So you've got a whinging, whiny little puppy or older dog - it's got to be one of the most annoying and frustrating sounds of all doesn't it?
Firstly I should say that this whining is a perfectly natural behavior for a young puppy - it is how they get attention from their mother from a very early age. It's when the whining or crying drags on and on and becomes a long term persistent habit that it becomes a problem for us dog lovers.
The best solution to this whining, screaming or whinging behavior is to tackle it immediately, ideally before it establishes itself as an ingrained habit - try to nip it in the bud as they say. Always be fair, understanding and reasonable with a young puppy. Never forget that your puppy is a sociable little creature who hates to be left isolated and alone.
There are many measures you can put into place right now to help quieten your whiny little beast down. We'll start out with some general tips and then get a little more specific further down the page.
"Puppy Whining/Crying Increases With Reinforcement and Decreases Without Reinforcement"
Why Do Our Dogs Whinge & Whine?
This is the key question we need to ask ourselves. We must determine the cause of our dog's whining before
we can come up with an appropriate and effective solution. There's usually a reason or trigger to be found - we've just got to determine what it is.
Some Of The More Common Reasons Our Dog's Whine:
- They are seeking our attention - this is most common and tops the list of reasons.
- Our dog may be uncomfortable. This could mean he/she is cold, wet or hot etc..
- Dogs will whine if they are in pain.
- It is common for a dog to whine if he/she is not comfortable in a new environment. Whining in a dog crate is a very common behavior.
- The dog may be bored or lonely.
- A dog who whines may need to go to the toilet (or has already soiled his sleeping area).
- Dogs with unused energy will often whine - the energy has to come out somehow!
- A hungry or thirsty dog will often cry or whine.
- Many dogs whine because it works - we reward them for it!
- The whining may be a symptom of canine separation anxiety.
- If your dog is whining take a step back and consider whether he/she is involved in the family, loved and properly exercised?
General Things We Must Get Right To Ensure We Have Happy & Settled Dogs
Below is a list of general things that could feature under the heading of "responsible dog ownership". Put these ingredients in place and you will eliminate many of the reasons why your puppy may be whining.
- Provide a dry, warm, safe and comfortable area for your dog.
- Ensure that your dog is well fed and has access to clean, fresh water. If your dog whines in one particular area you may want to feed him/her in this area. This will provide your dog with a nice positive association to the area where he is normally unsettled.
- If necessary take your dog out to the toilet every few hours.
- One or two tasty dog chew toys may help reduce whining in some situations - a stuffed kong toy is a favorite with my dogs.
- If your puppy is whining overnight you may be advised to bring his bedding/crate into your bedroom. Puppies love to be able to see and smell their "pack" - which is you. You will be able to move the crate out of your room over a period of time. NOTE: I'd only advise using this technique if you are happy to have your dog in your bedroom with you, otherwise just ignoring the whining is your best course of action.
- Burn off your dog's energy (this will prevent many destructive behaviors). Tire your dog out with some rigorous on leash walks, playing games and some mentally stimulating obedience training.
- Place an item of clothing with your scent on it in your puppy's sleeping area.
- If you are at all concerned that your dog's whining may be due to some kind of pain then a trip to the Veterinarian is required.
- Some owners have reported success by wrapping an old ticking clock up in a towel and placing it in the dog's bed. This is said to comfort the dog as the ticking clock replicates the sound of another dog's heartbeat.
Specific Strategies To Help Stop Your Dog From Whining
Once you have thought about what triggers the whining
and have ruled out any of the general issues outlined above you can then implement a suitable solution. Pick out one or more of the strategies listed below and apply them with fairness, consistency and persistence
. Your aim is to get it through to your dog that you are serious about this and that his whining is not acceptable - don't be wishy washy about it.
If you are thinking that Separation Anxiety may be the cause of your dog's whining, read this article - separation anxiety in dogs.
"Never Reward And Therefore Reinforce Undesirable Behavior - Always Reward Desirable Quiet Time"
- If you feel everything is ok with your puppy and he/she continues whinging and whining then ignoring the behavior is the best solution. I understand that this is not easy but it is worth the effort - short term pain for long term gain. Each time you respond in any way to your dog's whining you are in fact rewarding the very behavior you are trying to eradicate.
On the other hand when you ignore the whining you are sending a message to your dog that whining is a fruitless exercise. This method requires absolute commitment and consistency from all family members - don't give in to your puppy no matter how hard it may be!
- If you have a persistent whiner only ever go to him/her when all is quiet. Repeat the following training program over and over until your dog "gets it". If you can hear your dog whining in the other room go to the door and say "enough!!" and quickly slam the door shut. When the whining stops (even for 5 seconds) you can go into the room full of praise and give your dog a tasty treat. Most dogs soon learn that when they whine you are not around, but when they are quiet you are friendly and come with treats. This method of providing instant feedback to your dog can be a slow process but does work - remember to reinforce in your dog's mind that his whining never leads to a desirable consequence.
- Another successful way to eliminate or at least manage a whining dog is to put the whining on command or cue. This is not a particularly difficult thing to do - you can also use this technique if your dog barks excessively. Learn how to solve many behavioral problems and properly obedience train your dog here - dogproblems.com.
- Another method that I've been told works is to use a water pistol. I've never used this method but what you do is squirt your dog when he/she is whining and at the same time say "No!!". This produces a negative association in your dog's mind between him whining and the unpleasant shot of water to his face. You must be on the spot to enforce this consequence to your dog - but if your timing is good you should only have to do it a few times. Don't continue to use this technique for more than a few days, it's not working if you don't get a good result in a couple of days.
I hope this article helps with your whining puppy - as with most behavioral problems obedience training is the key. Obedience training class is well worthwhile for all puppies, but if you plan to train your puppy or older dog at home I'd recommend you follow a good dog training resource such as - dogproblems.com membership community.
Some other pages you may be interested in:
Are you feeding your puppy the right dog food - What is the best dog food?
Learn why the first 16 weeks of your puppy's life are so vital in forming his/her temperament, behavior and characteristics - Puppy socialization explained.
Discover how to control or put an end to numerous problem behaviors in dogs.