WhiningI have a three year old lab that whines when there is a lull in the action or if ducks are flying by out of range and I am not shooting. When I say "whine" I mean a full bore loud, almost screaming noise, and when I start calling, the noise only gets louder. I described it to my wife as "Dog Duck Fever." He is a good retriever and is disciplined well. I think that part of the problem is that we only hunt a few times a year and he is excited, but it is too stressful and fruitless to use him because it flares the ducks and it is nerve wracking. He has always been hyper and full of energy. I have thought about getting him fixed to aid in calming him down as I am not interested in using him for breeding. I have heard that this should help in the hyper department. I have also considered purchasing a no-bark e-collar, but am unsure if the whining will activate it. Any suggestions or solutions would be greatly appreciated. Your dog sounds like a real firecracker. If you could just teach him to blow a duck call the whining wouldn't be such a problem.
A lot of really intense dogs have this problem and it can really become and issue. Getting him fixed may help some problems but it is highly unlikely that it will have any affect on this one.
I recommend a couple of things.
The first thing you may want to try is to "extinguish" the behavior. This means that you will present a stimulus to get the behavior, but you will neither reward nor correct the errant behavior. To do this you need to "bore" the dog with the stimulus.
Take the dog out in a field with no birds around (a soccer field will work). Have the dog sit and start blowing the duck call. He will start to get wound up and you must ignore his behavior. Sit and blow the call for several minutes then take him home. Do not play, romp or otherwise excite him. Take him to another field the next day and repeat. Continue to repeat this sequence for several sessions until the dog begins to see that nothing is going to happen. Make a tape of your calling and play it for him in his crate or kennel. The idea is to reverse his response to the stimulus. Continue until the dog is rather bored with the whole thing.
The next step is to actually correct any vocalization. The easiest way to do this is an anti bark collar. There are several on the market but you want one that will be set off by whining. I don't usually endorse products but in this case there is only one collar I have found to be effective for whiners. The DT systems "No Bark Trainer" model 190-DT is highly effective for this task. It has a small diaphragm that senses vocal movement and delivers a solid electrical correction. It is also waterproof so you can use it while hunting but I would recommend that you put the collar on the dog well before you go hunting with it. Let him wear it in the yard and learn that if he is quite, he won't get corrected. It will teach him how to control his voice in the field.
Best of Luck,
Bill Corcoran Get a FREE Obedience eBook at www.highland-retrievers.com
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