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Positive Dog Parenting

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS/P

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Introduction

Whining can be annoying whether or not it's a child or a dog! Some people do choose to allow a dog to whine at the door and ask to go outside to eliminate. Make sure that whining only works when it is in your best interest such as the dog reminding you that it has been all day and you have forgotten to provide a pit stop. If you allow your dog to whine at the door, make sure this does not turn in to the way your dog Instructions you to get up, to let them out, any time they feel like a change of scenery!

 
If your dog is whining for unexplained reasons it is best to have your dog thoroughly examined and tested by a veterinarian to rule out physical pain or medical danger.  

Unintentional reinforcement of excess whining

Once it has been determined that there is not a valid reason for the whining (that is, the dog is not in pain, danger, or needs to do outside to eliminate), the whining should be passively ignored. No attention is more effective than negative attention!

If your dog whines, turn your back and walk away. Do NOT punish or scold whining because it usually makes it worse. Whining is considered an anxiety-related behavior.  Therefore, any punishment, including scolding, increases anxiety which increased the whining. It is better to passively ignore it or simply move away from the dog.

As soon as the dog is quiet, call him or her to you, and then praise the response to the "come" and "quiet" requests.

If you cater to the dog, talk to him or her and give attention to the whining, it will increase. This is the natural law of positive reinforcement.

Dogs often learn exactly what pitch and intensity to whine in order to coerce humans to do their will. This is unhealthy, undesirable, and unpleasant for guests and owners alike.

Make good things happen when your dog is NOT whining such as play, toys and treats.

Always praise the behavior you want to increase. 

If your dog is NOT whining, let the good times roll!  Praise your dog for NOT whining, "You are being such a good dog." 

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