Puppy Socialization

BABY STEPS Have you ever made a foolhardy New Year’s resolution? Like swearing off chocolate even though you work in a chocolate factory? Or signing up for a fitness club membership even though you despise exercise? Or perhaps planning to socialize your dog to one hundred different people, one hundred different dogs and one hundred different situations each month?

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A top-noted behaviourist revolutionized the dog-owning community when he advocated that puppy owners should plan to introduce their new puppy to a hundred people every month until the dog reaches six months of age. My facts may not be 100% accurate but the premise is correct. This canine specialist emphasized the importance of committed socialization of a new puppy to ensure the most rock-solid adult dog possible. His theories rocked the dog world and have remained in place to this day.

I am a strong advocate of puppy socialization, which should begin at the breeder’s home. Puppies should be treated to a wide variety of people, pets, sounds and sights before leaving the breeder’s home and most good breeders work very hard at this. When your new puppy arrives home, it is your responsibility to continue working at ongoing socialization with the goal of introducing your puppy to as many different individuals … children, men, men with floppy hats, black people, women, the elderly, people in wheelchairs, purple people, pink people with purple dots … well, you get the drift … as possible. It is also important to ensure that your puppy meets and greets as wide a range of dogs as is possible, keeping safety, and up-to-date vaccinations in mind. In addition, Ruff should be taken to new environments, begin to learn basic obedience commands, learn to travel well in the car … whew!! I’m exhausted just thinking about it!! Socialization IS important but I’m a believer that, like New Year’s resolutions, sometimes life gets in the way of our very best intentions. When we “fall off the wagon” and indulge in a tasty morsel of the very chocolate we’ve promised to avoid, we typically throw up our hands in despair and mumble something like “ridiculous resolution anyway!!” You’re right … the resolution was not well thought out. The resolutions which seem to work are usually ones which we’ve mulled over for quite some time and are ready for. Often we’ve also formalized a realistic plan of action. Perhaps it would be more reasonable for the chocoholic to treat herself to a chocolate bar a week … still a considerable improvement over the one-a-day habit. Similarly, when we fail to socialize our puppy to three or four people every single day, sometimes we feel like failures and throw our hands up in the air and feel like giving up altogether. I’d like to offer a small suggestion. What about resolving to introduce Ruff to one person a week as well as take him to one new place every single week. Sign up for an obedience class or enroll Ruff in puppy daycare for one day/night a week and you’ve definitely made progress. Encourage your child to invite a schoolmate over once a week. Rather than racing into the post office to check the mail, bring Ruff along with you. Bring him in when you head into the pet store to purchase a bag of dog food. Spend five minutes walking Ruff along the fence at a schoolyard at recess time, just so that he hears and sees rambunctious children at play. Take Ruff for a walk for one block … just one block. Ask your spouse to take Ruff for a car ride to the corner store and back.

The bottom line is that, at the end of a week, you’ve still made progress. Seeing your new puppy blossom under your well thought out socialization plan is often so rewarding that we tend to “step it up” abit and by the next week, time and family commitments permitting, we find that we’re out and about with Ruff even more than the previous week. Devise a reasonable socialization plan, one that is possible to accomplish and then work in a gradual direction of socializing Ruff. You might be truly amazed at the results! by Noel Hynds




A Havanese puppy with his boundless energy and tiny size can get into unexpected and unseen mischief and needs strict vigilance to keep him out of trouble. Havanese puppies are small which means they can get to seemingly impossible places, like underneath or behind low and wall hugging furniture, and even under closed doors if the bottom is raised more than an inch or two. A good way to be aware of potential problem areas is to check with a grapefruit and a tin of soup. If these can roll under or behind, then it will be no problem at all for your Havanese puppy to wiggle and squirm his way to these same places.


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This can mean hidden access to dangerous electrical cords and cables. Another chewing temptation can be under furniture where paper tags, stuffing and fabric edges are exposed; hidden from your view but very accessible and tempting to an enterprising Havanese puppy. Chair rails are just the right size and convenient location for small Havanese puppies to chew on, as are items tossed under the bed or in a closet not quite closed. Many things fall unseen behind furniture like forgotten receipts, pens, paper clips etc. Your Havanese puppy will find them all and most of these found treasures are not safe for him to chew on.

Chewing normally starts during teething as a way to relieve sore mouth and gums. A knotted wash cloth or sock, frozen damp, can help ease sore gums. If the chewing persists, do check with your Vet. Retained puppy teeth are not uncommon in Havanese which can lead to ongoing mouth soreness. Your Havanese puppy may chew for other reasons as well. Their mouth and paws are how puppies explore and learn about the world. Dietary insufficiency, anxiety, stress, boredom, excess energy and lack of exercise can also all lead to chewing.

It’s up to you to teach your Havanese puppy what is appropriate to chew and what isn’t.

Whenever your puppy is out of its secure area, you must keep a sharp eye on it and stop chewing as soon as it starts and replace it with a more suitable chew toy. Being in the same room is not enough. An unwatched Havanese puppy can easily slip under the recliner to chew the phone cord while you are reading the paper. Unchecked chewing can lead to a habit which will be very hard to break. If you need extra help, chewing deterrents such as Bitter Apple, a drop of Tabasco sauce or spritz of Listerine or lemon juice can be very effective. Consider taking a session or two of Obedience classes with your new Havanese as this will help with all aspects of your training. Puppyhood is soon over, and the more care and attention you take at this time to deter inappropriate chewing, the better behaved your Havanese will be as it grows up.





Your Puppy ATE WHAT!

Coprophagia (stool eating) is disgusting and revolting to humans, but really quite common in dogs. This topic came up recently on our Havanese e-list, as it often does when people get a new Havanese puppy. As one person wrote for advice, another chimed in mine does it too and another and another until it seemed that this was an overwhelming breed problem. Do all Havanese puppies indulge in this habit? Is it a breed trait? Not especially, though there may be some reasons that appear to make it so.



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Your Puppy ATE WHAT!

Coprophagia (stool eating) is disgusting and revolting to humans, but really quite common in dogs. This topic came up recently on our Havanese e-list, as it often does when people get a new Havanese puppy. As one person wrote for advice, another chimed in mine does it too and another and another until it seemed that this was an overwhelming breed problem. Do all Havanese puppies indulge in this habit? Is it a breed trait? Not especially, though there may be some reasons that appear to make it so.

Many Havanese puppies try stool eating when they are young, discovering the world and experiment with all sorts of things. This is very common and most puppies get past this stage quickly. Owners without the problem are unlikely to bring it up, so that means the only ones we hear about are those Havanese puppies with the problem, which makes it appear more widespread.

Common reasons behind coprophagia are dietary imbalance, deficiency, food intolerance or allergy. While Havanese are not especially prone to true food allergies, food intolerance appears more common. Are Havanese digestive systems sensitive or is it in part because their cute mannerisms get them a larger proportion of extra tidbits which may simply be too much food to process or too rich to digest properly? Or does it stem from a combination of issues?

If your Havanese eats food containing ingredients it is allergic or intolerant to, or more food than it can digest, your puppy may not be getting the nutrition it needs, even though eating seemingly well. If food is not digested or absorbed properly, the resulting stool is largely undigested which can make it tempting. If your Havanese has a problem with coprophagia, the first step, after a Vet check, is to eliminate the most common problem ingredients from the dog food, which are over-processed wheat, corn and soy. Improving the diet with high quality digestible foods and reducing rich extras can be enough to make a dramatic difference. Adding a digestive enzyme can help your Havanese process its food better. Some Havanese owners have found good success by simply adding Apple Cider Vinegar, Spinach, zucchini, green beans or pineapple to the diet or by using commercial deterrents like Deter or Forbid.

Ideally, take your Havanese puppy out on a leash each time he goes out to eliminate. After eliminating, call your puppy to you promptly and do not even give him a chance to sniff the droppings. Of course, it will also help tremendously to keep your yard as clean as possible so stool eating never becomes a habit to begin with. Because Havanese stools are so small, its easy to neglect the yard which simply encourages the problem. The longer Corpophagia persists, the likelier it is to become a hard-to-break habit.





Clicker Training

YOU CAN CATCH MORE FLIES WITH HONEY This old adage is probably one which you heard your Grandma spout when you were set on revenge against an old boyfriend or a bullying classmate. For many years, traditional dog trainers have ignored the wisdom of this saying and have advocated harsh training methods for dogs. There is a place in dog training, definitely, for corrections with a choke or training collar or a pinch or prong collar. But these corrections should be reserved for wayward, powerful dogs or for dogs who resolutely choose to disobey. 


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Clicker training is a positive-based training method.  The concept originated with dolphin and whale trainers who were determined to train these willing creatures. Picture trying to place a training collar onto the neck of a killer whale … one harsh correction and I suspect that the trainer would be dragged into the water and would become dinner. There are a few advantages to the clicker which are not found in praise, treats or toys used alone. 1. The clicker makes a distinctive noise which is unlike the majority of noises encountered in everyday life. 2. The clicker can capture the precise moment in time when the dog begins even the most miniscule segment of approved behaviour. 3. The clicker is not dependent upon our moods … the clicker won’t sound exhausted after a hard day of work … the clicker won’t sound annoyed that our pal isn’t getting it quickly enough. The clicker is a little gadget which, when pressed, makes a metallic clicking sound. There is no real magic in the clicker itself but, in my opinion, there is magic in the results!! The clicker is one of the most misunderstood concepts in dog training but, when used properly, helps forge a bond with the canine and its owner. Here are the rules of clicker training: The clicker marks the exact second when the dog’s behaviour was what the handler was aiming for. The sound of the click is ALWAYS followed by a reward, even if the clicker was pressed inadvertently. There is no room for corrections in a clicker training session no matter what. If the handler is feeling frustration, put the clicker away and end the training session. Every dog learns at his/her own pace. Like people, all dogs are individuals. When working at trick training, work with the dog’s natural inclinations. If Ruff tends to jump up, work with that behaviour. Clicker training works best in small training sessions … no more than a few minutes at a time several times a day. A “cue” is only attached to the behaviour once it is performed consistently by Ruff. The click is not used as the cue. For instance, the click is not used to replace the “come” command. Instead, the click marks the second in time when the dog is offering a desired behaviour. Here are the basic steps of clicker training: At this point, the clicker itself has no meaning to Ruff. Therefore, we need to “load” the clicker … this simply means that we need to attach importance in Ruff’s mind to the clicker. The easiest way is to get Ruff’s attention and when he looks up at you, click and treat. If Ruff is already trained in basic obedience commands, the “sit” command and then click and treat would be the way to go. It takes the average dog only a very short period of time to understand that the click sound is always followed by a treat and, in short order, Ruff will also understand that the click marks acceptable behaviour. The next step is to decide on training criteria. If you would like Ruff to push a ball across the floor, the first step would be in capturing a beginning of the hoped for behaviour. This is called shaping and is the purest form of clicker training. For instance, when Ruff turns toward the ball, the handler would click and treat. When Ruff catches on to the fact that turning towards the ball results in a tasty treat and performs this behaviour several times in a row, it is time to up the expectations. The next step would be in expecting Ruff to actually touch the ball. Every time he touches the ball, we would click and treat until, eventually, in successive approximations, Ruff is pushing the ball across the floor with his nose. At this point, the trainer would attach a “cue” to the behaviour. Cues can be a lot of fun and can be creative … cues such as “nose to the grindstone” or just “push” can be used. A quicker but less pure method of teaching Ruff a behaviour is by “luring”. Luring involves moving Ruff into the expected behaviour … holding a treat above Ruff’s head until his behind is in sit position is luring. Luring involves less thinking on Ruff’s part but can certainly be used to begin working toward more complex behaviours. Targeting is a method which is used frequently in agility training, where it is necessary for Ruff to dash away from the handler over a jump. The clicker is one tool in the tool belt of a devoted trainer, along with treats, toys, praise and training collars. What I love about clicker training is the fact that it increases the bond between dog and owner and stimulates the dog to enjoy creative thinking. If you’re interested in clicker training, some good books to start you off are: Don’t Shoot The Dog by Karen Pryor Click For Joy by Melissa Alexander Click To Calm by Emma Parsons The yahoo group Clicker Solutions is one of the best around. by Noel HyndsA Havanese puppy with his boundless energy and tiny size can get into unexpected and unseen mischief and needs strict vigilance to keep him out of trouble. Havanese puppies are small which means they can get to seemingly impossible places, like underneath or behind low and wall hugging furniture, and even under closed doors if the bottom is raised more than an inch or two. A good way to be aware of potential problem areas is to check with a grapefruit and a tin of soup. If these can roll under or behind, then it will be no problem at all for your Havanese puppy to wiggle and squirm his way to these same places.Your Puppy ATE WHAT!





House Training

Havanese, like many toy breeds, may tend to be a bit slower to housebreak. This does not mean difficult or impossible, just that the process may take more time. Consistency is the key. Most are reliable by 6-7 months of age. Bell training is a popular method among Havanese owners.

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Bell Training
If you would like to bell train your Havanese; first choose a bell to use. A good choice is 4-6 jingle bells tied onto a long cord with a loop on the end hung next to the door. Other choices are small cow bells, jingle bells on a ribbon or strap or small chimes. The bells should be hung at the dogs nose level. For doors where you can’t hang bells ( i.e.: sliding glass doors) other options are desk bells or buzzers or an actual door bell on the floor – battery operated or permanently wired. Hanging bells are usually rung with the nose while floor bells are usually rung with the paw.

Most bells are very portable and easy to take along when traveling or visiting.

Bell Training Methods
After choosing your bell, the next step is to teach your Havanese what the bells mean. There are at least three ways to go about it. With puppies, a good way is to set up your bells by the door and every time you go out with the puppy you ring the bells. Gently bump the bell with the puppy’s nose or paw. If you are really in a rush, just ring the bell with your foot on the way by. In no time at all, your Havanese puppy will learn to associate the sound with the door opening and going outside. And then one day, they ring it themselves and you reinforce the behaviour from there.

A 2nd method is to start by teaching your Havanese to ring a bell as a trick. Hold the bell in front of their nose. Most dogs will bump it to see what it is. Praise and reward. Then do it again a few more times. They will start to ring the bell. Do this several times over a day or two, and soon your Havanese will be doing it on command. If your dog already knows the command “touch” it will be even easier. Next, place the bell at the door and ask them to ring it before you let them out. They will quickly understand what you want them to do.

A 3rd method is the lazy way and involves very little effort on your part. All it requires is an already bell trained dog. The experienced dog does all the training by example. As they ring the bell to go out, the younger puppy or new dog quickly learns to follow and then starts to run to the door each time it rings. Eventually they also start ringing it themselves. This method can be reinforced by the two first methods to make it go even faster but it does work all on its own.

At some point in the bell training, your Havanese will “click” as to what the bell means. At this point, they may ring the bell incessantly. This is when they are really locking in the behaviour and so its important that you let them out each and every time. Soon they will ring the bell only to go out. BUT, that may not only be if they need to go, they may also ring to ask to go out to investigate a sound , or to go play or just to go outside. Housebreaking your Havanese need not be an exercise in frustration. Bell training is just one method you can use. Give it a try, and see.

Litter Box Training
Potty training your Havanese is any training which teaches your pet to keep your house clean and to eliminate in an appropriate area. For some people, conventional housebreaking is not the best option. Litter box training may be a practical alternative for a number of situations including apartment/condominium dwellers, senior citizens and people who travel extensively with their dog. One of our members, Susanne Slaney shares her experience with litter training her Havanese.

Havanese are versatile little dogs who adapt easily to many different lifestyles and are just as suitable for apartment/condo dwellers as they are for urban houses or rural environments. As a family living in a condo, we chose litter box training our Havanese for many reasons. We work full time and wanted our Havanese to be able to relieve themselves anytime without having to wait till we get home. The use of a litter box has the added benefit of saving our yard from the dead grass spots common to dog owners’ yards. As Condo dwellers, we share a common yard with our neighbours. The dogs may not go out on their own and must always be accompanied, which can be awkward and inconvenient at times. We especially appreciate the indoor facilities in inclement weather and during our harsh prairie winters.

Litter box training is easily accomplished. Litter pans are readily available at pet supply stores in assorted sizes and materials. We chose a large moulded plastic pan as it is sturdy and easy to clean. Dog pans are quite a bit larger than cat pans; don’t pick one which is too small. You will also need disposable absorbent material to line your pan. There are several types of dog litter and liners available. What works best for us are disposable hospital absorbent pads (available from medical supply houses). These pads remain neatly in the litter box and are easily folded and discarded in a trash bag. The pads also allow feces to be removed with toilet paper and flushed in the toilet rather than “scooping”. Absorbent pads are “travel friendly”and can easily be used in airports, hotels or anywhere that outdoor access is not readily available. Enzyme treated pads are unnecessary and also rather expensive long term though they may be useful for the initial training of young puppies. Another option is to put a piece of sod in the litter pan so your Havanese has grass to eliminate on, either indoors or on a balcony. Sod must be watered regularly and changed every few months. Pellets/litter are available but perhaps not the best option for Havanese except as young puppies. The long luscious Havanese coat picks up an amazing amount of debris which you will then find scattered throughout your home, meaning extra housekeeping and grooming time. Some people choose newspaper to line the litter box. While useful in an emergency, newspaper is less than ideal as it is not especially absorbent, can be quite messy with the added problem of ink transfer to the dogs’ coat. Another issue is that your dog may then view any newspaper left laying around anywhere as a potential toilet.

When litter box training your Havanese; location is very important. Choose a spot which is readily accessible to your Havanese but out of traffic areas and well removed from sleeping and eating areas. The litter box training method is the same as any other; take your Havanese to the litter box frequently then praise and reward for eliminating in the right place. Litter box training in no way discourages the Havanese from eliminating outdoors. When on an outing, they will detect smells and eliminate instinctively. In fact, most will prefer to potty outside when possible.






Let’s face it, some dogs and some breeds are predisposed to over barking. A yappy dog not only barks at motivators, he also barks at shadows, sounds and movements, for attention or simply for the sake of barking.



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Havanese are not considered a “yappy” breed, however this is no way means they are silent. Havanese are very alert and excellent watch dogs. They will bark an alert if anything seems untoward in their household as well as announcing the mailman, paperboy etc. They will also bark to let you know of a squirrel invading their territory or a stray cat in the yard. They generally do not continue barking and usually desist once you acknowledge their efforts. Most Havanese are relatively quiet pets, however some are more vocal than others.

Unchecked barking can become a habit and a nuisance. If yours is a more vocal Havanese, there are many things you can do to bring over barking under control. Training is the first priority. Teaching a “Quiet” or “That’s enough” command will stand you in good stead. Teaching acceptable limits is another thing. Sounding an alert is acceptable; continuing non-stop is not. After a few barks, distract him or call him away to stop barking. Some owners have found a shaker can useful. Indoor use ultrasonic correction devices are available which deliver a warning sound for continued barking. These do not prevent alert barking as 2-5 barks are still allowed before a correction tone is emitted but they may help curb over barking. Some owners have found that limiting outdoor views can help dramatically. While keeping curtains drawn is an alternative, some have found that applying semi transparent window cling film to the lower portion of the window where your Havanese look out, goes a long way to minimize barking at outdoor motivators. Semi transparency allows natural light while still blurring the view out. Less triggers mean less barking. For sound-sensitive Havanese, leaving a Television or Radio on during absences may help mask sound triggers.

Havanese crave and need the companionship and attention of their families and do not do well left alone for long periods. Havanese are a house dog and lengthy unattended outdoor sojourns should be rare situations so outdoor nuisance barking is unlikely to develop. If outdoor barking is an issue, there is an assortment of anti-barking products on the market though largely inappropriate for Havanese. Citronella collars and permanent mount ultrasonic devices are two options to curb outdoor barking. Both of these are of limited use however and have mixed reviews. While they may be useful tools they are no substitute for attention and training.

While some Havanese do bark more than others and over barking may be an issue for some, thankfully very few are nuisance barkers.

– Previously published in Dogs in Canada – October 2005





“I’m Gonna Getcha!!” Most of us, after much research and consideration, chose the Havanese because of their cheerful, biddable temperaments. As a result, we are particularly appalled when Ruff morphs into a raving lunatic when he glimpses another dog. We breathe a silent sigh of relief when we are informed by experts that Ruff is engaging in perfectly normal canine behavior.



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Normal, but not desirable. Ruff postures and growls: “I see you, you big … o.k. HUGE, lumbering, goofy looking black Lab!!” “I may be little but I’m perfectly capable of protecting my two-legged family member … uh, at least until you get too close!” “Now that you’re back at a safe distance, I can warn you that if you dare to take another step closer, I’m gonna getcha!” Ruff is barking voraciously at the perceived threat and is feeling quite full of himself. He is barking with such exuberance that his little body is swinging back and forth as he expounds “take this” and “take that”. While he is pulling on the leash with all of his might, what are we doing? Often we are pleading frantically for Ruff to stop making a scene. We are horrified that Ruff is aggressive and nasty. We are embarrassed that the other dog owner thinks that Ruff is vicious. In today’s world of lawsuits, we are also worried about impending legal and financial problems if Ruff knocks the elderly person down who is valiantly hanging onto the end of her dog’s leash. Most of the time, we’ve warned Ruff well in advance that we’ve noticed a potential problem. Oh, we didn’t mean to, but we did nevertheless. At the first sight of another dog, we suck our breath in, mutter an expletive and, worst of all, tighten that leash. Or we pick little, teensy, tiny Ruff up into our arms to protect our little teensy, tiny dog, all the while moaning “did the big, bad ugly dog try to hurt my little teensy tiny Ruff”!! Our body language and behaviour have signaled to Ruff that THERE IS A PROBLEM. If Ruff is a puppy, often just singing in a happy, matter of fact voice “oh, there’s another puppy” and then giving a treat while we walk on cheerily, is the solution. If Ruff has entered puberty, which is often when this problem emerges in full force, the solution requires a bit more work. There are two approaches which can help improve the problem of lunging dogs. The two approaches combined provide the best solution. Desensitization involves exposing your dog to the stimulus which causes him to react in very, very gradual doses. You begin at the furthest point away from the other dog, far enough away that it is easy to distract Ruff so that he does not react. If you end up close enough that Ruff becomes a lunging beast then you have moved too close and need to begin again. Desensitization works by moving in tiny increments until the dog no longer reacts when face to face with another canine. The main problem with desensitization is that it is very difficult to control all stimuli in the environment … often we are beset by roaming dogs who race toward us and set our progress back. Counter-conditioning is a method of teaching our dogs that other dogs are absolutely great!! For most dogs, the ever popular “watch me” command, followed by a yummy treat and praise does the trick. Here is how this works. Every time your dog notices a dog off in the distance, you say in a happy, perky voice “watch me” and when Ruff looks up toward your face, he is rewarded with a treat. My English Cocker male became so talented at this exercise that when he caught a glimpse of another dog on the horizon, after a few weeks of work, he automatically turned to me to receive his reward. Rather than concentrating on deterring the oncoming canine, he would look up to me enthusiastically for his treat. Bingo … that’s exactly what I wanted. When Ruff is pulling in agitation on the leash, another suggestion is to offer an alternative behaviour for the behaviour which is inappropriate. Once Ruff understands the command “sit” and the command “stay”, he can be asked to sit and stay when a dog is approaching and then be rewarded for obeying. I also have to state here that, although I believe in positive reinforcement whenever possible, there is also a time and a place for a firmer hand. If Ruff is foaming at the mouth perhaps a sterner approach is required. When I ask Ruff to “stop”, I do mean stop and I am not averse to a quick correction with a training collar such as a choke collar or maringale collar. A choke collar used properly is not harsh. A choke collar is a training tool and should only be used when you are positive that your dog fully and completely understands what “stop” means and refuses to obey the command. Used correctly, it is the clink of the rings on the collar which offer the correction. If you are yanking so hard that Ruff is knocked off balance, then you are not using the collar correctly and could actually cause spinal damage … at the very least, Ruff’s coat will be ripped and torn. If you experience difficulty in giving proper corrections, contact an obedience trainer or enroll Ruff in obedience classes for some help. A training collar should always be removed once the training session is complete. Once the negative behaviour is halted, even for a second, a happy “watch me” and a delicious treat as a reward will teach Ruff that the instant that he chooses to obey he is rewarded. Too many people correct the dog for a wrong choice without showing the dog by a reward what a better choice would be. This isn’t usually a big problem in the smaller breeds, where we tend to overcompensate for their smaller stature, but corrections of any form are to teach not harm our beloved friends. The best weapon in your arsenal against canine to canine negativity is prevention. Exposing Ruff to many friendly dogs early on and continuing that socialization throughout his life is the key to ensuring that Ruff recognizes fellow canines as a very good thing. Obedience school is important for all dogs, not only for Ruff’s owner to learn how to properly correct misbehaviour, but also as a means of introducing Ruff to a variety of dogs of different breeds. If the situation has escalated to the point that you fear that Ruff may harm you, another person or the other dog, seek professional help or contact your obedience instructor.

Noel Hynds



Secrets of a Well Behaved Dog

Would you like to know the secret to a well-behaved and healthy dog? There IS a relatively simple solution but it’s one which sometimes seems too obvious, and too much work to be true … adequate exercise.


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Would you like to know the secret to a well-behaved and healthy dog? There IS a relatively simple solution but it’s one which sometimes seems tooobvious, and too much work to be true … adequate exercise.
I know that’s not what you really wanted to hear because it requires a huge commitment of time and effort and it is NOT easy to push ourselves out the door in the dark on early winter mornings to walk our dogs. However, the price to pay when dogs receive inadequate exercise, both mental and physical, is not really worth considering. 
Often, dog owners offer a million reasons why they are unable to exercise their pooch regularly … long work hours, their own ill health, poor weather conditions etc. etc. etc. Many of the excuses … or reasons … are quite legitimate. However, when I counter with the possible consequences of an underexercised dog, many re-think their positions. The following is a list of ten reasons to provide our dogs with sufficient exercise:
1. the cost of repairing the three foot hole in the living room wall.

  1. the expense of replacing the couch.
  2. the mess of hiring a landscaper to fill the crater-like holes in the backyard.
  3. the time and effort needed to install new laminate flooring where it has been frantically scratched.
  4. the vet bills for allergy testing when your dog is gnawing her paws … out of boredom.
  5. the operation to remove the cell phone, the stuffed toy, the couch stuffing etc. from Ruff’s stomach, eaten to fill the hours before your return from work.
  6. the confusion and derision from your family and friends when you inform them that you’ve hired an animal communicator and/or animal behaviorist to explain why Ruff circles endlessly in pursuit of her tail.

8. the price of litigation when your dog exuberantly grabs the pant leg of the hydro meter reader who enters your back yard … as a result of pent up energy rather than aggression.
9. the cost of moving to a new apartment building due to neighbour complaints when your dog races frantically, from corner to corner to corner to corner of the livingroom to bark at each and every noise she hears all day long while you’re at work.
10.   the expense of ligament or hip replacement surgery for your canine pal who has not seen her waistline in years due to excess fat.
Although some of these may be more the outlet for larger, bored dogs, the Havanese, though small, can still do considerable damage such as ripping strips of wallpaper from the wall, tipping over garbage cans and distributing their contents throughout the house, and chewing electrical cords. 
The list could go on and on because a lack of exercise contributes to ill health, mental health issues and behavioral problems in otherwise healthy dogs.
Noel Hynds ( Previously published in Hav News & Views WInter 2009)





Separation Anxiety

Havanese are extremely sociable and form very strong attachments to their families. This trait can be very endearing and is one of the reasons that many of us selected the Havanese as our chosen breed; however this strong attachment and high need for attention and companionship may also come hand in hand with other less welcome issues. One of these is separation anxiety, which is quite common among Havanese to varying degrees.



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Havanese are extremely sociable and form very strong attachments to their families. This trait can be very endearing and is one of the reasons that many of us selected the Havanese as our chosen breed; however this strong attachment and high need for attention and companionship may also come hand in hand with other less welcome issues. One of these is separation anxiety, which is quite common among Havanese to varying degrees.

Havanese who exhibit separation anxiety become overly anxious when they are away from their beloved humans. This anxiety can translate into whining, crying, howling, soiling, chewing, digging, scratching and other destructive behaviours. They are in no way being spiteful about the separation, but simply cannot cope with it. As anxiety levels escalate, behaviour may deteriorate. Such Havanese are extremely uncomfortable with being away from their families; some may even exhibit these same symptoms of anxiety if they can see the owner, but are separated from them.

While it is very normal for your Havanese to miss you when you are gone, Separation anxiety is anxiousness to the extreme, in some cases to the point of panic . There are several steps you can take to help your Havanese cope with separation.

Crate train your Havanese puppy when he is very young to accept being left in his crate for short periods. To start, place him in his crate when he is tired and less likely to make a fuss. These minor separations when you are at home will help to condition your Havanese to spending time alone. Do lots of practice runs of varying duration. When you must leave, keep your departures and arrivals low key. Go about your business as usual. Over emotional departures and arrivals will only increase anxiety levels. Normal house sounds and human voices from a TV or radio left on may help a distraught Havanese to feel a bit more comfortable and less alone. When you are away, restrict your Havanese to a confined safe area. Some Havanese are even more anxious if left in a very small area like a crate, especially if they have not been crate trained. An X-Pen or enclosed room may be better options.

kongA special toy or chew treat (like a stuffed Kong®), given only when you are gone, may give your Havanese a positive outlook as well as providing a non-destructive outlet. Unfortunately, some Havanese are so anxious when left alone that even the most tempting of treats cannot distract them from their distress.

All of these things can help your Havanese to cope better with being left alone. Havanese who have one or more companionable animals to stay with, will have a lot less anxiety at your absence.

Many Havanese owners have found that the very best solution for anxiety is to have another Havanese or other pet.