So Very Young: Puppy Development, Birth to Three Months

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puppies for pat 2YOUNG PUPPY TIME is so treasured here at Bonita Havanese. We know how brief it is! From the nine weeks the pups spend in Mama’s womb to the 11-12 weeks when they are ready to go to their new homes, so much happens.

My clients often want to what the first three months are like in a puppy’s life. This young, they’re all like little factories, growing and changing every single day— mentally, physically, emotionally, and neurologically too. So here’s the development of your Havanese puppy in a nutshell:

Birth – 2 weeks
They are tiny, vulnerable little things. They’re born with eyes and ears shut, and no teeth. They eat and sleep and eat and sleep. Those little dream-shakes you see the puppy do in sleep? Huge changes are going on inside as the body grows. They stay warm and sleep in puppy piles, breathing and dreaming and nursing on Momma, getting stronger every day.

Around 2 weeks, they open their eyes, and all the connections between the eyes and the brain are developing like wildfire. They can see! They don’t have to nurse quite as often, and their body temperature is starting to regulate itself. But they still need to be kept warm.

3 – 4 weeks
Around 3 weeks, their ears open, and those tiny teeth will start appearing. They begin moving around a lot: rolling and ambling and bouncing around with the litter, testing out their voices, beginning to play. You’ll hear a bark, and a yip, and waroooooo and every other sound they can muster.

Everything is a new and stimulating experience, from a sound to a smell to a feel. The world is amazing! I’ve watched a litter this age tumbling around that suddenly all stop and listen if there’s a new sound. Like a sneeze.

puppies pat balck and white4 – 8 weeks
With those teeth, they can start eating solids, very gradually — like kibble that’s been soaked, and Momma will start back on the nursing some, which is a natural process — most puppies are weaned by the end of four weeks, and eating that good soaked kibble and drinking fresh water. We’ll also give them their first shots — and get them started on their regular vaccination schedule.

Meanwhile Momma is teaching them manners, and they start to learn a whole lot from each other — don’t bite too hard, for instance. Socializing is key at this stage, and the litter grows that way in leaps and bounds. They romp and play and get stronger, interacting with us as well. They’re being exposed to new sights and sounds, learning to venture around on their own. Their own curiosity prompts them to explore. They get used to being cuddled and picked up. And they’re developing so much every day. From one day to the next they can look like they’re changed. Their features are getting more pronounced, even though they still look like woolly little clown-bears.

8 – 12 weeks
Our puppies are very sturdy and very outgoing and smart, and even at the age of two months they’ll look you straight in the eye with that special, sweet expression of theirs. In other words, they are already melting hearts. But every day is a new experience, and they are learning by leaps and bounds now, bold and really showing their intelligence. They’re also far more coordinated, which means that for little pups, they are fast.

We keep our puppies until 11-12 weeks here, which is ideal for Havanese puppies — tiny breeds mature a bit more slowly than the larger breeds, and we’d never recommend someone take a Havaesese puppy at 8 weeks (it’s too young). But at 11-12 weeks, they are ready to become part of your family. Welcome home!

Black puppyPuppies are individuals

Keep in mind that every puppy is different, just like people. And Havanese dogs act like puppies for quite a while! And remember that you’re also getting used to having the little clown at home. By nature these are curious and playful dogs. So it’s important not to be too harsh or impatient. Puppies learn by exploring. And with these babies, a little correction goes a long way. Keep it positive, keep your eye on them, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have. We’re always happy to answer them.

How to Pick the Perfect Puppy

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white-havaneseHOW DO YOU KNOW if a dog is right for you? There are a whole lot of fun tools online to help you pick the right breed. On Animal Planet, there’s a dog breed selector tool, where you can answers multiple choice questions on everything from trainability to lifestyle (including “couch potato”). The AKC has a dog breed “find a match” feature that uses adorable graphics, including a very clever image of a vacuum cleaner on a hairy floor. The AKC site allows you to second guess them, too, and see how you’d fare with the breed of your dreams, so long as you can log in on Facebook. There’s also and a whole bunch more.

But what really makes a dog the perfect pooch for you isn’t necessarily going to come in the form of a bubble to fill out. Even within the usual qualities of a breed you’ll find lots of variations, because dogs are as individual as we are.

Havanese in general are known to be outgoing, clever, playful, intelligent, and active. Also: funny. How can a dog be funny? These little charmers have a serious sense of humor. The combination of curiosity, smarts and a seriously social streak also mean they love to get your attention.

Take a look at the fun Havanese Dogs 101 video by Animal Planet, and my own personal favorite, Animal Planet’s Too Cute, starring our own adorable Bonita Havanese puppies — starring our own lovely Lulu and her litter!

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 7.19.43 PMBut don’t take my word for it. The best thing you can do is talk to the breeder. Even better, come visit the puppies yourself when they’re old enough to be exposed to outsiders. Sit down on the floor and have some fun! One of those puppies is going to come over for a visit, and connect with you.

It might be a sweetie, a clown, or a charmer. A boy or a girl. There’s often a special moment when you feel that connection with that one puppy. I see it all the time, and it always makes me smile. I guarantee it: you’ll be in love. And that’s probably the perfect dog for you.


5 Ways to Fall in Love with a Havanese Puppy

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Thinking aboutpink-bow bringing a puppy from Bonita Havanese into your home? I’ve been involved with dogs for decades, with breeds large and small. I can tell that even from the standpoint of a professional in the dog world, there is nothing quite like the charming, playful Havanese.

When I started raising these adorable little purebreds, I committed to quality, not quantity. I breed select litters out of the top Havanese parents, and am thrilled with the quality of the puppies. Everyone who meets them falls in love. No one who comes to visit wants to leave empty handed!


Here are 5 reasons you’ll fall in love with a Havanese puppy:

Perfect Companions

From the beginning, Havanese dogs were bred to be happy companions: it’s in their DNA. They have tons of personality and presence in a little package. They live to play, and love to please. And they get incredibly attached to their owners. Most of all, they want to be with you.

Fun Fact: England’s Queen Victoria had two Havanese dogs, Chico and Golia.


Smart and Easy to Train

Havanese are highly intelligent. They love learning, from obedience to new tricks and more. These sweethearts do best with positive training and thrive on encouragement. A little voice correction goes a long way. Havanese dogs can do anything a big dog can do: fetch, run an obstacle course, and learn lovely leash manners. Plus, you’ll have a blast working with these little clowns.

Fun Fact: Quick, nimble and smart, Havanese do great in agility.


kylie-kissGreat with Children

Havanese have always been valued members of the family. Their easygoing nature makes them ideal for kids. They love to cuddle, and are very good at wearing whatever bows and decorations your child adorns them with. From their small size and brushable coat to willing temperament, they’re a terrific dog for teaching pet responsibilities to a child.

Fun Fact: Charles Dickens owned a Havanese named Timmy, who was beloved all seven Dickens children.


Easy Keepers

Small as they are, Havanese are quite sturdy. They are light shedders and have lustrous, silky coats — at one point, they were called the Havana Silk Dog. They thrive on grooming, but like to keep themselves clean too. They don’t require a ton of exercise to stay fit, and can do well in small spaces. If you live in an apartment, this may be a perfect dog for you: the AKC added the Havanese to the list of top dogs for apartments.

Fun Fact: Many Havanese would just as soon follow you around the house than stand and eat their dinner.


snow-dog-2Happy Owners

The Havanese dog has been making owners happy for centuries, from sea captains to nobility, and has always been highly prized. They bring a happy, upbeat presence to your house. Once you have one, many of my owners say, you can never turn back. So go ahead, fall in love! Your Bonita Havanese puppy will return your love in spades!

Fun Fact: Among the upper classes of old Cuba, getting a gift of a Havanese dog was considered a great honor.