How to Train Your Dog to Not Whine

How to Train Your Dog to Not Whine
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon1-2 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Defining Tasks

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Getting Started

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

The Extinguish Whining Method

Most Recommended

1 Vote

Ribbon icon

Most Recommended

1 Vote

Ribbon icon
1

Meet needs

Ensure all your dog's basic needs are met so he has no legitimate reason to whine.

2

Provide distractions

Make sure your dog is not bored, but has toys, a puzzle feeder, a chew bone, a Kong filled with treats, and a quiet, safe retreat such as a crate.

3

Ignore whining

If you dog whines or cries for attention, ignore the dog's demands. You can do this comfortably knowing that his needs, including needs for attention and exercise, have or are going to be met. You can walk away or turn away when your dog whines. Avoid yelling at your dog, as this is a form of attention in itself.

4

Reinforce quiet

When your dog is being quiet and not demanding attention, reward him by providing affection, a treat, or play.

5

Establish

Continue to meet your dog's needs and reward quiet behavior over a period of several days or weeks as necessary, so your dog learns that his needs will be met on your schedule and that quiet calm behavior is rewarded, whining is not. You may need to engage all members of the household, and include friends or neighbors, if you have a young dog and need to be away from him for several hours, so that a reasonable schedule to meet your dog's needs is maintained.

The Desensitize Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Build confidence

Make some time to spend with your dog, training and socializing him, so he develops confidence and is less apt to whine from nervousness, appeasement, or excessively submissive behavior.

2

Create new experiences

Take your dog out into lots of situations with friendly people, dogs, and even cats. Encourage play and exercise. Make sure you are in a safe situation and avoid public dog parks at busy times if your dog might have a negative experience with other people or dogs.

3

Train obedience

Teach your dog basic obedience commands like 'sit', 'lie down', 'heel', and 'come', to enhance your relationship with your dog and develop basic calm control. Avoid yelling at or punishing your dog when they make a mistake, calmly correct your dog.

4

Teach tricks

Teach your dog tricks like 'roll over', 'beg', and 'fetch', to build confidence and provide fun and entertainment.

5

Create routine

Giving your dog lots of social development with training and socializing will build confidence. Also, ensure a calm routine at home, with clear expectations your dog can meet behavior wise. Ensure all his physical and emotional needs are met. As your dog develops confidence, he will be less anxious and submissive and whining behavior will diminish and stop.

The Alternative Behavior Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Present treat

Teach your dog to ask for your attention with an alternate behavior to whining, by replacing whining with 'look at me', 'sit-stay' or 'down-stay' behaviors. Start by holding a treat in your hand.

2

Wait for desired behavior

Wait for your dog to do the desired behavior, such as sitting and look at you.

3

Reward alternative

Provide the treat when your dog performs the desired behavior.

4

Expand location and time required

Gradually expand this exercise to include other locations and sitting or lying quietly for longer periods of time in order to gain your attention.

5

Substitute for whining

When your dog sits and looks at you or lays quietly, give him lots of attention and rewards, such as treats, to establish that being quiet and sitting or lying still gets your attention, not whining. Provide the 'sit-stay' or 'look at me' command when you come home, or any other time your dog gets excited and starts whining. This alternate behavior will distract your dog from whining and provide him with another, more constructive way of getting your attention.

Training Questions

Have a question?

Training Questions and Answers

Dog nametag icon

Tank

Dog breed icon

German Shepherd Husky Mix

Dog age icon

One Year

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found this helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found this helpful

My dog Tank is 1 year and 8 months old and unfortunately a lot of bad luck hit us just as he was born. We lost our truck, our home, and jobs one after another in abt a week time due to uncontrollable circumstances. So his start to life with us was to say the least hard and tough. And now he has gotten to where he whines all the time for everything and anything. We have tried everything from treats to punishments to no avail. What can I do to stop the whining?

April 17, 2023

Tank's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Sometimes an interrupter is needed when it comes to barking and whining but that's often only 1/3 of the training needed and doesn't always work long term on its own. I suggest combining a few things in your case. You need a way to communicate with him so I suggest teaching the Quiet command from the Quiet method in the article I have linked below - don't expect this alone to work but it will be part of the puzzle for what I will suggest next. Once pup knows this for barking, practice with whining, rewarding pup when get get quiet to help them make the connection. Pup needs a command they associate with getting quiet. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Next, once pup understands what Quiet means you will choose an interrupter - neither too harsh nor ineffective. A Pet Convincer is one example of an interrupter. A pet convincer is a small canister of pressurized, unscented air that you can spray a quick puff of at the dog's side to surprise them enough to help them calm back down, I prefer air to water in most cases. You don't want to create an aversion to water, the air is a more unique sensation and doesn't leave pup wet. (Don't use citronella and avoid spraying in the face!). In situations where you know pup will whine or is already whining (catch them before they whine if you can), command "Quiet". If they obey, reward with a treat and very calm praise. If they whine anyway or continue to whine, say "Ah Ah" firmly but calmly and give a brief correction. Repeat the correction each time they whine again until you get a brief pause in the whining. When they pause, praise and reward then. The combination of communication, correction, and rewarding - with the "Ah Ah" and praise to mark their good and bad behavior with the right timing, is very important. Once pup is calmer in general after the initial training, practice exposing him a lot to the things that trigger the whining normally (make a list - even if it's long). Whenever he DOESN'T whine in that situation, around something that he normally would have, calmly praise and reward him to continue the desensitization process. In the end desensitization it what will work best long term. The initial Quiet and interrupter sets pup up to be quiet to give you opening to desensitize enough to progress, while helping pup be open to replacing that whining with something else instead - your rewards and feedback when pup is doing what you want them to do will tell pup what behavior and attitude to choose as the new normal for them. Sometimes whining is also connected to other behaviors and needs. I would pay attention to why pup is whining. Is there something they are afraid of or excited about that they need to build confidence around, or be desensitized to? Some dogs are simply vocal all the time, but for others it signals something else that also needs addressing. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

April 24, 2023

Dog nametag icon

Bean

Dog breed icon

Cheagle

Dog age icon

Two Years

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found this helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found this helpful

Ever since I’be had Bean, he’s always been whining. He has food and water and is healthy, but just gets super stimulated and overly happy and whines and cries basically all night. I put him in his pen, not give him any attention, but he still continues to whine and whine for hours on end. I recently brought home a kitten, and it’s not going well. Bean can’t just stop crying and whining and wanting to get super close to her (she’s not left alone nor too close to him by that) and he just can’t stop crying. I don’t have money to afford a trainer and I’m so lost on what I can do to help him calm

Oct. 20, 2022

Bean's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. This command is usually taught for barking but once he has learned it, you can tell him Quiet for whining and reward when he stops whining for a second to help him associate it with whining also. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. I would also desensitize him to the new cat and teaching impulse control. Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Mild cat issue - teaching impulse control: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWF2Ohik8iM Moderate cat issue - teaching impulse control using corrections and rewards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dPIC3Jtn0E Work on impulse control in general with pup, by teaching things that increase impulse control and calmness - such as a long Place command around lots of distractions. Practicing the command until you get to the point where pup will stay on Place while you are working with the kitten in the same room. I recommend also back tying pup while they are on place - safely connecting a long leash attached to pup to something near the Place just in case pup were to try to get off Place before you could intervene. Make sure what the leash is secured to, the leash itself, and pup's collar or harness are secure and not likely to break or slip off. This keeps kitty safe while practicing and reinforces to pup that they can't get off the Place. The leash should be long enough that pup doesn't feel the leash while they are obediently staying on the Place because it has some slack in the leash. You want pup to learn to stay due to obedience and self-control, and the leash just be back up for safety. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Similar example of a trainer correcting and rewarding. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3j882MAYDU Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Oct. 20, 2022


Wag! Specialist
Need training help?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.