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.
Recommend training method?

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.
Recommend training method?

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.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Leia
Havanese
2 Months
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Question
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Leia
Havanese
2 Months

She whines and cries all night. She doesn’t have to go potty because I let her out right before I put her in her crate. How do I get her to stop crying?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
294 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ellie Grace, Check out the article that I have linked below and follow one or more of those methods during the day to help her get used to the crate. Doing those things should help her feel more comfortable in a crate, but crate training typically takes about two weeks. An eight week old puppy simply needs time in the crate to figure it out. Make the experience as pleasant as you can by dropping treats in there when she is quiet during the day and giving her a food stuffed Kongs and chew-toys whenever you put her in there during the day, and by putting a regular chew-toy, without food in it, in there with her at night, and then give her a couple of weeks to get to used to the crate. Stay consistent and don't let her out until she is quiet for a second, unless you know that she needs to go potty. You can correct the barking in a crate in an older dog, but an eight-week old puppy typically just needs time to adjust, rewards for being quiet, and something pleasant to do in the crate, like chewing on food stuffed chew toys. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Penny
Havanese
8 Weeks
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Penny
Havanese
8 Weeks

It’s snowing out so I took her outside near the house where it’s relatively dry. She has made poo, but hasn’t peed yet. I checked her crate and its dry, and I’ve kept her confined to one area of the house. I just got her yesterday, but I’ve taken her to the same spot to do her business every two hours, but so far she hasn’t peed

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
294 Dog owners recommended

Hello Josie, Keep trying every hour. Your doing well. See if you can find some grass, dirt, or other outdoor material that's warmer and dry still and put it on top of the spot she pooped on earlier to make the spot less cold for her. Tell her to "Go Potty" when you take her, and as much as you can on that small spot, encourage her to walk and sniff around for five minutes. If she goes potty, give her five small treats, one treat at a time, and praise her enthusiastically, so that she will be more willing to pee outside the next time. You can give her treats in general during potty training after she goes, to speed up her potty training and help her to want to go potty outside. In general, a dog coat to keep her warmer or a disposable real grass pad that you can put on top of snow outside and take her to for a dry area to pee on might be a good idea for cold and snowy days this winter. After she goes potty on the grass pad and you take her back inside, you could put the grass pad in your garage or somewhere else that's dry and out of her sight and smell so that it will stay warmer and not covered in snow, then you would have a dry spot to place outside for her when you take her potty during bad weather. By doing this, you would still be teaching her to go potty on grass and outside, so that she will learn to pee on the grass when the snow melts too and not get confused by puppy pads or peeing inside. Real grass pad: https://www.amazon.com/DoggieLawn-Disposable-Potty-Real-Grass/dp/B00EQJ7I7Y/ref=asc_df_B00EQJ7I7Y/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309806233193&hvpos=1o3&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5636195418552774026&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1015431&hvtargid=pla-572651300532&psc=1 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
JC
Havanese
12 Weeks
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JC
Havanese
12 Weeks

We just got him 3 days ago, and I took him for a walk before putting him in the crate and he peed and poo. I am taking him out every 3 hours at night to go outside and I just went to take him outside and he had pood in his crate and I have made it very small with the divider and he pood anyway. Help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
294 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mary, Is there anything absorbent in the crate like a soft bed? If so that could be the problem. Take anything soft like a bed or towel out and instead use something like www.primopad.com that's not absorbent. If the poop was diarrhea and not solid he likely has GI upset and I suggest speaking with your vet. The diarrhea/stomach issues need to be addressed because he probably can't help the accidents while sick. If there is not anything absorbent in the crate and the poops were solid he may have been kept in an environment where he was forced to poop in a confined space and lost his natural desire to hold it in a small space. If this is the case I suggest using the Tethering method from the article linked below to potty train him when you are home. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside When you are gone, set up an exercise pen in an area where your pup will not be spending a lot of time later in life and put a disposable real grass pad on one end for him to go potty there. Follow the "Exercise Pen" method from the article linked below: Exercise Pen method: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Disposable real grass pad: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07K3WS97D/ref=sspa_mw_detail_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExUEJaRENBQk5VVE1GJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNDIzOTQ4M1JRQUNGMkZaNTlORyZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNzk4NzQxU1FKQUdJR1dLRFlCJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfcGhvbmVfZGV0YWlsJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Leego
Havanese
11 Weeks
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Question
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Leego
Havanese
11 Weeks

Dog barks, whines and digs at the door of his crate when he goes in at night for 30 minutes.

We are on night 5. He gets taken out to pee after 3.5 hours. No accidents.

Night 1 - I tried the bedroom, but he was too loud and barked whenever I moved. I simply can't handle him in my room.

Night 2 - I moved him to a small, warm bathroom. He only barked for 5-10 minutes.

Night 3 - another person put him to bed but forgot to take off the collar, so while he was barking still, he opened the crate to take the collar off and put him back in. He barked even louder and seems worse now.

Night 4 - we thought maybe that small bathroom was mean since it has a toilet in it, so we moved him to a playroom. Thinking we had to start over anyway since the collar incident. He was his worst yet. Barked for 30 minutes, crazed, digging. That day though, I had worked on getting him to enter the crate himself during the day with rewards, and have some naps in there in a high traffic area. He responded quickly to training on how to wait to exit the crate. But he seems really mad to go in at night. And overly excited/stimulated when he gets out.

The household goes to bed at midnight. Before that, he's asleep near the humans in the living room, or on a human. Then is up to play for 10 minutes, go to the bathroom, then to his crate for the night when everyone goes to bed. This is where he gets upset.

While we go to work, he is in a pen in the living room, with a little teepee cushion and wee pad, and toys. He seems to accept that better. Enters himself with treat support. The Vet said not to treat into the crate at night because it will make him have to go to the bathroom. I can't crate during the day because I can't always get back to the house within 3 hours since we all work. But can get there at least for lunch for play, feed, outside time for an hour.

I don't know where to put him at night. Stick it out crate training or pen? I feel its best he be ok with the crate in the long run. I also wonder if the warm small bathroom was better than the big airy playroom. Bathroom also helps us sleep better since the sound is muffled.

Advice? Losing my sleep deprived mind. I know we have been inconsistent but I have no idea where to put him.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
294 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jackie, I suggest putting him back in the bathroom since he may feel safer in the smaller space. With time he should adjust to either the bathroom or play room as long as you are consistent though. Him learning to sleep in a room away from you can help prepare him for traveling, boarding, and other locations later so there are some benefits to that and you shouldn't feel bad about not wanting him in the bedroom at night. It takes the average puppy about two weeks to adjust in the crate so a bit of crying when you first put him in is actually normal, just be sure to stay consistent and not let him out when he cries and you know he does not need anything like a potty break. Check out the article that I have linked below. I suggest practicing the "Surprise" method for thirty minutes to an hour every day when you are home during the day or early evening simply to help him adjust to being calm in the crate and like it better. Just be sure to also practice other training and exercise him so that he gets out his energy before bed too. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Self-soothing is a skill that puppies have to learn just like other commands and lessons, so he needs practice. Your vet is correct that you should normally not give treats at night, which is why I suggest practicing for a little while when you are home in the evenings or weekends. The time does not have to be super long, thirty minutes to an hour should even help, just make sure he is quiet for at least a couple of seconds before you let him out. When you let him out of the crate, check out the video linked below and practice letting him out this way when you know he does not have to pee super bad - avoiding accidents is most important. https://youtu.be/mn5HTiryZN8 Also, you should be fine to use an exercise pen during the day at the same time. You can even connect a crate to the side of the pen as a den for him to go into if he wishes, to help him get even more comfortable with it - as long as he does not pee in the crate when it is like this. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Luna
Havanese
4 Months
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Question
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Luna
Havanese
4 Months

I live in a small apartment but I thought crates were kind of barbaric so I wanted to train her in a playpen instead, where she could have a pee pad if needed. I had to set the playpen to the smallest available setting so it was basically like a big crate without a top. This has been the last two nights (and I’ve tried keeping her in there while I shower and try to clean). She did not ever enter willingly, even with treats. So I would have to put her inside. The first night she fell asleep in my bed and I put her in. She whined a little and then went to sleep but woke up twice during the middle of the night crying, screaming, barking, trying to jump out. Last night I put her in and she screamed for an hour and a half, eventually settled down and left for the night. I have an actual crate for her now and am going to try to use it tonight. She entered willingly earlier because she wanted to chew at the soft bottom I put in so I gave her treats. I closed the door so I could go take the trash down and heard her screaming from the basement. I’m afraid my neighbors are going to murder me, I don’t know how to get her to be quiet and calm in a confined space and it is extremely overwhelming. Also, with the crate, she can only hold her bladder 6 hours which means if she pees right before bed (which is a big if because she doesn’t always go when she needs to) that means I can put her in at midnight to wake up at 6. But if she’s going to scream for nearly 2 hours at midnight I don’t know what I’ll do.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
294 Dog owners recommended

Hello Christina, The main difference between the crate and exercise pen is the size. Only a small size will encourage a dog to hold their bladder, once past potty training exercise pens are great for giving a safe play space during the day. Check out the article linked below and follow the Surprise method. Ideally you want to practice crate training during the day too so that the crying happens when people aren't sleeping and so that you can reward with treats when quiet to speed things up - you don't want to give food at night. If she can handle the crate during the day, then nights are typically easier because they are more tired then. Stay consistent about not letting her out when she cries!!! If you let her out it might mean the difference between three hard nights and two weeks or more of hard nights. Each pup is a bit different, but the more consistent you are about not letting her out unless quiet and rewarding when quiet during the day, the quicker this tends to go. It might be worth putting a note under your neighbors door explaining that you apologize for the barking, are working on the barking and it should stop soon. You can use a Pet Convincer, which is a small canister of pressurized air sprayed briefly at her side to interrupt the barking if needed - I generally only recommend this for older dogs and for those who cannot let the barking continue because of where they live. If you have issues with complaints, I suggest using that, combined with rewards during the day from the Surprise method linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate When she barks at midnight you will have to take her potty at this age, but take her on a leash, don't give food, don't play with her, talk excitedly, or do anything to make it fun. As soon as she finishes going potty, put her back into the crate and close the door. She will probably bark at this time, use the Pet Convincer (small canister of unscented pressurized air) if you have to because of neighbors. If you don't let her out she should soon learn to simply go back to sleep in the future, and since you kept trips outside boring, she should start to sleep through that time as her bladder control increases. The crate and letting her cry may sound cruel, but they actually prevent a number of behavior issues that can get a dog killed, surrendered to shelters, and make the dog untrustworthy as an adult...crating during the first year (in a humane way) allows the dog to have more freedom for the rest of it's adult life because it didn't learn bad habits, like house soiling, destructive chewing, separation anxiety, and barking out the window as a puppy. Crating can actually help prevent separation anxiety when done correctly. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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