Although Havanese are a naturally friendly and sociable breed, good socialization is still important to help your puppy grow into a well-rounded adult dog! Your Havanese breeder will start this socialization process when your puppy is only a few days old, but it’s up to you to continue it once your puppy has come home!
It is advised that your puppy not be on the ground in places where other dogs (especially other puppies) frequent until they have received their last puppy inoculations at around 16 weeks old. Most deadly diseases passed by other dogs are passed by improperly cared for puppies.
Before then, you can socialize your puppy with friends, family, and their adult dogs who are known to be healthy and fully vaccinated. Puppy classes are another great option and can be started as early as two months of age. Puppy classes are offered by many private trainers, pet stores, and animal shelters.
It’s important to take things slow with socialization! Doing too much too fast could be overwhelming for your puppy. You should also be careful to keep interactions positive and structured. If your puppy has negative experiences at this age, then fear from those experiences may follow them throughout their lifetime. For example, if a strange man wearing a hat startles your puppy, then they may be afraid of strange men wearing hats as an adult.
While taking things slow is important, it’s equally important that you socialize your puppy to a wide array of stimuli and experiences. The more surfaces, noises, people, and places your puppy is exposed to, the better! If your dog never encounters an umbrella until adulthood, then they may be scared of it. As a puppy they are much more open to these new experiences and willing to absorb them in a positive manner.
Make sure to bring treats along with you on any socialization expeditions! Havanese respond best to positive reinforcement!