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Havanese Got Talent!

Everyone who owns a Havanese can tell you what wonderful pets they are, and most of us know they are stunning show dogs, but their intelligence and energy make them very adaptable little dogs who can be taught new tricks and skills quickly. I know that when I took my first Havanese, Ruby, to obedience training, the Trainer had never trained a Havanese before, but by the end of the 8 week course Ruby was labelled as the class swot and the Trainer was telling everyone that if they wanted a dog that was quick to learn they should get a Havanese. So, aside from the usual pet obedience training and showing, in what other fields do they excel?

Many of us who use Facebook will know of Valerie Knight’s Poppy and Dilly Aspland’s Bebe, both of whom compete in Agility.

Poppy started agility after Valerie had been taking her to obedience training for a while and upon hearing of an agility trainer they thought they would see how they got on. Poppy was the only Havanese attending the agility class, and she started halfway through the course, but she soon became as proficient as the dogs who had been attending since the start of the course. Poppy loves her agility, in all weathers, and despite the main aim being to have a lot of fun, she has started competing, and is doing rather well, having come first in jumping at several shows.

Valerie says that whilst Poppy is not as fast as some breeds, such as terriers, she is consistent and concentrates 100%, whereas a lot of dogs lose concentration and run off the course.

Dilly is a firm believer in giving her dogs very full, fun lives. She started Bebe at Agility when she was about 18 mths old, and Bebe loved it. Many of us will have read about the sad incident when Bebe was attacked by another dog, injuring her badly. Due to the attack Bebe had to take a six month break from showing and agility whilst Dilly worked to get her back in good physical condition, and to re-build her shattered confidence. But in true Havanese style Bebe bounced back. Dilly says that Bebe’s Agility teacher loves Bebe because she is always happy and very quick to pick things up. Bebe advanced to the top group faster than other dogs who started at the same time as her. Dilly reports that Bebe is fast and holds her own with the other small breeds. It really does seem as if Havanese have a natural ability.

 Dilly also takes Bebe to “Wag to Tone” and Heel work to Music. Wag to Tone is a gentle exercise programme for dog and owner with a few tricks thrown in for good measure. Heel work to music is another form of Obedience and Tricks to music. Bebe was quick to pick it up and Dilly says she just loves to please.

If you want to do Agility or tricks involving jumping with your Havanese, please do attend a reputable club: puppies must not start jumping tricks until they have stopped growing. Poppy and Bebe started when they were 16 to 18 months old. If you want to attend Agility training before that time then there are plenty of exercises and obstacles they can learn without having to jump.

Anna Walsh

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