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Introducing Your Havanese to Children: Do's and Don't's

Introducing Your Havanese to Children: Do's and Don't's

introducing your Havanese to childrenAlthough Havanese are known as a gentle and friendly breed, introducing any new puppy or dog to your children can be scary. Fortunately, introductions aren’t actually as daunting as you think! Havanese are a hardy breed and can do just fine around even unruly children, but out of respect for your dog and safety for your children, it’s important that you approach introductions carefully and with consideration to both dog and children.

  1. Do Keep Calm

Both dogs and children can sense anxiety or stress in their handler or parent, respectively. If you’re nervous, then they will be, too! So take a breath and make sure that you’re relaxed yourself before attempting any handling or introductions.

  1. Don't Rush

As the saying goes, “You can’t rush perfection.” Remember that you are building a, hopefully, lifelong bond between your Havanese and your children. Take things slow and be mindful of your children and dog; let them set the pace!

  1. Do Let Your Pup Settle In

Your Havanese just went through a BIG life change! Be respectful of that by giving them at least a few days to settle in and adjust to their new surroundings. Use this time to get your children and puppy accustomed to each other without meeting face-to-face; e.g. give your Havanese some clothes to sniff and lay near, talk with your children about how to behave around a dog. (depending on your circumstances and your children, consider getting them a stuffed dog toy to practice gentle petting on)

  1. Don't Allow Puppy or Children to Run Amok

Before introducing your Havanese and children, consider whether both are calm enough. Does your child not know their own strength? Does your Havanese also not know their own strength? The gentleness required of petting an animal, especially a puppy, doesn’t come innately to most children. Equally, puppies are often boisterous and may be prone to jumping, and rarely, mouthing or nipping.

  1. Do Set Boundaries Early

Puppies are cute and harmless, which often means that they get away with behaviors they shouldn’t, and while Havanese are not a large breed, they can be strong for their size. Make it clear from the beginning that jumping or nipping won’t be tolerated and you’ll avoid problems down the line.

It’s equally important to have your children understand that your Havanese has boundaries, too! Havanese are a sweet and friendly breed and aggression is rarely ever a problem as long as they’re healthy and well-bred. Still, your children should understand to leave the dog alone when it’s eating food or chewing on a treat, not to force attention upon the dog, and that, should you decide to crate train, the crate is the dog’s refuge and should not be intruded upon. Of course, all these things go both ways: your Havanese should be trained to understand when your children say no, your Havanese should not be allowed to beg or jump up for food, and your children may desire a place away from a possibly boisterous puppy (such as their bedroom).

  1. Don't Force the Situation

Never restrain your Havanese and force them into a situation where they’re uncomfortable. This can create a negative association between both you and the dog as well as the dog and your children. Additionally, a dog who feels trapped may lash out with teeth. Again, Havanese are generally a social and friendly breed, so this should not be a problem for you!

  1. Do Bring Positive Reinforcement

Dogs and children alike respond well to positive reinforcement. Consider enlisting some of the Havanese’s favorite treats and allow your children to hand them out, or bring in some of your Havanese’s favorite toys for them to play with together!

  1. Do Involve Your Children with Training

Training can build an unbreakable bond between dog and handler. Teach your children how to use a clicker and guide them through teaching your Havanese basic tricks like sit, down, or stay. This will help build respect and trust between them and give your children an understanding for what’s involved in raising a dog.

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