Housebreaking Your Havanese Puppy
At our last picnic we had an owner tell us the most difficult thing about 100% house training when they brought their little one home is catching them in the act. They found puppy pads to be useful in making the transition out the door. Using the pad and incrementally edging it closer each time to the destination you ultimately want them to go helps facilitate the process.
That is why, at first, until you are sure they have gotten it in YOUR home, it is wise to restrict the area they can roam unless they are supervised. They should see the rest of your house so they are aware and feel comfort with the other areas but leaving them to roam free at this early stage makes for a hard journey to solidifying 100% housetraining. Since you should never leave your dog unattended while leashed, it's an even better idea to leash your dog to yourself if you have difficulty remembering to watch them early on! Tie one end of the leash around your waist or belt loop. Now your dog can accompany you around your home and you can monitor his/her behavior.
Havanese are smart and will catch on quickly providing you are consistent. Our goal is to get them to use the pad 100% of the time while they are here but we have found in a new environment, with a great deal of room, they can get confused and have an accident. Even then, catching them, saying a firm 'no' and placing them where they should go will help them to understand what you want from them. Havanese are people pleasers and they want to please you. Never yell or scream at them as you can induce fear, confusion and actually increase the mistakes vs. using positive correction. Consistency does help. Positive reinforcement is the way to get it done.
If you have a winter pup with us, we will be slowly conditioning them to the temperature change when they go outside and praising them greatly when they go outside to do their business. We use the term 'go potty' or 'get busy' and they eventually get that this is what you are asking from them. They may not go every time you ask them as they may not need to go. A good rule of thumb is to take them out 10 minutes after eating at first and/or to the pad as it usually cycles through them fast early on.
Every time your dog needs to eliminate be sure he/she has access to the place you want them to go. If you don't, then you can't expect your dog to understand why that out of the way place is not fine. Your pup will not soil where they sleep, if given a chance. Until your puppy develops a strong habit of eliminating where you want, it is important that you accompany them every time. If they eliminate some where else, then they'll be establishing a habit of eliminating there and you will have to use a product to rid this area of the smell.
To make things easier on both yourself and your dog, you should put your dog on a regular feeding schedule. What goes in on a regular schedule will come out on a regular schedule. If you know when your dog needs to empty out, then you'll know when to take her to her toilet area. Healthy adult dogs should be able to control their bladder and bowels for at least eight hours. When they are younger, what goes in often comes out within a 10 to 15 minute window. We only place them in their bed at night after they have eliminated. This way they end up sleeping through the night and will continue to do so unless your puppy is bored and sleeping too much during the day. You must always give them water throughout the day and in-between eating. Do not limit their water as they can become dehydrated and this can create other health issues.
It's important that you do not confine your dog without access to her toilet area for too long. If she can't hold it, she will be forced to soil herself, her bed or her den (crate). If this happens, it may become a habit and will take much longer to housetrain her. Dogs like to sleep in clean areas and won't soil this area unless it feels it has no choice. We keep our puppies clean at all times and they will bring this desire to remain clean with them to you.
Once your dog consistently eliminates in her toilet area and does not soil the area she considers her den, then you can start extending the den to the rest of your house. Begin by giving access to one room at a time, but only when you know without a doubt that her bladder and bowels are completely empty. Let her eat, sleep and play in this room but only when she can be supervised. When you cannot supervise her, either confine her to her crate in that room, or put her back in her den. Once she accepts this room as an extension of her den, then go on to the next room. never use a crate as punishment but rather a comfort spot.
Speeding Up the Natural House Training Process
If you follow the instructions so far, your dog will be house trained in due time. One way to speed up the process is to praise and reward your dog each and every time she eliminates in her toilet area. It is equally as important not to reprimand your dog for accidents and mistakes. Reprimand usually confuses the dog and slows down the house training process. Again, simply use a firm 'no' and show them what you expect of them in a positive manner. Praise works so well due to the fact that your Havanese truly wants to please you if they understand what you want. Some people will use a favourite treat after they go in the right area as a reward but if you do, make sure the treat is small. This will eliminate them needing to go yet again so quickly.
House Training Problems
If your dog continues to soil her den, either you have left her there too long or the den may be too large an area for her. Take her to her toilet area more frequently or establish her den in an even smaller area.
If she soils her bed, then you probably confined her there too long and she couldn't help herself; or she doesn't understand yet that this is her bed. Urinary tract problems and medical conditions can also cause your dog to soil her bed while she is sleeping. Your pup will have a wellness visit before he or she comes to you but we advocate having your pup checked out by a vet as per our contract within 72 hours.
Some dogs drink excessive amounts of water out of boredom or habit and therefore have to urinate too frequently. Do not remove the water but also do not give them such a large container that they will play in it or drink too much.
If the den is not properly introduced, your dog may feel as if it is a prison and show signs of anxiety, barking, chewing, whining, etc. Make sure your dog enjoys being in her den. Give them a chewing toy, and soft bedding. Leave the crate open until they get used to the environment, then close it. We place a crate, filled with soft blankets, in our x-pen area to slowly condition them to a crate and find they use it freely and find comfort in them. It is not unusual to notice four or five puppies all sleeping or against each other in the crate with the door wide open. Then they wake up and head for the puppy pad in another corner of the x-pen.
We do allow our dogs to sleep in our bed. In our personal experience, when a pup needs to go, he or she will lick our face, bark or tell us they need to go. It is not unusual to take up because a wee pup, all of a few pounds in weight, is standing on your chest, licking your face and asking to be allowed to go pee. If you do want your dog to sleep in your bed or in your child's bed and are worried you won't wake up to hear them when they need to go, add a waterproof mattress cover to eliminate any concern. You can find them in many stores including Walmart. They are no longer uncomfortable as they were in the past. Our 3 year old Havanese, Shoshi, who came to us too early (live and learn) has never had an accident and she slept in our bed from day 1. We did wake up and take her out when she told us she needed to go.
If you are worried that you are a deep sleeper, then add stairs down off the bed and a pad or even a litter box that some use, to allow a place they can eliminate. A night light in this location also helps them find their way.
Any other questions, send us email or just call.
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