Why Your Dog is Whining and How to Stop It

Heather Burdo

whining dog

A dog whining here and there is normal, of course. But what about consistent whining? You checked their food dish, water, and even let them outside. What could they possibly need? Here are a few potential reasons for your dog’s constant whining, and some tips to stop the behavior.

Physical Need

If the whining is something new for your dog, the first thing you should do is make sure he or she isn’t in pain or any other type of distress. The closest thing a dog can do to speaking is whine or whimper. Usually, a pet owner knows what different types of barks their dog has. For example, if your dog has a new, high-pitched whine, you would likely suspect pain or discomfort. This must be ruled out by a vet. Don’t play the guessing game and try to diagnose your dog’s pain on your own.

Mental State

In a pack, a dog whining is a sign of submission. It’s their way of telling another dog that they “give up.” This type of whining is usually paired with their tail, head, and ears pointing down. You may even notice your dog squat low to the ground if this is the cause. If your dog happens to give you this type of appeasement whine, just acknowledge him in a quiet way and walk away. To your dog, this means his apology is accepted. Another type of mental state whine is if your dog greets you by whining - this almost always means he is expressing excitement to see you.

Emotional State

Dogs communicate their emotional state to their owners. A dog may whine when he is fearful, frustrated, anxious, or excited. If your dog is excited, you will also notice circling and jumping as well. Anxiety is typically paired with pacing and constant looking around, but their tail and ears remain down. If your dog happens to be frustrated, he will show obsessive behavior including scratching furniture. A dog in fear will tremble and even try to escape people.

So, how do you stop a dog from whining?

As long as you’ve taken your dog to the vet and ruled out any sort of pain, most likely it’s behavior-related. Here are 5 ways to put a stop to the whining:

  1. The more you occupy your dog during the day with activities, the less you will notice whining. Some great ideas are going for walks, playing games, or even having him do some brain games.
  2. When your dog starts to whine, it’s best to redirect him to a safe, fun activity. For example, try hiding some food and have your dog find it or have him chew on a Kong toy. Always refocus the attention to a positive outlet.
  3. If you believe your dog’s whine is about nervousness or excitement, try some settling down exercises.
  4. A dog who whines to get attention or to get something they want, such as a toy or treat, needs different types of training strategies. If your dog gets worked up at meal time, put him in a separate room while you get the food ready. This could even help while you are eating your own dinner. This trick will lower his anxiety or excitement.
  5. When your dog is making a constant nervous whine, increase his confidence in the anxiety-provoking situation. If your dog gets extremely nervous when he knows it’s bath time, talk to him calmly and give him one treat when he enters the tub and one treat when he gets out. If he gets anxious before the vet, make it fun and give him a treat upon walking in the office.

Before getting frustrated with your dog, remember that he can’t speak. He can only communicate via whining. Finding out the cause and putting a plan in action to stop the whining will make your life and his a lot easier.

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