How to Train a Puppy to Not Whine

Medium
3-9 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Your puppy is a crybaby. They whine and whine and whine until you think you'll lose your mind. Nothing you do seems to stop the crying. Your pup is well-fed, has a comfy place to sleep, and goes outside regularly. You can't figure out what is making them whine all the time. Training your puppy to not whine requires understanding what is prompting the behavior.

Defining Tasks

Whining, like barking, is a way for your puppy to communicate with you. Often, puppies whine instinctively when they are left alone. Being left alone in the wild is incredibly dangerous for young pups, so your dog is trying to alert their pack that they are in danger. Puppies also whine because they are over-excited or because they have learned whining gets them the attention they want. You may have accidentally taught your pup to whine by rewarding the behavior with love, food, or whatever else your puppy wants.

Getting Started

Training your puppy not to whine will require a strong commitment from you and from anyone else your puppy interacts with. For your puppy to learn that whining doesn't get rewards, everyone needs to be on the same page and decide to react to whining the same way. For these methods, you will also need a room you can safely leave your puppy alone in, or a crate, and some training treats.

The Alone Is Okay Method

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Step
1
Designate a part of the day as alone time
As soon as your puppy arrives, you can start to train them that being alone is okay by choosing a chunk of time each day for them to be alone while you are in the house. In the beginning, this alone time should only last a minute or so.
Step
2
Put your pup in a confined area
Put your puppy in their crate, an enclosed play area, or a puppy-proofed room and leave them alone. Your puppy will probably begin whining right away, especially if they aren't used to being left alone.
Step
3
Wait for a break in the whining
Returning to the room while your puppy is whining will only reinforce their idea that whining gets the things they want. You have to wait until your pup stops whining before re-entering the room or going to their crate.
Step
4
Praise your puppy
Once your pup is quiet, go to them and give them some lovely cuddles for being quiet. You want to show them that staying quiet gets a big reward, while whining doesn't.
Step
5
Repeat and lengthen the alone time
Continue working with your puppy on being alone. Repeat these steps a couple of times a day and each time, lengthen the amount of time you leave them alone. Remember to only return to the room or the crate when your puppy is quiet to avoid reinforcing the whining behavior.
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The Ignore Method

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Step
1
Figure out what makes your pup whine
Before beginning this method, find out what is making your puppy whine. Are they hungry? Do they need to go outside? If all of your pup's basic needs are met, then they are whining for your attention and you need to show them quiet is a better way to get it.
Step
2
Don't respond for whining
Make the decision that you will no longer respond to your puppy when they whine for attention. Be sure everyone in your pup's life is willing to do the same. Across the board, whining should no longer get any attention from anyone.
Step
3
Make a show of ignoring your pup
Any eye contact, touching, or talking can act as a reinforcement for your puppy to keep whining. Be dramatic about how you ignore your pup's whining. Turn away from your puppy, cross your arms, and completely ignore them.
Step
4
Wait for quiet
Now that you've shown your puppy whining gets ignored, you need to reward the behavior you want: quiet. Wait for your puppy to stop whining. As soon as they do, give your puppy attention and a treat.
Step
5
Give your puppy attention when they're not whining
You can repeat these same actions whenever your puppy whines. You should also seek your pup out whine they are being quiet and give them attention. Teach them that they must always be quiet to receive attention, play, or treats.
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The Quiet Method

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Step
1
Be ready to train
You can teach your puppy the command "quiet" to stop them from whining as well. For this method, you need to be prepared to train whenever your puppy starts whining, so it's good to keep treats in a place you can access them easily.
Step
2
Wait for breaks in the whining
In the beginning, you want to look for small breaks in your puppy's whining which you can reward. You may want to use a clicker for this if you have one. Or you can say "good" whenever your puppy takes a break from whining. Then give them a treat.
Step
3
Require longer periods of quiet
Your puppy should quickly start to catch on. They will look for ways to get more treats. For many pups, their first instinct is to keep whining. As you work more with your puppy, make them stay quiet for longer periods of time before rewarding them.
Step
4
Add in a command word
Once your puppy has made the connection between being quiet and getting a treat, start saying the command word "quiet" before you give your pup a reward. With some repetition, they will start to connect the action of being quiet to the word.
Step
5
Use "quiet" to interrupt whining
Tell your puppy "quiet" when they start whining. If they don't stop crying, you may need to practice the previous steps more. If they do, give them a big reward for being an amazing pup.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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