Stop Your Dog’s Whining
Stop Your Dog’s Whining
I hate, absolutely HATE dog whining!
But, unfortunately I think a large majority of people are actually teaching their dogs to whine.
Let’s Start with Barking
I think we can both agree that dog barking is a problem, too!
And, I have written many an article on why dogs bark and how to keep them from barking and why correcting your dog for barking isn’t working.
So hopefully, people are not rewarding their dogs for barking.
If he barks at you to throw the ball; don’t throw it.
If he barks at you to feed him; don’t feed him.
If he barks to come out of his crate; don’t let him out.
Your dog must learn that barking is not rewarding. And for a great video series that shows you how to stop barking click here.
One little mistake of inadvertently rewarding this behavior (throwing his ball, feeding him, giving him what he wants) can then make it so much more difficult to eradicate! Because dogs like barking; so if an hour of straight barking is what it takes once, then prepare for double that the following time!
Whining is the Same
Whining is actually virtually the same as barking except that many humans are more likely to give in to a whining puppy or dog.
There are a couple of reasons.
People Feel Sorry For and Coddle a Puppy that Whines
People often feel sorry for a puppy or a dog that whines.
Barking is irritating, at best.
That is equated as the sound of an angry dog.
But for some reason whining brings about a more maternal instinct in many humans; male and female.
“He sounds so sad, I had to let him out!”
However this just teaches the dog to whine when he wants something.
I guess it works for some kids too!
I am not a fan of whining for either species.
I mean, what are we rewarding?
I remember when one of my best friend’s children went through this phase (which had clearly been rewarded at some point, since it existed and continued for a few weeks); I used to say “I can’t hear you when you whine, and since she was like 4, she believed me and stopped whining to me.
If I say “no” I mean NO whether you are human or K9.
And, if you want something, there are other ways to ask… even if you are a dog!
When my dogs want a treat, they get eye contact and then very slowly, all while maintaining eye contact take my eyes to where the cookie jar is and then stare.
That is much better than barking, or whining in my opinion and I can easily walk away or ignore it if I so choose.
A Means of Misguided Communication
The other is a means of misguided communication.
When a puppy first wakes up at night and rustles in his crate, then he whines; and often he is let outside.
Or he whines if he is tethered.
We all want a dog that is potty trained!
But I don’t want to inadvertently teach my puppy that whining is the means of communication that I need in order for him to receive what he wants!
This means he that he will whine when he wants everything.
And, it also means that he will whine aggressively when he is ignored.
And, aggressive whining is soooooo much worse (IMO) than aggressive barking.
I can correct and control barking; but this is nearly impossible with whining.
And if I want to utilize a citronella collar, to help my dog learn not to bark while I am away, whining won’t trigger it.
Again, I prefer that my dog never learn that it is effective or a means of communication at all!
I ignore puppy whining like it doesn’t exist at all.
I reward quiet.
Sometimes I capture and/or correct barking.
I NEVER do either with whining.
Even trying to “correct” it brings attention and acknowledgement that it exists.
So What Do You Do To Stop Your Dog’s Whining?
What if your puppy whines in his crate at 3 o’clock and you know he has to go outside?
You either missed the first signal (getting up and being restless) or you wait until the whining subsides for a moment or two.
I personally put my crate right by my side of the bed and I listen for a puppy that gets up or walks around in his kennel; then I immediately get him outside BEFORE he whines or barks!
It is my job to reward the behaviors I prefer.
If I take my pup out for whining or barking, I am telling or miscommunicating (in many instances) that this is what I want my puppy to do when he wants something.
Instead, it is up to me to wait and find a behavior I would like to reward.
OR, for those of you who sleep soundly, set an alarm and take your pup out every few hours.
Yes, that is inconvenient, but so is teaching your puppy to whine and ruin your sleep, your car rides, and your sanity!
We must realize that it is those short moments of weakness that we “give in” where our puppies unfortunately learn the most about us and then they use it OFTEN to get what they want!
If, however, we think through our choices before we act, we can choose to only reward those behaviors (using proper puppy training techniques) we want to continue to see in the future!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.