You get home from work and you’re excited. You get to come home to relax, eat dinner, and spend some much-needed stress-relieving time with your dog. This is part of the balance of pet care right? But, as many pet parents know. This is not always how events play out.
You open the door and your dog is so excited to see you. They jump up and whine-whine-whine until you give them attention. Neither of these behaviors are constructive and a whiny dog is the last thing most people want to hear after a long day of work. We all love our dogs, but we don’t love their whining.
This pet care article shows you how to train your dog to stop all the whining!
What Causes “Whining?”
Whining is one of the biggest sounds in a dog’s cache of vocalizations. Whining is another way dogs express themselves. Your dog might whine because he is excited about a treat or because you have just arrived home. Maybe your dog is whining because they are nervous or anxious.
Doggie anxiety is a real diagnosis and if your dog is whining profusely this may be a sign they are experiencing owner separation anxiety. Speak with your veterinarian if training does not help curb whining. Other symptoms of anxiety include shaking, pacing, destruction, or bladder incontinence.
Another reason a dog may whine is because of their intrinsic appeasement behavior, or calming signals. Signs a dog is exhibiting appeasement behavior are yawning, averted gaze, and lip licking outside of mealtimes. This body behavior is your dog’s way of showing their affection and trying to get your attention.
Dogs also whine to show us they are uncomfortable or are in physical pain. If your dog is showing signs of pain like limping or decreased appetite, speak with your veterinarian immediately for pet care. Cognitive dysfunction will also make a dog more active vocally.
Pet Care: Identify the Cause of Your Dog’s Whining
Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique only condones humane methods of training for loving pet care that is actually more effective.
The best way to determine what is the underlying cause of your dog’s constant whining is to use reward-based training. This reinforces positive behavior with rewards while unconstructive and unwanted behavior is ignored.
When pet parents use rewards, instead of scolding, a dog will feel more inclined to maintain this behavior. This is especially true of behavior that stems from anxiety. If you punish your dog for the vocalized expression the behavior will stop, but their anxiety will remain. This will only make the situation worse. If a dog is overly stressed they could possibly lash out with even worse behavior.
Use reward-based training to help you find the source of your dog’s whining. If a dog begins whining when you or another person approaches him, or right before feeding, your dog is most likely whining from excitement.
If your dog is whining, retreating, or showing other behaviors that signal fear your dog is probably whining from anxiety. Similarly, if your dog whines during thunderstorms they are expressing their nervousness.
Train Away the Whining
The old saying, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is not always true. It might be a little more difficult to teach a dog that is set in their ways to begin behaving differently, but dogs of all ages can learn.
Dogs are naturally inquisitive and curious animals. The more exercise and mental occupation they get, the happier they will be. The more comfortable your dog is the less inclined they will be to start whining. Make sure your dog is comfortable before beginning training. Try walking your dog first before training and make sure there are no distractions present.
Pet care training begins at the refocusing level. Everyone who interacts with your dog needs to agree to maintain the rules. If your dog begins whining from excitement ignore the behavior. Once the whining stops, reward your dog with petting and treats. If your dog persistently whines, try redirecting them.
Ignore Bad Behavior
Take the attention away from whatever it is that is making them whine. Give your dog a chew toy or a hide a treat somewhere close. Once their attention is diverted—reward them. Having your dog adhere to this new way to receive attention can help curb whining. However, dogs that whine solely for attention will need different pet care training techniques.
For a dog who whines for attention, try walking away from your dog and adamantly only addressing them when the whining has stopped. If your dog gets overly excited for meal times try preparing their meals with them out of the room and out of the line of vision. You may need to put them in another room with the door closed. This pertains to whatever gets them excited. Placing your dog in a neutral space where they cannot see what makes them whine will naturally calm them while reinforcing a composed behavior.
Dogs that whine as a result of stress will need to have a confidence boost during times of heightened anxiety. Try using calming music and aromatherapy during times of high stress like thunderstorms. The key is to reframe a stressful situation into a fun one. If your dog is fearful of trips to the groomers or the vet, use treats to coax them. Show them these are fun outings and they are safe. Good pet care specialists should be able to take it from there to ensure your dog’s comfort.
If training is not working, please consult your veterinarian for more clinical measures like medication.
The Importance of Positive Reinforcement
Dog training works like this; if a dog sees they get positive reinforcement from a certain behavior they are more likely to repeat it. If you speak to your dog while they are whining, you are rewarding this behavior. If you are scolding them, then you are increasing their anxiety which exacerbates whining behavior. This is an inadvertent reward.
When a dog begins whining, simply ignore them. Face the other way, turn around, and walk away. This attention withdrawal will correct behavior much quicker. When I first introduced my dog into the house, the best way she learned calm quiet behavior was to reward her while she lay there relaxing. Now, I never hear whining.
Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique wishes you luck with all your dog training and hopes you exercise great pet care!
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