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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

New puppy owner here! I've had my black lab for two weeks and she's 9 and a half weeks old. She's a lovely, good natured dog, very smart and affectionate.

A bit of background: I work from home, puppy is currently living in the kitchen with a baby gate and a crate. We're progressing nicely with crate training. She has a bit more freedom in the evening, when she comes into the living room with me and we watch a film together. I have a small garden but my parents up the road have 4.5 acres of safe, fenced-in land she runs around in and loves, so that's working well until she has her second round of vaccinations and we can go out together. She's doing quite well with toilet training too. She has lots of people around her such as my parents and my friends and we're going to puppy socialisation/training classes every week from Monday.

But we have a problem with whining. She miraculously doesn't whine at night and never has – she just goes to sleep. But whining during the day is reaching epic proportions. She will whine to wake me up, which I understand as she wants her breakfast (I sometimes beat her to this as I get up at 5.30 anyway). She is fed, goes outside, we have a play and a cuddle and then I have to get dressed etc. She will then start whining. The whining won't stop until I reappear. I try not to, but at some point I have to go back into the kitchen. Then she wags her tail and is completely quiet.

I work from home and can structure my day so that some of it I'm working downstairs with her, but often I have to be in my home office for conference calls. She whines whenever I'm on the other side of the baby gate, out of her line of sight, in another room, upstairs, on the loo ... anything. And it's not just whining, it's screaming, thrashing against the baby gate. This goes on for over two hours. I'd say approximately 7 hours of the day she's screaming – and it sounds like I'm abusing her ... it's that yelpy, ratty, very loud and piercing sound.

I've been Googling and researching all I can on puppy whining. I've tried various methods, including:

  • ignoring the whining completely
  • telling her "no" firmly
  • gently saying "no whining" and then raising my voice
  • making a loud sound and saying "no"
  • shutting the crate door/kitchen door
  • exercising her more
  • playing "hide and seek" where I disappear and come back in a few second with a treat if she's been quiet, increasing this amount of time
  • tethering her and working on her patience/self-control
  • having the radio on
  • giving her plenty of toys to chew on (including a Kong with kibble or peanut butter)
  • spending more time with her or less time with her
... and many more different things.

But nothing is working. The most effective method has been ignoring her, but at her young age she will need to go for a wee after two hours and she whines until this point, so I always have to reappear. It's hard to know whether she's whining because she needs something or for attention. If I completely ignore her, after about two hours she will finally stop, but often I come back to find she's weed and then I feel like a horrible dog owner and uncaring – but I care very much.

I always make sure she's fed, watered, has been outside successfully, has had a play/training session and lots of affection and praise, but the moment I leave, she starts bawling.

I'm at my wit's end at the moment. I love her to pieces and I know she's going to be a great dog and my best friend in life, but at the moment I'm frustrated and this is marring my relationship with her a bit. I'd like to be able to go to the loo without her screaming the house down!

Luckily, I have very understanding neighbours, but I don't want to push this.

Does anyone have any advice? Any experience with something similar? Please no one tell me to use water pistols/smacks/anything cruel as I'm not interested in terrorising her.

Is this something that will stop when she's allowed out of the house and I can tire her out more? Will she stop as she gets older?

Thanks very much guys,

Charlotte
 

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I recently adopted a somewhat older puppy, and she whined as well when I left her sight. My response was to keep her with me most of the time. Her crate is in my room, and during the day with few exceptions she and my other two dogs are with me. I believe that this builds a foundation of confidence for the dog. Now there is substantially less fuss if I do leave for short periods.
Your pup is still a baby, that doesn't last long. She needs your presence and attention. A bonus is that in a relatively short while if you give her a walk or other morning exercise, she will quietly sleep at your feet while you make your telephone calls and go about your business.
 

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I second keeping her with you. Wait till she's a little older to start teaching her to be on her own. I have a similar problem with my Mini Aussie pup. All the guides say do this and do that to teach your puppy not to whine/bark, but what no one tells you is puppies are literally babies, they don't like to be alone and you can't really teach them to stop crying yet and that's okay. They're so, so young and small and inexperienced, everything in the world is new and confusing and scary. It's okay, for the first little while, to just love them and be with them. "Tough love" can come a bit later, though even saying that, in my experience is actually does sort of "magically" get better as they get older--or maybe the training methods just "magically" start working where they didn't before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the responses. I have tried this as well, but until she's toilet trained I am reluctant to have her upstairs with me. The whole of the downstairs is wooden floorboards, so that's okay, but we're still getting the toilet training process sorted. She also has a penchant for electrical wires, like normal puppies, and I can't supervise her properly in the office when on a conference call. And, if she hears me talking on the phone, even if she's in the same room, she starts whining. She's with me about 8 hours during the day (morning, lunch and all evening), but there are times I can't be with her.
 

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Hmm that is difficult. Do you have room for an exercise pen where your office is? That would keep her from chewing stuff she shouldn't, though I guess the whining would still be an issue. It may just be something you have to put up with until she gets a little older.

Just a thought regarding bathroom breaks as well. What you could do is set an alarm clock in the room she's in, and don't come down until the alarm goes off. That way she'll learn the alarm makes you come back, and not her whining/barking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Bexille, that is a brilliant suggestion! I'll try it absolutely. I wonder also if putting another crate upstairs in the office would work for a bit - at least she could see me that way and we could take regular bathroom breaks. Might help with toilet training.

Thanks!
 
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