How to Stop a Whining Dog
Ways To Stop A Dog From Whining
Whining is a one of the chief ways a dog has of communicating. Whining is one of the first actions it learns. When hungry, a puppy whines, which tells its mother that the puppy is hungry. The mother comes to feeds its puppies, and the puppy learns that whining produces results it wants. But sometimes you want to know how to stop a whining dog.
As dogs get older, they are conditioned to whine when feeling discomfort or distress. For example, if a puppy feels it is being left behind its pack, the puppy whines. This is no doubt brought on by separation anxiety, but the whine is a call of distress for the rest of the pack to come rescue it.
This is no different when a dog leaves its old pack and joins your family. Your new dog will try to communicate with you in the same way. How you and your family react to your dog’s whining is the key. You choose to either reinforce or discourage this behavior.
Like people, dogs like to get their way. Whining is just one of its tools. Essentially, either you train your dog to stop whining, or your dog trains you to respond to its whines. Which will it be?
3 Ways to Stop Your Dog from Whining
1. Do not respond to whines.
If every time your dog whines, you pay attention or bring him food, the dog will never learn to stop whining. If you forgot to feed your dog and it’s hungry, then by all means feed it.
But if you have taken care of your dog’s food and water needs, then your dog probably wants attention. Young dogs often whine in the middle of the night, for this very reason. If you give in and pay attention to your dog, then you are only reinforcing its whining reflex.
This is difficult, because a whining puppy is a lot like a crying baby. The big difference is that a month old puppy is much more self-sufficient than a baby. So don’t respond when your dog whines.
2. Pay attention when he is quiet.
This is the other side of the coin. You don’t need to neglect your dog. So make sure to pay attention to your dog when it is behaving. This reinforces good behavior and let’s your dog know there’s no reason for its separation anxiety.
I would suggest having some “Fido time” everyday. Set aside a few minutes to play with your dog or give it some exercise. If nothing else, give it some affection. Often, a few minutes of undivided attention is enough to tide a dog over for a day, so it doesn’t feel the need to whine.
3. Reassure Your Dog About Separation
A dog doesn’t like to be separated from its pack. So if you put it in another room or outside, it gets upset that it may never rejoin its pack. So train your dog that temporary separation is simply that.
If you put your dog in another room, make certain to visit it several times when you first start this new behavior. This lets it know that its confinement is only short term and that the dog hasn’t displeased the pack in some way.
Make certain not to return to a whining dog, though. This will trigger its whine mechanism. So when your dog is in its room for several minutes without a whine, give it gentle praise and perhaps even a snack.
Make certain to confine the dog with toys and other things to make its room “fun”. You should probably spend a few minutes in the room before you leave it, playing with it and letting it know that the room is also a social, fun place.
When to Pay Attention to a Whining Dog
My advice to ignore a whining dog has exceptions. There are times your dog might really be in distress. A good rule of thumb is to pay attention when your dog whines at times and in places it doesn’t normally whine.
If your dog whines when it’s eating, that’s a sign it is having digestion pains. If your dog whines when it is relieving itself, this is a possible sign of internal troubles. When this happens, you should try to determine what it is that’s distressing your dog and take it to the vet if you cannot.
And, of course, if your dog is sitting at the door whining, then it probably needs to go outside to relieve itself. This is a good thing, so you should let your dog outside immediately and praise it for its fastidiousness.
In the end, whining is a form of communication. It means your dog is uncomfortable. But if you respond slavishly to these whines, whining will become little more than a bad habit. Tend to your dog’s needs, but otherwise don’t encourage your dog in forming this bad habit.
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