Please stop my dog from whining all day?

(23 Posts)
Marne Mon 13-Jan-14 12:25:50

Please help, we have had our dog since a pup, he is just over a year old ( lab x lurcher) he whines all day, he is walked twice a day ( I walk him in fields so he can chase a ball for an hour which tires him out ), I get him home, he has a drink, lies down for 5 minutes and then whines, he whines for his dinner 2 hours before dinner times, he whines when I leave the room, he whines when I go to bed, he whines when I go out and whines and barks as soon as get back home, he wakes at 5 am whining for breakfast. We try and ignore the whining as much as we can but it's driving us nuts, dh and I have to shout to hear each other over whining, we are fed up of being woken at 5 am and fed up of not being able to pop to the loo without him making noise.

We have stair gates downstairs, though I do leave them open so he can come and sit by the bathroom door when I pop to the loo but this doesn't make any difference.

We can't afford a behavioural specialist to help us, if ignoring him is not working then what else can I try? The food issues are the worst, crying for food 2 hours before he gets his dinner and breakfast, I have tried giving him three meals instead of 2 but this makes no difference, I try and make him wait until he has stopped whining but he doesn't stop ( the other day I waited 3 hours ).

Any advice very great fully received xx

milktraylady Mon 13-Jan-14 12:34:26

I really pity your neighbours if they have to put up with listening to that all day.

Have you checked your dog is not ill by taking them to a vet?
Sounds awful sad

popsgran Mon 13-Jan-14 12:45:37

I think behaviourists would agree that not rewarding unwanted behaviour is the right thing to do. in practice this is hard. any contact, is a reward, so don't look, speak or touch is the advice.
what do you feed? some foods can upset a dog in different ways. Is the dog wormed regularly with wormers from your vet? pet shop wormers don't work. Try a quality food free from wheat, colourings additives etc . I would recommend Arden grange, which seems expensive but is so concentrated a small amount satisfies. The quickest way to tire a dog is to make it think. make him work for food. scatter it in the garden if possible, stuff a kong. at some point the dog has learned that whining gets a response. Why cant he sleep in the bedroom if this would keep him quiet? Look at the blue cross web site they have lots of advice. It seems a bit like separation anxiety. unrewarded behaviour ceases is your maxim.if there is no pay off a dog gives up but it can take time.try and speak to Lisa at greyhound gap, she has loads of experience with lurchers.I wonder what his breeding is.Some are talkative, like salukis.he is trying to tell you something. Is the dog neutered? This could help.try and think what makes him quiet and peaceful and give him more of that. best wishes

Marne Mon 13-Jan-14 13:16:13

He has been like it since we got him but has obviously got louder as he has got bigger. We have tried him on several different foods including some very expensive but the vet told us to feed him happy as he suffers with colitis ( it's the only thing that doesn't give him the runs ), luckily we only have neighbours one side and they are rarely at home during the day, they havn't said anything about hearing him ( our walls a re very thick ), he has been checked over by the vet and they can't find anything wrong with him ( it's just a behaviour issue ), the trouble is with ignoring it is 'if I ignore him whining for food I eventually have to feed him' I try and wait until he is quite but as soon as I move to go and get his dinner he's tarts again, I wait in the kitchen until he goes quite and then I bring it into him and he goes crazy, he then sits ( as he knows he won't get it until he sits ), feeding time has got later and later in hope he won't wake as early, sometimes this works but sometimes it doesn't.

I need to get him castrated but I can't put up with the crying and barking in the morning before his op as I won't be able to feed him ( he would be crying for 3 hours before I can off load him on the vet ). It really is getting frustrating.

Marne Mon 13-Jan-14 13:18:16

My husband sleeps downstairs with him, I can't have him upstairs as my daughters don't like him jumping on their beds or licking their faces, plus the bedroom is the only place my cat can sleep without being hustled by the dogs, we have another dog so he is never left on his own ( they sleep together and play together ).

throckenholt Mon 13-Jan-14 13:21:03

can you distract him with a toy ? Maybe something like a kong that you hide a tiny bit of food in and it takes him ages to get it out.

MY sympathy - we have an 18 month old collie which has taken to hiding her toy somehwere she can't reach - in a big tub, in a drawer, under the drawers, and then whining for us to get it out for her. She thinks it is a game. Not easy to ignore because she whines so loudly.

kazzawazzawoo Mon 13-Jan-14 13:29:15

Poor dog hmm He doesn't sound happy. Is he hungry maybe? Can he have a treat of a raw carrot at lunchtime to look forward to, chew on and fill him up a bit?

Dogs just want food and love really, they want to be with you all the time (in my experience anyway). Does he like playing? Maybe catching a ball with you? Or does he have a toy to chew on? My mum gets those cotton tug toys for her dog to chew because they last ages and don't upset his stomach like the raw hide ones can.

Or train him to do a few tricks like give a paw, sit, lie down, stay, and reward him with some tiny cubes of cheese or cooked chicken or anything he can have each time?

Maybe he needs more exercise?

I have a cavalier and tbh she's happy as long as she's with me or following me around all the time. I just got used to it. She hates being separated from me.

Marne Mon 13-Jan-14 13:36:22

He has several kongs but doesn't show much interest in them, he plays with rope toys with my other dog for an hour in the evening and then gets fed up. He is asleep at the moment ( base cause he has had a long walk and I am sat near him ) but as soon as I get up he will start again, I am at home most of the day but I can't just sit with him all day, he refuses to come upstairs with me ( scared of going up the stairs ) and will just sit at the bottom of the stairs crying sad. Hopefully he will be a bit better when it's summer as his walks will be a bit more exciting ( At the moment there's so much water about we are limited to where we go ). Other than the whining he seems very happy, he's a very bouncy playful dog and we do play games with him a lot and he does play with my other dog, we have a large garden he can play in and he has loads of toys, what more would a dog need? ( other than a continues supply of food )

Marne Mon 13-Jan-14 13:38:22

He eats like a horse, he had always had issues around food since having colitis so bad as a pup ( he was underweight for a while ), he has 2 very large bowls of food and often I give him a handful of kibble for lunch ( scattered on the floor or in his kong wobbler ) and again before bed.

throckenholt Mon 13-Jan-14 13:41:16

Can you try desensitising him when you go upstairs. Go up for a short while (very short to start with). Talk to him while you are out of sight. Maybe throw him a treat while he is quiet (tricky timing to make sure he isn't whining when the treat arrives). Play with him and make a lot of fus sof him when you come back down. Do it several random times in the day and gradually build up to longer times.

Suzietwo Mon 13-Jan-14 13:41:40

i had also heard that you shouldn't ever go to a dog who is whining.

i can see how its hard with the feeding bit tho. i probably wouldnt change the feeding routine but gradually stop the whinging. so as soon as he stops for 10 seconds then he gets fed regardless of whether he has started up again. and gradually lengthen it.

if that really isnt working i'd change everything about his routine in one blow. the times of walks, the walks themselves, the time he is fed, the way he is interacted with. just to confuse him and 'start over'. if you can make him forget his whines (its just a habit) at the start of his new life, then he may not remember again.

Marne Mon 13-Jan-14 14:21:33

Thank you, I will continue to ignore as much as I can, I have just shown him how to get upstairs and he came up with me and hoovered up the biscuit crumbs from under dd's bed ( maybe I can make this a regular job for him) grin, this is the first time he has been up there so maybe now he knows where I go when I disappear he might not whine so much.

I think part if it is the fact he needs so much exercise, I walk him as much as I can and most of his walk he is running ( playing ball ) but he is hard to tire out ( will rest for 5 minutes and is then ready to go again ), hopefully when the evenings are lighter I can walk him later to put him off whining for his dinner, at the moment it's hard as there are no street lights here so too dangerous in the dark.

I gave him a couple laps around the field on his last walk ( continuously playing ball and running ), plus the walk their and back ( over a hour altogether ) and he seems a bit more relaxed now. I think ideally he should be a working dog, he loves to be outside, loves to retrieve and loves to learn, sadly I can't work him.

He is a lovely dog though and other than the whining he is well behaved, he walks well on and off the lead, he will sit, stay, lie down and shake paw and has a great recall. Just wish we could solve the noise issues and the food issues .

moosemama Mon 13-Jan-14 17:50:02

Do you know what mix the Lurcher side of him is? My pup has a fair bit of Saluki in him and they are a very vocal breed - always 'talking' and 'singing'. Mine's a whiner too. Although to be honest, much as it sounds like whining, it's actually just his way of chatting and trying to communicate with us. Basically, he just likes the sound of his own voice! We tend to just chat back and that's often all he wants.

I've found the best way to tire mine out is training, rather than exercise. Saluki type hounds in particular are bred to be able to run for miles and miles to bring down their quarry, so it's not easy to tire them out by normal dog-walking. Have you tried clicker training with him? You could use it to work on the problem areas you mention. Have a look at some of the Kikopup videos on YouTube for ideas on both practical and fun training you could do.

You can also get through quite a lot of his regular dog-food during training session and as a result, he will - hopefully - not be as desperate for food at mealtimes, meaning you can catch him when he's quiet and feed him then.

The most peace I get from my boy is dog club day. We spend one hour there in the morning and he pretty much sleeps for the rest of the day - it's the combination of all the socialisation with other dogs and having to use his brain consistently for an hour at a time.

If meal-times persist in being a problem I would try feeding all his meals portioned out into, training treats, a treat ball, something like a greed feeder, perhaps a nina-ottosson puzzle toy etc, so he's not actually anticipating his meal appearing in a bowl in front of him. You can then gradually re-introduce mealtimes in a bowl if you want to, by feeding him at a time he isn't expecting it and when he's not desperate for food, then only giving him the bowl if he is calm and quiet.

I weigh out his food into portions for the week and bag them up in sandwich bags. That way I find it easier to grab one and prepare a treat toy or his green feeder without him being as likely to notice and start winding himself up. It also helps to make sure he gets the right intake, when he's getting a proportion of it as training treats.

Your boy does sound pretty attached, mine is similar and again this is a typical Saluki trait, they are often aloof with people, but can get very attached to one particular person and want to be with them 24/7. I have struggled with this bit, as we've already had one dog with separation anxiety within the past 12 months (when we lost our old dog and Lurcherboy couldn't cope with being on his own) and our neighbours were very good, but I don't want them to think I am taking advantage. As a result, I haven't left the house without him for more than 50 minutes since we brought him home last August. (It has taken this long to work up from him not being able to stand me even a step away from him to him being able to do almost an hour.)

Just this last week I have trialled giving him more freedom. (He was crated and loved his crate, but hated being left in there if I was upstairs or out of the house.) So we put his crate away last Friday and he has been so much better - we are really pleased. Today for the first time ever he didn't let out so much as a whimper when I spent over an hour upstairs. This is unheard of, normally he'd either be in his crate yelling or behind the living room door whingeing and he would react at the first sound of the living room door-handle moving, but letting him upstairs with me a few times over the weekend seems to have demystified where I disappeared to and this morning he just stayed curled up in his nice new bed in the kitchen without batting an eyelid.

Marne Mon 13-Jan-14 18:47:33

Thank you, I will look at all those things.

I'm not 100% sure how much lurcher he is, we rescued him as a pup and we only knew what his mother was (she was mainly lab with a touch of collie), we assumed he would mainly be lab but as he got older it was more obvious that he has some kind of lurcher or greyhound in him. We started clicker training as soon as we got him and he responds really well to the basic commands (sit, down, lie down, stay and bed) and we used it to teach him recall but have failed at using it for this problem, I have done the 'leaving and returning every 5 minutes using the clicker and a treat when he's quiet, he gets frustrated and then starts barking sad.

Tonight I had some left over boiled potatoes from the dd's dinner so I gave the dogs some of those in their bowls around the time he starts asking for dinner and I then fed them the rest of their dinner at 6.15pm, he wasn't whining as he thought the potatoes was his dinner (which shows that he's not really hungry or he would have whined after having the tiny amount of potato), I think he just gets used to the routine so then tries to ask a bit earlier each day in hope I will give in.

We do use a crate but we only really use it if we go out (because he likes to destroy anything he can lay his teeth on) and we feed him in the crate (to stop him pinching my other dogs food as she likes to take her time).

Sadly there are no dog training clubs near by and he doesn't travel very well in the car (whines even more and gets travel sick), we do a bit of training at home and sometimes when I give him his snack before bed we do a bit of clicker training. I'm not used to having a dog with so much energy, I have had springer spaniels before and they have energy but nothing like he has, we doubled the length of his walk today and it didn't make much difference (was out of breath for 5 minutes and was then fine). He's now destroying a tennis ball and teasing my other dog with it smile, they will play for an hour of so and then hopefully calm down for the evening (or until 10pm when he will start whining for a snack before bed).

moosemama Mon 13-Jan-14 19:32:08

Using a clicker isn't usually recommended to teach dogs to settle when alone. The reason being, the click-treat scenario creates an expectancy and alertness that is contradictory to what you're trying to achieve.

You can still return when quiet and treat, but without making a fuss about it, keeping the atmosphere calm. You need to build up very slowly though, counting first one second, then two, then five, then eight, then twelve etc, gradually building it up - and if he whines at any point, go back a few seconds and start again from where he can cope without whining.

Our old Collie cross was very routine led and if we got into too much of a routine around walks and feeds became a proper nag. So we used to mix it up and keep her guessing, not so much that she would get stressed that things weren't going to happen, but so that she didn't know if she was going out at 11.00 or 1.30 or if dinner was at 5.30 or 7.00 - that sort of thing.

Shame about the training classes, but there are plenty of things you can do at home to wear him out mentally. Try adopting a nothing-for-free attitude with him, so he has to think about and do something to get what he wants. That way he will have to be working something out each time he wants his food or fuss or a game and this hopefully, will take the place of the whining until it eventually goes to extinction.

Owllady Mon 13-Jan-14 20:31:38

I had a collie lurched cross and she started to whine when she went deaf sad could this be a possibility?
And fir her structure and signing helped

Marne Mon 13-Jan-14 21:47:28

His hearing seems to be fine, he hears me get out of my car and rattle my car keys when I get home, his ears will be tested when he's castrated but I'm pretty sure they are fine.

Marne Thu 16-Jan-14 11:21:47

Well this morning he woke us at 4.30am [grr] so he's not in my good books today! I still can't get up to go to the loo without him jumping up and whining !the only thing that has improved is when I return home after the school run! he doesn't whine as much and when I let him out of his crate he doesn't go crazy ( will sit next to my feet for a stroke and will then go and lie down ), so 1 step forward 3 steps back.

It's the early waking which is really getting to us, dh is still sleeping downstairs with him but dh is not really helping with the 'ignoring the whining' and he just feeds him to shut him up, he did manage to settle him back down at 4.30am but it only lasted a hour before he was up again ( whining and jumping around on the wood floor which wakes everyone up ). It's such a nightmare as I'm scared to make the slightest noise at night because he will wake and start whining which will wake the whole house up, at the moment he seems to be controlling our lives, I know that sounds a bit silly but he is making things very hard sad.

I'm going to phone the bet to book him in for his vaccinations, I will have a word with them while I'm there. It's such a shame he does this ( whining all the time and waking us up ) as he's such a lovely dog, we have bled a holiday for the summer but I don't know what I'm going to do with him usually my mum would look after the pets but I feel guilty putting this on her.

moosemama Thu 16-Jan-14 14:47:55

Sorry to hear things are no better, my boy tend to wake us in the night if he gets cold. So we've just bought him a fleece housecoat to wear at night and it stopped immediately. I do know how it feels to have a dog regularly waking you in the night though, as Pip was a real pain with it when he was a bit younger. I am always worried about disturbing the neighbours, so I had a baby monitor set up in the kitchen, so I can hear him before he gets loud enough to bother them. blush

Your dh sleeping downstairs is no solution and it does sound like he's reinforcing the whining if he feeds him to shut him up. So he's actually perpetuating the problem and making it a viscious circle.

Have you tried teaching him 'settle'. We did this by just repeating the word 'settle' quietly every time he was actually resting quietly. We'd say the word, then 'good settle' and repeated it as often as we possibly could. Now he associates the word with lying quietly and if he does wake in the night, we just go into the next room and tell him to 'settle' and he goes back to sleep. It takes a bit of time for them to make the necessary associations, but it does work.

To be honest, if he's controlling/affecting your family life that badly (and no that doesn't sound silly - and I speak as someone who hasn't left the house without the puppy for longer than 50 minutes since last August) it's probably time to bring in a qualified behaviourist. There are probably lots of things you can do, but it's very hard to advise over the net, without being able to observe your family dynamics and see what's really going on.

Avoid anyone who talks about pack structure or dominance like the plague, especially with a boy that's so sensitive. Have a look at the APBC and CAPBT websites and see if they have anyone locally to you.

If he's insured, they may cover a certain amount of behaviourist work, so it's worth checking and if they do, you will need a vet referral.

HomeHypno Thu 16-Jan-14 15:37:11

I can't offer any other ideas apart from trying one of thos coats that are supposed to help them feel calm and settled? Bit like being a tiny pup again in their mum's warm tummy, or something like that....

My cocker whines on a walk, he should be in heaven with all the mud, long grass, squirrels etc but he still whines as he runs around happily sniffing things. I reassure him which doesn't do much in keeping him quiet for very long. I suspect it is a breed thing and a learned habit. And maybe excitement as well, a dog's brain whimpering for whatever lovely thing they have learned to expect?

Marne Thu 16-Jan-14 18:41:47

Thank you, I will try the 'settle' thing, at the moment he has his own arm chair that he sleeps in (he used to sleep in his crate but he seems happier in his chair) and he knows 'chair' means get in your chair, dh managed to get him back in the chair this morning for a little while. I know dh isn't helping things, dh sleeps downstairs because he snores very loudly (a whole other thread), a few weeks ago I swapped places with dh and the dog wasn't half as bad (he whined a little, I ignored and he settled back down).

Today I have tried feeding him with 4 smaller meals using his treat ball and kong wobbler (making him work for his food) but he is still whining, probably because he's used to seeing his food in a bowl and in large amounts? he has now settled a little bit so I will feed him his 4th meal in his bowl as late as I can (but giving him time to poop before bed), I think its routine that is the problem (he gets used to a routine very quickly and then expects the same to happen the next day, the waking in the mornings has just become a part of that routine).

I will speak to the vet and see if there are any behaviourists near by that they can recommend, he is insured so hopefully he might be covered.

My ex-bf's border terrier used to whine all the bloody time and it drover me insane. Apparently, that's just how he was but I used to count down the hours til he'd gone home again as nothing made him stop. No advice for you, but I can sympathise!

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