The Case of the Whining Greyhound

Michael Baugh CPDT-KA, CDBC

(from all things dog blog):

I have a situation I’d like to submit for the Ask a Trainer posts. My dog, Desmond, whines nearly all night long.

He’s sleeps in our bedroom, in his own large dog bed, right next to our bed. He has a blanket and a pillow, too. When it’s bedtime, he starts out fine, sleeping away no problem, but a few hours later, he starts whining and doesn’t stop.

At first, we were getting up to see what was wrong. We tried taking him out to the yard to go to the bathroom, but that’s never it. We’ve also tried simply ignoring him to make him stop, but that works only some of the time–and only after quite a while of him whining 45+ minutes. The only thing that makes him stop is when we pet him for a little while and/or recover him with his blanket. Even then, he sleeps for only a few hours and then starts whining again. We’ve also tried a nightlight, but it didn’t change anything.

Sometimes on weekends we let him sleep in our bed withus, and then he almost never whines. We don’t want him in our bed on a regular basis.

What’s his problem? Is he cold? Does he miss us? Is he scared? Is he just not tired enough (He goes out for a 30-minute walk/run every morning and we try to take him out for another 30 minutes after work but sometimes it doesn’t happen. We also play with him in the yard/house.)?

He’s 18 months old. Greyhound mix. We’ve had him almost 6 months. He’s done this almost the entire 6 months! We’re exhausted. Please help us!


Dear Greyhound owner:

You present an interesting case, and a perfect one for helping us all understand how behavior works.

First, rule out any medical causes. As it turns out, most of the cases I handle don’t have medical causation. Nevertheless, we always want to make sure the dog isn’t in any discomfort or pain.

Second, identify the behavior you want to change. This may seem like a no-brainer, but in some cases it takes a bit of thought. My guess is that in Desmond’s case you want to change the whining behavior. Keep in mind behavior is an action, something your dog is doing. Waking up and whining.

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High Rise Potty Training

Michael Baugh, CPDT-KA, CDBC

Dear Michael;

I just got a little furry baby from the rescue in my area. She is a mix of who knows what, cute and cuddly with curly fur. I live in a high rise apartment building and am starting to use puppy pads for training. I know there will be times when I cannot be there to take her out. How would you suggest I use puppy pads and crate training together? We are just starting and already unsure as to how to get the message across.
Thank you, Jess
Dear Jess,

Great questions!  Potty training a puppy is a pretty straight forward process, regardless of where you want the puppy to “go.”  Most dogs seek out absorbent surfaces, like grass.  Unfortunately some seek out carpet as well.  The potty pads are absorbent too, which is good news.  I can tell you, they are most effective if used in an area with hard flooring.  Don’t put them in a carpeted area.  If you want to train your dog to use the potty pads some or most of the time in your apartment, then lead her to the pad right after letting her out of her crate.  As soon as she’s done doing her business, praise and treat her.  Repeat this process often and she will learn the pad is the preferred indoor potty area.

(read more on All Things Dog Blog)

My Dog Climbs the Fence

Michael Baugh CPDT-KA, CDBC

Dear Trainer:

Our dog, Zora, keeps climbing the fence! We live in a rented house so we don’t really have the option of changing or upgrading the fencing. We’ve lived here for over a year and she has just recently started doing this, since mid July. How can I prevent or change this behavior?

Cynthia D.


Dear Cynthia,

Don’t fence me in!  The old Cole Porter song is a bit dated now, but your dog obviously has a case of old fashioned wander lust.

The good news is, this falls squarely into to the category of “dogs will be dogs.”  Left to their own devices dogs will do doggie things, and that includes busting out of this place (wherever this place may be) to do a little exploring.  Here are some things to consider.

Manage the behavior.  If you’re not already, you really need to closely supervise Zora in the back yard. That means that you never leave her out there unattended.  You have to be there with her to make sure she’s not up to no good, or up and over the fence.   If she’s hopping the fence right before your unbelieving eyes, take the extra measure and put a leash on her for potty breaks out back.  We don’t want to leave anything to chance here.

If Zora is an “outside dog,” might I suggest you make her an “indoor dog” in a hurry?  It’s not as hard as you might think.  Most of the time, it’s just a matter of teaching potty training and some basic doggie manners.  The effort is well worth it.  Backyard dogs get in trouble; they get out, and sometimes they get hurt (or worse).  Don’t take that risk.

(Read more on All Things Dog Blog)