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Hello! I have a 5 year old Australian Cattle Dog mix. She's very high energy, but it's just me and her living together, so I give her a ton of attention and exercise. But even so, after she wakes up from a nap, if I'm working or on the phone (or really anything that doesn't involve her), she often starts whining. She can do this for hours - it's kind of stressful!

Most advice is 'you aren't giving your dog enough attention!' or 'you aren't exercising your dog enough'! But I really don't think either of those things are true for us. For instance, Sunday we went on a 2 hour hike in the morning, then she took a nap, then we went on another 30 minute walk around the neighborhood and I gave her a peanut butter kong, and then she fell back asleep briefly. When she woke up the next time around dinner time, I was working on my computer and couldn't play with her. She tried to bring me a toy, when mostly ignored, she just walked around whining and circling me for almost 2 hours while I tried to focus. She did eventually give up. But sometimes she won't give up until it really is time for another walk or dinner or something that she actually needs.

Basically, when she's awake and I'm home, she can get really frustrated if I'm not paying attention to her. It's often the worst around 5 or 6pm. Ignoring her does eventually seems to work (although as mentioned, sometimes she whines so long that I do need to take her out in the middle of it). Do I just need to get better at ignoring her to stop this behavior? I really do spent a ton of time every day exercising her mind and body and engaging with her.

Would love any advice! Thanks!
 

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Some dogs don't realise they have an 'off' switch and need to be taught to settle. We tend to not do it because (slightly ironically) we don't want to disturb them when they are quietly settled ...

It is about letting them know that when they are lying quietly, we like that and so we reward that behaviour.

Have a look at this video.

 

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If you are sure your dog doesn’t have every reason to seek your attention, you can start to work on reducing their excessive attention-seeking behaviors. What is important however is to reward your dog when they are doing what you want them to do! Below are some tips to stop her whining for attention. · Don’t ignore your dog when she is being good. Reward good behavior so she is very clear about the appropriate ways to get your attention. · If she does something you do not want her to do, totally ignore her (if it is safe to do so). Don’t interact with her, talk to her, or even look at her until the behavior stops. · If you ignore these behaviors, she will stop (although they may escalate first!) · When the behavior stops you have to be very quick to reward its absence. Reward what you like, ignore what you don’t. · At times when you know your dog is likely to pester you, you can give her a chew or a toy stuffed with food to distract her and give her something to occupy her instead and break the habit.
 

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In most cases, the reason your dog’s whining or bark is to get your attention. So, if your dog starts bark, get up and move away from them. This action will make your dog understand that whining or bark doesn’t gain them your attention. In fact, it does the opposite. At first, you leaving will only make the bark get louder. In other words, it’s going to be torture for you, but if you want this behavior stopped, you need to power through. After a while, your dog will learn that whining or bark doesn’t work and resort to other attention-getting tactics.
 

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Or, maybe the dog has a genuine need for your attention - like alerting you to a problem or unmet need.
 

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Because their ancestors were prairie dogs, they liked places with ample space. They are very active, very alert and extremely loyal. Because of its intelligence and docility, Australian oxen dogs are often selected for training in dog competitions and often achieve high results.
 
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