Now that you have brought your new baby home, teaching him where to do his business is of utmost importance. You have several options available. The most common housetraining methods are going outside, crate training, wee-wee pads, newspapers, and doggie litter boxes. My personal favorite is to take the puppy outside in addition to placing wee-wee pads all over the house. When you combine these two methods you don’t have to worry as much about inside accidents. The pads are there just in case.
BASIC HOUSE TRAINING FOR OUTSIDE
If you are going to train your Havanese puppy to go outside it is very important to get off to a good start. Your goal is to prevent accidents right from the start. It is important to watch your puppy carefully at first and to be consistent. Just tell yourself that housetraining your new baby is your job and that you are going to focus on it for the first couple of weeks.
It is helpful if you can get your puppy on a regular schedule and feed him around the same time every day. This helps the puppy’s digestive system to get regulated and makes training easier. The two most crucial times to take your puppy out are immediately after he wakes up and immediately after he has finished eating. It is good to take him to the same spot every time. Also, be careful to watch for signs that your puppy may need to “go” such as squatting, circling, or sniffing. If you see these signs, pick your puppy up and take him out to his “potty” spot immediately. When he has done his business make sure to praise him or give him a treat. Havanese love to please and the positive reinforcement will make housetraining easier.
A Havanese puppy can “hold it” for about one hour for every month that it is old. This means that if you have a two-month old puppy, he should be able to “hold it” for about two hours. This works well when your puppy is in his crate but when he is running around the house it is best to try to take him out about every hour or so at first. It is better to err on the side of taking him out too often than not often enough.
It is important to know that Havanese puppies are very playful and enjoy going outside. They tend to run around, explore, and play before they do their business. It is almost as if they have to work themselves into the mood. Also, some Havanese will go more than one time. Be sure that you stay outside long enough to give your puppy plenty of time to do his business and make sure he is finished before bringing him back into the house. It is a common mistake of new Havanese owners to assume that since their puppy is playing that he doesn’t have to go. They then take the puppy inside only to have him go shortly after.
To make sleeping through the night easier, you can pick up your puppy’s water bowl a couple of hours or so before bedtime and take him out right before you go to bed.
CRATE TRAINING HAVANESE
Crate training has been known to be a very effective. The principle behind crate training is that dogs usually do not like to do their business in their own “space.” There are exceptions to this rule but they are rare.
When choosing a crate, I would recommend getting a crate that will be big enough for your Havanese when it is full grown. However, to crate train your puppy all you need is a crate with enough room for your puppy to stand, to turn around, and to lie down comfortably. You do not want enough room for your puppy to be able to go to the back of the crate to do his business. Some crates come with dividers, others do not. If your crate does not have a divider just find something like a paint can, a small box, or something else to put in the back of your crate to make it the correct size for your puppy. Once your puppy has become accustomed to not doing his business in his crate you can take the divider out.
When you put your puppy in the crate it is a good idea to put his “blankie” and some toys in there with him. Havanese are bred to be companions and do not like to be left alone. Be sure to put the crate in the same room with you so that he feels like he is still a part of the family. You can move the crate around with you when you change rooms. It is also a good idea to put the crate by your bed at night so that he will feel more secure.
At first, when you get your puppy out of the crate, pick him up and take him outside immediately. Do not let him walk on his own as he might squat and go to the bathroom as soon as he is out of the crate. With time he will learn that the routine is to get out of the crate and then go potty outside.
WHAT DO I DO WHEN I HAVE TO LEAVE THE HOUSE?
When leaving the house you can place your puppy in his crate. This usually works well unless you have to be gone for a longer period of time than your puppy can “hold it.” When this is the case, I have found that the easiest thing to do is to find a small area such as a laundry room, a small bathroom, or a section of the house that you can block off with a baby gate.
First, place the crate in that area and completely cover the floor with wee-wee pads or newspapers. Second, place the puppy’s bed, blankie, toys, and fresh water in the room with him. The puppy will usually choose an area of the room to use as his place of business. When you see the space he has chosen you can pick up the unused wee-wee pads and use them later. This way your puppy has a comfortable place to sleep, plenty of toys to keep him busy, and he doesn’t have to experience the discomfort of having to “hold it” until you get home. You can then enjoy your time away from home without having to worry about being gone too long and coming home to find an accident in the crate with your puppy.