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Hi everyone! I am so thrilled that I found this board - I have learned so much! I am very close to deciding on a Havanese, but I wanted to throw out a couple of questions before I take the big leap. A little background: We had a wonderful, 14-year-old Sheltie who died this past summer of kidney failure. When we were ready to again add to our family, I started researching breeds again. I love Shelties, but this time I thought I would like to have a dog that didn't HAVE to have all the exercise that she did, especially now since our kids are away in college. I had seen pictures of Havs a few years ago and thought they were adorable. In reading about them now, I think they would be a perfect fit for us. I have only a couple of reservations that I hope some of you can help me with. I have read many, many posts about the "potential difficulty" with housebreaking this breed. Training my Sheltie was very quick and very easy, so I realize that this new dog will require more work, which I am prepared to do. My question is, once your dog has been trained, did the training "stick" to the point that it was no longer an issue at all, or is this an area that will require constant, ongoing diligence? Secondly, I got my Sheltie from a breeder, but I am planning to adopt a rescue this time, so this part is new to me. For those of you that also have rescue dogs, could you tell me what your experience has been in terms of the dog's temperament and ability to bond? Any information that you could pass on in either of these areas would be a great deal of help. Thank you so much!
 

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Hi Jayne. Sorry to hear about your sheltie. I love them-they're so pretty.
As you know, all dogs are different, but I potty trained Pixie very quickly. She's 1.5 years and has never had an accident except when she had a UTI. I'd say that she's completely reliable, even at my moms house. I'm home with her all day so I was able to keep an eye on her 24/7. I got her from a breeder, so I have no input on the rescue question. Many here have rescue dogs and can answer that. I believe one of our members even has both a hav and a sheltie, so , maybe she can compare them for you.
 

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We got Copper from a rescue group. He was advertised as 1/2 havanese, 1/2 ****zu. He is NEITHER! We have determined that he is a Tibetan Terrier mix. However, if he would have been advertised as a TT, we would have never found him. I love the TT breed as much as the Havanese breed. He came to us at 6 months completely poddy trained (we lucked out). Miley, the purebred Hav, took longer to poddy train, but is pretty reliable now. If you buy from a breeder, choose one that has done the basics of poddy training already....like Tom King. If I were to get another Hav...that's where I'd consider getting one...even if I have to fly. But that's no guarantee you won't have poddy training issues....that guarantee doesn't come with ANY dog. However, there's a lot of good advice on this board to help you with the process of poddy training.
 

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Karen
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Hi Jayne, Welcome! I am sorry to hear about the loss of your sheltie.

I have two havs both of which I got as puppies. Brady was so easy to housetrainl, it was almost scary. He got it and never regressed. Dugan was a little tougher, but still not hard. He was a rescue that I got when he was 15 weeks old. I still keep him confined to the kitchen and den since the last time I tried giving him more space (a few months ago) he had an accident in the dining room. He is a little over a year now. I think confined space is key to housetraining these guys. Also, they do need to go out more than a sheltie. My boys are in and out all day long.

It is wonderful that you are considering a rescue. An older rescue may be a little more of a challenge to housetrain though. My mom has a havanese that she adopted from a breeder when he was a year and a half. They bonded immediately. He took a few months before we saw his true playful ways and he got completely comfortable, but he sure is comfortable now. She has had him about 8 months, I think.
 

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Welcome to the forum.

My first Havanese was 9 weeks old from a first time breeder. She was easy house at house train and it did stick no accidents with her. Our second was a 5 month old rescue, from a small puppy mill. She has been hard to house train. She just doesn’t totally get the concept, no matter how many times she goes out. It is getting better but she will still go in the house and we have been working on this for 5 months.

The Havanese are a great breed, they keep you laughing.
 

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Biscuit's mom
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Hi Jayne~~Welcome , and I'm so sorry about your beloved Sheltie.

I think a Havanese is an excellent choice for you. I cannot begin to tell you how much joy our 2 Havs bring us. We never had dogs at all until 3 yrs ago (we're older empty nesters married over 40 yrs). These guys are smart, sweet, funny, loyal, and, you will be free from shedding/odor/allegens.

I personally think the foundation for housebreaking is laid very early by the breeder, and also depends on personality. Biscuit came from a very small breeder and was easily trained and is flawless. They really worked on having him go on pee pads before we got him.

The other breeder has lots of pups and used a different technique. Heath has never truly gotten it and he's a year old. He's fine on a strict schedule if we take him out. . . .but still forgets if we do. He's brighter than Biscuit but kind of a free spirit. Frustrating. However, he is the funniest, smartest, cutest guy and worth his weight in entertainment value alone.

Mine are adaptable & not nearly as high energy as a Sheltie~~can be active outside or just love to lie around & sleep.
Good luck & I would carefully explore a rescue because I do think they come with so many unknowns. . . .
 

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Debbie B.
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Riley is 16 months old and still has a couple of accidents a month. He either has to be contained or attended and we aren't always diligent about doing that. In spite of his housebreaking difficulties, he is still the best dog I have every had. He is so sweet, loving and entertaining that I can live with a couple of accidents here and there.
 

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Brush Anyone??
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Winston is over 2 and every now and again will poop in the house if left unattended. It's frustrating but so rare. And usually because he's alone and stressed. If he goes poop before I go out for an hour or two he even can have run of the house.

He hadn't had any accident in months and we got BRAND NEW carpet....we were all running around busy as can be upstairs when my son announced 'Winston is in so much trouble'.

Seriously they hadn't even laid the carpet, it was just spread out in one of the girls' room...he pooped. Oy.

But it wouldn't have been so bad if my son had not run all over the room SMUSHING the poop in before he noticed it...seriously...like 10 spots!!! :kev:

Hubby laughed and said 'well now you can test that stain resistance....':Cry:

But he probably sat by the door for awhile [he doesn't bark to go out but sits patiently by the door].....and then came upstairs and thought...hmmm this is 'grass-like'...LOL.
 

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Seriously they hadn't even laid the carpet, it was just spread out in one of the girls' room...he pooped. Oy.
Winston was just "initiating" your new carpet!! It must have smelled too new....needed something "stinky"....and he was there to oblige...
 

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Hi Jayne...

First, I'm very sorry to hear of your loss. I had a similar loss just this past September. My 17 year old love passed away.

As those on this forum know, I adopted my Casey from HRI. He was fostered for three weeks by Amanda, a terrific foster mom who volunteers for HRI, so he was almost 7 months old when he came to me. For the first 2-3 weeks, he'd have an accident every so often but not incessantly. Now that he's been with me for almost 2 months, we have no accidents and haven't had any for some time. He has the run of the house when I am here and stays in his crate when I am gone (which isn't for hours and hours on end). I was worried about the crating at first since I've always had dogs and never crated before. My vet told me dogs like to 'cave' and Casey is testimony to that. He came to me crate-trained and seems to love it. So...my answer to you is that I have a rescue; he's house-broken and he's an absolute joy. Not a day goes by that he doesn't make me laugh...and I mean out-loud. There are no guarantees in this life but if Casey is an example of what can happen for us then I say go for it...you won't be sorry! In fact, I was told that I'd probably want another Hav within a year. I thought that person was a little crazy but know what? I'm thinking about it already :thumb:
 

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Hi Jayne! I don't have much of anything to add, other than a big Welcome! I'm new here as well and have been so amazed at the warm welcome I received.

We lost an older beloved dog this summer as well. Kira was our 15 y/o Yorkshire terrier and she passed of kidney failure back in August.

We adopted Murray a 2 y/o Havanese/Bichon cross a few weeks ago. He has been an absolute delight and only had 2 accidents in the house. When he had the second we discovered he had round worms, despite having been told he was on interceptor. We got him treated for the worms and no potty problems since then. He is quiet about needing out...he just gets up and paces a bit and then stops and stares at you like "well??? get up already"....
 

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Chico and Cali
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I have 2 and the housebreaking was not a problem.

They each came to us at @9- 10 weeks ( 3 years apart) and were pad/paper trained by the breeders. We continued to work diligently with them and provided constant supervision when we were home and crated them when we went out.
They were both reliable at 6-8 months or so. (I really have forgotten the details)
They haven't had any accidents since they were housebroken.

But we keep to a schedule and they aren't left alone for too long a period of time, maybe 4-5 hours at the most.

They are such wonderful dogs!! I'd have more if I could.
 

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Baloo's Mom
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Glad you are doing your research! I have had a hav for 7 months now, and we love our Baloo so much. They are wonderful companion dogs, they always want to be where you are and are just so much fun.

While Hav's may not need "alot" of exercise and walking, they do need room to RLH (run like hell). I don't know about everyone else, but my Baloo loves our daily walks...although they don't need to be really long.

Although they do require quite a bit of grooming, especially if you want to keep them in their coat, so that is something to remember too. Baloo and I sit down and relax at night and watch TV and that is when I brush him, so it hasn't been much of an issue. I take him to be groomed (nail trims, bangs etc.) every 3 - 4 months but otherwise in pretty much a full coat and haven't had many problems. But you do need to bath them regularly (10-15 days) if they are in a full coat, based on my experience anyways.

As for training, Baloo has been pretty consistent, only a few opps since we have had him, and that was when we changed the "routine" this summer and he was not sure what was going on with dh working during the day, when it was usually nights.

Good luck on your search, keep us up to date on what you decide.
 

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On the potty training question:

These dogs are very much creatures of habit. Potty training or house training are habits- not reasoning. Most people get into trouble by expecting them to reason it out. The habits they develop from age 2 1/2 weeks will have a great influence on how hard or easy they are to house train. If raised from the start by attentive breeders who are there with them the majority of the time and work at potty training them and keeping their environment spotlessly clean, there is very little training necessary to transition to house training.

If the pups are raised so that they just let it fly any kind of way and have no option but to walk in it, or drop it any kind of way on a grated floor, you may never be able to house train them.

Most are probably somewhere in between because the majority are raised by sideline breeders who have another job and are away during the day.

The number one reason dogs end up in rescue is because of house training issues. To me, this makes taking an active roll in training them to start with the number one priority of responsible breeding after the best pups are put on the ground. No show record or any amount of health testing is more important for providing a family with a good citizen.

These dogs are the easiest to train we've ever dealt with, but you have to start early.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you all so much for taking the time to answer my post! This was exactly the feedback I was hoping for. It sounds like, although there MAY be housebreaking issues, it's not enough of one that would discourage me from pursuing my search. I am so pleased to hear that those who have adopted rescues can have good experiences. I am hoping to adopt one from HRI, but only time will tell how difficult this will turn out to be.

One other quick question, if you don't mind. Years ago my husband and I had a cat we got from a breeder. He had not been well socialized, but they assured us all would be well "once he got used to us". We had him neutered at an early age, but in spite of this, he turned out to be a bit of a nightmare with his frequent and extensive marking. Ugh! I swore at that time that I would only have girl pets from then on. However, I seem to see so many boy Havs up for adoption, I figure I would have a whole lot more to choose from if I didn't exclude this subset. So...just wondering...any problems with your little boys??

Other comments..

Beth - That's so encouraging that Pixie has been completely reliable (except for the UTI). It's great to hear that housebreaking CAN be accomplished...

Renee - I got tickled when I read about your Havanese mix turning out to be a Tibetan Terrier mix. At least with yours it was hard to tell...but sometimes I look on Petfinder and see a dog that they call a Sheltie...and it seems apparent that there is no way there is any Sheltie in that dog...like...how did you come to that conclusion???

Karen - My hope is to get a very young rescue, but time will tell how difficult that will be. I'm glad to hear that your mom has had a positive experience with her rescue. That's very encouraging.

Sandi - It sounds like you have had experience from both ends of the spectrum. Just goes to show you...every dog is an individual, I guess.

Amy - Your comment about your boys being adaptable sounds perfect! Until she got older, our Sheltie had us all hopping!

Debbie - It seems I've heard your sentiment echoed a lot here... that in spite of the difficulties, you still think he's the best dog you've ever had. That really says a lot.

Trish - lol !! I was playing out the scene in my head as I was reading your message about Winston. Oh my. Love it!!

Dr. B - I'm so sorry to hear about your 17-year-old. Wow. Your experience with your Casey is what I am hoping for!
 

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From what I've read here...females can mark just as much, if not more than a male.
I've also read that the girls "love" you, but boys are "in love" with you.
So I would not let gender make your decision. Base it more on the personality of the dog.
Miley is my female, and acts like she is a "princess". She's not a cuddler, but wants what she wants, so to speak.
Copper, my male, is my loveable cuddle bug. He will practically hug me when sitting with me in my recliner. I've never caught him marking. I caught him "humping" once. But my stern voice while he was humping stopped that behavior, and he hasn't done it since (at least not while I'm around!) He is my good boy.
 

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Hi Jayne,

I'm very sorry about your Sheltie. We lost our 15 yr old Britany Spaniel/English Setter mix a few months ago, very difficult.

We have 2 Hav rescues. Sami is 2 1/2 yrs and we got her when she was about 11 months old, not even knowing she was a Havanese, in fact we had never heard of that breed. We got her from a pet rescue shelter that a friend of ours volunteered at. They didn't know the reason she was dropped off and we can't figure it out because she is the most wonderful dog! No issues except that she wasn't potty trained when we got her. We tried crate training with her but it didn't work because she messed right in the crate. My theory is that she was left for long periods in a crate with the previous owners, so had to go. She ended up stepping in it, and what a mess! We had more success with her on the pee pads. It took about 6 months, but she is very good about going on the pads (when we aren't home) or going out the front door (my husband spoiled her so she can't go out the "back" door with the other dogs, she has to go out front! lol).

Darin, on the other hand is a puppymill rescue. He was rescued at the age of 3 months and was with a foster family for 2 months before we got him. He was very shy, and even now (he's almost a year old), tends to shy away if we are standing and reach for him. He was a little harder to potty train because every time we would say "no", it would spook him and he'd take off, flinging poo everywhere! Crate training was out because, again, he was raised in a cage and has no qualms about stepping in it. He has learned to go on the pads and pees pretty consistently on them, with an accident here and there. Pooping, well, he starts out on or near the pad but travels around so much while doing it that it ends up not being on the pad. So, we are still working on that! Other than that, he is a great dog. He loves playing with our other 2 dogs, and is getting where he'll come up to us while we are standing! Good luck with whatever you decide.
 

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:welcome: Hi Jayne and welcome to the forum!! As I am sitting here typing, I have my "velcro dog" on my lap...actually she is half on my laptop computer! If you haven't heard, these babies stick to you like glue! Jammies just turned one in September and I have never, ever had a dog like this. I'm not complaining, mind you, but wherever I am, that's where Jammies is. She has heart problems and isn't expected to live long, but I'm praying for a miracle and she is showing no signs of any issues yet!
We have had 2 shelties. One died in 2002 at 12 years old and now we have a 7 year old who plays with Jammies whenever she is in the mood! They love to race around outside and it is so cute to watch.
When we got our Sheltie (Shannon) I kept track of everything...like a new mother with a baby book...lol. Shannon was completely housebroken after we had her for 5 weeks. As you know, shelties are so smart, they are almost human. Not saying Havs aren't smart, but you can almost carry on a conversation with Shannon. I won't get another sheltie, not because of the excercise issue, but because of the barking issue. I know that shelties are herding dogs, I just wish Shannon didn't feel the need to herd everyone she sees walking down the street! Jammies was definitely more difficult to housetrain. One reason is, she sits in the living room and looks at you! You better be looking back! She hasn't had an accident in quite awhile. We do crate her when we go out. She gets some cheerios when she is in there, so she races and is in her crate before we get there! One thing with the crate, don't give your dog more room than what they need to get up turn around and lay back down. If they have the extra room, they may use it to do their business because they still have room to lay down.
Okay, this was long and didn't answer a single one of your questions!
Oh, maybe....Jammies did mark her territory on our bed! Everytime I washed the comforter, she felt the need to mark it as hers. That hasn't happened in quite awhile either!
Okay, I'll be quiet!
 

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I am so sorry about the Sheltie, but 14 is a nice old age. My original breed, of over 35 years is the Shetland Sheepdogs. I still have a few, one being shown occasionally (needs to mature some) and two younger, besides the retired dogs. I got my first Havanese almost 5 years ago. She is so smart it surprised me how difficult it was to house train her. She hates cold, rain or even wet grass and will not go, huddles on the steps. She will use training pads, though she still has mistakes now and then. All the others (I learned by trial and error) are very reliable at home. The one I bred is reliable both at home and away, always. I guess I learned as time went on. They aren't Shelties when it comes to housebreaking.
The Havanese is a great breed!!! I think when I stop showing and breeding, I'll have a Havanese as well as the Sheltie I always planned. Both are so compatible and I couldn't choose between the two breeds.
My advice, persistance.
 

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- Jane
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Hi, Jayne -- I'm "Jane" without the "y". Welcome! I had a Sheltie female when I was growing up and now I have an 8 month old Havanese boy. My condolences on the loss of your Sheltie.

Here's my two cents worth: I love having a little boy dog; no problems at all so far with marking and he's incredibly sweet and loving; couldn't be happier with him.

That said, I would say be prepared for the likelihood of having to work harder to housebreak your Havanese than your Sheltie. I think part of it is due to the fact that they're just so much smaller and their bladders are so much smaller. I noticed a big difference once my little guy got to be about 6 months old, and I've heard others say the same: it's like the physical ability to "hold it" longer meets up with the "oh, you really mean it, huh" and "Oh, I get it".

Best of luck in your search! Jane
 
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