A couple of days ago a client mentioned that her brand new puppy yaps and whines when in the play pen and that she was ignoring the yapping and yelping and she expects that the behavior will stop if she ignores it.


But I am thinking: what is the fallout here? Will puppy actually FEEL less frustrated? Or will the puppy feel just as frustrated but realize that the yelping and whining is not helping. Will the puppy try something else ( like peeing and pooping) to get the attention of the human or will the puppy decide that the human “is really not here to support me”.

Since I do not want any emotional damage or breach of trust to occur at any age, why not accept the fact that puppy could be insecure and uncomfortable when separate and in the pen and prevent that behavior from occurring by giving the puppy something wonderful so he learns to associate being separate with something soothing and delicious. In other words: prevent the stress and use classical conditioning.

Yeah, I hear the neigh sayers moaning: Oh dear: We all have to deal with stress. We have to learn to deal with frustration. TRUE. But that learning process for someone who has been subjected to fear is far more anxiety producing than for someone who has a solid sense of security and is unafraid of consequences. If the consequence is undesired a healthy pup will simply register: hey, that does not work..I will try something else. A pup who has lived through a certain degree of emotional abandonment will have a harder time maintaining confidence during times of frustration and stress.

What do you think?

Elisabeth Weiss is a highly certified, experienced dog trainer in Manhattan, NYC. To learn more about dog training services, contact us by phone at (917) 783-1473 or our contact form.

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