If your Labrador has been whining a lot when you leave the house you might be wanting to know why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why it might whine when you leave and what you can do about it.
So, why does my Labrador whine when I leave? Possible reasons are that is has separation anxiety, you might have inadvertently rewarded the behavior or it might be hungry or thirsty.
Your Labrador might be doing it for a number of reasons and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are also a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Labrador whines when you leave
Below are a number of reasons why your Labrador might whine when you leave and what would make them more likely to be a main reason.
The reason why your Labrador does it is likely to be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and it becomes anxious when it is left alone or it is about to be left alone.
If it does seem to have some separation anxiety it would help to try to reduce how anxious it becomes without you. You can watch the video below for some tips on how to do it.
It could be the case that it does it because it is hungry and it does not want to have to wait a long time before it is fed. This would be more likely to be the reason if it does not whine as much when you leave on days where you have already fed it.
You have been reinforcing it
The reason why it does it might also be that you have encouraged it by rewarding it when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as treats, toys or extra attention when it whines when you’re leaving, it might do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to give it rewards when it is being well behaved and to avoid rewarding it when it is not unless it is necessary.
A lack of exercise
Labradors are supposed to get exercise on a daily basis. When they do not get enough exercise it can cause them to behave abnormally. A lack of exercise could be why your Labrador whines when you leave especially if it does it more on days where it has not gotten exercise already.
Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults. If your Labrador is not getting that much exercise it would help to make sure that it does.
Things to consider
When it first started doing it
If it has not always whined when you leave it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
It might be that it whined one time and you gave it something that it wanted so it continued to do it whenever you leave. Alternatively, it might be that you stopped giving it as much attention at around the same time it started doing it or you might have stopped letting it out to pee before leaving.
What is different when it does not whine when you leave
It would also help to consider if there are times when it does not whine and what is different when it does not do it.
For example, if it does not whine when it has already been able to eat and pee it would be more likely that it whines when it has not been fed or been able to pee.
How to get your Labrador to stop whining when you leave
Below are some things you can do when getting your Labrador to stop whining when you leave.
Train it not to using positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage the behaviors you want to see by rewarding your Labrador when it shows signs of displaying them.
To use positive reinforcement training to get your Labrador to whine less when you leave you could do as follows:
- Get some treats that it likes
- Reward your Labrador with a treat then make a small movement towards the door. If it does not whine reward it with a treat. If it does whine then wait for it to stop then make a much smaller movement towards the door and reward it for not whining.
- Carry on making small movements towards the door and rewarding it until you are able to open the door without it whining.
- Start to actually walk out the door and then come back in and reward it for not whining. Each time you do it stay outside for slightly longer.
Below are some more tips on how to do it.
Give it exercise
It would also help to make sure that it is able to get the right amount of daily exercise. Generally, it is recommended for Labradors to get an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults.
Avoid negative reinforcement
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have trained your Labrador to whine when you leave by giving it rewards when it does it.
Instead, try to use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop as shown above and to avoid rewarding it when it does whine.
Get help from a dog behaviorist
If you can’t get it to stop doing it, consider getting help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see why it has been doing it and how to get it to stop.