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How to Handle Puppy Whining

Updated on June 13, 2011
Stop Puppy Whining
Stop Puppy Whining | Source

Why Do Puppies Whine?

When puppies are cold, hungry or tired, whining is very natural for them. In response to puppy whining, a mother dog will provide milk, a safe place to sleep, and warmth.

Eventually, puppies connect the two actions and begin to whine deliberately. This is how the puppy lets his mother know that something is amiss or he requires something.

A puppy should be adopted between 8 and 10 weeks old. This is when puppies discover that whining doesn't have any effect with their new family; or they may use whining to compel their new mother (you!) into giving them what they require.

It is for this reason that the general opinion is that a new puppy should be left alone on his first night in your home. If you react to puppy whining with sympathy, cooing, cuddling etc., your dog is certain to feel that whining will get him what he wants.

What You Should Do

Naturally, you will need to be reasonable and show good judgment. A scared puppy will need affection, reassurance and attention. It is important that you act quickly so he doesn't think that the desired result was achieved through his puppy whining. Your pup must not be conditioned to whine every time he wants something.

You should teach your puppy to be comfortable with isolation and privacy by leaving him alone even when you are at home. This will help to prevent separation anxiety when you leave the home. Once you are sure that all your puppy's physical needs have been met and you have taken the time to get him accustomed to isolation, then he must be taught that whining is inappropriate.

Of course, puppies that are very upset, crying, and whining should not be heartlessly ignored. As soon as the whining stops, you should calm him down and show him affection. It is not always possible to wait until your puppy has stopped whining completely as some puppies will whine for hours.

If this is the situation, you don't have to let your puppy's suffering drag on - open the door of the crate as soon as he stops whining, even if it's just for a matter of seconds. This is certainly not ideal but, under the circumstances, it's probably the best you'll be able to do.

Most dogs have grown out of puppy whining by the time they are six months old. Puppies that still whine after this time are probably doing it by instinct, or they have figured out that it gets them what they need.


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    • sscott profile image

      sscott 6 years ago

      Thanks, I'm glad you found the information helpful. Good luck with your puppy.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 6 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      This is my second puppy's first night and he is whining. I read this article just in time and it is very helpful.