Adjustment Tips: Havanese Puppies
Some believe dogs are pack animals. They don’t like to be alone. If you’ve ever been around litters of puppies, you’ve probably seen how they pile on top of each other when it is time to sleep. Some of it is for warmth and some is for that close comfort. They love the comfort and warmth and security of another body, and if they don’t have that, they can be vocal about their insecurity and discomfort.
Keeping all of this in mind, you don’t need to expect your puppy to immediately adjust to his new surroundings. Yes, he’ll be thrilled when you pet and play with him, but that’s just it. He wants you! Of course, you can’t be with your new Havanese twenty-four hours a day nor should you be (see separation anxiety), and this is why it is so important to help your puppy adjust to his new life.
The first couple of nights may be the toughest but then again, they may not.
When you bring your new Havanese home, remember that initially he will be a bit disoriented. Your Havanese doesn’t know you, your family or your home beyond the few visits you might have made to our home. It’s similar to when you start a new job. This adjustment period rarely lasts for more than the 1st week.
Here are some tips to make it easier.
1. The big day arrives, and it is off to pick up your new puppy. Coming home will start out with a car ride from our home. Try to keep this from being an overly stressful experience for your Havanese. The main problem dogs have with car rides usually is not what we humans refer to as motion sickness, but simple anxiety about the vibrations, sounds, and to a lesser degree, the movement. You can make a difference by staying positive and upbeat not coddling or giving them a reason to believe they should react this way. Not all dogs will experience this but its important to cover and they do outgrow it.
Before you leave our home, try to get your pup to go to the bathroom so there are no floods or surprises stimulated by all the excitement of the ride. On this first trip home, you can break a cardinal rule about traveling with pets. You can put them in a crate for traveling but have someone other than the driver hold the puppy in a blanket or towel in his/her crate and talk or in some way try to distract him from the ride while he is riding in safety. If you have a long way to go and need to stop for the puppy to relieve himself, do not use a highway rest stop. At his young age, the puppy has very little, if any, protection from common dog diseases, and these areas can easily be contaminated with the organisms causing these conditions. We never recommend these facilities for pets of any age, but if you must use them, wait until your puppy has completed his vaccination series. Instead find a patch on the side of the road away from traffic.
2. Leaving their mother and littermates will probably bring about some anxiety. However, this can be greatly diminished if you plan your schedules so that you will be home with the puppy the first 3 to 4 days. Some breeders suggest leaving the puppy alone and give them time to themselves to adjust to the new surroundings. We disagree. You should plan for this introductory period by keeping the puppy involved with plenty of attention from children and other family members. When you are not with your Havanese, he/she is sleeping. You will be amazed how time spent in this manner will speed up the housebreaking process and security in his/her surroundings. If the children are young or are not familiar with how to handle puppies, you should spend some time with them during these first few days explaining common sense rules on how to play with the puppy and how not to carry him/her around where the pup could fall out of their arms.
3. Decide where the pup will sleep be it in your bed, in an x-pen or in a crate. If it is in a crate or x-pen, do not give into the pups cries unless there is a reason to. Meaning, if the pup is only crying for your attention, you have to do the tough love thing. He/she will soon learn that his cries will not get you jumping to his whims every second he decides. This is similar to a baby who you are trying to get to sleep through the night. You have to listen in case there is really something wrong but you do not pick them up or they will be 4 years old and you are still getting no sleep. Even if your puppy is sleeping in your bed, you will want to make sure they are used to a crate. You never know when you will need one and if they have to stay at a vets office for any reason, a familiarity will help them in a time of stress.
4. Play a vigourous play session with them before bedtime. Tucker them out. We play retreive and running sessions and this will work in your favour tuckering YOU and the puppy out. Remember, they had all their siblings to play with here.
5. Be patient with your Havanese and concentrate on teaching them one thing at a time such as a look at you or a sit. Be consistent and teach for 5 minute sessions at this age.
6. Keep to a schedule. Your Havanese likes routine. Have a schedule that he can get used to when he gets fed, bathroom breaks, walks — and then stick to it. Always take them out within 5 minutes of eating, waking up and when returning home, always take them immediately out back.
7. Dogs learn through games, so don’t teach your dog biting games or games where he runs away from you. Get your Havanese to run towards you and start using the word 'come'. Games are also the way your Havanese will bond with you. He should think, “Wow, this person is really fun! Games and exercise also help make sure your dog isn’t bored. Dogs come up with naughty behaviors such as archeological digging in the yard, redecorating your house by chewing up the furniture or barking to alleviate boredom. Use an x-pen or closed off safe room when you go out and give them games to stimulate their minds. It's hard to be alone if you are not used to it.
8. Socializing your dog is a very important aspect toward having a well-adjusted, well-behaved pet. Of course, it’s also usually fun to take your dog for walks, to the pet stores, to the park or even for a ride in the car. Until they have their 2nd vaccinations, do not place your dog on the floor in a pet store or on the ground in a dog park. But socializing can be done in your arms where he/she will get lots of conditioning to strangers and new places. When it comes time to place your pup on the ground in such places, the pup will already be familiar with the surroundings.
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