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Needy dog how to balance

(11 Posts)
TitsalinaBumSquash Wed 11-Sep-19 06:58:39

I have a 3 yr old chihuahua.
He's a really needy dog. The more attention he gets the more he whines and begs for more.
I don't know how to solve it. We've seen 2 behavioural specialists, 1 said give him less and less until he gets to the point of not begging for it .. this worked in practice but we ended up with a dog that would live in his crate and come out only for walks and food and to go in the garden. I don't think that's ok somehow.
The other said lots of attention, bring him right into the family for everything and eventually he'd settle into a pattern of calmer times and more playful times.
This hasn't worked at all, we've been going for a while now and he's the worst he's been. Constantly whining at my heels, following everyone and anyone begging for attention, if he's ignored in the senco day he's at the door scraping to go out, the senco day he's out he's scraping to get back in.
I'm getting to the end of my tether, we're a really busy 6 person household, I haven't got the time to devote to making sure he gets the exact amount of attention.

I've had several people desperate to keep him and have him, an older couple who would have him and devote everything to him, I've resisted for such a long time but I'm starting to lean towards letting him go because this is beginning to wear me down.

I KNOW it isn't a huge deal in terms of what dogs can do but I have misophonia, the high pitched whining in my ear constantly is really effecting me. sad

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LittleLongDog Wed 11-Sep-19 07:03:36

That sounds so hard. Is it just you he’s clingy with or the whole household?

Does exercise make a difference?

TitsalinaBumSquash Wed 11-Sep-19 08:10:36

He's just desperate for attention from anyone and everyone but a tiny amount makes him push for more and more.
Exercise doesn't seem to make a difference, he has either 2 long or 2 shorter walks everyday.

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Jouska Wed 11-Sep-19 08:24:55

Both behavourial advice sounds a bit weird and incorrect.

You need to teach your dog to be calm and settle.

Look at impulse games on the internet.

Reward your dog when he is lying calm on a mat with little interaction. DO of course walk him and play with him but there are times in the day when he has to be settled on his mat.

Fortheloveofscience Wed 11-Sep-19 08:31:50

Yeah I don’t think either set of advice is right. If he were my dog I’d ignore ignore ignore as long as he’s whining, then when he finally gives up and is quiet reward by giving him a (low-energy, gentle) fuss. At first this will result in you being catapulted straight back to the start of the whining, but it shouldn’t take long for him to connect the dots and realise that the fuss comes when the noise stops. The only potential problem is that some dogs don’t actually realise when they’re whining, in which case you’ll have to put in place a physical marker (eg put a mat down and make the rule that he only gets a fuss when he’s on his mat rather than trailing after you).

adaline Wed 11-Sep-19 09:28:26

Both sets of advice sounds wrong to me.

My dog is fairly needy and loves human company. Have you tried training him to settle on her own? We have baby gates up - I leave him (for example) in the living room with a tasty chew and go into the kitchen to cook/clean. He's occupied but he can still see me and knows I've not left him. He's too interested in the treat to bother me!

Then you can extend that so when you're in the same room, he gets a treat for settling nicely on the floor. Dogs need to learn to settle away from their owners - and it's often the owners that create the problem by giving in to all their demands - I know I was certainly guilty of it. I hated listening to him bark and whine and didn't want to bother the neighbours so I just let him stay with me just to keep him quiet blush

You really do need to learn to ignore the whining and whinging. Attention should be on your terms, not his - it is hard at first and will probably get worse before it gets better but it does pay to be consistent. Mine will happily settle with a chew for a few hours now while I do other things in a different part of the house or even go in the garden. I'd never have thought that possible a few months ago!

TitsalinaBumSquash Wed 11-Sep-19 09:40:20

He's deffo capable of learning, I have managed to teach him to ignore other dogs with distraction and then praise for ignoring, this was after he got worse and worse with aggression to other dogs who would sniff him.
I find sometimes he whines constantly so there's no pause in it to praise for not iyswim?
He's fine if we're actually out the house or out the room, he's only craving attention if he can see and hear that we're around.
He loves his crate, he likes to retreat there when the kids are being hyper (6 of us in a tiny house at present makes for chaos)
I will keep working with him of course.

What would be the recommendation for this scenario just so I can make sure I'm on the right lines,

He's up on my lap having his coat brushed and a fuss (long haired) he's quite calms through this so I give him a little treat then put him on the floor and turn away to engage in conversation or to read a book (something to signal that we're done with attention for now)
He will then sit at my feet shaking with excitement/anticipation (I assume) whining and whining. I keep waiting for a break in this to then give the attention and praise him and then put him to bed but none comes and that's the bit I struggle with.

OP’s posts: |
adaline Wed 11-Sep-19 09:48:55

When you get him off you (to signal no more attention) you need to turn that into a "good thing". Is he food orientated? For us, we use natural chews like pizzles or hooves - when we want him to settle alone, he gets his favourite treat. By the time he's eaten it, he's normally settled down and will snooze where he is or take himself to his bed.

Not being with you/being fussed by you has to be seen as a good thing for him. At the moment he's used to being in the same room as you and getting fuss - you need to alter his expectations. It's hard but consistency and lots of treats/praise and you'll get there in the end.

Jouska Wed 11-Sep-19 09:59:10

This is the best bit of dog training as you can be rally lazy!

When you are sitting still, having a cup of coffee or mumsnetting pop a mat on the floor near you. If he even looks at the mat drop a treat onto the mat. Do not say anything. Keep this all calm and low key.

If he wanders off or tries to climb up on you pause and then put a treat on the mat. Clever dogs really quickly realise that hanging out on the mat gets rewards. He will start to go to the mat probably just stand on it and may look at you . if he is on the mat and not looking at you treat. Then as he goes to the mat more readily you can reward him for going down on the mat and only going into a down.

He may start to go to the mat and bark, run to you and then go back to the mat ignore this just reward when calm and quiet on the mat-it will happen.

I use the clicker a lot for training but not for this exercise as it can cause too much excitement. All rewards must be calm and quiet. Do not lure onto the mat let him make his own decision - this will be slower to start with but will mean he learns the behaviour quicker.

Jouska Wed 11-Sep-19 09:59:40

rally! = really lazy I have to get a new keyboard

TitsalinaBumSquash Wed 11-Sep-19 10:20:01

Brilliant thanks for the advice, hopefully I can fix this and we can have some quiet, calm times with him. He's such a lovely dog, other than this issue he's a dream.

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