Havanese dogs are very trainable, smart and of a cooperative nature. They are not, however, known for being particularly easy to housetrain, and many owners opt to crate train their young Havanese pups to help in the potty training phase, which helps prevent accidents. Another reason to crate train your Havanese is to provide them with a safe, comfortable place to rest when owners are unable to supervise them, such as at night, or when owners are away from home.
Having your dog crate trained means that he is not able to get into trouble while you are not available, such as chewing on objects that could harm him, knocking over items that could injure him, and falling off furniture or down stairs. Most dogs take well to create training, as dogs are den animals, and if yours make his crate into a “den”, he will happily curl up there, recognizing the crate as his own little home.
Steps to make the crate comfortable and introducing time spent in the crate in a positive way will make crate training successful and the crate can be a useful tool as your dog grows. A crate trained dog is easier to transport and the crate can be used as a comfortable retreat in certain situations, such as when company is over, renovations are being conducted in your home, or when any unusual activity occurs in your home, to avoid your dog becoming stressed or overwhelmed.
Crate training can start as soon as your puppy is weaned and brought home, usually around 8 weeks of age. A general guideline is that a puppy can stay in a crate for as many hours as they are months old, that means that an 8-week-old puppy should not be left in a crate longer than 2 hours. Because most dogs will not soil their beds if they can help it, crates are commonly used for house training, but they have many other functions, including providing a quiet retreat for your Havanese and keeping him safe when traveling or when activity is occurring.
Your Havanese's crate should be just like his den. Putting a comfy blanket or cushion in the crate, along with toys, and creating a positive environment will make it more “homey” and allow your dog to adapt better to time spent there. Sometimes puppies or dogs whine or cry when contained in their crates. There are several steps you can take to reduce this behavior by avoiding reinforcing vocalizations and keeping your dog's crate in a warm, comfortable place where he can see you.
It is very important that the crate you use be the correct size for your Havanese. Most Havanese dogs require a small to medium-sized crate. The crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up in, turn around, and lie down in. If a crate is too big it will not feel safe and comfy to your dog--dogs like a secure den that is just the right size for them. Also, if you are using a crate for house training purposes, you do not want it large enough to give your trainees the opportunity to go to the bathroom in a corner. Most dogs will avoid soiling their beds so you want the crate just big enough for your dog to lie down comfortably, without the opportunity for a bathroom spot. If you are buying a crate for a puppy, try to purchase one that will be the appropriate size for him when he grows up, and use a divider to make it smaller when he is a pup. Plastic sided crates provide a cozy feeling for your Havanese, but if you want to use a more durable, wire crate, drape a blanket over it to give it that cozy secure feeling and prevent drafts.