dogs that are likely to "bite without warning" because you have trained out the "early warning system". Far better, IMO, to teach the FAMILY to recognize that animals have right too. And one of those rights is to be left in peace at certain times.

Now, I teach my puppies, from day one, that there is nothing to worry about from me messing with their food dish. I do that by approaching their dish while they are eating and putting something EXTRA YUMMY in it when I do. So they learn to expect that humans messing with their dish means that they might get something extra good. So they do NOT "resource guard". That said, I STRONGLY advocate, with ALL family members, but especially children, that they have EVERY RIGHT to be left in peace while they are eating, just as I don't want dogs begging or otherwise bothering ME while I am eating! That would make ME growl, by golly! ;)

I guess my viewpoint is that dogs are part of the family and deserve respect and courtesy. They are not playthings and their feelings MUST be respected by the children in the household.
 

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I think everyone has given great advice here.

Obviously you're off to a better start with a Havanese as they are companion dogs and not bred to be aloof. But so much will depend on the quality of the breeder; breeding from the right parents with the right temperament, plus how well they (and you as their new owner) then socialise the puppies. Then on top of that you of course have the dog's own personality and just like us, they are all individuals.

From my own experience based on my child, her close friends and the school run: Flo loves my daughter, is comfortable and happy to play with children she knows well but is very nervous around people and especially children who she doesn't know - particularly the younger ones. I put this down to younger ones unpredictable movements and a tendency to lean in over a dog. Flo is very gentle and a little chill pill by nature, so she doesn't growl or snap but she slinks behind me when faced with noisy children and I don't think it's fair to push her in that situation. It is a shame as I have been careful to ensure she meets a wide range of people and although she is now happier with adult strangers, children are a sticking point for her.

My gut feel is that she is a bit nervous by nature and that the breeder I got her from was not as reputable as I first thought, but that is a whole other post entirely!
 

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The match of the dog, and the child is most important. You can't just get any one, and expect it to work out. Before the pandemic, we would want to meet the children, in our home. Through this, Pam talks to the owners about their families, and does the best she can.

Any breeder that doesn't consider the match to be the most important thing, keep looking.

Just like people, and children, Havanese have the range of different personalities too.
 

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Flo loves my daughter, is comfortable and happy to play with children she knows well but is very nervous around people and especially children who she doesn't know - particularly the younger ones. I put this down to younger ones unpredictable movements and a tendency to lean in over a dog. Flo is very gentle and a little chill pill by nature, so she doesn't growl or snap but she slinks behind me when faced with noisy children and I don't think it's fair to push her in that situation. It is a shame as I have been careful to ensure she meets a wide range of people and although she is now happier with adult strangers, children are a sticking point for her.

My gut feel is that she is a bit nervous by nature and that the breeder I got her from was not as reputable as I first thought, but that is a whole other post entirely!
Just wanted to point out that while there may be other reasons that you feel your breeder was not as reputable as you thought, the fact that your Havanese is reticent around non-family children is NOT necessarily the "fault" of either the breeder, the way the puppy was raised or the way you socialized her. Just as there are introverted and extroverted children in even "the best families" this is equally true with dogs. Some of this is obvious when puppies are young, and as Tom said, good breeders do their best to match the right puppy with the right family.

But biology plays a role and puppies are going to become their own unique people. They should never be forced into situations they aren't comfortable with. So kudos to you for recognizing that it is not fair to push your little one in these situations. Sometimes these more sensitive dogs will always just be more comfortable with their own families, just like some people, and we need to accept them for who they are. Other times, with time and patience, they will come out of their shells when they are ready, IF they are not pushed.

I really think that in some ways, Covid has been a blessing for many shy, or "slow to warm" dogs and puppies. Pixel definitely took longer to come out of her shell than our other two, and the change in her during Covid has been very interesting. When we go out on errands we always take one dog with us. When we go to Tractor Supply or Lowes, where dogs can go in, we almost always take Pixel, because those are her favorite stores. Before Covid, we would always have to run interference... People would always come straight for her, saying "Oh she's so cute! Can we pet her?" To which I would have to say, "That is up to her. Squat down, and if she comes to you, you can pat her. If not, she's not feeling up to it right now." Since Covid, No one rushes us! They admire her at a distance, and... wonder of 6 foot leashes ;) more often than not, SHE initiates contact with THEM! She just needed it to be HER decision. :)

I think there are many, MANY dogs and even more adolescent puppies who are like Pixel, and just need a little time and space, and not to be rushed and overwhelmed by people they don't know. Let's face it. We wouldn't let people do that to our toddlers, why do we expect our dogs to like it? ;)
 

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This is a picture of my Jack when we brought him home. My guys were 11 and 8. Jack loved going to the bus stop and being mauled by the kids.

To be honest, we had more trouble with our Aussies around kids than Jack. The Aussies would try to herd them. That can be scary to a little kid.
 

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Tom and Karen both make great points about individual puppy personalities and getting the right fit for your family!

I think Flo would most likely always have been a more sensitive soul0:)

What I find really interesting and so endearing is that although Flo is at the more reserved end of the scale, she is totally at ease if our daughter (recently diagnosed with Autism) has a meltdown, Flo will actively try and comfort her.

Also Karen - I am totally stealing your “she can decide” approach to letting people stroke her:grin2: When we have children round here and I can see Flo is nervous I get the kids to offer her a treat to give positive associations, but for strangers in the street/park etc that is brilliant!

PS Love that Pixel has favourite shops x
 

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We had all the little kids in the neighborhood handle and be near Shama when she was a tiny pup. It always went fine except for once when the littlest neighbor boy wanted to see how much she weighed so lifted her up ... by her leash! I was so glad that DH didn't see that, because he would have DIED! I was holding the end of the leash, and the boy had the middle part. Three of us adults rushed over when baby Shama was off the ground. She probably wasn't suspended more than a second. It was sure scary though!

Anyway, Shama loves everyone, but she isn't wild about being petted. She happily runs over to people, but when they reach down to pet her, she takes off again. She will hold still and let anyone pet her as long as I'm giving her a steady flow of treats.

One thing the little neighbor kids always liked was when they would lie down and I'd have Shama walk on them, sit on them, and lie on them. I always preferred that to having them try to grab her. This summer, I had two little neighbor boys hold hula hoops for Shama to jump through. That was fun.

I agree with everyone who's said you don't want to force a dog to interact with strangers and that you have to explain to children how to interact with your dog. I always tell people who want to pet Shama that they have to pet her side, not her head. They always say, "She's so soft!"

Here she is with a nephew when he was 12 or 13 and she was nine months.
 

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For the most part dogs love people who first feed them and then those who give them loving attention. I live in an intergenerational home that includes two grandsons who were 12 and 14 years old when Patti came into our family lives. The boys had another another grandmother who was a breeder of Labs and she trained them on how to hold and handle puppies.

Patti has a different relationship with everyone in the family. I tend to be #1 because I feed Patti in addition to tending to all her needs, along with loving and playing with her. #2 is our daughter whom she goes to next. They just have a special bond that's different for mine. #3 is Daddy. Then there are the grandkids who carry her around and have special games they play with her. There are days she'll go in their room and lay with them on their beds. She'll seek them out.

Patti has a different relationship with each of the grandsons. She prefers the older one which makes the younger one Sad! :crying: Patti love's the younger one, too, but she goes to older boy first because he gave her more attention when she was a puppy. For long periods of time he would play and carry her around - which he still does. When the grandsons leave and come home the first thing they do is find Patti if she hasn't found them first to say Good-Bye or Hello.

Most Havanese innately are People Dogs. They want to be with people but their relationship depends on how each person treats them, which includes kids. If a kid or adult is too rough and does things that scares the puppy ... the dog isn't going to seek out or want to be with that child even when they're older. :wink2:

Below photos of the grandsons now 15 and 17 yrs old. Patti DOES NOT enjoy the Hugging but she is putting up with it for a quick pic. The other is how the boys were trained to pick up small dogs up and hold them.
 

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We had all the little kids in the neighborhood handle and be near Shama when she was a tiny pup. It always went fine except for once when the littlest neighbor boy wanted to see how much she weighed so lifted her up ... by her leash! I was so glad that DH didn't see that, because he would have DIED! I was holding the end of the leash, and the boy had the middle part. Three of us adults rushed over when baby Shama was off the ground. She probably wasn't suspended more than a second. It was sure scary though!

Anyway, Shama loves everyone, but she isn't wild about being petted. She happily runs over to people, but when they reach down to pet her, she takes off again. She will hold still and let anyone pet her as long as I'm giving her a steady flow of treats.

One thing the little neighbor kids always liked was when they would lie down and I'd have Shama walk on them, sit on them, and lie on them. I always preferred that to having them try to grab her. This summer, I had two little neighbor boys hold hula hoops for Shama to jump through. That was fun.

I agree with everyone who's said you don't want to force a dog to interact with strangers and that you have to explain to children how to interact with your dog. I always tell people who want to pet Shama that they have to pet her side, not her head. They always say, "She's so soft!"

Here she is with a nephew when he was 12 or 13 and she was nine months.
Patti is the same way. She's interested in strangers and will say Hello! but wants NO TOUCHING. :grin2:
 
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