Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

What Do You Do When Your Puppy Turns You Into A Pile of Mush Every Time You Look At Her??

Seriously folks, we’re losing the battle of strength against this face!

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Havachon Food Fun – Canine “Ratatouille”


I'll play with this grain of rice until it dissolves!


If you’ve ever seen the animated movie “Ratatouille”, you’ll understand why we compare our little Havachon puppy to the main character, who’s a chef named Remy. He just happens to be a rat….but a cute one.

Boiling the movie down to its absolute core, the movie is about an adorable little street rat (yes, they actually made a rat look adorable in this movie!) who refuses to eat trash or whatever else comes his way. He’s got a gourmet palate – his senses of smell and taste are acute, and he can only eat good food. He can discern every single ingredient in a recipe and tries to educate his fellow street rats so they can appreciate gourmet food rather than scarfing down every disgusting, rotten remnant they find in streets and alleys. Gordon Ramsay would have loved having him on Hell’s Kitchen!! 🙂

But this is all to no avail. So he leaves his rat pack and through a series of events, he ends up becoming the head chef of a fancy restaurant in France.

What does this have to do with Daisy, you ask? Well, when it comes to food, she has a couple of things in common with Remy. If we give her a teeny, tiny piece of something she’s never tasted before, she excitedly but gingerly takes it with her front teeth and trots off happily into the family room with it.

And that’s where the hours of food fun begin. She puts it down and looks at it carefully, sniffs it liberally, thinks about it for a minute, then licks  it cautiously. Then she gets down to business. Lying down on the floor with the treasured bit before her, she picks it up in her mouth and puts it down, over and over again. Sometimes she trots around to different spots and repeats this performance until finally, 10 or so minutes later, she actually eats the thing.

We introduce new, safe food items (we don’t feed her table scraps or anything much besides dog food and treats) in tiny amounts because her sensitive little tummy needs to adjust to new foods slowly, or we’re doing a lot of cleanup. And it’s not pretty.

I gave her the tiniest, 1/8 inch bit of pretzel last night, and somehow she made it last throughout her entire routine. Same thing with one Rice Krispie and one grain of rice – go figure! She’s a funny little gal.

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Who Needs a Halloween Costume? This Havachon Has Bat Ears!

I think the picture says it all.

Daisy LOVES hanging her head backward or sideways over our arms – she falls asleep like that all the time! It looks so uncomfortable, but that’s our kookie little puppy.

She does have neck muscles that would be the envy of every pumped-up body builder!

Maybe we should just put some black bat wings on her and carry her around upside-down for Halloween….. 🙂


Our Havachon Has Our Genes!

They say that adopted children many times take on the traits and looks of their adoptive parents. We think this is true of adopted puppies as well. 😉


I will SO do it if I want to!!


Before DD was born, we knew two things about her: she’d have curly hair, and she’d have a stubborn streak. Both traits run heavily through both of our families.

She did – on both counts.

Well, Daisy’s no different. She had long, puffy, straight hair when we got her, and it’s now curly, curly, curly! And she definitely has that stubborn streak that surfaces any time she wants to have things her way. It’s a funny process, actually – she’ll do something that’s not allowed, and when we tell her “no” the first time, she just stands there staring at us with this funny little expression on her face, like she’s really thinking about it and contemplating why we wouldn’t allow that.

She eventually returns to the scene of the crime and does it again. But this time, she’s ready for us. When we say “no”, she yaps back at us. One quick, complaining little yap, along with a little hop that puts her body sideways to us, ready to bolt away in case we try to pick her up and put her in the naughty room (which is the laundry room; this only happens when she does something really bad, though) for a couple of minutes.

But she’s ready for anything – if we follow her yap with another “no”, she lets out a shrill yap and starts racing around the room like a lunatic, letting out little grumbles and under-her-breath barks. Just like a teenager who’s been sent to her room and mumbles under her breath the entire time she’s stomping away.

But that stubbornness is there – like with the sofa-jumping episode, she’ll walk over to whatever it is she’s not supposed to touch and look at it, look at us, then look back at it, deciding if she can get away with it again. Stubborn.

If she commits the crime a third time, she looks at us sideways and is ready to bolt. She yaps as if to say, “Look! I did it again! Aren’t you going to  scold me?” This time, we tell her “no”, then just ignore her, and usually the bad behavior stops. I guess it’s just no fun anymore if no one is going to pay any attention to it.

But those aren’t the only coincidences. DD had one baby tooth that just refused to fall out on its own. Her adult tooth was trying to push its way in and ended up starting to emerge through the side of her gum, next to the baby tooth. We had to have the baby tooth pulled. Well, wouldn’t you know that Daisy has two baby teeth – her upper canines – that are rock solid and sitting right up against the adult canines that already came in? Now the vet has to pull them during her spay surgery.

So, Daisy is one puppy who is truly one of the family, all the way down to her genetics, it seems! 🙂

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Popping Puppy

Sometimes this little puppy is like popcorn – if you’re lying on the sofa, all of a sudden this head pop-pop-pops up and down next to yours over and over again. It’s like she’s being launched from a hot air popcorn popper. We can’t even get a picture of it, they all just come out like furry blurs.

Her legs must be made of springs – BOING BOING BOING!


Uh ohhh...am I in trouble?


She’ll jump completely off the ground, all fours in the air, a good foot or so high. Sometimes she races across the room and makes that springy jump with all that running momentum behind her, thrusting her head out in an attempt to land on the sofa seat….and she gets really close!

We tried to dissuade her from doing this, because not everyone finds it amusing to have a dog catapult itself onto their laps. No matter how cute or little the dog may be, thrusting themselves full force onto the laps of guests who may be dressed up or wearing stockings or fine materials isn’t exactly a welcome visit!

We failed in this attempt, however. Fortunately we’ve covered the sofa seats with old sheets, just in case. Thank goodness we did!

Last week I came into the family room and found Daisy sitting on the love seat, frozen in place, just staring at me, not moving a muscle. This is what she does when she knows she’s done wrong.

I reprimanded her and put her back down on the floor. She did it 2 more times that day! She does have a stubborn streak….

The third time I found her on the loveseat, I told her to get down rather than putting her down on the floor. She’d never jumped from that height before, which I hadn’t thought about until she landed with a THUD and stood there, clearly shaken. She didn’t like that feeling at all.

Guess what? She hasn’t even tried to jump back up on the sofa since then. I guess that landing taught her a lesson…for now, anyway!

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Choosing a Dog Kennel

The thought of leaving Daisy at a kennel doesn’t exactly thrill us, but we have no choice. Personally, a dogsitter isn’t an option for us; we just don’t like the idea of someone having complete access to our home. That’s simply a personal preference.

Which leaves the kennel. We want a place that will treat Daisy like one of the family but won’t cost us an exorbitant amount of money. We also want to get the same Daisy back – when I was a kid, we put our dog in the local kennel for a week while we were away. In those years, there was no discussion about which kennel to choose, you just put your dog in whatever kennel was near you and that was that. Well, we did NOT get the same dog back – she sat with her back to us in the car and she didn’t interact with us for quite a while – over a week – essentially she was snubbing us. She seemed hurt and angry that we’d abandoned her like that. Thinking back, I’ll bet the kennel care wasn’t very good. I don’t want that to happen again.

I'm all suited up and ready to go!

Two places were recommended by our vet’s office, which we’ll check out soon – we’re not actually going anywhere now, but we want to be prepared and not leave it until the last minute. I made a checklist of things to check for, all recommended by experts:

1. Take your dog with you so she’ll have some recollection of the place. Her first visit there shouldn’t be the one where she’s suddenly left without you.

2. Do a “pop-in” visit – any kennel that needs notice that you’ll be coming in may have something to hide. You don’t want them on their best behavior for new clients, you want to see them “as is” – the real thing that your dog will be exposed to.

3. A “pop-in” visit will also show you whether climate controls are being used – the kennels should be air conditioned during the summer and heated during the winter. Your dog needs the same conditions she’s used to at home and needs relief from extreme temperatures and sun exposure.

4. If your dog isn’t used to being with other dogs or you don’t want him socializing without you being there, make sure the kennel offers private one-on-one outdoor playtime between a staff member and your dog, without other dogs being in the play yard.

5. Some places charge extra for “cuddle time”, extra play time, administering medicine, etc. These places usually have very low daily rates, but when you add in all the extras you may need or want, you could be looking at a far more expensive daily rate. And the services that are included with the low daily rate are usually very minimal, so check the details to make sure your dog can tolerate minimal care. One low-priced place we checked out only offered 20 minutes of human interaction per day, and every extra 15 minutes would cost more; for Daisy, 20 minutes is far too little. She’s used to much more attention, so we need a place with more human contact.

6. There is a possibility that if your dog needs veterinary attention for any reason while you’re away, the kennel could charge an hourly rate plus a mileage fee to get your dog to the vet and back. Some other kennels only use their own visiting vets, which still entails a fee but you don’t know what kind of care that unknown vet is giving your dog. Check before booking to see what the kennel’s practices are for emergency veterinary care.

7. Does the kennel accept pit bulls,  rotweilers, or other potentially vicious dogs that might view your small dog as  a target? Pit bulls, for instance, are known as great escape artists, so you need to know what other kinds of dogs are being housed there.

8. How many dogs do they accept at one time? The more “house guests” they have, the less time they’ll have to devote to each dog, depending on the size of the staff.

9. Are fences and protective barriers secure? Does the kennel smell? Is it clean? Do they check dogs for fleas, parasites, etc. that could possibly infect your dog? Do they require proof of all vaccinations? Is the staff friendly? Is someone there around the clock or only during office hours?

10. Make sure the kennel allows you to bring your dog’s favorite toys and/or bedding. If your dog is on a special diet or you don’t want him given different food or treats, make sure they allow you to do that. Some kennels charge extra for that service too.

11. Size matters. Your dog’s run should give her enough room to trot around and wag her tail – 4’x10′ is the recommended minimum for a medium-sized dog.

It can’t hurt to check potential kennels out with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints against them. A perfect rating with no registered complaints doesn’t mean there are no problems with the kennel, but a failing rating can help to eliminate a kennel right away.

Some kennels offer round-the-clock Doggie Cams so you can see your dog online any time of the day or night.

If you notice, there’s one important underlying criteria here – the kennel should suit your dog’s personality and the lifestyle she’s accustomed to. If you have a rugged, outdoor dog who doesn’t need pampering or cuddling, then those things wouldn’t be of consideration to you. But a family pet who’s used to a lot of affection and attention may not be well suited to a minimalist type of kennel and could suffer from her stay, sometimes with long-term consequences.

In the end, be as careful about choosing your dog’s kennel as you would about choosing your child’s preschool or summer camp!

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Pink Fuzzy Slippers RULE….A Girly Puppy Tale

You know you’ve got a “girly puppy” when shoes are more important to her than food, toys, playtime, air….

There's nothing like new pink fuzzy slippers for tired paws!

Yes,we have a “girly puppy”. BIG time. Daisy gets more excited over new shoes than new toys.

See this picture? This was a brand new pair of DD’s pink fuzzy slippers that attracted Daisy like a magnet to a giant hunk of steel – and she was just as hard to pull off. The second those slippers came out of the box, Daisy was on them….or should I say, IN them.

I should mention that the whole reason DD had to get a new pair of slippers in the first place was because Daisy had licked the old pair to the point where DD was not going to put her feet into them again…EVER. We couldn’t wash that particular pair, but the memory of seeing those slobber-soaked slippers would have deterred DD from wearing them again even if Silkwood-strength cleaning agents had been used.

When the new slippers made their first appearance last week, Daisy excitedly pounced on them, sticking her entire face INTO one of the slippers. I mean, that little face was buried in there.  And her little paws were holding the slipper in place while she savored the softness.

She sniffed and, unfortunately, started licking the inside; when we told her “no”, she just froze and left her face buried in the slipper. When she finally surfaced, she looked like the happiest little thing in the world. DD had originally considered giving Daisy her old slippers, but after the romance of licking had passed, Daisy started chewing them, and we knew where all that pink fuzz was going to end up….and how it would make its exit. Not a pretty picture.

Anyway, DD took the new slippers away from Daisy, but every time DD wears them, Daisy is all over them. Every step DD takes has to be slow, shuffly, and coupled with “NO” to get Daisy off her feet. It’s really pretty funny (probably because it’s not me who’s getting tripped up!).

Remember the post where I said that Daisy studies us, then tries to copy us? Well, the last time DD took her new slippers off in the family room, Daisy laid down behind them and slid her two front legs into them – that’s what you see in the picture above. She just laid there for the longest time, wearing those slippers like a person would, eventually dozing off with her head resting on top of the slippers.

You’ve never seen such a contented puppy.


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Expect the Unexpected – Havachon Secrets

You never know what to expect with any type of puppy you buy, but that’s just part of the fun of getting to know each other! I can’t speak for all breeds of dogs, but there are definitely some unexpected personality and behavioral traits we’ve noticed in our little Havachon puppy so far.


I can't believe I was EVER that little! I looked like a furry caterpillar!


Picture the scene: We first met our little Havanese-Bichon mix when she was about 10 weeks old. She was just a little fluff ball who hadn’t yet found her voice and sat quietly with a shy little expression on her face.

“Havachons are shy dogs,” the shop owner said. “They’ll play when you put them on the floor, but they’re generally very quiet and calm down as soon as you pick them up.”

This was the first Havachon she had dealt with, so what did she know? Nothing, apparently!

We visited our little Havachon in the shop 3 times before taking her home, and no matter what we did, we couldn’t get her to play. The owner assured us that the puppy was active, but not overly so. “She’s a shy, quiet type,” she repeated over and over again.


I'm so big, I take up my whole bed now instead of just a corner!


When we brought our little bundle of fur home a week later, she still had that shy look on her face and didn’t move around much. We were concerned that maybe she had suffered some kind of early trauma that had affected her permanently….WRONG! It didn’t take very long for her to come out of her little frightened shell. Within days, we had a scampering puppy whose shyness was only directed at strangers. Now, that’s gone too!

There isn’t a lot of Havachon information around yet, but what there is states that these dogs are shy – that seems to be the most common descriptive word used about them. Our Havachon is 6 months old now, and there isn’t a shy bone in her body. She greets strangers with enthusiasm, seeks out new “adventures” without hesitation, and uses that voice she found with gusto. Shyness is a thing of the past. We now have a puppy who’s very loving, very sweet, and lots of fun to be around. Of all the descriptive words people use about her, “sweet” and “happy” are the most common ones. Lesson learned: Dogs don’t follow scripts; they’re as individual as we are, and what we put into them affects who they become.

“Havachons train fast – in a week, we got her completely trained on the wee-wee pad.” Wow, that shop owner didn’t know these puppies at all! It’s taken the better part of 6 months to get her to be consistent, which I now understand is common – actually, most owners of small dogs, including the Havanese and Bichon owners I’ve talked to, say that consistency took them about a year.

Daisy led us to believe she was trained after we were working on it for a week; the second week was perfect. Then came the slip-ups, the outright refusals to go on the pad, and a back-and-forth period. Now we seem to have reached a completely consistent routine, and all’s right with the world again. 🙂 Lesson learned: Don’t expect that first sign of perfection to mean the training period is over.

Havachons are smart and like to copy their owners. Daisy studies us at work, play, and rest – you can see that little mind working – and after a few months of watching us at mealtime, she started sitting down when eating her own


Everyone else sits when they eat, so I will too!


breakfast and dinner! She also takes many cues from us when it comes to dealing with new situations. Lesson learned: Be careful what kind of behaviors and attitudes you model, your puppy will pick up on them!

Havachons also like to tower over their environments and survey their territory. I swear, if she had a perch near the ceiling, she’d find a way to get to it, and it would be her favorite spot! For the first few months, when we’d pick Daisy up and put her on our laps, she’d just curl up and enjoy being stroked. Recently, she started standing on our laps, then sitting tall while slowly overlooking every foot of the room, one bit at a time. “It’s my domain,” she seems to say, “I have to make sure everything’s okay.” Only after she studies the room for a while does she finally cuddle up and nap. From those first few months, we expected a dog who was only interested in cuddling, but there’s much more to her than that!

Lesson learned: Puppies evolve as they grow, just like children. They’ll change over time – especially breeds with stronger personalities and genetics – and we need to be flexible enough to give them the space to come into their own without letting them rule the roost!

I’m sure we’ll learn more and more about this new breed as the months and years go by – it keeps things interesting!


Out of Place – Havachon Law and Order


You don't belong there!!


Our little Havachon  puppy is an orderly sort of gal. She collects her toys and puts them either into a pile or into a triangle. She carries her blanket from room to room and tries to spread it out so she can lie on it, especially when it’s not on carpeting. And she HATES it when things are out of place.

Yesterday morning I took the dishwashing bottle out from under the sink and put it on the counter so I wouldn’t forget to turn the dishwasher on after lunch. I had my computer at the kitchen table and started working. Out of nowhere, Daisy starts bfffing – “bfff! bfff!” – you know, that sound dogs make that’s like a small closed-mouthed bark; it tells you something’s got their attention, but it’s not quite worthy of a bark…yet.

I looked to see Daisy posturing in her “something’s-not-right-here” pose, and she was pointing toward the window over the kitchen sink. I thought someone was coming to the door, but there was no one around when I looked outside. Again, “bffff! bffffff! bfffffffff!” a little more adamantly. Then the full-out barking started; this is coupled with her running in and out of the room, racing around the family room then back into the kitchen and throwing a loud YAP in the direction of the problem. This repeats over and over. I thought the poor puppy was losing her mind – and then I saw IT. The offending bottle that didn’t belong on the kitchen counter, just sitting there, bold as you please.

I put the bottle away and all was golden again. She took one look at the counter top, looked at me, and trotted proudly out of the room as if to say, “There! That’s done! Everything’s as it should be.”

This happens with lots of different things – a chair that’s out of place, s Swiffer left in the kitchen instead of in the laundry room – you get the idea.

Today was something a little unique, though. Usually if we’re going to watch a DVD, we turn the TV on right away. But today, the DVD was put into the player, which made its usual whirring sound, without the TV being turned on. Daisy was walking past and, hearing the whirring sound, glanced over her shoulder at the TV (yes, she does actually watch TV with us for short periods sometimes), where she saw and heard nothing.

This perturbed her.

She started into her “something’s-out-of-place” routine, taking small steps backward, eyes fastened on the TV, ears sharply raised, tail high. Then the bfffing started. “Something’s wrong here and I must fix it!” she seemed to be saying. And then came the barking, only she didn’t run around this time – she laid down on the floor and just started barking at the dark TV. I watched this for a while, then put it to the test – I turned on the TV and sure enough the barking stopped immediately. All was right with the world once again.

Apparently it is the Havachon Law that there must be Order.


Havachon Laundry Lessons

Daisy seems to have a real affinity for laundry – after all, it’s the one thing that she always tries to pull off the sofa when it’s piled up, waiting to be folded…well, that and the fleece throws that she likes cuddling up with!

Whenever I take the laundry basket into the laundry room, there she is, trotting alongside me as if something exciting is about to happen. She watches me sort, toss, and start the washing machine as if she’s taking mental notes; then she seriously gets into part 2, when I move the clothes from the washer to the dryer. That’s her favorite part.

So I decided to teach her some lessons about how to do laundry – mostly to entertain myself, I guess! As I take each article of clothing out of the washing machine, I tell her “shake and throw” in a singsong voice, as I shake

This sure smells April fresh!

the folds out of wet pants and shirts, then throw them into the dryer. Again, she watches and listens intently – I swear one day I’m going to find her doing her own “shake and throw”!

Wouldn’t it be great if she could be taught to pick up anything that misses the dryer and falls on the floor? Like that occasional sock that just refuses to go into the dryer and falls down in front of her? She sniffs and sniffs anything that ends up in her domain (the floor), and playfully nips at pant legs that hang out of the dryer opening.

Maybe one day she can become a part-time laundress! 🙂


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