I have been doing a lot of whining lately. I whine in my crate in the morning as soon as the first rays of the sun emerge and the birds start singing. I’m done sleeping. and I want to get out. So I whine until somebody lets me out and puts me into bed with them, under the covers. That’s more like it!
I also whine when I want to go outside, or when the rest of the pack is in one room, and I am not. This is not acceptable, so I whine until reunited. So there.
But mostly I whine when they put me in the back seat of the car, into my bed and tethered to my harness. Also not acceptable, for I am naturally a front-seat dog. I’ve been relegated to a lower status, like the losers in British football leagues. So I whine. And since we are embarking on our first cross-country drive in three years, this has become a problem, especially for Heather.
So Heather decided to teach me a new command: Mute! Only Heather is allowed to say it. She started it softly, rationally, if I started to whine. It didn’t seem to be working too well. (Takes a while for older dogs to learn newer tricks…especially when no treats are involved!) Then the MUTE! command got louder, and more frequent. One day, she yelled. I got scared, jumped out of my camp chair near Heather and bolted to the office where Mike was, barked to get Mike to open the office door, and then danced around the room and jumped into his lap. My heart pounded like a jackhammer. This scenario repeated several times.
In the car, Heather kept my leash attached to my back and draped the loose end over her shoulder. If I whined, she tugged on the leash and commanded: MUTE!. I stopped whining.
Will this become a long-term solution to my incessant whining, at least in the car? The answer is moot. Check back in 10 to 20,000 miles.