How can I get my dog to stop whining?
November 21, 2011 9:04 PM Subscribe
I love my dog Buddy, and he loves me. He loves everyone, really. But starting a few weeks ago he has become very vocally NEEDY. He will not stop whining, and it's driving us batty. Can you dog-trainer-types out there help me figure out how to help him chill out?
We adopted Buddy from the humane society almost exactly 2 years ago. He is about 10, we think. He's a mutt, with maybe some herding instinct in there somewhere (he occasionally tries to herd the cats, not in an aggressive way, just sort of a "GUYS GUYS ISNT THIS FUN YOU GUYS" kind of way), but we really have no idea what breeds we are actually looking at. He gets along fine with the cats, with other dogs, and especially with anybody he thinks might possibly pet him. I'd say he prefers people to other dogs, most of the time. He has always been very affectionate and sweet since we've had him, and he still is. It's just that now he whines and moans and vocalizes if he's not getting petted. Like, all the time.
For example: I was home from work today and so he spent most of the afternoon curled up next to me on the bed. Whenever I was doing something other than petting him (e.g., touching the computer, knitting, whatever) he would whimper. Just as an experiment, on one occasion I did not respond to him. His whines and whimpers got louder and more desperate until finally he just sort of sighed, scooted over and started licking my face. Which was hilarious, but also suggested to me that he just really wanted me to pet him.
The dog is not unloved. We adore him. But we cannot pet him ALL THE TIME. And yet this seems to be exactly what he wants.
This has been going on since the start of November. During that time, one of our cats has been on a prednisone derivative to treat pancreatitis (she's doing much better, thanks), and my husband started NaNo. His schedule, routine, and food are all unchanged.
He is due for a veterinary appointment this week anyway, so this is an issue we will definitely address with the doctor. FWIW, his behavior is otherwise entirely normal. He eats, poops, plays, and does everything that we would expect him to do. He does not seem to be in pain or otherwise uncomfortable (although we will certainly ask the vet, just to be sure).
Assuming that there is nothing physically wrong with him, what should we be doing to change his behavior?