Hello! I stumbled on this place when I was searching for information about puppies whining. I'm not sure if I'm in the right area, but I would love to get some advice if anyone can help me?
Two weeks ago I got a Chihuahua puppy. She was 11 weeks old when I got her, so she's now 13 weeks old. I made sure she came from a good breeder. Her parents are indoor dogs, and they were the only dogs in the household. So it wasn't a puppy mill or backyard breeder situation. The puppy is AKC registered and the parents are OFA certified. I tried to do all the research I could on the breed, but I feel like I'm just not learning how to deal with this issue correctly. I even took her to the vet thinking it might be a health issue, but the vet says it isn't.
My puppy has extreme separation anxiety. I expected her to whine when confined for the first few days after bringing her home, but I think how she's acting is beyond the normal puppy behavior.
I want to puppy pad train her, so I haven't been having her go outside to go to the bathroom. I bring her to a litterbox with puppy pads instead. When I can't watch her, when I go to work, and at night I put her in my laundry room. She has everything she needs in there. I put a small plastic kennel in there and took the door off so she can go in and out. I put a blanket inside the kennel with a ticking clock. I also put a radio in the room. She has her food, water, toys, and her litterbox with puppy pads. But she still hates it when she has to be in there, even after 2 weeks. The first few nights she howled and whined all night long, which I expected. But now, everytime I put her in there, she will wail for sometimes an hour or more before calming down. I never go and get her when she whines, I completely ignore her. When she has been quiet for 30 seconds or more, then I let her out. But when I let her out, she acts like she hasn't seen me in ages. She's borderline neurotic. She jumps all over me, trying to lick my face like crazy and whining constantly as she's doing this. I will stand up as it gets overwhelming. But when I do, it freaks her out and she will paw and yelp, jumping up on my legs because she's not in my lap. So then I will turn my back to her to let her know this behavior isn't acceptable, and she will just carry on and on. I tried ignoring her for 1/2 hour the other day and she just kept right on pawing at my leg and yelping. I finally had to put her back in the laundry room because I didn't want to reward her by picking her up and giving in to her tantrum. She will sometimes calm down enough so that I can hold her, but even then she sits in my lap and wimpers constantly.
If she's in the laundry room and hears me come home, or hears me walk around at night, she freaks out as well. I feel like she's in that room more than she's out because of all this whining. The other day I went to an appointment at 9 and got home at 1. She heard me come in the front door and started carrying on like crazy. I wanted to wait for her to stop before going to get her. She literally whined like that for 2 hours. So she was in that laundry room for 6 hours straight! If she calms down in the room at all, it's short lived. The minute I put her back, it starts all over again. And at night, she whines for an hour or so, then stops for an hour or so, whines for an hour or so, etc. Her whines start out sounding like a wounded rabbit (at first I even thought she was hurt or something), then it sounds like a typical puppy whining/wimpering over and over. Finally it tapers down to a howl.
Is this normal after 2 weeks? I've been reading so much about this, and I feel like I'm just not doing something right. I even tried putting her in the kennel and putting the kennel next to my bed, or in the same room I was in so that she would know I was near her. That was a big mistake! She actually got worse because she knew I was there but wasn't paying attention to her, much like when I stand up and am not holding her. At least in the room she calms down after awhile. She wouldn't do that in the kennel when she could see me but not get to me. I'm just at my wits end.
Most puppies will have a certain amount of seperation anxiety when removed from their "pack" and until they are bonded to the new "pack", this is especially so with the toy breeds that were developed to be constant companions to humans.Have you tried filling a large soda bottle with hot water and covering it with a tube sock and placing it in with her ? The warmth will be a comfort to her and be a substatute for the other pack members.The toy breeds are so tiny as pups that all this fussing could make her lose weight and she may have trouble maintaining body temperature.Hours of the stress of such whining can't be good for her, I have a Chihuahua and I am his person and he doesn't like it when I am gone. He doesn't bark or whine but he will lie on the rug by the front door and wait for me to return. My husband says Oreo will some times lie on the couch with him but is always looking toward the door and watching for me. This is a breed that was bred to be solely a companion to humans and as such is not going to be happy when left alone.My cats will curl up with Oreo to keep him company and have always groomed his fur and washed his face and ears.
My Chinese Crested was the same way when she was little. I ended up giving into her though. Carried her around in a pouch around my waist for a couple of months when I was home. I do have to say though, after about 2 months (when she was about 16 weeks) she was "okay" or better with me being gone. I did go out and buy her a crate and put one of my old fleece sweaters in with her when I left. At night was really the only time she cried but it was only for a few minutes. She loved her crate and would go in and nap if I was running around the house doing things. It takes time and I think the general rules dont always pertain to every animal. Especially the tiny ones when they are young. They require alot more attention. Thet hot water in the sock seems like a good idea, they are so small and I am certain with her being upset she'd love to cuddle with something warm. Time, and patience....most important love. Be patient and rather than ignore her crying when you are home, let her know you are there. Give her a minute of your time, and love her. I couldnt imagine ignoring a crying puppy of any kinda for 6 hours... that's cruel.
No more room in the house, but so much in our hearts.
I wanted to mention though that I didn't ignore her for 6 hours straight. I put her in her room because I had to leave the house. I was gone for 4 hours. And when I came home, she heard me come in the door and started whining/yelping like crazy. I read that when you come home and a puppy does that, that you need to ignore them until they quiet down, and then go get them. I thought she would quiet down after a few minutes, but she didn't. She whined for 2 hours straight. The minute she stopped, I let her out and she was with me the remainder of the day. But that's trouble I'm running into. I don't want her to be alone, but if I give in to her whining, won't it make it worse?
I have had plenty of puppies and trained them all myself and have actually had people want me to train their dogs for them. I would recommend giving the dog as much attention as the little puppy wants. If you keep going like this you will have a puppy that does what they want to and does not bond with you very well. YOu might as well have a cat if its gets to that point. Even though the puppy whines its only because you have filled the void of its mother and you left, which I understand is going to happen. You are now the alpha dog so to speak. The alpha-dog would not ignore the puppy. She would tend to it and calm it down. You need to do the same. I'm not saying baby it but show it attention as soon as you get home, otherwise more 2 hour situations like you did and the puppy will begin to think you don't want it. Its a puppy for gods sake and a small one, the separation issues really don't start until they are a little older. Right now he/she is still getting use to the house, schedule and when you make time to play with him/her. I have found the more attention I gave the better the dog I had in the end. I did not over-do it with attention but I made sure the puppy knew I was always there for it.
Welcome to TP! I think it is obvious that you spent a lot of time and effort preparing yourself for your new puppy, and that is great, but each puppy is an individual and not all 'rules' apply to every puppy. Right now, it seems that your puppy is in such distress, it might actually cause a danger to its health and well-being. It is important for a puppy to learn to self-soothe and amuse itself and to learn not to demand attention from humans, but this does not seem to be happening. Is she showing interest in certain toys or treats, or is she only interested in your attention? When you spend time with her, do you mostly hold her, or try to engage her with games, toys, obedience training? If the only time you show her attention is by holding her, then that is the only form of attention she will want. Later in life, she may become hyperattached to you, which can leading to undesirable behaviors such as guarding you from other people/animals, biting, etc. Try engaging her with games, toys, and by teaching commands. When you get her out of her area, instead of holding her or petting her, take her immeaditely out for a walk or similarly distractting activity. Encourage play without your involvement with stuffed KONGS and treat-dispensing toys. Instead of leaving food out for her in her "area," give her the midday meal in an interactive toy like this so she will have to focus her attention on an activity instead of you absence. Teach her to sit, then expect her to sit for everything - to earn attention, her meals, for the door to open, to get out of the laundry room. Right now she doesn't understand you are waiting for her to be quiet, and she is frantic. If she understands that her behavior earns her rewards, you can approach the gate with a "sit" or "lay down" and she will likey quiet once she is in the right position, since she will understand her reward (attention, treats, etc) is coming soon. This will also help her develop a sense of confidence and independence. Truthfully, two weeks of this behavior is not surprising, I brought Dora home at 7 months and it took several weeks to get her to sleep in her crate quietly overnight. Good Luck!
Jasminekty - careful with those cat comments now, some of us enjoying a feline presence as well.
Really great reply Rainbowzoo. I hope the OP reads it once, then twice and then again and takes it to heart. I was feeling so bad for this puppy, but you gave excellent advice that should make for both a happy puppy and happy owner.
Thank you, I really appreciate the advice you all have given and you have a lot of good ideas that I'm going to try.
I feel like everything I'm learning is so contradicting because all the books about crate training and whatnot say to ignore whining, and to never get a puppy when it whines as it reinforces the behavior. But it sounds like you're right that she's not a typical puppy when it comes to the whining, and I just need to find a different way to approach it. I'm glad to hear it has happened to others as well, so maybe it's just part of personality or something.
I did want to mention that I noticed someone said something about what I was doing being cruel, and someone else saying they feel sorry for the puppy. Can I ask why? I'm not leaving her in the laundry room all day with no attention. Just when I have to leave the house, and at night when I'm sleeping. I thought that was pretty typical of what you were suppose to do with a puppy that isn't potty trained? There was that day that she was confined to the room for 4 hours as I mentioned, but it was because I had to leave the house. There are a lot of people that work and have pets and have them confined for that long, sometimes longer. So I guess I just don't see that as anything out of the ordinary? If I had her confined that long while I was home, I would have to agree with your comments. But that isn't the case. Sometimes when I'm home and she's confined, I will wait to let her out if she's whining. But I do let her out the minute she stops. I don't leave her in there all day.
My issues are more with how she acts when she has to be confined, as she whines for an excessively long amount of time. I'm willing to do whatever to remedy this, and you guys have given me some great advice. But I don't really see how I'm being cruel or mistreating the puppy? Especially because when she's confined, she's in a room. I have been reading about crate training, and some people have their dogs in those tiny kennels all day while they're working. I guess I don't get how that is okay, but confining her to a room isn't?
Dogs are pack animals, Providing your puppy or dog with an indoor kennel crate can satisfy many dogs' need for a den-like enclosure. Besides being an effective housebreaking tool, it can also help to reduce separation anxiety, to prevent destructive behavior (such as chewing furniture), to keep a puppy away from potentially dangerous household items (i.e., poisons, electrical wires, etc.), and to serve as a mobile indoor dog house which can be moved from room to room whenever necessary. Maybe the puppy would whine less if it were in the room with you overnight in her crate rather than in the laundry room. I crate trained 2 of our 4 dogs, as they found it more soothing to have a "den"... they were only confined to the crate for at most 3 hours when we were home, they still had access to the crate because they liked it. The door was always open when we were home, so they could go into their "den" when they wanted to. It doesnt work for every dog or for every person. I do not condone leaving any animal alone confined all day, especially puppies. I also work, but between my husbands schedule, and my sons & my schedule, the dogs are never alone for more than 3 hours at a time. Each puppy is different, and each one has their own needs/wants. Some are more independent and it seems your little one is not quite ready to be alone, it's a big world for a tiny pup.
No more room in the house, but so much in our hearts.
To Rainbowzoo--- I also have cats and love them dearly. I was not trying to be mean with the comment I just meant that cats are so independent compared to dogs and do not require as much attention, although one of my cats did. I was just trying to say that if the puppy was left to be on its own during the "stop whining session" then it could create an indepentend dog like a cat. Thats all, nothing mean.
To Kateandbelle---If refering to me as one of the ones saying you are mean for leaving her. Then no you are not mean. I understand about the work situation and myself have had to crate train during the "potty training" time. Thats not what I meant. I just meant that when you get home they are so happy to see you and you need to get in there and see that puppy. What is mean to me was leaving her in there for 2 hours after you came home to wait for her to stop whining. Thats all. I guess I just have a big heart and cannot stand for a dog to be upset and cry. I have to show attention to them. My dogs are spoiled but they know if mommy cannot pay attention to them at that time they will get it later.
I do not mean any disrespect to anyone just trying to get a point across that puppies need attention differently. All puppies are different just as every child is different. They all have their own individual needs. And Rainbowzoo said it perfectly. Just take everyone advice and absorb it. Then use bits and pieces of it to create your own way of training her and working with her. You will figure it out and hopefully soon both the puppy and you will be living in perfect harmony. It will just take a little while.
Thank you Jasmine, I understand what you meant now. I only let her cry because it was something I read about separation anxiety. How it makes it worse if you make a big fuss when you come home. But I'm not doing it now, because like you said, it's just not worth risking her health if she gets THAT excited when I get home.
I've been introducing her to a small kennel that is just barely bigger than her, but when I had put her in it and put it in my room with me it actually made her whining worse at night. She knew I was there, so she cried a lot longer than she does when she's in the laundry room. She whines whether she's in the laundry room or in the kennel, but I guess the laundry room is the lesser of the two because she doesn't whine as long. I think that's why I have been confining her there instead. I read that sometimes puppies have to get used to the crate first, and learn that it's a good thing. That's why I have it in the laundry room with her. I took the door off so she's not confined to it, but can go in it to sleep. And when I put her in the laundry room, I put treats in her kennel to encourage her to go in there. She does sleep in it, so I'm hoping that after a couple more days she will be used to it enough to sleep in it at night next to my bed so she doesn't have to be separated from me :)
Thank you all very much! You've been really helpful.