How to Crate Train a Havanese

Medium
2-4 Weeks
General

Introduction

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.

Defining Tasks

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.

Getting Started

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.

The Slow and Positive Method

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Step
1
Set up the crate
Put your Havanese’s crate in a busy area of the house so he can see what is going on, or at night, put it in your bedroom so he can see and hear you. Either tie the door open or remove it completely so that your dog is not startled by a closed door and feels trapped. Put a blanket inside the crate.
Step
2
Lure with treats
Give your puppy a favorite treat beside the create. Then toss a treat into the crate for him to retrieve. Do not push or force your Havanese into the crate. Let him go in willingly. If he is reluctant, set up a trail of treats leading into the crate. When your puppy goes in the crate to get the treats, lavish praise and attention on him. Give him a command like “crate” or “bed’ to associate with the crate. Make it a positive place.
Step
3
Make it a sleep place
Wait until your puppy is very sleepy or sleeping. Pick him up and put him in his crate, let him settle down and go back to sleep. Sit by the crate for a few minutes and pet him until he settles and goes to sleep.
Step
4
Put the door on
Put the door back on once your Havanese is used to going in the crate to get treats and to sleep.
Step
5
Practice confining in the crate
Give the command for going in the crate and encourage him into his crate. Close the door.Leave your puppy in the crate for several minutes. Let him out after a short period of time but never when he is whining or crying. Gradually increase time in the crate.
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The Make Crate Great Method

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Step
1
Short crate periods
Never use a crate to punish your dog or leave him in for an excessive length of time. Start out with short times in the crate. Make the crate comfortable with blankets and toys.
Step
2
Tire out
Exercise your Havanese with a long walk or play before asking him to go in his crate. A tired dog will be ready for a nap in his comfy den.
Step
3
Provide entertainment
If your dog is not tired and needs to be crated, provide a rawhide bone or “Kong” filled with peanut butter, so he has something great to entertain himself with.
Step
4
Provide treats
Provide a great treat every time you ask your Havanese to go into his crate.
Step
5
Do not isolate
Keep the crate in an area of the house where your Havanese can see you and the rest of the family, so he does not feel isolated. Periodically go back to the crate, open it and give attention, praise and a treat. Do not reinforce crying or whining. Ignore it, let your dog out of the crate when he is quiet.
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The Associate with Food Method

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Step
1
Associate treats
Introduce your Havanese to the crate. Put it in a high traffic area so your dog can see you and line it with a comfy blanket or towel. Fasten the door open so it will not accidentally close. Bring your dog over and talk to him in a happy tone. Give him a command to go in his crate like “Kennel” or “crate” and toss a treat in the crate for him to retrieve.
Step
2
Feed meals
Put your dog's food next to the crate and feed him there for a few days. Move his dish into the crate and let him eat in the crate while you stand with him and talk to him.
Step
3
Keep your dog company
When your dog is comfortable eating in the crate, close the door while he is eating but remain with him just outside the crate and talk to him reassuringly. Repeat for a few days.
Step
4
Confine for short periods
After eating, leave your Havanese in the crate for a few minutes after each meal with the door closed. Gradually increase time period so your dog gets used to staying in the create longer and longer.
Step
5
Do not reinforce vocalizing
Do not let your Havanese out of the crate if he whines or cries. Instead, sit by the create until he stops vocalizing for several seconds and then let him out. Continue to increase time your dog is left in his crate after being given meals or treats in his crate.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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