How to Train Your Havanese

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How to Train Your Havanese
By LITTLE PUPPY PAWS | October 26, 2023
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Havanese dogs are known for their lively personalities, adorable appearance, and friendly disposition. These small and charming pups make excellent companions for individuals and families alike. However, like all dogs, Havanese require proper training to ensure they grow up to be well-behaved and obedient pets.

To train your Havanese effectively, start early, use positive reinforcement techniques like treats and praise, be consistent in your commands, and maintain patience throughout the training process. Keep sessions short and enjoyable, gradually introducing basic obedience commands, crate training, and housebreaking. As your Havanese progresses, delve into more advanced training and tricks to stimulate their intellect and strengthen the bond between you and your beloved companion. Address any behavioral issues with positive reinforcement, ensuring that your Havanese grows into a well-trained and well-mannered family member.


Understanding the Havanese Breed

Before diving into training techniques, it’s essential to understand the Havanese breed’s unique characteristics and temperament. This knowledge will help you tailor your training methods to suit your dog’s needs effectively.

Havanese Characteristics

  • Size: Havanese dogs are small in size, typically weighing between 7 to 13 pounds and standing 8.5 to 11.5 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • Coat: They have a beautiful, silky coat that can come in various colors, including white, cream, fawn, gold, black, and more. Their coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting.
  • Personality: Havanese are known for their friendly, affectionate, and playful nature. They are often described as “velcro dogs” because they love to be with their owners and form strong bonds.
  • Intelligence: These dogs are intelligent and eager to please, making them highly trainable.
  • Energy Level: While they are active and playful, Havanese dogs are not hyperactive. They enjoy short bursts of play and are content with moderate exercise.
  • Socialization: Havanese are generally good with other dogs and pets, as well as with children. However, early socialization is crucial to ensure they develop proper social skills.

Understanding these characteristics will help you approach your Havanese’s training with a better grasp of their personality and needs.


The Fundamentals of Havanese Training

Training a Havanese can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for both you and your furry companion. These charming little dogs are known for their affectionate nature and intelligence, making them quick learners when it comes to obedience and tricks. 

Start Early

Training should begin as soon as you bring your Havanese puppy home. Puppies have a remarkable capacity for learning and adapting to new environments. The earlier you start, the better foundation you can lay for their future behavior.

Positive Reinforcement

Havanese dogs respond exceptionally well to positive reinforcement. Use treats, praise, and affection to reward good behavior. This will motivate your dog to repeat those behaviors.

Consistency is Key

Consistency is crucial in dog training. Use the same commands and signals each time you ask your Havanese to perform a task. This consistency helps them understand what is expected of them.

Patience and Persistence

Training can be challenging, especially for a puppy. Be patient and persistent. Avoid getting frustrated, as this can confuse your dog and hinder progress.

Short Training Sessions

Havanese puppies have short attention spans. Keep training sessions short and enjoyable to maintain their focus. Frequent, brief sessions are more effective than long, tedious ones.


Expose your Havanese puppy to various people, animals, and environments to ensure they become well-adjusted and sociable adults. Early socialization is vital to prevent fear or aggression issues later on.


Basic Obedience Commands

Basic obedience commands are the building blocks of a well-behaved Havanese. Teaching your dog these fundamental commands not only ensures their safety but also fosters a strong bond of trust and communication between you and your furry companion.



Teaching your Havanese to sit is one of the first commands you should master. It’s a fundamental command that forms the basis for many other behaviors.

  • Hold a treat close to your puppy’s nose, then slowly move your hand up above their head.
  • As their head goes up and their butt goes down, say “sit.”
  • Once they are seated, give them the treat and praise them enthusiastically.

Repeat this process until your Havanese reliably sits when you give the command.



Teaching your dog to stay is crucial for their safety and your peace of mind.

  • Have your dog sit.
  • Hold your palm out, facing them, and say “stay.”
  • Take a step back and wait a moment.
  • If they stay in place, reward them. If they move, gently return them to the sit position and try again.

Gradually increase the duration and distance of the stay as your Havanese becomes more proficient.



The recall command is essential for keeping your Havanese safe and under control.

  • Put a leash on your dog and let them wander a short distance.
  • Crouch down and call your dog’s name followed by “come.”
  • Gently pull on the leash to guide them toward you.
  • When they reach you, reward them with praise and a treat.

Practice this command in a controlled environment before using it in more distracting situations.



Teaching your dog to lie down on command can be useful in various situations.

  • Start with your dog in a sitting position.
  • Hold a treat near their nose, then slowly lower your hand to the ground.
  • As they follow the treat and lie down, say “down.”
  • Reward and praise them when they are in the down position.

Consistent practice will help your Havanese become proficient in this command.


Leave It

“Leave it” is a valuable command for preventing your dog from picking up harmful items or engaging in undesirable behaviors.

  • Show your dog a treat in your closed hand.
  • Allow them to sniff and paw at your hand.
  • When they stop trying to get the treat and look away, say “leave it” and open your hand to reveal the treat.
  • Reward them with the treat from your other hand.

This command can take some time to master, but it’s well worth the effort.


How to Start Crate Training

Crate training is an essential aspect of Havanese puppy training. A crate provides a safe and comfortable space for your dog and can help with housebreaking and preventing destructive behavior.

Choose the Right Crate

Select a crate that is large enough for your Havanese to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. However, it should not be so spacious that they can use one corner as a bathroom.

Positive Association

Make the crate a positive place for your dog by associating it with treats, toys, and comfort. Place their favorite toys and a soft blanket inside.

Gradual Introduction

Introduce your puppy to the crate gradually. Start by leaving the crate door open and allowing them to explore it on their terms. Encourage them to enter by placing treats inside.

Mealtime in the Crate

Feed your Havanese their meals near the crate, and gradually move the food inside. This creates a positive association between the crate and mealtime.

Short Periods of Confinement

Once your puppy is comfortable with the crate, start closing the door for short periods while you’re present. Gradually increase the duration over time.

Be Patient

Crate training can take time, so be patient and avoid using the crate as punishment. It should be a safe and comfortable space for your dog.


How to Start Housebreaking Your Havanese

Housebreaking, or potty training, is a significant aspect of raising a Havanese puppy. Consistency and patience are key to success.

Establish a Routine

Create a regular feeding and bathroom schedule for your puppy. Young puppies typically need to go outside to relieve themselves shortly after eating, drinking, or waking up from a nap.

Watch for Signs

Pay attention to your puppy’s behavior. Signs that they need to go outside may include sniffing, circling, or whining. When you notice these signs, take them outside immediately.

Use Positive Reinforcement

When your Havanese puppy goes potty outside, praise them and offer a treat as a reward. Positive reinforcement will help them associate going outside with positive experiences.

Clean Up Accidents Promptly

Accidents are bound to happen during the housebreaking process. When they do, clean up the mess promptly with an enzymatic cleaner to eliminate any lingering odors that might attract your puppy back to the same spot.

Be Patient

Housebreaking can be frustrating at times, but it’s essential to remain patient and consistent. Punishment for accidents is not effective and can create fear or anxiety in your dog.

Consider a Bell

Some Havanese owners find success in teaching their dogs to ring a bell when they need to go outside. To do this, hang a bell by the door and encourage your dog to ring it with their paw or nose before going out.


Advanced Training and Tricks

Once your Havanese has mastered basic obedience commands, you can move on to more advanced training and fun tricks. These not only provide mental stimulation but also strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend.


Havanese dogs are naturally playful, making fetch a fun and engaging activity. Start by teaching your dog to retrieve a toy, and gradually work up to fetching a ball or Frisbee.

Stay and Wait

Take the “stay” command to the next level by teaching your Havanese to stay and wait patiently, even when you’re out of sight. This can be useful in various situations, such as when guests arrive.

Spin or Twirl

Teaching your dog to spin or twirl on command is not only entertaining but also mentally stimulating. Use treats and gentle guidance to encourage your Havanese to make a full circle.


Training your dog to give a high-five is a cute trick that’s sure to impress friends and family. Hold a treat in your hand and raise it slightly above your dog’s head. When they raise their paw to reach for it, say “high-five” and reward them.

Roll Over

Rolling over is a fun trick that can be taught in stages. Start by getting your dog to lie down on their side, then encourage them to roll onto their back. Use treats and praise throughout the process.

Advanced Commands

Consider enrolling your Havanese in advanced obedience classes or working with a professional dog trainer to teach more complex commands like “heel,” “leave it,” or “quiet.” These commands can be incredibly useful in various situations.


Addressing Common Behavioral Issues

While Havanese dogs are generally well-mannered, they can develop behavioral issues like any other breed. Here are some common problems and how to address them:

Separation Anxiety

Havanese dogs are prone to separation anxiety due to their strong attachment to their owners. To combat this, gradually desensitize your dog to your departure cues and establish a calm routine before leaving.

Excessive Barking

Havanese dogs can be vocal, but excessive barking can be annoying. Use positive reinforcement to teach your dog the “quiet” command and address the root cause of their barking, whether it’s boredom, fear, or excitement.

Chewing and Destructive Behavior

Provide your Havanese with plenty of toys and chew items to prevent them from chewing on furniture or other household items. Supervise them closely when they’re out of the crate until they learn what is acceptable to chew.

Jumping Up

Havanese dogs are small and often jump to get attention. Teach them the “off” command to discourage jumping, and reward them when they greet people calmly.

Pulling on the Leash

Havanese dogs can be strong-willed when it comes to pulling on the leash. Consistent leash training and teaching them to walk calmly beside you are essential.


Training your Havanese dog is a rewarding journey that strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend while ensuring they become well-behaved and happy members of your family. Remember that Havanese dogs are intelligent and eager to please, so positive reinforcement and consistency are key to successful training. Start early, be patient, and have fun teaching your Havanese basic obedience commands, crate training, and housebreaking. Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, explore advanced training and tricks to keep your Havanese mentally stimulated and engaged. Address any behavioral issues promptly with patience and positive reinforcement. With time, effort, and love, your Havanese will grow into a well-trained and delightful companion.