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First Posted: Sept 8, 2010
Apr 14, 2011

Whining Puppy

by Debora Johnson

Dogs and puppies make many different sounds. They can be as loud as a bark, a howl, a growl or a whine. Loneliness or lack of attention can often be the reason that a puppy whines, howls or cries. Remember he has just been taken away from his litter mates, his mother, and every other security and familiarity that he has known. He may be feeling abandoned. When he makes these sounds, your puppy is hoping that his litter mates or his mother will come to his side. He is literally calling out for help. If you give him attention, food, or negative attention you are literally reinforcing your puppy to whine or vocalize. Do NOT reinforce his whining or barking or it will become habit. If you ignore it your puppy will soon forget that he is away from his mom and litter mates, and he will adapt to his new surroundings.

Short periods of confinement are a good thing for your puppy. He learns that he can be happy by himself. He does not need to have you or your family around all the time giving him attention. Slowly increase the period of time that you are away and your puppy is alone, but in a safe place--like his crate. If he whines, barks or howls when you leave, do not come back in because that gives him what he wants. That also reinforces his bad behavior to whine, bark and howl when you leave. A sharp "NO" from you would be appropriate, but no heavy handed methods. If he stops his whining, barking or howling a treat and verbal praise, "Good dog, good dog!" would be in order. Eventually he will learn that he is not going to be abandoned. He will also learn that good behavior gets lots of attention. Bad behavior gets nothing, except possible a stern "No" from you.

It is also important to remember that praise, rewards of any type or correcting behavior has to be done immediately. If you wait a few minutes the puppy will have no idea what you are rewarding or correcting. Think of what you do as "Cause and Effect." Simply put, reward and correct behavior, immediately, and you will get your idea across to the puppy.


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