Training your Havanese is an important part of pet ownership. The Havanese is both trainable and very intelligent with a sweet, non-quarrelsome disposition. Havanese training will be as simple and enjoyable as you make it to be. This is a breed that learns quickly and is eager to please you. Thus, you can use their cleverness to your advantage and help them develop into the model companion you want him to be.
- Begin training right away - Start when he is a puppy, as soon as you bring him home. Do not wait until he has already begun to develop his own habits before you train him.
- Socialize him - Though the havanese is a very social dog that tends to like everyone, it is your job to make sure your pet lives up to this particular characteristic. He must be introduced to your guests, neighbors, strangers on walks, other dogs, delivery people and anyone else he may encounter on a regular basis. The more familiar he is with adults, children and other animals, the happier he will be.
- Firm but gentle instruction - havanese training should be conducted in a very positive manner. If you yell at your canine or speak to him harshly, this will only upset him and deter him from wanting to learn. You don’t want your dog to fear you.
- Remain constant in your teachings - Make sure you use the same hand signals, tone of voice and words when you give him an instruction. The more everything is the same, the quicker he will grasp it. In addition, make sure other people in your household use the same techniques as you when giving commands so he doesn’t become confused.
- Only give a command when you mean it - If you want your canine’s respect you need to make sure you follow through with your orders.
Motivation is perhaps the most important factor in successful positive reinforcement training. Because you are not forcing your dog to learn, you have to find a way to help her want to learn, by using motivators, or rewards. Fortunately, most dogs are willing to work for a reward, so finding motivators that work is usually fairly easy
Food is a primary motivator for most animals, including dogs. It works well for training, (especially for teaching new behaviors) because many dogs are strongly motivated by it, you can use small pieces that are quickly eaten so the dog can get back to the task at hand, and because you can link food to a "bridge" or "marker". Praise, both voice praise and patting, can be good rewards that work well once the dog has learned the new behavior. Looking at your dog is also a reward for a dog has learned that eye contact is positive attention.
Timing is an important key to success in training with positive reinforcement techniques. It is important to reward the dog (with a Click! or "Yes!") at the exact moment she is doing something right, then follow quickly (or a little later, for a more advanced dog) with a food reward. The better your timing, the more it will all make sense to your dog, and the more quickly she will learn. It is astounding how quickly a motivated dog can learn with a human who has good timing.
Name / Attention
Name Response - your dog's name does not mean come. It simply means “Look at me and wait for further instructions. While your dog is looking at you, say her name and offer a treat. Crick! or say "Yes!" as she looks at you. Do this several times to "condition", the dog to the reward marker and the treat when you say her name. When you think the dog is conditioned, wait until she looks away and say her name. If she looks back at you right away, click! or say “Yes!” and give a treat. If she doesn't look at you, spend more time conditioning her to her name. When she will look at you on cue, click! and reward ,several times at random intervals while she is looking at you to teach her that is rewarding to keep looking at you.
Below are some training guidelines to teach your Havanese some important commands and behaviours: