Imagine if our dogs could talk, what wonderful tales we would all get to hear. Unfortunately, they can’t talk, but dogs communicate in their own way. A prominent vocal way in which our dogs communicate with both humans and animals is by whining. Our dogs would whine when they get excited, they would whine when they get anxious, even when they want to please you, and in many more scenarios. Whining is one of the vocal ways our dogs try to communicate with us.
As we said earlier, our dogs whine for many reasons. The main reason for our dog’s whining can be broken down into the following reasons Appeasement, Greeting, Attention, Anxiety, and Injury. Now let’s look at each of these reasons to understand them and maybe address them properly.
The appeasement whining is usually accompanied by some sort of submissive behavior. This can be either towards other dogs, animals, or human beings. A perfect example would be when our puppies want to please us or an older dog in the household. They would let out a whimper or two accompanied by some physical submissive attitude like showing their belly or tucking their tail in between their legs.
This type of whining is usually motivated by getting excited at the coming of a prospect. This prospect can be you, another dog, or another animal. Let’s look at these scenarios, your puppy might start whining when you return home from work, they might whine too when they see other dogs going on their daily work. All this is a way of vocalizing how excited they are in the current situation. This is also accompanied by some tail wagging and smiling.
Just like the name implies, your dog can make whining sounds when they want to get your attention. Sometimes, you may be deeply engaged in an activity like working on your laptop, checking updates on your phone, etc. In these scenarios, your dog may try to get your attention by whining. This is a sort of gentle reminder that he or she is around and could use some attention. This maybe them wanting to play with you, or them wanting to go for a walk, or even them wanting to potty. The reasons for our dogs whining to get some attention can be endless but in all this kind of whining shifts our attention from what we are currently engaged in, to them. This type of whining is usually accompanied by them pacing back and forth around you and sometimes intently trying to stare into your eyes.
Our dogs can whine when they get anxious. This is usually due to something happening around them which they haven’t made sense of yet. Being more observant of your dog can help you to discern what may be causing your dog to whine especially when it has to do with anxiety. Separation anxiety is a good example. Dogs with separation anxiety whine as one of the ways they use to show that they are under stress. You will notice this when they are left alone, they will whine endlessly the whole day. This is also accompanied by other physical characteristics like excessive drooling, pacing back and forth endlessly, panting as a result of an increase in their stress levels, and the worst case of destruction of indoor properties.
Thankfully, this is not always the norm but our dogs can whine in pain when they have been injured. If your dog that is not usually one that whines starts to whine a lot and also displays physical levels of discomfort, then it is likely that your dog is injured and in pain. Depending on your relationship with your dog, you can do a quick physical check on them and apply the necessary first aid. But more important is that you should contact your vet doctor or better still take your dog to the vet clinic for further examination or checkup.
How can you stop your dog from whining?
As you can already see from the above, there are so many reasons why your dog would engage in the winning habit and that is why it is so important to understand why your dog is whining to be better equipped to manage it. Once you have a clear understanding of why your dog is engaged in his or her current whining habit, you can apply the correct tactics to stop the whining. See below how to handle your dogs whining in relation to the five whining reasons given above.
Solution for appeasement and anxiety.
We are treating these two issues as one because most of the time, the two problems have one common denominator. This denominator is confidence. Look at it this way, a puppy that is always whining and putting himself or herself in a submissive state for you, or is showing forms of fear and anxiety all surface because of their lack of confidence. Having said that, the best way to resolve this issue is to build up your puppy or dog’s confidence. You can start with some obedience training classes for your dog. Increase the rewards you give them at this stage whether verbal or treats. Try and improve your relationship with them and build a solid bond. Avoid verbal and physical abuse as it will b very counter-productive at this stage. Do this and you will notice that as their confidence grows, they would display less whining due to appeasement or anxiety issues.
This type of whining is usually hard to decipher. Are our dogs whining simply to tell us a particular thing like it’s time to eat or its time to go for a walk! Or they really want our attention and want us to focus on them at that moment. This is tricky, but it is important to note that however our dogs present the whining, it is not wise to acknowledge them immediately. Acknowledging them immediately would be like telling them that the behavior is ok and that would make it hard to control or stop it. So what do you do in this situation, simple, don’t pet them while they are whining, don’t look in their direction, avoid giving them any form of attention while they are whining.
When they quiet down, then you can reward them by taking them out or even just giving them a treat for being quiet. This way, they get to associate being quiet with getting the attention they so desire. We understand that ignoring your dog like this is hard and in some cases impractical but when you get to understand that this is actually helping your dog to become better, then you are likely to engage in it. A better way would be to make time for exercising and mental stimulation with your dog. This way, your dog will associate a certain time in the day with him or her getting maximum attention from you. Also, add up dog toys to keep them busy throughout the day, Interactive toys like food or treat fill kong toys can keep them busy and mentally stimulated for a long period of time.
Personally, we don’t see the danger of our puppies or dogs letting out a little whimper of excitement when we return home. They have to show us somehow that they are happy we are around, right? Greeting us with whining only becomes a problem when it starts getting more and more aggressive. In situations like this, you have to change tactics when greeting them. Acting more calmly and less interested in the rowdy act will force your dog to mirror your act. You can also try using commands to keep them in place and so distract them from acting in a rowdy manner when you get home. The sit or heel command can do wonders in this instant. Always make sure to reward behavior that you approve of to encourage your dog to act in these ways in the future.
Now you are well equipped to deal with all your dog’s whining problems. Get on with it and good luck.
Hi, I am Charles Nwankwo Editor-in-Chief, Mydoggything.com. Gleaning from Professional Dog Trainers, behaviorist, Registered Veterinarians, and Breeders. We are passionate about making dog care easy for you. My job is to make sure that you get the best-updated dog care information to understand and take care of your dog or dogs.