If your dog whines when you leave, loiter outside the closed door and listen for a while. Or, if in doubt, ask the neighbors what happens after you're gone.
If the dog whines but soon quiets and settles down to sleep, then your work is done. He's already learned that crying isn't rewarded (you don't come back) and after a brief whinge, he stops. This is an acceptable state of affairs because interfering could backfire badly and make him cry more.
However, the alternative scenario is the whine is just the beginning, and after you are gone the whine gets louder and crescendos into a full-scale howl or bark. You wouldn't be the first pet parent who has a dog that suffers from anxiety in your absence and makes a noise in order to call you back to end the isolation.
This is a worry for the wellbeing of your best buddy, but it's also bothersome to those in adjoining apartments. To keep the peace, you need to know how to train your dog not to whine when you leave.
You can teach a dog the "Quiet" command, but this may only quiet him while you leave and after you're gone he may resume barking. Instead, it's best to create a new way of being alone where the root cause of the whining is addressed by teaching the dog to be content when alone.
This can be difficult to do since the behavior may be deeply ingrained and, in some cases, prescription medication from the vet may be necessary. However, if the dog has merely gotten into bad habits, then there are steps that will quiet him.
Be aware that accidentally rewarding the whining will reinforce the behavior. Thus it's important to ignore the dog when he makes noise, so he learns it is of no benefit to him. The other side of the coin is to respond and praise the dog when he is being actively quiet, so he learns this is a good thing to do.
Some dogs learn to deal with separation better when crate trained. If your dog is otherwise calm then consider this. However, if your dog's whining spirals into chewing and destructive behavior when you're gone, he may become unduly distressed by being confined and it may make matters worse. If in doubt, consult a qualified animal behaviorist.
Get set for success by equipping yourself with the following:
i just moved into an apartment building and my dog will not stop whining, howling and pawing at the door when I leave! I bought a two way audio camera to watch him. He does well when left with another dog he knows, there are no issues there. So I thought I solved the problem, I bought another puppy and it seems he is not comfotable with her and still howls and crys. They have only been together 3 days though. I have tried pretty much everything listed above but I do not know what to do because I feel like I cant leave the apartment or he will disturb my neighbours
Hello Payton, First, I suggest teaching Harley the quiet command by following the "Quiet" method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Next, work on adding structure and boundaries to his life, and building his independence. Teach him a "Place" command and work up to him staying on that for up to an hour while you move about the house and leave the room. He needs to learn how to cope with being by himself, and practicing a place command while you leave the room is a great way to start. Also, work on Down-and-Sit-Stays on a long leash outside. Practice the commands on a thirty, forty, or fifty foot, non-retractable leash and work up to backing away from him the entire 30+ feet length of the leash. Work on teaching him to stay in a crate even while the door is open. If you have not introduced a crate, then check out the article that I have linked below and start the "Surprise" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Once he can handle being in a crate when you are there, then get him used to staying in the crate with the door open. To do this, clip a leash on him, put him in the crate, and while he is quiet open the crate door and if he tries to leave, close the door quickly again. Repeat opening and closing the door until you can open the door and he will stay inside. Tell him "Okay!" in a cheerful tone of voice when it's time for him to come out. Overtime, practice backing away from the crate while the door is open. If he bolts out, grab the leash that he is dragging and put him right back in. Practice this until he will stay in the crate with the door open for up to an hour while you move around the house or sit on the opposite side of the room and ignore him. By doing this, you are teaching him to cope with his anxiety and be a little more independent. You are giving him something specific to do - stay in the crate willingly, opposed to just closing the crate door and him trying to escape. If he can get used to being in the crate while you are out of the door and the door is open, then you will more easily be able to put him in the crate with a food-stuffed chew toy, like a Kong, when you leave, and he will better understand how to calm down in there. Once he has developed a habit of being calm in the crate, then you can give him freedom in the rest of the house again. He needs to learn a calm habit first though. Work on the above. If you are not seeing progress, then the next step is to interrupt his frantic-ness using an electric collar that has a vibration setting also (he may not respond to the vibration so you need both stimulation and vibration - if he does respond to just vibration then you can use that). When you choose a collar, only get one that has at least thirty-levels. Cheap, poorly made collars can be dangerous and collar without enough levels can be too harsh or not effective enough. E-collar Technologies, Garmin, SportDog, Dogtra, and Petsafe all make decent collars. E-Collar Technologies and PetSafe have the collars that go down lowest in dog weight I believe. You can also try using a remote controlled unscented air spray collar (AVOID citronella - only use unscented air or you might make your problem worse). Honestly, many dogs will not respond well enough to the spray collars though. I highly suggest hiring a trainer who is experienced with separation anxiety and using e-collars to help you. You want to find the lowest level that he can feel on the collar. You want to set a good foundation for him by doing the other training that I mentioned above to at the same time to help him learn independence. You also want to reward him when he is calm. To use the electric collar you would: 1. Get him used to wearing the collar around while it is turned off. 2. Find the lowest level that he responds to - called a "working level". 3. Set up your camera to watch him again. 4. Leave the house, drive down the block so he thinks you are gone, then walk back and hide next to the house - so the collar and remote will be in range. 5. Watch him on the camera and listen for howling, scratching or him getting really worked up whining. 6. Stimulate the collar when he howls, scratches, or starts to get worked up whining (a brief whine is okay but not anxious-continuous whining). 7. When he gets quiet for two minutes, go back inside, ignore him for five minutes (he should be in the crate when you first practice this). When he is calm, then open the crate door, but don't let him come out yet - if he tries to rush out, then close the door quickly again and repeat the opening and closing it exercise until he stays in there while the door is open. 8. When he will stay in the crate while the door is open, then ignore him for another five minutes while the door is open. 9. Tell him "Okay" to let him know he can leave the crate at the end of the five minutes, but act really boring and nonchalant with him when he comes out. 10. Practice the training sessions, correcting him from outside with the collar while watching on the camera, coming back in when he is calm, ignoring him for a total of ten minutes, then acting boring when you let him out. This protocol sounds very harsh I know. It is important to practice him being independent of you through things like "Place", "Stay", and being in the crate. He needs to learn how to cope with independence so that he will be able to handle being alone. When you correct him with the collar, you are correcting him at a more reasonable stimulation level that is high enough for him to feel but not so high that it's any harsher than it needs to be. Right now the anxious response is his go to. He needs an opportunity to choose a different response. When you correct him, you are interrupting his anxious state of mind and expression - which will get more and more anxious as it builds. When you remove that option from him, then he has to find another way to react. By coming back inside, you are essentially rewarding him when he is being calm - showing him that you come back and that it's alright for you to leave. Also, showing him that being calm is how he gets you back, not by getting worked up. He has an opportunity to learn in that situation. Being in the crate simply makes it easier for him to learn because his only other option is to chew on a chew toy and rest. He cannot pace, destroy things, pee on rugs, or try another type of behavior when the scratching, whining, and howling are not options anymore. After he has learned calmness in the crate and that has become a new habit, then it will be easier for him to be calm outside of the crate when you are gone too. If he has issues with when the time comes to let him out of the crate again - after he has formed good calm habits, then you can go back to the same camera and electric collar exercise, but he will likely respond to it even better by then because he already learned what he should do when he is corrected for getting worked up - which is calm down. He will be less likely to try other anxious behavior because he will understand why he is being corrected and what to do better. When you put him into the crate, be sure to leave a dog food and liver paste or cheese or peanut butter (NO Xylitol sweetener -it's toxic to dogs!) stuffed- safe- hollow-chew-toy for him in the crate, so that when he calms down he will have that to chew on - he probably won't chew it until he is corrected and learns to calm down though. Dogs typically won't eat when they are anxious. When he learns to be calm and is ready to do something other than get worked up, you will want him to have it though, so that he can learn to enjoy himself in the crate or in your home when you are gone. You can also try an automatic treat dispensing device, such as an AutoTrainer or Pet Tutor. Depending on the level of his anxiety he may or may not care about those treats though. The device might only work once you have interrupted his frantic state and he is looking for something to do or focus on. Either way the device will be great for the new puppy when he is older though - to prevent separation anxiety. I highly suggest crate training the new puppy with dog- food stuffed Kongs to prevent separation anxiety. You can download a free pdf puppy e-book that talks about all that and more: www.lifedogtraining.com Clip on the free downloads tab once at that website. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden I suggest that you do all of this under the guidance of a qualified trainer though. You have to be careful to use e-collars correctly. They can be very effective tools when used correctly, but they are powerful and can be severely misused if you don't understand how to use them. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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