Probably the most important thing for new Havanese Puppy owners is potty training. Your puppy will come to you paper or litter box trained. This teaches your puppy were to go but not when to go. Crate Training and Bell Ringing could be your next steps in puppy house training. There is lots of info on house training your pet. I've included my experience under Potty Training.
For instructions on sleeping through the night - look at the crate training section
Discouraging hand biting (coming soon)
Leave It (coming soon)
Crate Training Your Puppy for safety
For article on crate training for House Breaking – see Potty Training article
Crate Training is good for your puppy. Whether you crate train as a method of housebreaking, or simply train your puppy to be comfortable and love his crate it is a wonderful idea and I highly recommend it. The following is a collection from what I know, and what I have read and what I have taken in training classes. There will be some differing opinions, as there is with all training, but for the most part this is tried and true and pretty consistent with just about all crate training methods. If you have any suggestions, or things that have really worked for you, I would love to incorporate them. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Why Crate Train:
Puppies and Adults who love their crates give you, the owner, many benefits. It makes them easy to travel with – secured crates are great in the car; vet visits, hotels insist generally on crated pets, they learn it is a safe quiet place when they want to get away from other pets and children, they learn to sleep quietly and comfortably and they and your home are safe when they are crated.
Crate Training is also probably the easiest and quickest way to housetrain your puppy. You can’t leave your puppy crated all the time, but when you are not supervising him, playing or feeding him, or taking him out to potty he will be in his crate. For more information on crate training for housebreaking, see the Potty Training section.
What Crate to Buy:
You can buy a crate that fits your puppy size. He should be able to stand up and turn around, and lie conformably -- but not much more room that that. This means you will go through two crates in a Toy dogs lifetime as you will have to increase the size of the crate. I have tried blocking off the crate so it is small when they are a puppy but this was not very successful for me, welcome to try it though. You can use a box, or a milk crate to block off the back of the crate. If you go the two crate way, buy an inexpensive puppy crate, he/she is going to grow out of it by 4-5 months.
Plastic or Wire, choice is yours. I have a preference for wire, they are cooler and they do not give off any petroleum fumes. Plastic kennels in the summer are very very hot. Wire are more expensive so I generally use plastic for my puppy stage and then move to wire. You can go crazy with crates there are some that look like furniture, there are some beautiful metal and wood – everything for any budget. This oned below are an inexpensive plastic kennel and fold down wire crate. It collapses for easy storage and travel. If you use a wire crate drape a blanket or towel over three sides to give you puppy security and privacy. Cloth crates do not tend to work well on puppies – when they are teething they chew or scratch through them.
How to Start Crate Training:
Buy a crate for your puppy that is not too big. My puppies have learnt that there is a place to sleep, a place to eat and a place to potty, so it is very unusual for puppies to potty in their crate unless the crate is huge and they think they have a whole apartment, not just a bedroom. I do not put food and water in the crate, because you want to supervise intake when you are potty training. Food and water go in your exercise pen and are given when the puppy is out of the crate. Later, once your puppy is trained, you can certainly put a water bottle on the crate door for him, and of course if you are crating your puppy and it is warm you can add a water bottle and/or a crate fan.
An X-pen can be purchased from just about any pet store – look for sales. You will want a hire quality if you plan to use your pen outside. Havanese can jump, I use a 2 foot X-pen – I can still reach in but the majority of Havanese will not jump over.
How to Begin the Crate/Puppy Bonding Process:
Sometimes this is so easy, it almost seems like you didn’t do anything. Puppies and dogs often like to den so they seek out the crate on their own. Sometimes you have to introduce the bond with a bit of help, and a few treats.
Puppy comes home – may have had some exposure to a crate already, which is great, if not you put your crate in your busy room with your family, door open or off, but don’t let it close on its own – sometimes they close and open and scare the puppy, so either remove the door, or tie it open.
If you are using an Exercise Pen (X-Pen) have the crate right in the X pen area and sit with your puppy there. Give you puppy a few treats that he really likes – my puppies get Natural Balance dog food as a treat, but I use the big round semi soft rolls for treats – they love it) Do this training exercise when puppy is hungry not just after you have fed him/her. Once he likes this treat idea, throw one in the crate – see if he will go in for it – praise puppy lavishly. If he won’t go in, bit more work but do the breadcrumb bit – give him a trail closer and closer to the kennel until you get him in. He may grab the treat and run out, praise him lavishly. Repeat a few times. Sometimes step 1 takes 1 try, sometimes it can take 5 or 6 tries, but you puppy should be comfortable with step 1 in just one training session. If all else fails put the puppy in the crate and give him treats telling him how good he is. This will be more work, and you will being to only give you puppies treat inside the crate until he associates that place as the greatest place on earth. Tell him your training word for crate every time you put him in. I use “crate up” but nap time, crate, night night whatever you use, just be consistent.
He likes his crate, he goes in and out of it whenever he feels like it – you are now ready to have him try it with the door closed. I generally wait until the puppy is sleeping or tired. If he is sleeping just move him into the nice comfy crate – don’t close the door until he settles, but once he falls back to sleep close the door. You have to stay on top of this, you don’t ever want to remove a puppy from the crate when he is whining or throwing a puppy fit, so watch when he wakes up, open the door and tell him how good he is. Do this with your hands in the crate, don’t take him out. Let the puppy come out naturally when he is ready, praise him and take him potty. Try to do the majority of his naps in the crate with the door closed.
The wide awake crated dog – this is the serious stuff but you have prepared your puppy well. Put his favorite treat, something that will take him a little while to eat, – a kong with peanut butter stuffed in is good, or a pigs ear. Say “crate up” or your training phrase, every time you want him to go into his crate. Say the word and put the treat in, allow him to go in on his own, tell him good boy and then close the door. Eventually you want him to go in on command and then treat once he is in so give a little time after the training word before you put the treat in – he will get the idea quickly. One thing that is important in all training – SAY YOUR TRAINING WORD ONLY ONCE. Puppies are like kids if you say “crate up” 4 or 5 times the puppy will learn that the command is not really that important, he may eventually listen to you, but maybe the 6th time will work for him, after all can’t you see he is playing right now, he’ll get to it and you don’t seem to mind if it is the first time you ask or the 6th so what the heck. Stay with the puppy and try to judge when to open the door – you want it to be 2-5 min, more if he falls asleep of course. Don’t let out a crying puppy, so if he cries and whines you are going to have to wait until he is calm again. Don’t forget to tell him how good he is when he comes out of the crate. TREAT your dog every time he goes into the crate and always say your crate word “crate up” or “crate” or whatever word you use.
You will gradually be increasing crate time, you should also notice that your puppy goes into his crate for naps some of the time. If you are around and notice it close the door – this gets him used to being quite content with the door closed. Never open the door when there is whining. If you absolutely have to because the puppy is not comfortable at all – don’t say a word to the puppy, just open the crate and ignore the puppy. Don’t forget to potty your puppy before crate time. Your puppy should be equally comfortable with you in the room or out of the room. Lavish praise for your puppy now when he goes into the crate, but coming out of the crate – don’t make a big deal out of this. It can actually teach the puppy that the reward is coming out of the crate and for those of us who occasionally want to leave her homes without our puppy can be one of the bad habits we do as owners that causes separation anxiety.
Night time Crating:
Once everyone is comfortable with step 4, your puppy can crate up for nighttime. Some puppies can go through the night at 10 weeks, others 12 weeks, you are going to make the process smoother by picking up water at 8:00 pm. No water or food after 8:00. Potty the puppy before bed and by now you should have a rough idea of your puppies potty schedule – does he poop twice after his dinner feed or usually just once – keep track it will assist your success. He must go potty before you crate him for the night. Once he is crated he does not come out unless he is crying and making a fuss and it has been 4 hours for a 9 week old Havanese. If you pottied him and it has been less than 4 hours it is for attention and comfort not for potty issues. Of course this is a guideline you will get to know your puppies cries, and be able to tell the difference between a pick me up, I’m lonely and a I really really have to go out now cry. After 12 weeks puppy should be sleeping through the night, without a potty break. When you take the puppy out for potty be careful that you and he both know it is for potty not for play. I say absolutely nothing to the puppy except for my “Go Potty” command and my “Good Potty” command and treat on success. Do not, DO NOT, play with the puppy – you will turn a 5 minute exercise into a 20 minute exercise. The first couple of times the puppy will likely not settle down immediately after his potty – you will just have to ignore the puppy and wait out the whining, so please make sure you gave the puppy enough time to both pee and poo, otherwise you will either be up again, or cleaning up a mess in your crate.. Ear plugs are a great investment.
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