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Preparing to Bring Home a Dog: Helpful Hints for a New Puppy Buyer

by Mary Fincher on 02/17/23

So, you finally decided to get that purebred Havanese you've always wanted to have! What an exciting time! Not only that you're about to make your household livelier with your new puppy, but you're also embarking on an exciting journey with your new family member.

But before you get too excited, a few things need to be done to ensure your pup's transition into its new home is as seamless as possible. Here are our tips to help you prepare and get off on the right paw.

• Puppy-proof” your home.
Before your Havanese puppy arrives, go through each room of the house and make it as safe as possible. Your puppy will chew on everything so take caution about what is in the environment, like electrical cords, paper, children’s toys, and plants. That means removing any small items or loose wires, as these could be choking hazards. You should also secure garbage cans with lids, replace poisonous plants with pet-safe ones, and install some barriers to protect furniture, carpets, and other vulnerable surfaces.

More Safety Tips
Your puppy loves to run, climb, and jump. They do not know heights, so don’t leave them alone on the couch or high places. They will also jump out of your arms if not secure.

Do not let your puppy climb the stairs either, as they could stumble and fall down. Once your puppy is about 6-10 months old, their legs and knees are stronger and will learn how to walk up and down stairs and get off furniture.

Moreover, don’t run or chase your puppy and have them come to you instead. Call their name once, and when they come, highly reward them. If chased they will think it’s a game, and this could lead to an unfavorable behavior.

• Buy the necessary puppy supplies.
Make sure you've got all the essentials for your puppy. Apart from the basic items, such as food and water bowls, you should also get a leash, collar with an ID tag, dog bed, chew toys, poop bags, and some grooming supplies. You could also find a dog crate, which will come in handy if you take your pup on your travels or when your puppy is a little too rambunctious and needs to rest.

Using Leashes and Collars
Please do not use a retractable lease for walking, as it doesn’t give you proper control of your dog, which can be dangerous for them. Instead, it is recommended to use a harness or collar with a leash.

Brush your puppy everyday even though they will not need it. You will want him to get learn they have to be brushed. Touch him all over (feet, between toes, mouth, ears and private area). The more they’re are used to being touched, the more they will let you when they’re older.

Remember that puppies, such as a Havanese, don’t have regular dog fur. They have a double coat, with the undercoat keeping them cool in the summer and warm in the cold. This coat will start matting when the second coat comes in around 10 to 12 months of age, so regular brushing and grooming is important.  Keep in mind it is important not to shave dogs with double coats, but your dog’s hair can be cut short.

Your puppy can be bathed as much as once a week, but it is recommended to do it every 2 weeks, unless they get really dirty.

Remember the more they get used to be groomed as a puppy, the easier it is for you when they are grown.

 Stock up on quality dog food.
What your purebred Havanese eats is of the utmost importance. Feeding a balanced diet from the start will help your pup grow strong and healthy. Look for foods that contain quality proteins, whole grains, and vegetables. Avoid those with fillers, as these are usually low in nutritional value.

Aside from dog food, you could also have treats on hand to reward your pup's good behavior.

Feeding Your Pup
Until your puppy is about 12 weeks old, you will want to feed them 3 times a day. If they don’t eat all the food, after 15 minutes, take up the bowl.

Remember, when it comes to feeding a puppy, less is more. If you’re giving them good-quality dog food, then your puppy doesn’t need as much. You can start by giving them 1/8 cup per feeding. As they grow, you can gradually increase it to ¼ cup.  To give you an idea, I feed my adult dogs 1/3 cup twice a day.

Moreover, do not change food brands or feed different types of food. Your puppy will get the idea to wait on something different and may become a picky eater. 

 Learn how to potty train.
Puppies can definitely make a mess, so it's important that you learn how to potty train them as soon as possible.

Once you bring them home, establish a routine and start by introducing them to their designated bathroom spot outside or on puppy pads inside. Then, praise and reward your pup when they use the right spot, and don't forget to be patient—it won't happen overnight!

As for Havanese puppies, they’re very easy to potty train as long as you are consistent. Some even learn to ring a bell before going out.

At the beginning, you’ll need to take your puppy to the potty area often (every two hours), which can be after they eat and wake up. However, don’t feed them 2 hours before bed and 1 hour before bed for water. Remember that this breed loves paper (especially as a puppy) so take caution on paper training. You could use washable pads for this purpose.

If you have to take your puppy out to potty, you can also use an outdoor exercise pen. Even if you have a fence around your yard, this pen makes outdoor potty training easier, as you don’t have to go all over the place to try and find where they pooped.

Most importantly, please do not use electric fences, they can be extremely dangerous especially to little dogs!

Learn how to teach a dog to sleep at night.
For starters, you can have your new puppy sleep in a small plastic crate. Having a stuffed toy and washable pad helps keep the puppy feel secure. Also, make sure to get a crate that is just big enough for them to turn around.

You can have your pup sleep in his crate in your room, so they’ll hear you and will know they’re not alone.  If you have a stool or chair next to your bed, it would be best to put the crate on it.

Puppies would also cry if they think they’re alone, and if this happens, you can tell them they’re okay and place your hand in front of the crate. If they wake up in the middle of the night and will not settle, take them to the potty area. Be sure to put them back to bed right after he goes potty (no food, treats or playing). Remember—don’t leave them for long periods outside, the more they’ll likely cry.

• Find good dog walking and sitting services.
There will be times when you won't be around to look after your Havanese puppy, so it is important that you check out some dog walking and pet-sitting services in your area. With them, you can rest assured knowing your pup is in good hands when you're away from home.

• Invest in puppy classes.
If you don't have the time or the knack to train your puppy yourself, consider enrolling them in dog classes. These are great ways to help them learn basic commands and socialize with other dogs.

You can start training your puppy as soon as you get them home. However, they’ll need to get their vaccines first, as they’ll be with other dogs during their sessions.

 Find a vet.
Before you bring home your new puppy, it is best to find a vet clinic. This way, you already have a place to take your pup in case they need some medical attention or when it is time to get their vaccines. It’ll save you a lot of time!

Recommendations on Vaccines and Flea and Tick Preventions

Vaccinations are always recommended for dogs, but it’s also important to remember that some pups might have some allergic reactions to certain vaccines.

With the Havanese breed, we have found the
Leptospirosis vaccine to be the one that’s most likely to cause a reaction. This is an optional vaccine to protect your dog from a virus they get out of drinking standing outside water where other wild animals go. If you choose to have them receive this vaccine, just be sure they are of the right age. And, always remember to consult your veterinarian on all vaccines.

• Understand that it is a long-term commitment.
Most importantly, remember that welcoming a purebred Havanese to your family isn't just a weekend project. You will need to provide them with plenty of love, care, and attention throughout their lives. Again, that means regular vet visits, grooming sessions, and regular play times. So, make sure you're ready to take on this long-term commitment before bringing your pup home.

Living with a
 Havanese or any other puppy can be fun and rewarding, but only if you are prepared. So, take some time and follow these tips to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible.

I hope this guide helps, and please, you are welcome to contact me with any questions you may have. I also recommend you talking with your veterinarian with any concerns.

Good luck on this wonderful journey!


Mary Fincher


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