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He may be the national dog of Cuba, but he’s also the king in your home. Despite his small stature, your Havanese pup gets exactly what he wants. It’s been that way since he entered your house. I mean he’s the only member of the family that doesn’t argue back. He’s always happy to see you and comes charging up to the front door when anyone approaches. However, you want to put all his energy to good use by training him to do tricks.
Training your Havanese puppy some tricks will come with several benefits. Firstly, it’s a fantastic way for you both to bond. He’s also young and receptive, so he should pick up the tricks quickly. In addition, you’re guaranteed to get guests giggling when they come around. Finally, this type of training will make it easier to teach him other commands when he grows up.
Because Havanese puppies are intelligent and obedient, this type of training is actually relatively straightforward. The biggest hurdle will be conveying to him what it is you want him to do. Once he understands that, you just need to reinforce training with the right incentive. Fortunately, although he’s small, he will still be up for anything if it means tasty treats.
If he’s a keen student and eager to please then you could see results relatively quickly. It may be just a few days. However, if he’s easily distracted then it may take a while longer. It could be a couple of weeks before training proves successful. Once things sink in though, you’ll have a great way to exercise him and entertain others. Not to mention, this type of training asserts your position as pack leader and increases your control.
Before you start training, you will need to get your hands on a few bits. The most important component will be tasty treats. You will need to set aside 15 minutes each day for training. Try and practice in a room with minimal distractions where there isn’t any danger of anything getting broken.
Once you have all that, just bring patience and a can-do attitude, then work can begin!
The Jump Method
Lure him into a room with a treat in your hand. You’re going to teach him to ‘jump’. Kneel in front of him and then hold the treat above his head.
Issue a ‘jump’ command in an up-beat voice. Havanese puppies learn best when they think they’re playing a game, so keep it lighthearted. You can use any word or phrase you like for the command.
Slowly move the treat up and away from his head, so he has to jump up to get to it. Don’t move too fast otherwise he may give up. You may also need to give some words of encouragement to get him jumping.
As soon as he shows any sign of jumping, hand over a tasty treat. You can also give him verbal praise. Just make sure he gets the treat within a few seconds, otherwise he may not associate the reward with the action.
Make it harder
Practice this several times each day. However, gradually make it harder each time, holding the treat higher and higher. You can also use toys to tempt him to jump up. After a while you won’t need an incentive and the verbal command alone will be enough.
The Roll Over Method
Head to a quiet room with your Havanese puppy in tow. You’re going to teach him to ‘roll over’. Kneel in front of him and then instruct him to 'lie down’. He needs to be lying down before you can teach him to roll over.
Now issue a ‘roll over’ command. Give it in a high-pitched, animated voice. You can use any phrase you like. Havanese dogs can learn hundreds of different commands. Also hold eye contact when you give the instruction.
As you give the command, hold a treat on one side of his head and then slowly rotate it above and around him. This should naturally lead him to roll over. You can also use your spare hand to gently help him roll over the first few times.
As soon as he has rolled over, give him a tasty reward. If you use a clicker during training, you can also give that a click. The happier he feels with his reward, the more keen he will be to repeat the behavior.
Lose the treats
Practice this for 5 to 10 minutes each day. If you keep things light-hearted and your Havanese puppy well fed, he will soon get the hang of it. Once you can get him to roll over in a range of situations, you can then slowly cut out the treats.
The Fetch Method
Secure him to a leash and then head out into your yard or local park. Once there you can let him off the leash. You will need two of his favorite toys or tennis balls.
Capture his attention by showing him one of the toys. Then throw the toy so he can see it. Don’t throw it too far, he’s just a puppy so he may give up if he has too far to run. Also throw it relatively low so it’s within his eye-line.
Hold out the second
Encourage him to chase after the first toy. You may need to run towards it to help him along the way. Once he’s got the toy in his mouth, you can then take out the second toy to bring him back towards you.
Wait for him to start charging back towards you and drop the first toy, before you throw the second toy in the opposite direction. Again, don’t throw it too far and pick up the first toy while he’s off chasing the second.
Repeat the process
Now repeat this several times a week. Keep throwing both toys one after another to get him into the habit of fetching and returning with the toy. Before you know it he will soon be a canine master of fetch.
By James Barra
Published: 03/02/2018, edited: 01/08/2021