Whine. Whine. Dogs whimper and cry for a number of reasons. As a pet owner, you need to address not the behavior of whimpering and crying, but rather the cause. Whether your puppy is new and is whimpering during the night, or your dog is older and suffers separation anxiety, you have to address your dog's discomfort before eliminating the whimpering and crying.
Determine the medical cause of your dog's whimpering and crying. This requires a trip to the veterinarian, especially if this is a new behavior you've never seen before. Medical reasons for whimpering include pain or cognitive dysfunction syndrome in older dogs. Your veterinarian will help you determine if there is a medical reason for this behavior and work on curing it.
Determine the circumstantial cause of your dog's whimpering. Does he whimper when the house is too warm or too cold? Is he hungry or thirsty, or does he need to eliminate? Have you locked him out of the house when he really is lonely and needs to be inside with you? Correct the problem by addressing his needs. If you have a new puppy, puppies usually whine the first few nights. Withholding food and water within two hours before bedtime, exercising your puppy, and then taking him out to eliminate before putting him in his crate in your bedroom will usually help curb the whining.
Determine the extreme behavioral cause of your dog's whining. Does it occur when you've left the house? Does he suffer from separation anxiety? Does he suffer from a phobia like thunder? Extreme behavioral causes often require professional behaviorists and may require medication from your veterinarian. Provide a safe and secure place for your pet, such as a crate, so that he cannot hurt himself or become destructive. With separation anxiety, keep your departures and returns low key. Spend a few afternoons leaving and returning within a few minutes so your dog doesn't know if you're going to be gone for a short while or a long time. With thunder and loud noises, keep your dog in a quiet place, shielded from the noise. Don't coddle him, but don't punish him either.
Determine if the whimpering and crying is common for your breed. Some breeds are more prone to this kind of vocalization than others. If you have a dog who may whimper because it's normal for the breed, there's little you can do about it except work toward minimizing it. A good positive reinforcement trainer can help you with that. Ignore the whimpering and when he is silent, reward him for good behavior with a treat or attention.
- Don't assume your pup is being spiteful or difficult. Dogs whimper for a good reason.
- Don't punish your dog for whimpering and crying. You will cause your dog more anxiety and behavior problems if you do.
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