If your dog's whining is driving you crazy, there are several ways to train your dog not to whine. But first, why is your dog whining? Is it because he has a legitimate need that has to be met? If your dog is hungry, needs outside for a bathroom break more often, or needs exercise and play, addressing these needs should come before initiating training to discourage whining behavior. If all of your dog's needs are met and whining persists, it could be a learned behavior to get attention, or you could have a very anxious or submissive dog that whines as part of his method of social interaction In both cases, training your dog to stop whining will involve discouraging whining behavior and providing your dog with an alternate behavior to communicate.
Whining is especially common in puppies, rescue and shelter dogs, or dogs that are unsure of their situation. Separation anxiety is a common cause of whining--if your dog whines when separated from you and other caregivers, you may need to address this issue separately, to provide your dog with confidence and a feeling of comfort and security. Some medical conditions can precipitate whining as well. If your dog is experiencing pain, cognitive, or nervous disorder, whining may be a symptom. If a dog that did not previously whine starts this behavior, it may be advisable to take the dog to a veterinarian to rule out an underlying medical condition.
Because anxiety is often an underlying cause of whining, training methods to alleviate whining behavior should avoid punishment, which, while it may inhibit the behavior, can make the underlying anxiety condition worse and result in alternate negative anxiety behaviors, such as destructiveness or breaking house training, that will make you wish your dog was just whining again! Many dogs also whine when excited, as a sign they are trying to appease their owners by acting submissive, or as a way of vocalizing greetings. In these cases, finding an alternate behavior for your dog during training will give him a more constructive way, to communicate with you.
Stopping your dog's whining will involve a time commitment on your part to develop confidence and social skills, especially if you have an anxious dog. You will also have to ensure all your dog's needs for food, sleep, play, and exercise are met, which may involve other members of the household, friends, neighbors, or dog sitters if you are not available for extended periods of time, for instance, if you are at work long hours or have a young dog that needs more attention. Activities to keep your dog occupied like Kongs, toys and puzzle feeder are also useful. Ensure you have treats to reward appropriate behaviors and patience to ignore inappropriate whining. These tools and the following training strategies should help end your dog's whining habit.
He's generally a good dog but lately he has been whining a lot more even after I take him out for a walk/go to the bathroom. Also is rather annoying when people are eating. Doesn't try to take the food but lays his head on my lap every time I eat.
Hello Michael, For the food begging, I recommend teaching an Out and Place command, and working on pup going to their Place whenever someone eats. At the end of the person's meal, they can give pup a treat on the Place bed to help encourage pup to want to go there automatically eventually too. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ For the whining, I would teach Quiet for barking initially, then begin using it when pup is whining too, catching pup when they stop whining for a second and rewarding the quietness with a treat to help them generalize the Quiet command to whining also. If pup is whining while fixated on something, I would also work on Leave It to help pup disengage from what they are fixated on, and provide something else for them to do instead, like stuffing kongs with part of their dog food and feeding portions of their meals to them that way as an activity to help with boredom or nervous energy. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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