How Do I Stop My Dog From Whining

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How Do I Stop My Dog From Whining

by Burke Jones


Question: My 9 year old female pit bull has become a very vocal whiner. She whines all day long. Sometimes I know what she wants but most of the time I don?t. She lives in a house with a lot of people and they are always spoiling her. I know that?s part of the problem. Do you have a suggestion on how I can minimize the whining? - from Kat

Answer: Great question - and you will be relieved to know that you are not the only dog owner that has experienced this behaviour. Anyone that has owned a puppy knows that whining is a constant problem. However, most puppies outgrow this behaviour with time. Your situation is a bit different because your dog is 9 years old and has apparently just started exhibiting this behaviour recently. Lets look at a couple different types of whining:

Whining for attention - some dog owners inadvertently condition their dog to whine more by rewarding the whine with some form of attention. This attention could be a simple as eye contact, or more direct like petting. To break this cycle, it works best to simply ignore the whining completely - do not give any notice or attention to the dog until it stops. Sometimes using a signal that you will withdrawal your attention works well. For instance, blow a kazoo to signal that you are ignoring the dog until the whining stops. This can often times work faster than simply ignoring it completely.

Whining when Anxious - If you dog is whining when nobody is around, it may be a component of separation anxiety syndrome. Dogs with this syndrome will whine simply when they cannot see their owner. If this is what your dog is doing you might want to visit with your vet about available medications for this condition.

Treatment

  • Ignore whining for petty things your dog wants. By giving a bone to your dog when he whines, simply reinforces the behaviour.
  • One idea is to get a simple clicker (available at pet stores) - ignore the whining until it stops then click and reward. Be sure to not click until at least 3 seconds of silence has occurred.
  • Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise - a tired dog is a happy dog!
The biggest thing to remember is that all dogs whine, it is simply a way for them to communicate with us humans. However, this can also become very annoying, and needs to be dealt with swiftly and consistently. Your biggest challenge, Kat, will be that there appears to be many ?owners? in your household. Every person in your home will need to correct the dog exactly the same way. I would suggest sitting everyone down and going over the ?ground rules? - even show by example how you are ALL going to get this problem corrected.

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