Starting your Havanese young on proper loose leash walking will prevent leash pulling from becoming a problem. But if you acquired an adult Havanese who hadn’t been leash trained, or simply slacked on the training yourself when they were a puppy, then this might be an issue you’re facing.
While small dogs are not as strong as big dogs and thus pulling does not pose the same physical challenge or problem, it is still nuisance behavior. Further, allowing it to continue does you no favors for impulse control or general politeness.
Dogs pull on the leash to get to something they find interesting, and by giving into it and allowing them to pull you toward their spot or object of interest, they learn that pulling gets them what they want. So to fix leash pulling, you have to teach your Havanese that pulling won’t get them what they want!
To start with, if you currently walk your Havanese on a retractable lead, then stop. Retractable leads work by expanding when your dog reaches the end and pulls to drag out more lead. While they can be used alongside polite leash walking, if your dog currently has a leash pulling problem then the retractable lead will exacerbate it. Furthermore, training your Havanese to loose leash walking will be dependent upon your ability to refuse them access to walking toward what they find intriguing. An unlocked retractable lead makes this impossible.
The actual training itself is simple! When your dog starts to pull toward something, stop and stand still as a statue until they give up and return to your side. Reward your Havanese for returning to your side and then proceed with your walk. Repeat this process each time your dog pulls. Reward them at random intervals, so long as they aren’t pulling.
Eventually, your Havanese will learn that pulling doesn’t get them what they want, but polite walking might!