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Canine Behavior/Crying and whining


QUESTION: Hello, I have a Terrier/Eskimo/Poodle mix that is almost 3 years old (b-day is in April). He is a great dog and has a lot of energy once you get him going but normally he likes to sleep a lot. I just took him to a vet about 4 months ago for a check up and update on his shots. They said he was in perfect health. We moved to a new state and he seems happy despite the change but here is my problem... I let him out back to go potty and he goes then comes in yet a few minutes later he will start to cry and want to go outside again! I try to play with him indoors because we don't have a fenced in yard and live close to a wooded area but even when he is playing and after he still cries and wants to go outside. I observe him when he goes potty and nothing seems out of the ordinary, he has no trouble going to the bathroom and looks happy and curiously sniffs around the yard. It's actually getting very annoying to hear him cry when I'm trying to watch tv or do the dishes or clean house. Do you have an idea of why he would be doing this? Or how to stop him?

ANSWER: Could be he's eager to get out there and make his "mark", literally; could be he's responding to something he scents/hears, etc. when outdoors.  When you go out with him, give him plenty of time to eliminate; obtain some sense of when he needs to defecate (I know when my Poodle needs to defecate and she's fairly reliable unless she chooses not to eat for a day, which occasionally happens) so you will be prepared to spend extra time then.  Praise lavishly for any elimination.  Take him out at fair interals: four times daily is fair (early morning, early afternoon, late afternoon, before bed - when and if possible).  If the dog has not had a complete blood chemistry, urine sample, stool sample, orthopedic evaluation, he has not had a complete checkup.  Might want to run a blood chemistry and samples just to be safe.

Once dog has clear checkup, you'll know this is the start of something you want finished, right now.  Ignore the whining.  Leave the room the MOMENT he starts, count to ten, go back in.  At first, you might have to leave the room many times but the dog will soon connect his behavior (whining) with your leavetaking.  Upon re-arrival in the room, he may seem anxious, ask for "sit", praise, go on as usual.  Asking for "sit" is a bridge between his anxiety at your leavetaking and your return in order to avoid further stress.  If you respond to the whining, you are effectively TRAINING him to cue YOU, rather than the other way around.  Whining is a juvenile behavior, stress related/pain related, or acquired behavior because people react (thereby rewarding the dog).  Ignoring it totally will extinguish it unless there is a physical cause.

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QUESTION: I know they took samples from him and blood (he hated the needle) and it all came back perfect. I think it might be the fact that there are wild and stray dogs that run around and like to sometimes 'mark' his yard. Thank you for answering so quickly and I will try to ignore him when he whines right after going outside.

If just ignoring it doesn't work, leave the room as I suggested.  As much of a pain as this is, after one day of it he will at least diminish in his behavior and then it should extinguish.  Also, as he habituates to the new surroundings, it should naturally extinguish. Re-post if you need further assistance.  Thanks.

Canine Behavior

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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