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Discussion Starter #1
I know poodles are known to be a vocal breeding, and boy is my pup is no exception. She's a serial whiner and I've been working with her to reduce it and we've made a TON of progress.

But there are still a few scenarios I can't quite figure out how to manage. From what I gather, it's usually when she's super excited and/or anticipating something.

Ex: When I'm grabbing a chew or preparing her wet food.

She knows cuz of the packaging etc. and sits politely nearby (what I taught her to do when we first got her) while whining and whimpering (something she started doing at 15 wks-ish).

Conventional recommendation is to wait until she's quiet for a while and then reward her with the food, which I thought was working at first but... she now literally stops as soon as she knows it's "ready" (food on the plate, chew bag resealed, etc.) and I'm stumped on how to get her to stay quiet through the whole process.

I always have her wait before I give a release cue to get it and she stays quiet the whole time there too, so I don't think it's an impulse control issue?

She also acts similarly when I'm carrying her outside (excited, wants to walk) or when she hears me in the other room (excited by my potentially returning).

Any and all advice appreciated!!
 

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You can build up to "quiet for a while." But with puppies, start easy. Your girl has learned what's expected of her, yes, but she is a baby and she is still learning impulse control.

With puppy Peggy, I learned to not wait even a beat. Silence-REWARD. She figured it out almost immediately. If she wanted a toy, silence-TOY. Or if she wanted inside, silence-DOOR. In cases where she'd already made a habit of demand barking, it took some repetition. But otherwise the results were instant.

In your case, I would arm myself with tasty things while preparing dinner so I could reward for silence and break the routine. Your poodle is just anticipating what's to come, so mix it up a bit.

I'd also pick my battles. Peggy's allowed to use her voice in certain situations. It's a valuable communication tool. But I interrupt if she's using it to make demands or over-anticipating something because she knows the routine so well. Poodles love routine, and it's good for them to an extent. But occasionally keeping them on their toes can prevent bad habits from forming.

Another thing you could try is not having your puppy watch while you prepare meals. Have her go wait on her bed, for example. Or in her crate. Create a new routine within the routine.
 

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I see!! That's a great solution — I have gotten her stop stop whining for a few other similar things by rewarding her immediately (going out the door for example), but I guess I'm pretty bad at multitasking and it never even occurred to do it WHILE prepping the food haha. I'll definitely give that a go :)

How old was she/how long did you use this training before the behavior changed (after whining had already become a bit of a habit)? My girl is about 5 months now, so she's kind of in that "almost adolescent" stage where she's learned so much but still is very much still growing mentally and physically.

I definitely agree about picking battles — thanks for mentioning it, a lot of people I know want a "totally quiet" dog but I decided early on that it's important to me that she's able to tell me if she's scared, uncomfortable, etc.
 

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I think it was @Vita who pointed out that as I kept removing Peggy's communication options, she was coming up with new, possibly less desirable methods of communicating her needs to me. Peggy was pretty close to a year at that point, and had started (literally) smacking me in the face when she urgently needed to go outside or was hungry. By then, I'd trained her not to bark at me, not to bump me with her nose, etc. but hadn't taught her what to do instead. It was a real lightbulb moment. :) I immediately began rewarding her for gentle pawing or sustained eye contact and the face whacks stopped. It couldn't have taken more than a few days. She just wanted to be "heard."

Poodles are so smart.

Peggy's never been much of a whiner. At least not yet. She's only 16 months old, so she's still a work in progress, as is our relationship. But I consistently have the best results when I don't try to eliminate a behaviour and instead replace it with something more desirable. Part of that process is really drilling down into why she does what she does, and figuring out how she's currently being rewarded for it. Because poodles don't do things for no reason. They're always getting something out of it.

How many times a day is your puppy eating? Is she getting too hungry between meals? If so, it's possible she's too excited to contain herself, which would be tricky to correct (kind of like trying to train a dog not to drool).

Also, do you have to carry her outside? This could be making her anxious. Could you try letting her walk out on a leash instead?

Another thing would be to try and distinguish between her various sounds. Are all the whines the same? Is one more of a whimper? Is one more high-pitched and persistent? Maybe verging on a yelp? This is stuff that comes with getting to know your puppy. I can detect subtle differences in Peggy's barks. I can also tell when a neighbour's dog is barking because it's bored, wants inside, is aggressively (or fearfully) protecting property, etc.
 

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Thank you! Omg that's a great story. Peggy sounds like a really smart girl <3

Yes, I think she gets enough to eat — I measure out her daily portion of kibble and we use it for training, but she is a bit of a "grazer" and stops when she's full. She gets wet food a couple times a day (we just started due to teething at the vet's recommendation) and I think she just REALLY likes it and gets super excited haha. She doesn't even like chicken as much as her wet food.

Now that I think about it, I'm usually fussing with her treats before taking her on walks so she might be whining thinking her favorite activity might be coming up next, too. Because sometimes I hand her the chew that she was so excitedly whining for and she just walks away sigh haha.

Unfortunately, yes :( I do have to carry her sometimes as we live in the city and there are some streets that unexpectedly have broken glass or hazardous bits, or if big groups are approaching on the narrow sidewalks (this is only until we finish some conditioning/training for her frustrated greeter reactivity so she's not lunging at everyone). But I do let her walk as much as I can, usually 3x a day!

Also a very good question! She has a few distinct whines, the main ones are her scared/separated-from-me one (we've done tons of separation training and this one is mostly gone now that she feels more secure), a slightly yippy "I want that" whine (when she wants to go somewhere/say hi to someone and we're standing in place), a pitchy/whimpery but quiet whine which is what this thread is mainly seeking to address. I call it an anticipation whine, but anxious is probably another way to put it!

Either way, I think it's because she's too "worked up" about what could be coming next and her instinct is to whine. I have been doing some mat/relaxation training which has helped in her day-to-day behaviors but doesn't seem to impact these particular moments. Any additional tips? Really appreciate your insights!!
 

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For a while, Annie started doing this with going out (excited barking, whining, etc). What I did was if she started getting over excited... I stopped, put down the leash, and left. Dog quiet/calm again? Turned back, clipped leash on. Dog getting over excited again? Drop leash, walk away. Etc. Even the act of the human going on to the next part of the ritual of going out (or in your case, making food) is really rewarding. So I worked so that she was only rewarded with a continuation of the walking routine, when she was quiet and good. Took a few days, we both got a bit frustrated at times, but she's very good and sits/stays quietly while I get ready now.

Something I read once that I was thinking/remembering recently during a "my dog is crazy" moment... If your dog is at a 7 on the excitement scale, and you get them to a 5 today. Well done! That's enough. Maybe tomorrow, you may get to start at a 6, and you can get them to a 4. You don't need to get them to the end goal today, just make a tiny bit of progress.
 

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For a while, Annie started doing this with going out (excited barking, whining, etc). What I did was if she started getting over excited... I stopped, put down the leash, and left. Dog quiet/calm again? Turned back, clipped leash on. Dog getting over excited again? Drop leash, walk away. Etc. Even the act of the human going on to the next part of the ritual of going out (or in your case, making food) is really rewarding. So I worked so that she was only rewarded with a continuation of the walking routine, when she was quiet and good. Took a few days, we both got a bit frustrated at times, but she's very good and sits/stays quietly while I get ready now.

Something I read once that I was thinking/remembering recently during a "my dog is crazy" moment... If your dog is at a 7 on the excitement scale, and you get them to a 5 today. Well done! That's enough. Maybe tomorrow, you may get to start at a 6, and you can get them to a 4. You don't need to get them to the end goal today, just make a tiny bit of progress.
Omg!! This is so smart and now that you've laid it out in front of mean, seems SO obvious I can't believe I didn't see it before. Of course moving to the next step (getting closer to what she wants) is rewarding. Thanks for sharing, I'll be sure to try this technique with tons of patience. Sounds like there is a lot of walking back and forth in my future :)
 

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Asta whines when I am making his dinner and when I leave the house. I have started DH to give her a treat when he stops whining -this helped some but it needs to be reinforced. Don't know what to do about his whining at dinner time. Will try some of examples in this thread to work on the dinner whine - thanks all
 
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