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Annie's gotten into a really annoying habit of whining and bugging me about walks. Intermittently bugging me for HOURS in the evening. Admittedly from her perspective - once she's whined and bugged me for HOURS we finally go on a walk.

I've decided to set an alarm for our two walks a day. I've used a distinctive alarm she's never heard before. My hope is - she'll figure out walks happen when the phone thing says so, not when pushy poodles remind me.

How many repetitions do you think it will take before she figures out the new cue for her absolute favourite time of the day? I'm guessing three :D
 

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I hope it works. Both of mine are pains in the butt at specific times. They want their food at 12pm, 5pm and their treat at 6pm. And they want to go to bed at 9pm. They don’t make a sound but they are ready to spring, sighing or staring at me until I execute their wishes.
 

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Annie's gotten into a really annoying habit of whining and bugging me about walks. Intermittently bugging me for HOURS in the evening. Admittedly from her perspective - once she's whined and bugged me for HOURS we finally go on a walk.

I've decided to set an alarm for our two walks a day. I've used a distinctive alarm she's never heard before. My hope is - she'll figure out walks happen when the phone thing says so, not when pushy poodles remind me.

How many repetitions do you think it will take before she figures out the new cue for her absolute favourite time of the day? I'm guessing three :D
That's a great idea! Of course, I'm hearing "These Boots Are Made For Walking" now, lol.

As motivated as she is, I'd think it'll be a quick learn.
 

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Great idea! Betting she'll catch on FAST.

When I lived in Toronto, I'd sometimes order rotisserie chicken dinners, maybe once a week or so. I had a very distinctive ringtone on my phone, for when the delivery person would buzz to get let into the building: Westminster Chimes.

Even half a decade after we'd moved away, if Gracie heard those chimes, she'd start yelping excitedly, anticipating some super tasty treats.
 

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I'd throw her a curve ball. When she's being calm, not whining, resting quietly, spring up and ask her if she'd like to go for a walk. Then give her a fun one. Don't always do it at the same time. Ignore her whining and when she's NOT whining, that's when you reinforce her and take her for a walk. :p

How many walks do you take a day? Maybe try a couple of short ones, reinforcing the desirable behavior with a quick walk since that's what she wants to do. When she's displaying unwanted attention seeking behavior, ignore her. She may need some other stimulation when she's not on a walk...some inside training games or a trick to learn. The whining may be not only that she wants a walk, but that she's bored in general. Try some more stuff for her to do and think about inside when she's not on a walk as well as when she's on a walk. But don't do it in response to her whining. Don't react to her whining if it's for attention. (not that you ignore her if she needs to go potty or has a medical problem) lol.
 

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Each dog might be different in this respect, but Gracie needed clear cues and routines, otherwise she was always a little bit on edge. It was like she wanted to know what was going to happen next, and as long as she knew, she could relax.

We talk a lot about dogs "living in the moment" so perhaps she was an anomaly?

In her case, providing consistent "we're not going anywhere" signals made a big difference: Shoes off. Reading a book. Lowered lights. That sort of thing, ideally in a familiar pattern. They were her cues to snooze. Otherwise her head would shoot up every few seconds.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Poodlebeguiled - i think I'll stick with an alarm for now. Annie needs a schedule. We do 2 walks/day (morning and evening, plus another 3-4 short "outings"). She doesn't bug me about morning walks because she's figured out my schedule - after I have a bath, we walk. Doesn't matter if the bath is at 7 am or 2 pm, she doesn't expect a walk until I've had a bath (though she'll happily accept one). But evening walks are randomly in the evening, so she starts anticipating the moment it gets dark out... It's not even loud whining - just soft sighs, low mumbling, or thumping her head next to me, or trying to lead me to the door. But I want to stop this while she's only practiced for a couple of days! More activity doesn't work (she's started to refuse to play, because she's busy "waiting"). After we come in, she's back to being a relaxed dog, happy to play, do tricks, etc. My idea is to give her a signal that it's now time to anticipate a walk.

PeggytheParti - I think Annie's a bit like your Gracie. She LIVES for figuring out schedules and signals.
 

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It's really quite endearing.

Gracie was her absolute happiest, most content self when she went to work with me every day. The routine of walking to the subway station, riding the subway, walking to the office, settling in for the morning... She thrived. And then at noon she'd leave my office and head to the communal kitchen to monitor everyone's lunches. It was very important work. ?

Travelling was a challenge, though. That's when she'd tune into more subtle clues and watch me like a hawk. I never wanted to cause her stress, so I was careful to maintain some familiar "landmark" cues regardless of where we were. And when I got married, my husband quickly learned not to veer from the key rituals.

The good thing is, if you recognize this quirk of your dog's nature (as you have), you can have such an extraordinarily harmonious life together. It feels an awful lot like telepathy.

I also imagine that's a bit what life with a cattle dog would feel like. I watch them watching their owners in class and it's INTENSE.
 

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Good luck with the whining. I just know that my dogs don't whine at me for much of anything. I can't stand to listen to whiny, demanding kids or dogs.? lol. I keep my poodle lads guessing a little bit...I guess. haha. And I don't reward pushiness.
 
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