Professionals and experienced dog owners only, please… How do I get him to stop whining?

Hi there. I’m a professional dog trainer and I’ve got a special needs dog and I’m hoping and praying someone will tell me something I don’t already know! He’s a Pit/ Bull Terrier mix, 1 1/2 years old. My fiance recently moved in, and that’s when the whining started. My best guess is that he feels challenged by my fiance and that’s what this is about… He didn’t whine before. We’re unable to keep the crate in our livingroom (being the busiest room of the house) because of space issues, so it’s kept in the bedroom. Every night when we get into bed he cries incessantly. Every morning as well, and it doesn’t matter whether we’re in the room, although he doesn’t do it when we’re not home (our next door neighbors are close friends). We’ve ignored him for hours straight. Rewarded him lavishly (and consistently) for silence. We’ve switched sides of the bed. We’ve tried every toy/treat/distraction under the sun. We’ve tried a blanket over the kennel, water in the face, water and vinegar in the face, sharp noises. It’s to the point where I’m waking up every day unrested because he’s controlling when we sleep. And believe me, outside of his kennel, I’m the pack leader. I’m also on my 3rd day of quitting smoking and he’s whining right now and I’m ready to pick up the entire kennel, dog and all, and chuck it out the window. Also, not crating is not an option. As I said before, he’s missing a few screws upstairs and he is not to be trusted when I’m not able to supervise him (we tried this the other night for the first time ever and woke up with the house in shambles). Please please please, if there’s anything you can think of, no matter how absurd, please let us know. We’re going crazy! Thank you in advance.
Two important things I forgot to add:
I don’t like bark collars– In my experience, all it teaches the dog is to be good- when the collar is on.
Also, my fiance has been around from the day he was born. He was actually born in his parents’ house while he still lives there, and prior to moving in he was here 5 nights a week on average. So he’s just as close with him as he is with me.
And for the question of my establishing dominance, I implore the pack theory at home for that purpose. For almost everything else I use positive reinforcement and he responds very well to it. Like I said, he’s a Pit mix and Pit Bulls loooove to please. 🙂

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11 Responses to “Professionals and experienced dog owners only, please… How do I get him to stop whining?”

  1. Calinda says:

    I do this with my dogs:

    I have a Ipod, I downloaded nature music like whales sounds, ocean, tropical birds, spa music and then I have t-lights that smells like Lavender. I put that on at night for me and my dogs and they totally calms down and sleeps. It’s something about the sounds, smell and the energy in the room.

    Best of luck

  2. Elaine M says:

    Are you treating this like separation anxiety?

  3. Mrs. Crawler says:

    Try a alarm clock that ticks, I have used this for multiple puppies never an adult but all I can think of. This has worked for them and the sound puts my babies to sleep now (pits)
    Hope this helps

  4. JACQUELINEE says:

    First of all congrats on giving up smoking!

    Definately to do with your fiance. Your dog is feeling left out and has always regarded you as his and his alone. Now he’s sharing you and he doesn’t like it!

    Perhaps bonding the dog with your fiance will help. Try letting him take him out for walks without you… let your fiance be the one to give him treats and help with training.

    You say ‘outside of the kennel, you’re the pack leader’. Make that into ‘outside of the kennel you are both the pack leaders’. When he accepts your fiance as a leader as well as you the situation might be easier.

    Like another person said, also getting out of bed and leaving, then getting back in when he stops might work as well, although it might take up to a week or more!

    Another thing I thought of was that if you could possibly put his crate outside of the bedroom door, just at nights, it might work.

    Well done you for taking on a ‘challenged’ dog. If he responds well in other areas of training, then he should eventually accept your fiance as one of the pack and cease the whining.

    Good luck.

    ETA: I just read your additional details, posted while I was writing this! Even though your dog knows your fiance, I still think he’s having problems with him sharing the bedroom. That is the only change, so I still think that the doggie needs to accept him as another leader.

    Another thing you could try is fiancee and the dog sleep in the bedroom and you go somewhere else to sleep until the dog gets the message that it’s either you, or him or both of you and there is nothing for him to worry and whine about. Or earplugs as a last resort!

  5. Tiffany says:

    I don’t know if this will help, but how long have you been dealing with this? I know you are a professional trainer so you may already know this. Dogs like everything to be constant. Was he always crated in your room? You have tried all these things but over what period of time? I am sure you know, you can’t use a different one everyday… It takes a while for them to understand the punishment. It does sound like he is upset with your fiance moving in… why not let her take the reigns a little. I am sure she plays with him and gives him treats, but let her show the dog that she is also the head honcho… if you know what I mean. You are engaged to be married so everything now is focused on you two becoming one. You both need to be the dogs’ "go-to person" and the dog needs to see that she isn’t going anywhere. Let her walk him, feed him, crate him, anything you can think of so that they can bond. I beleive the dog is afraid he is losing you, he needs to understand that he is gaining another owner and friend. I really hope this helps.

  6. Greek God AKA Greekman says:

    A pro trainer you say? Then I am sure you have heard of an Electric bark collar…get one, the real deal, put it on the dog correctly, high and tight, and then let him learn that whining/barking/crying has consequences he may does not want to deal with. Real easy and real simple…hope I helped.

  7. Phung says:

    This might be tough since you two are super tired I imagine but I had a dog that kind of had the same problem except it was when I would pet my other dog she would run him over and put her body in my arms. It is both kind of like dogs being jealous. What I suggest is that you guys get into bed at night like you normally do but the instant he whines, you get up and leave. Don’t let him out with you. Just stay out for like a minute. This shows him that he will not get what he wants from whining and actually get the opposite(which is not being with you at all). Just keep doing it until he stops whining. It might take a while depending on how fast the dog can pick it up so you might get tired but having a dog is tough until you learn to get along with each other. Then just give a quick "good boy. Never lavish a dog in praise because it makes you seem like a weak leader. Praise and punishment should always be quick.

  8. MamaBas says:

    How much time is he actually spending crated? Just overnight? No dog should be crated, overnight apart, for longer than 4 hours at a stretch, and not at all during the day unless you are not home.

    How much actual outside exercise is he getting? At this point he’s going to need lots.

    What food do you have him on (you might check the protein level as sometimes too much can cause problem)

    Other than moving fiance out again, going back to smoking again so you are calmer, I don’t have much to offer really as I have a feeling you are way more experienced with training than I am. With my hounds, they train(ed) me !!

  9. amanda johnson says:

    Well I don’t know what type of personality he has but I have a female German shorthaired pointer and she is such a good girl except for her barking/whining when I leave her sight. So since she is a bird hunting dog we went and bought her a sport dog remote training collar. Every time I go outside to smoke, if I didn’t bring her out with me she would go to the window and whine and pace frantacilly through my house whining. Once I put that collar on her (on the lowest setting) I gave her the tone button twice and she didn’t listen, I then gave her the stimulation button once and it’s been 4 days and she has not gone to the window freaking out when I step outside!! And I know it did not hurt her because me and my fiancé both tried it on ourselves before putting it on my baby girl (dog) and it literally felt like someone tapping there finger on my arm. I think it was the fact that even though I was outside she realized that I can still control her! It’s worth a shot? Also you could try a muzzle every time he starts to whine put the muzzle on? There only 10-12$ good luck!!

  10. **Madame Staffz/Labz** says:

    try a king kong toy and fill with peanut butter . u can get these and the fillings of ebay and most pet shops.

  11. Steve E says:

    Get the dog more exercise right before bed time, a dog can’t whine if it is sleeping. I think these only make it worse; water in the face, water and vinegar in the face, sharp noises. I think whining means your dog is stressed or wants something if he is stressed you need to build this dog confidence level up maybe you are to harsh with him how do you believe you became the dogs pack leader? Is your dog worried that the next correction is coming from you? If your dog needs something maybe it is just a 15 minute run before bed where he can poop and pee and burn off some energy. To many dogs sleep all day when we are at work and then they are expected to sleep when we are tired.

    How about starting the NILIF program and do a week of not talking or reacting to the dog even if he is bad and does something wrong just ignore the bad and reinforce the good and look for the good. Have you ever taught your dog "Crate Games" by Susan Garrett do you ever spend any time teaching your dog tricks in the evening to help build your bond and stimulate your dogs brain?