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Hi, I have a 10 month old working line Malinois who I am training for IGP. He is a great dog, sociable, friendly, great drive, easy to train. However my biggest daily grind with him is that he whines a lot. I am very experienced with dogs but I have not been able to sort this issue and was hoping that someone may have come across something similar.
I expect some level of whining as he is always eager to get going with everything. That's fine. However he has gotten into the habit of whining and digging in this crate every morning. He used to bark, but telling him to 'settle down' has put an end to this and that is no longer a problem, but the whining continues. He will sometimes start whining an hour before getting up, sometimes less, sometimes only when he hears me get up. There does not seem to be a pattern to it. As a young puppy I would write down when he started whining and get up the next day before this time to try and get him out of the crate before he felt the need to whine. However, this never changed anything and now I just get up when I'm ready to get up and it has made no difference. He's not stressed at all by the crate and happily goes into it, I think he is just in the habit of it and is so eager to get going with any activity. It is also not related to needing the toilet. It would be great to have him just be quiet in the crate until I am ready to let him out. He is never in the crate later than 7am, so I am not asking him to stay settled for an unreasonable time in the morning. It may sound a bit picky, but I live in a terraced house and I'm sure my neighbours can hear it and it absolutely gets to me every morning. He has wrecked a plastic crate tray before from the digging so he now has a metal tray.
Just to note I have NEVER let him out when whining or barking, I always wait for him to lie down and be quiet before ever letting him out so it is not something that has been reinforced. I also don't let him out as soon as I am downstairs so there isn't a daily ritual of being released as soon as anyone wakes up.
Many thanks for any advice!
 

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well. obviously he's vocal :) LOL
some are and some more than others and a lot of mals are very vocal, so i doubt he will simply "grow out of it". it's now a matter of conditioning the behaviors you want to control .....aka : training LOL

also you don't seem to have worked a lot on controlling his vocalizing. teach him both the on and off switch. when to be vocal and when to be quiet.....on cues, and when he's IN the crate with the door OPEN

but you need to describe how you are handling him and how you are giving him the work (mental as much as physical) he needs. when you do that in detail, you'll probably see he's not getting enough LOL
- this is more than just a being in or out of a crate behavior

so far it seems like you have simply focussed on not reacting when he's whining......that is just a very small part of the overall behavior

good luck and keep us posted with details
i've moved on and not around much but drop in from time to time
rick in japan
 

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well. obviously he's vocal :) LOL
some are and some more than others and a lot of mals are very vocal, so i doubt he will simply "grow out of it". it's now a matter of conditioning the behaviors you want to control .....aka : training LOL

also you don't seem to have worked a lot on controlling his vocalizing. teach him both the on and off switch. when to be vocal and when to be quiet.....on cues, and when he's IN the crate with the door OPEN

but you need to describe how you are handling him and how you are giving him the work (mental as much as physical) he needs. when you do that in detail, you'll probably see he's not getting enough LOL
- this is more than just a being in or out of a crate behavior

so far it seems like you have simply focussed on not reacting when he's whining......that is just a very small part of the overall behavior

good luck and keep us posted with details
i've moved on and not around much but drop in from time to time
rick in japan

Thank you for your reply! I have spoken to several trainers about this including those who own malis and none have mentioned the concept of teaching an on and off switch for any vocalisation not just barking so this is definitely something I will apply. It may just be harder to do this in the morning when you get woken up with it. Would love him not to feel the need to do that!

To give you an overview of what I do with him on a general daily basis:
1-1.5hr walk in the morning which includes 10-15 minutes of playing frisbee or fetch, 5 minutes of tug and 5 minutes of hand feeding breakfast - all of these activities include basic obedience training such as heel work, duration down, distant downs, impulse control downs, recall etc. The rest of the walk is structured lead walking going between heeling and sniffing. I live in the city centre so finding any larger spaces for him to go for a longer off-lead walk is extremely difficult especially as we have a very high dog population which sadly involves many irresponsible dog owners who let their dogs run up to us regularly. In between covid lock downs we were attending IGP training all day Saturdays, but sadly these have been missing for quite a lot of the time I've had him due to covid.
After the morning walk he is in the crate for an hour and then on a raised bed on 'place' in the lounge for a couple of hours.
Then I will do a 10 minute training session usually working on some protection side of the IGP training in the garden and/or basic obedience with tug reward. Again another hour in the crate with lunch through a Kong feeder. Then an hours structured lead walking (heeling, and sniffing). On this walk I will sometimes take his dinner with me for working on more precise heel work with distractions around town.
Then back in the crate for another 1-2hrs before going on the raised 'place' bed in the lounge in the evening.
On the weekends I will go for longer walks in the morning where he will run and play with my other dog.

I try to work a lot on engagement daily and rarely feed him from a bowl.

My other dog is very calm and quiet so this is also not a learnt behaviour from her.

What else would you suggest to work on or increase?
 
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