The Extreme Case of Whining

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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.
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About Kiwi

Kiwi is a miniature Alaskan Klee Kai, sometimes known as a Mini-husky. She currently weights 7.2 pounds and is 16 weeks old. She loves cheese treats, doing fun tricks, meeting new people, and playing tug-of-war.

Posted on July 10, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I have just discovered your blog and youtube account today. My akk is the same way. He is such a good puppy, but he whines like crazy whenever we leave. We let him loose in the house one time we were gone (trip to the grocery store) and he made a wreck of the place and pooed on the carpet so it’s kennel from here on out. Tonight when I left for my class I put all his toys and a raw hide (puppy one) in his kennel. He wasn’t crying when I neared the house, only when I came in. He also managed to push out the bottom of his kennel and the treat I left him. He’s not a fan of treats but loves flavored chewy toys. I read that I should ignore him when I come home until he’s calmed down. Do you recommend this? We haven’t had any neighbor complaints and I know I’m of the incorrect mindset that “he’s hust a puppy” What did you end up having to do with Kiwi? I’m thinking if Bowser doesn’t get better after a few weeks of this I’ll get the medicine for him.

    • Hi Bridget,

      It sounds like you have two situations from crying, 1) when you leave, and 2) when you come back.

      For (1), I would try doing the strict regimen of leaving 1 min, 2 min, 5 min, 10 min, 30 min, and so forth, while leaving lots of treats and toys for Bowser to play with. If he is crying as soon as you leave him in the kennel but you’re still in the house, you may want to try the strict regimen with just the kennel first, then advance to leaving entirely.

      I’ve talked to numerous AKK owners about this, and many have had the same problem. Some owners get another playmate for the pup. Some puppies naturally grew out of it once they became adults. Since your neighbors haven’t complained, give your puppy some time to grow up first. If after a year (sounds long I know), the whining doesn’t stop, more drastic actions like medicine and collars could be needed.

      As for (2), that crying is probably sounds of happiness. It sounds whiney and loud because they are puppies; Kiwi often gets so loud to the point where my ears are ringing. Completely ignore Bowser and don’t reward him with freedom until he is quiet. If you do this consistently, he will slowly start to diminish the time he spends crying, because he knows that’s not how he gets what he wants. If he starts crying again after you let him out (which definitely sounds like something Kiwi would do), ignore him again until he is quiet.

      Hope this helps! Let me know how everything goes.

  2. My girlfriend and I just got an AKK about a week ago, so he is 10 weeks old now. When we’re gone we’ve found he does cry some, but when we get home and let him out, he starts the excited “whining” excessively. I have read other places that when he does this, to give him 3-5 minutes of just letting him talk it out, and let him tell you about his day while playing back. If they are whining during the day, should I still let him talk it out with me, or ignore him then?

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