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My dog whines constantly and it drives me nuts! What can I do?

July 16th, 2021 Posted in Uncategorized

Whining is annoying, whether it’s coming from a person or from a dog. Dogs whine for a variety of reasons. The solution varies depending on the cause.

►Whining for attention:

Dogs whine to get our attention. They might want food, play, or affection. It usually gets worse because we reinforce the behaviour by giving them what they want. So, the solution is to ignore you do until he stops whining. Then and only then should you give him what he was asking for. Teach him how to “sit and look at me” instead. It’s a similar method as described here:
How to teach your dog to stop barking

►Whining from anxiety

Stressed dogs often whine. They will also show other signs, such as cowering, yawning, or licking their lips. They’ll also look worried and have their tail tucked under their rear end.

You will want to train your dog to be less afraid of the stimulus, using a method called “counterconditioning”. What you do is pair a mild version of the scary experience with a reward. You can read more about this method here: Counter-conditioning to treat fear

Making sure your dog gets lots of exercise every day will also help keep her calm. Exercise helps alleviate stress in dogs, just as it does for us.

Whining to give you the Heads Up

Some dogs whine or bark to let their owners know someone or something is approaching. This is a good thing! You’ll just want to give a treat after two whines, so that she only whines a couple times and then comes to you, rather than whining non-stop.

Whining from excitement

I think this one is self-explanatory. So, what do you do?
First of all, try to limit exposure to overstimulating environments.
Next, distract your dog with a treat. Ask him to sit and shake a paw. Teach him he’ll get more attention by doing that than when he whines.

If your dog whines in the car, start with the engine turned off. Give your dog treats for being quiet. Once she has mastered that, take a short drive. If she whines, drive to the side of the road and wait until she stops whining, then reward that behaviour. You can also provide a Kong filled with food during car rides, to distract her.

This article was based on a column in Modern Dog Spring 2018.

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