I've been following the forum for a week or so now and have found great advice here. I finally decided to post my own conundrum.
My husband and I adopted a British Lab puppy a few weeks ago. She's now 12 weeks old, and is very smart. She's learned sit, down, come, leave it, go to bed (crate), and is working on heel. She is doing well at housebreaking, and loves her crate.
In the last week, she has suddenly developed a new habit that we'd like to curtail. She used to whine when she wanted/needed something: to go out, water, attention. We were learning to tell when she was whining for something necessary versus just for attention, and doing our best not to reward the attention-whining.
Now, suddenly, she's started to bark instead of whine. She barks to be let out of the playpen (we put her in it, with toys, when we cannot watch her, say when we're eating), when she has to go out, and most annoyingly when she just wants attention and we aren't giving her any. We have people who live under us, and so we'd really like to stop this habit before it goes any further and really annoys them. She doesn't always have great timing: barking after her morning walk (about 15-20 minutes) when she wants to play and we need to be getting ready for work--so it's early and I know our neighbors aren't pleased about being woken up by a barking puppy. So far we have been responding with an immediate, sharp "QUIET!" She will stop for a second, but then start up again.
Any advice? I assume this is part of her development and that's why she's suddenly switched from whining to barking, exercising her new form of communication...? Any suggestions? Thanks!
I wouldn't be responding at all. Even that small amount of attention will cause some puppies to keep it up.
The only way I was successful with stopping this behaviour was ignoring it...... then when Milly was quiet for a specific time giving her the attention she was after. She soon learnt that all of this ruckus she was making was getting her nowhere and definitely not getting her what she wanted.
agree, don`t ever reward or comply to whining or barking even if you know they want something (with the small expetion of a puppy that is still in the house training process I may take htem outside on leash so they know it is just to do business and not play). Puppy doesn't know that when you "ignore" it is because you have deducted it is for "attention" only - she just knows that sometimes whining works and will keep doing it (for valid reasons and non valid reasons).
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
Thanks very much for the replies. We had thought about ignoring it, but were admittedly not being consistent. We'll double the efforts tonight and pray our neighbors aren't home!
Thanks again for the replies. My husband and I started really ignoring Scout's barking last night. She tried it when I got home and she wanted me to greet her, but I ignored her until she grew quiet (about 6 barks in 1 minute, then she switched to whining and finally was quiet). Last night she let out a sharp, very loud bark-whine combination at 4:30 am that surprised me so much that I jumped right out of bed from being sound asleep! We don't think it was a bark, but maybe that she was dreaming or got a paw caught in the crate or something (that has happened once, and she let out a horrible shriek). Scout is very smart, so I am hoping that she will pick up on this barking=no attention pretty quickly.
Maloneandme, you made me laugh when you said that Malone got more attitude at 12 weeks. It seems like each week Scout is changing into something new. 12 weeks has brought on a new sense of attitude for sure!
Keep it up - and a note to your neighbours explaining what you are doing and why, accompanied by flowers, cookies and/or wine, goes a long way to soothing ruffled feelings
Agree with letting the neighbours know just in case. Glad to hear it went pretty well - keep it up!
Sometimes they get worse before they get better, it can sometimes takes days (or weeks depending on teh dog and how strong a pattern they set) to really get better. A habit takes some repetition to form so it takes repetition (x10!) to re-train a pattern!
Charlie (foster) and Rocky