Are Havanese Easy To Train? The Surprising Answer

Havanese are an easily trainable breed regarding obedience and willingness to please.

Housetraining, however, is another thing entirely! This little pup can be a big headache!


The Havanese

The Havanese is the only dog breed native to Cuba.

Developed to serve as a companion to the aristocracy, the Havanese is a happy-go-lucky people’s dog (although he doesn’t mind the company of other dogs either.)


Is Havanese Easy to Train?

Nicknamed the “Velcro Dog,” the Havanese has a strong urge to please their “person,” which gives you an advantage in obedience training – provided you use a gentle approach and positive reinforcement.

Use a harsh tone while exercising; this silky pup takes it personally, and their focus shifts from training to acting the clown to make you smile.

Although the Havanese excel in obedience once they master a command, picking up new ones can be tricky at first.

It takes the Havanese an average of twenty-five and forty repetitions before they master it [Source.]


What Commands Should the Havanese Learn?

There are plenty of commands to choose from when you start obedience training with your Havanese, but we recommend that you start with the basics, including

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Down
  • Heel
  • Come
  • Go potty


Once your pup has mastered these commands, consider adding some more advanced ones like

  • Off
  • Drop it
  • Load up
  • Leave-it
  • Wait
  • Release
  • Stop
  • Hush
  • Speak


Of course, the possibilities are limitless if you are willing to work with your dog on obedience.

According to the well-known canine researcher Dr. Stanley Coren, the average obedience-trained dog can learn as many as 165 words!


Housebreaking And the Havanese

Although Havanese have a memory for obedience and are eager to please, they fall short of housebreaking.

Dog owners are often surprised at how long it takes to housebreak a Havanese compared to other breeds.


Why Does It Take So Long to Housebreak the Havanese?

There are two schools of thought on housebreaking the Havanese.

Some believe that the Havanese is simply a dog that is difficult to housebreak, and others believe that all toy breeds are difficult to housebreak.

Regardless of which housebreaking school of thought you subscribe to, we need to understand some of the reasons behind the delayed housebreaking.

Some of the theories behind why it is so hard to housebreak the Havanese include –

  • Our preference of carrying around small breed dogs.
  • The small Havanese bladder.
  • Small Dog Syndrome


Carrying Around the Havanese

One theory on why it is so hard to housebreak the Havanese is that we make it more difficult for them to learn by carrying them around all the time.

Alignment (dog poop using the Earth’s magnetic fields to align themselves) and scent play a significant role in how a dog learns to use the bathroom outside.

But when we carry them everywhere, we are not giving our dogs the chance to learn how to use scent and alignment to potty outdoors.

Instead, we wind up taking our dogs outside and telling them when and where to go!


The Small Havanese Bladder

Another theory behind the difficulty of housebreaking the Havanese is that they are a toy breed with a small bladder.

Humans can forget how tiny their bladder is and neglect to take them out often enough.

While this may be a reason for the difficulty of housebreaking any small breed dog, it turns out to be more a fault of ours than the Havanese!


Small Dog Syndrome

Lastly, small dog syndrome may be to blame for the difficulty involved in teaching the Havanese to potty outdoors!

We tend to treat small dogs as though they are young children. We carry them around, give in to their every whim, and eventually, they catch on.

If we treat them like kings and queens, they must be kings and queens.

So, they begin to control the relationship, and we begin to let things slide, and little by little, our toy breed dogs become monsters.

What does this have to do with housebreaking?

When we allow our small dogs to have so much control, we give them the sense that they don’t have to listen to us because they are in charge, and we will still give them what they want anyway.

So, why bother going outside to potty if they don’t need to?

The “small dog syndrome” theory might portray our toy breeds as little evil geniuses, but there could be a ring of truth to it!


Surviving Housebreaking Your Havanese

Before you resign yourself to a puppy that will never potty outside, try some of these expert tips to get your Havanese going in the right direction!

  • Be mindful of when your Havanese drinks water and eats, and plan to take them out shortly afterward.
  • If your Havanese looks like they are signaling to go out to potty, take them anyway, even if you are sure they don’t have to go!
  • When your Havanese puppy wakes up from a nap or finishes playing, take them out.
  • Use plenty of praise and reward when your Havanese puppy uses the potty outdoors!
  • Do not punish accidents; never use negative reinforcement when working with your Havanese!


Conclusion / Summary

The Havanese is eager to please and quick to learn, making obedience training enjoyable for you both.

However, where obedience commands come easy, the Havanese struggle with housebreaking and require a little more patience than other breeds.

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