Kiwi is the most perfect little puppy I could ever ask for, except for one thing: her whining. She screams and whines when I leave because of her separation anxiety. I have recieved a complaint from the neighbors, and I cannot receive another one. Even after countless hours of simply ignoring her whining and rewarding her quietness, Kiwi still loveeeees to whine and whine. Before it becomes established as a bad habit, I’m starting an intense and strict regimen of anti-whining training.
How to stop your puppy from extreme whining:
- Give her yummy chews and fun toys. Kong with peanut butter highly recommended. Also, try hiding treats all around the house for your puppy to find. If your pup is like Kiwi, though, she does not care for treats, toys, and chews when her human is gone.
- Take her for walks and tire her out before you leave, so she can ideally sleep while you’re gone. Again, not effective with Kiwi.
- Leave the TV on or soothing music to entertain your pup or give background noise. May help a bit, but still not effective in itself.
- You need negative reinforcement. Oh yes, I’m a firm believer or positive reinforcement at all times. But when whining becomes extreme, this is neccesary, trust me. Bad behavior that leads to euthanization is the leading killer of dogs, and you need to train your puppy well before whining becomes a habit. However, this could mean anything from stomping in and yelling NO! and acting very angry and mad, then leaving everytime she whines, shaking a jar of pennies when she starts whining, whipping a belt to make a loud scary sound everytime she whines, spraying a water gun in her face when she starts to whine, or maybe even a bad scent/sound collar etc. Your choice for whatever you believe is most negative to your dog. (Just don’t hit the puppy, or else you may stress her to the point where she has trauma).
- Positive reinforcement is also absolutely neccesary. When she is quiet, you must reward her with you presence (after all, this is the ultimate reward) and be as pleasant as possible. Give her lots of love, cuddle, and sing praises to your puppy for 5 minutes.
- A strict daily regimen of leaving her alone, even if you have no where to go. At first, leave for 1 minute and come back when she is quiet. If she’s whining profusely already, come back and give her negative reinforcement (spraying her with a water gun, and acting really mad). That made Kiwi be quiet for a good long minute, to which I came back and rewarded her with lots of affection. After 1 minute of quietness, increase the time you are gone to 2 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, then 20 minutes, etc. This takes loads of patience, but eventually you’ll be able to extend it to hours on end. If at any point she starts whining, breakk from the regimen and come back with negative enforcement. You want her to know that whenever she whines and you come back, it will NOT be pleasant.
- Get vetenarian-prescribed medication. This will internally relax the puppy, kind of like a prozaic for dogs. There are also DHP chemical releasers you can buy
- In only the most extreme cases, a shock-collar might be needed (i.e. your landlady has threatened to kick you out). Keep in mind this does not solve and possibly exacerbates the actual problem of anxiety, but rather deters the whining itself. Seriously, use this only when you have tried all other alternatives, because this could cause an association of your departure with shocks, with makes the root of the problem worse.