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Dustyvelo's picture
Joined: 2013-03-16

Pet Profiles

I'm not sure if this is a training matter or simply just a puppy thing. That said, I thought I'd start here.

My wife and I raised. Female dobe that we had for 10 years from 11 weeks. She was an awesome pet and companion. I do believe that we were spoiled. That said, it's been 11 years since our puppy experience and I fully believe that like women with child birth we have likely forgotten some of those early days and experiences!

Our new pup, Riley, is now 18 weeks and has been home with us for 4 weeks. He is crated, gets a lot of attention, gets his long walks and play time and we train often. That said, he's a bit of a whiner.

He started with whining in the car which we completely understood since we were his first car ride. Over time we got him in the car often and he is improving. He's been to puppy class, the store, the vet, the park, etc. He whines sometimes when he needs something - hungry, needs to go out or sometimes for no apparent reason at all. His greatest and really the most frustrating is at puppy class. The first class, he whined for an hour straight. The only time he did not was when the pups were off leash and playing together. He played well with problems. The next class he whined less. We felt he was starting to understand the program, but the whining did ramp up by the end of class. The third, he whined a bit more.

As I write this it sounds so silly, but understand that we're having a hard time identifying the "why". He's quite healthy, eats well and gets his sleep. I uses I'm interested in your thoughts and experiences so my wife and I can better interpret him and get out ahead of it. We try not to react to the whining too quickly in the hope that he realizes it doesn't get him anything any sooner. This is especially true when we prepare his meals or get him from his crate in the morning. Still, I worry if he thinks its how he gets what he wants.

We will take this up with our vet and trainer soon too, but am interested in the forums input.

Thanks, all.

Tannaidhe's picture
Joined: 2013-02-25

Ruling out any kind of medical issue, which it sounds like you have, my guess would be the same as your first instinct – he thinks he can control his environment by whining.  Most relatively intelligent animals crave the feeling that they can control their environment.  However, dogs aren't quite intelligent enough to figure out that just because it "didn't happen any quicker" means that the whining wasn't effective...  for all he knows, it never would have happened if he hadn't been whining, geez, dad!  ;)

If you know what it is he's whining for, such as his dinner bowl, wait until he is quiet a moment (even if it's just to take a breath at first), then quickly give him whatever it is he wants.  If he manages to keep it up completely nonstop, try distractions, such as a squeaky toy or someone clapping their hands behind him or such.  The idea is to never reward the unwanted behavior, even if it is delayed in your mind; only reward the behavior you do want.

Similarly, don't try to comfort him, or 'convince' him to be quiet.  That may be the main thing he is after – your attention.  Completely ignore him if he is whining (when feasible; obviously this wouldn't work while out and about).  Turn your back even, or leave the room.  Anything to get across the point that nothing good will happen as long as he is whining.


Now...  go post pics of your handsome boy!  :-D