Get Your Dog To Stop Whining

Dear Mr. Katz

We have a 15-16 month old German Shorthaired Pointer named Copper. She is pretty well obedience trained (if a dog can be that). We have used a pinch collar and an electronic collar for her training. The one thing we would like to solve is her whining. I would like to find out what we could do to eliminate it. When we corrected her in the past for whining she’ll stop for a few seconds, but then start right back up again. My first instinct is to continue to correct until she stops, but I wanted to get your opinion on the topic first.

Thank You,

Dear Mark,

This tends to be a genetically motivated behavior. That is, we see some breeds that do it more than others.

In any event, it’s unlikely that using a leash or e-collar correction will work for this behavior, or you’d have already seen results. (Note: It does work on some dogs if applied consistently).

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

1. Recognize that it’s an anxiety-based behavior. The anxiety is usually the result of your dog not being able to contain her excitement for getting involved with the situation around her. For example, if the dog is made to hold a down-stay, but she sees another dog playing with a ball in the distance. This is when your dog will start whining.

2. PAY ATTENTION: Most owners will release their dog from the down-stay at this point, thus rewarding their dog for whining. Instead, wait until the dog is quiet for at least FIVE seconds before releasing the dog.

3. It is your job to convince the dog that: The longer she stays silent, the more likely it is that she will be rewarded with the ball/food/play/praise or whatever you’re using as a motivator.

4. Be sure to NEVER reward the whining. Even though it may be a hassle in the beginning.

5. Recognize that you may never completely eliminate whining, but you should be able to minimize it to the point where it is no longer an annoyance.

That’s all for now, folks!