Socializing Your Havanese
We are lucky to have visitors on a regular basis. We usually always have time for our pups (now grown to varying degrees) when their families have time to visit and pups and showing doesn't get in our way. We get to see them, spoil them and have grand fun. It's sort of like the grandparent syndrome - spoil them and then they go home but we also socialize them and they do have rules and boundaries so we have balance in the pack.
We started this socialization plan when our Shoshi was shy around other dogs. It has worked wonders with her. She has fully come into herself now but it took quite some time. She is a far different dog today due to her positive exposure to other dogs. By watching other Havanese from our litters, we get to see how they are doing, help socialize them and socialize our crew as well. It's a win/win. We also have a yearly get together where everyone can get to know each other. It's great fun. It all helps.
By socializing, we help our dogs learn how to cope and respond, in a healthy and acceptable manner, to the spectrum of people, animals, places and things they might encounter in this world. We also practice a word association to help our dogs relax when they encounter something different.
By exposing our dogs to different kinds of people, we as owners, can help create a balanced dog. What we do makes a difference. Everything from dog obedience classes to vet visits to walks in the park, to visiting our home and other people's homes, can help them develop confidence and ease. This goes a long way in helping them become stable and balanced in the face of unsettling situations.
Socialization does not end at puppyhood. It is a lifetime adventure that will lead you into making new friends and much laughter and joy with your addition. In the book "The Other End of the Leash", applied animal behaviorist Dr. Patricia McConnell talks about "juvenile-onset shyness", a period in adolescence when dogs become more cautious and perhaps aggressive towards people and animals who are unfamiliar to them. If this aggression is due to a lack of experiences in adolescence or early adulthood, one way to prevent it would be to continue socialization well into adulthood. We embrace this and have seen it create positive results.
Activity is also very important. We have a salt water pool and Katsuro is a real water dog often jumping or leaping off the sides of the pool many, many times in a day. Here he is totally tired after jumping in over and over again.
He used to wait till daddy dove in but now he beats him to the punch. It's enough to know that daddy is about to go in and he's in the air, in the pool and circling waiting for his daddy to catch up. Wasabi is also getting to really enjoy the water. Some Havanese love swimming more than others for various reasons but how you introduce it to them also plays a part. We have grand fun as Nathan gets all the dogs going on his swimming pool events.
We are also firm believers in walking dogs. It helps their minds and body. When a mind gets to see different things each day (we take different paths), it helps to eliminate boredom and it exercises the body. All of this is good for you and for them. With or without visitors, we take 2 dogs at a time - Nathan with 2, me with 2 and sometimes our son with 2 and we walk them on long walks.
We also groom our dogs - meaning a thorough brush and comb, daily (some people do it every other day or twice a week depending on the need). It helps you to see what is going on with their bodies and it allows you to minimize any knots or tangles. When you get an up close and personal look at your dog, you can catch any concerns early. If you end your grooming with a mini massage or a treat, they begin to look forward to it.
We are looking forward to the winter months when we can run through paths that Nathan makes through the snow for the dogs throughout the backyard. This year was lousy as we had hardly any snow but lots of cold weather. Otherwise, pups when old enough, will have their 3 to 4 play sessions in our kitchen area where we play retrieve and Nathan runs his fool head off back and forth to help them exercise their bodies. We also teach them about stairs and much, much more. It's all fun and we are looking forward to having a house filled with lots of furry ones real soon.
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