When Dogs Whine

Whining is one of several vocal expressions used by dogs. The most frequent reasons dogs whine are when they want attention, when they’re enthusiastic, when they’re nervous, or when they’re attempting to calm you down.

Why Do Dogs Whine?

Conciliatory Behavior When interacting with people and other dogs, some canines whine excessively, typically while adopting a submissive stance (e.g., tail tucked, body lowered, head down, gaze averted).

A greeting’s manners Some dogs whine when people meet them. This type of vocalization, which might be directed at people or dogs, is typically brought on by enthusiasm.

Trying to Get Noticed Some dogs whined in front of their owners to seek attention, treats, or whatever they wanted.

Anxiety When faced with challenging circumstances, some dogs will whine. Sometimes whining looks unintentional in this situation.

Other Problems That Might Cause Whining

separation phobia Your dog may be experiencing separation anxiety if she only whines before you leave or while you are gone. If this is the case, your dog will typically exhibit at least one additional symptom of the disorder either before you leave or when left alone, including pacing, panting, excessive drooling, destruction (especially near doors and windows), urinating or defecating indoors, depression, or other signs of distress. Please read our post on separation anxiety for additional details on this issue.

Injuries or Health Issues In response to discomfort or a painful condition, dogs frequently whine. Take your dog to the doctor to rule out any medical problems if you notice that she is vocalizing regularly or has just started vocalizing.

What to Do About Excessive Whining

Conciliation Whining When they feel threatened or aggressive behavior directed at them, dogs may try to calm down humans or other canines. Holding the ears back, tucking the tail, stooping or rolling onto the back, avoiding eye contact, or angling the body aside in response to the perceived threat are examples of appeasement actions. Wailing to be placated is another typical canine activity. By boosting your dog’s confidence, you might be able to stop her from whining as a kind of appeasement. Consider enrolling her in an obedience course that focuses on positive reinforcement. You and your dog can also participate in dog sports like agility, flyball, and musical freestyle as well as trick training classes (a combination of heeling and tricks performed to music). Tug-of-war and fetch are two enjoyable, interactive games you can play with your dog to boost his confidence. Refrain from using physical or verbal punishment. Refrain from using physical or verbal punishment. Intimidating your dog will simply make her less self-assured and can lead to more appeasement whimpering.

Whining When Greeting People You can direct your dog’s attention to her favorite toys if she whines when interacting with visitors. In most cases, instructing your dog to be quiet during greetings won’t work since she won’t understand you until you take special efforts to educate her what the term “Quiet” means. The majority of dogs whine when meeting new people since they are typically very eager and may not be able to control their behavior. Use management techniques instead to assist stop your dog from getting overly excited. Consider minimizing greetings and keeping them brief and straightforward. Be careful not to speak in loud, enthusiastic tones, and move slowly and composedly. Wait till your dog is less eager before petting and engaging with her. Teaching her to sit or use her hands to target you or other people when she greets them instead of complaining could also be helpful. If your dog is engaged in another, more civilized activity, she may whine far less.

How to Teach Hand Targeting

To keep your dog calm during greets, try teaching her to contact an extended palm with her nose.

  • Wait for your dog to touch your palm with the tip of her nose while you hold out your palm directly in front of her face. Refrain from speaking. Simply wait. Saying your dog’s name will help focus her attention if she isn’t paying attention at all. Otherwise, be silent and avoid speaking to or touching your dog. She won’t learn to move her nose toward your palm by feeling your hand on her nose. If your dog first ignores your hand, you can try taking it away and putting it back in front of her face, rotating it side to side in front of her face, or rubbing a reward on your palm to get her to sniff it. Say “Yes!” and give your dog a small treat from your other hand as soon as you feel her nose touch your palm.
  • Start presenting your hand in various locations once your dog dependably contacts your palm nine out of ten times. Hold it out in front of your dog’s face, a few inches away, and down toward the ground so that your dog must walk toward it in order to make contact. Finally, raise your hand so she needs to reach up to touch it by holding it above her head. Never forget to reward your dog with a goodie when you feel her nose make contact with your hand.
  • Introduce a signal or command for the behavior, such as “Say hello,” when your dog contacts your hand 9 out of 10 times in a row, regardless of how you are holding it. Say the command first, then hold out your hand as you wait for your dog to touch it. Say “Yes!” and give her a treat when she responds.
  • Include family and friends in the training of your dog. Develop her new skill in a number of settings, including your house, a friend’s home, and public spaces while out on leash walks. In order for your dog to practice hand targeting with people she knows and likes while walking along your usual route, ask friends who do the same. Keep encouraging her when she responds correctly, don’t forget.
  • The next step is to extend the training to individuals your dog is unfamiliar with. In ahead, explain to a friend who has never met your dog what to do. After that, invite the individual over or make plans to meet while out for a stroll with your dog. If the stranger extends his or her hand during the meeting and your dog appears perplexed, assist her. Asking her to repeatedly contact your hand before instructing her what to do will help. Ask the stranger to try again after that.
  • From now on, whenever someone wishes to greet your dog, whether within your home or outside, explain that they should only hold out a hand and wait for your dog to come. Saying “Hello” to your dog will serve as a cue. Your dog will turn to you for her treat after touching the person’s hand with her nose. She should feel pretty at ease if the person refuses your request and pats your dog because she expects the person to offer a hand to be touched!
  • Be careful not to praise your dog if she acts in this new way when you haven’t specifically requested her to, for as by waving your hand at her. Some dogs might become aggressive and approach humans even if they don’t want to interact, trying to touch their hands. Reward your dog when they only contact after receiving your signal.

Self-Centered Whining You must show your dog that being silent is a wiser course of action if she frequently whines in order to get your attention, treats, or desired items. It might be challenging to stop whimpering for attention at times since owners may unintentionally promote the behavior. Recognize that whatever attention you provide to your dog—including eye contact, caressing, and talking—is attention. Use dramatic body language to show your dog that her attention-seeking whimpering won’t be successful, such as turning away from her or crossing your arms across your chest.

You must reward your dog for being quiet in addition to not promoting whining behavior. Teach your dog that in order to receive your attention, playtime, or goodies, she must be calm at all times. When your dog isn’t whimpering, often go looking for her and reward her with love. Your dog won’t be as motivated to whine once she realizes that keeping quiet is a good way to receive your attention.

Don’t be reluctant to get in touch with a CPDT (Certified Professional Dog Trainer) in your region. Many CPDTs provide group or private sessions where you and your dog can learn and play games that will lessen her appeasement whining, whining at greetings, and attention-seeking whining. To find a CPDT in your region, please refer to our post Finding Professional Behavior Help.

frantic whining Whining brought on by anxiety is challenging to get rid of unless the source of concern is addressed. Anxious whining frequently occurs in conjunction with other anxious behaviors such pacing, circling, and licking. When under intense stress, many worried dogs appear unable to stop their whining.

Some drugs could perhaps lessen your dog’s anxiousness. For additional information on anti-anxiety drugs, speak with a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB) or a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB). For information on where to find one of these professionals, see Finding Professional Behavior Help.) Unless instructed to do so by a veterinarian, avoid administering any medicine to your dog for a behavior issue.

A whining puppy should be ignored, right?

It’s advisable to attempt and figure out the cause of your dog’s excessive whimpering before you try to correct the behavior. Some individuals can barely stand whining and find any quantity of it to be excessive and obnoxious, while others don’t mind a little bit of it every now and then. The good news is that you can teach your dog not to whine at all, or at least to whine less.

  • Pay close attention to your dog’s whining and any other actions that may be occurring at the same time. You might start to hear whines at various frequencies and loudness over time. You might acquire accustomed to the cries of “I want something” and “I’m bored,” for instance. Then, when you hear a whine that is noticeably different, this may assist you in determining that the real cause is something else, like stress or discomfort.
  • If your dog is whimpering and it appears that tension or pain is the cause, approach it carefully and handle it gently. If so, the complaining can get worse or even turn hostile.
  • Before deciding how to act, consider the issue objectively and the possible causes of the complaining. Never scold or reprimand your dog for whining since doing so may make them more afraid or worried, which can make them act aggressively.
  • Look for the cause of the issue if your dog exhibits signs of fear, anxiety, or other stress. Dogs are susceptible to several phobias and fears. If you can pinpoint the cause, you might be able to train and desensitize your dog to get over its anxiety.
  • Give your dog what it wants when appropriate. For instance, it is preferable to leash up or let your dog out if it is whimpering to go outside for a potty break rather than rewarding indoor elimination activities.
  • Be careful not to mistakenly reward your dog’s whining. Before giving in to your dog’s demands for food or attention, try to divert their focus with another strategy. Get your dog to quietly sit or lie down if possible, and then show it some love, praise, or a tasty treat.
  • Don’t quickly give in to your dog’s “desire” because doing so will teach it to complain about everything. The most frequent reason for problem complaints is this. Yes, it can be quite difficult to ignore your whimpering puppy, but if you always give in, you can grow to be a whiny adult.
  • enliven their surroundings. Make sure kids have a lot of toys and exercise frequently. A dog who is emotionally or physically tense will likely whine more.
  • Selectively respond to your dog’s cries. It is advisable to disregard it if you are certain there is no true need for it. Offer praise, a treat, or any similar reward when you notice a brief period of stillness. Even better, use this time to practice the “silent” command.

The majority of the time, basic training, mental stimulation, and exercise can help you control excessive whining. You might need to enlist the assistance of a trainer or behaviorist for additional support when the behavior is extremely resistant to change. But if you’re persistent and patient, you’ll have a better chance of getting the outcomes you want. While you might not be able to totally break your dog’s whining habit, you should be able to at least reduce it to a more bearable level.

Call your veterinarian right away if you think your pet is ill. Always consult your veterinarian with any health-related queries as they have evaluated your pet, are familiar with its medical history, and can provide the best advice for your pet.

Does a dog whimper when it’s sad?

When they are sad, dogs don’t cry hot, salty tears or lament or sob like people do. This is why it can be difficult to understand a dog’s scream. Whimpering or whining is a canine term that can refer to a myriad of different things. Dogs who whimper or whine are, like dogs who bark, seeking to communicate.

How should a whining dog be handled?

1. Determine the reason behind your dog’s whining so you can decide what alteration to make.

2. Use additional techniques and items to assist your dog relax.

3. Consult a veterinarian if your dog exhibits extreme nervousness.

Even though I can put up with most unpleasant canine behaviors, I have to admit that whining irritates me. Kai, our cherished Kelpie, moans. Whenever he does, I have to force myself to remember that, rather of feeling upset, I should appreciate my dog’s attempts to communicate and work to understand why he is whining. Understanding the “why” can be a crucial first step in changing a variety of habits, particularly those that require vocalization of any kind.

Numerous things might cause dogs to whine. Finding the right modification strategy will depend on your understanding of your dog’s whining reasons. If you misinterpret your dog’s whine or chastise or otherwise penalize him for it, it can get worse and potentially lead to other, more severe behavioral problems. Think about these potential reasons:

  • Injuries or discomfort Identifying and treating or ruling out pain or discomfort should be the very first and most crucial action you take when your dog begins to whine. All the alterations in the world won’t help if your dog is in pain.

Your dog can be excessively hot or cold. Construct the surroundings appropriately. Perhaps his bedding is dirty. Obtain a fresh, dry blanket for him. He might be crated and urgently need to use the restroom. (This was just explained to me by my dog Bonnie, who had to go outside at 3 a.m. due to loose feces. I would have had to do a lot of cleaning up since I was being so cruel to my dog if I had ignored her whining rather than rushed her outside or, worse, yelled at her for disrupting my sleep.)

It might be challenging to tell whether a dog is hurt. They may occasionally limp, flinch when you touch them, or otherwise express their discomfort, but they may also not. Dogs are often rather stoic. In addition, limping serves no use if a person is experiencing bilateral discomfort, which hurts equally on both sides.

Ask your veterinarian about using carprofen or another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAID) as a diagnostic tool if you suspect your dog may be in pain and they are unable to uncover anything. If the behavior changes when he takes medication and then resumes after the medication is stopped, it is likely caused by pain.

Long-term pain has a very low quality of life, even if NSAIDs (like Rimadyl) have the risk for gastrointestinal, renal, and liver adverse effects. According to some research, osteoarthritis may affect up to 20% of dogs over the age of a year. Undoubtedly, as dogs age and develop arthritis, they lose more and more of their mobility. Help your dog feel comfortable if he is whining out of pain. Don’t Be Afraid of NSAIDs for Your Dog (see below).

  • Stress. The second most common cause of dog whining is stress. In actuality, whining is caused by stress (pain is a stressor, too, so let’s look at the stresses that aren’t related to pain but can make people whine.)
  • Anxiety. Probably one of the most typical reasons people whine is this. The solution sounds simple, but I’ll state it anyhow: You must lessen your dog’s fear, no matter what the source, in order to decrease whining that is brought on by anxiety.

There are innumerable more causes for your dog to be anxious, but two typical anxiety-related behaviors are distress at separation or isolation (and the anticipation of it). This kind of whining can be brought on by anything that makes him anxious, and some breeds even appear to have a genetic propensity for whining.

  • Frustration. This is one of the more frequent reasons people complain, and our Kai complains for this reason. I mention “I classify whining under this heading even though some sources classify it under a different heading. a dog that is complaining “demand something is whimpering out of irritation since he isn’t receiving what he wants.

The best way to deal with a whiner who is frustrated is to relieve him of his displeasure, preferably by foreseeing the behavior. Kai will scream in agility class as he impatiently awaits his chance to run, I’m sure of it. I can stop him from complaining by offering him a stuffed Kong or another food-dispensing toy to occupy him until it’s our time. You won’t reinforce the undesirable habit if you do this before the whining begins.

  • Excitement. Yes, some dogs will simply whine when they are overjoyed and unable to control themselves. It’s less frequent than whining out of fear and annoyance. There is tension involved even if this is happy whining, but it is eustress (good stress) rather than (bad) stress. Compared to other sorts of whining that result from discomfort, excited whimpering is frequently a greeting action, therefore I would be less concerned about it.

To get your dog’s brain out of excitement mode and into thinking mode, ask him to perform a different activity as part of your welcome ritual if you do want to lessen his whimpering out of enthusiasm. Among them: Keep a toy basket outside your home and toss a toy for your dog to find or play with as you enter.

  • Appeasement. Another uncommon whining expression, this one usually occurs during social contacts with other dogs. In this instance, the communication is healthy, and you shouldn’t get in the way of it.

Don’t Punish Your Dog for Whining

Some sources advise using a spray bottle or worse to punish a dog for whining. Others advocate deflecting your focus away from the complainer as a more gentle punishment. I generally oppose the use of positive punishment (a dog’s behavior causes a bad thing to occur), but I’m not against the use of negative punishment (a dog’s behavior causes a good item to disappear) when it is necessary.

However, even harsh punishment shouldn’t be used on a stressed-out dog in my opinion because that would be abandoning him just when he needed you the most.

I am very aware of how annoying whining can be, but I think it’s crucial to remember that most whining is a result of stress; by punishing the whining, you add another stressor, which is likely to make other stress-related behaviors worse. Finding out why your dog is whining, lowering his stress levels, and assisting him in changing his habit are preferable strategies.

Teaching Calmness to Dogs

Fortunately, as the force-free training movement continues to gain pace and we become more aware that there are far better ways than punishment to assist our nervous dogs be calm, the materials available to us to help us achieve that aim are becoming more widely available. Here are just a few of the various methods you may use to assist your dog relax in addition to desensitization and counter-conditioning. (Note: Some of these may or may not be effective for all pets. Continue experimenting until you discover what works for you.)

– Movement. Exercise not only expends energy that your dog could otherwise spend in anxiety-related behaviors, but it also releases feel-good endorphins (think “runner’s high”) that may actually make your dog less anxious.

– Option. Susan G. Friedman, PhD, a psychologist, asserts that having the ability to influence one’s own outcomes is crucial for maintaining behavioral health. Giving your dog choices in his life and teaching him a “choice cue” can help reduce anxiety in dogs.

– Positive reinforcement for composure. When our dogs are acting out, we tend to pay attention to them, but when they are calm, we ignore them. When your dog is calm, don’t forget to gently reinforce him (soft praise, a treat dropped calmly), and you’ll probably notice more calm behavior.

– The Relaxation Protocol developed by Dr. Karen Overall. Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Overall is unwavering in his dedication to force-free training and handling. You can utilize your dog’s highly thorough day-by-day program to promote relaxation. Although the regimen is for 15 days, you can extend it if your dog requires a slower pace and divide the little steps into even smaller ones as needed to ensure their success.

– Karen General Instructions for Teaching a Dog to Breathe Deeply I am aware that your dog is already able to breathe! This biofeedback practice helps him to stop panting because of stress and breathe through his nose instead. Consider moments when your friends may have urged you to take a deep breath when you were feeling anxious.

– A massage When done correctly, massage may relax your dog just as much as it does you (assuming your dog does not find touch aversive). Due to its link with the calming massage, a scent like lavender, which has its own calming characteristics, can be used in conjunction with it to assist your dog calm himself in other situations.

the TTouch. TTouch is another sort of calming touch created by Linda Tellington-Jones. It uses particular types of touch, movement, wraps, and other tools to teach a dog to unwind.

– Relaxing Cap (also known as Thunder Cap). The Calming Cap lessens the intensity of visual stimulation, similar to the hood used to quiet a captive falcon, to assist your dog in maintaining calm. The Calming Cap allows your dog to see, but the details are hazy. For dogs who have trouble staying below threshold, it can be quite helpful. To make your dog like wearing the Calming Cap, remember to associate it with rewards.

Thunder T-shirt The way this product (or another form-fitting dog clothing) works is similar to how you would swaddle a baby. Swaddling babies reduces crying, according to studies, and it follows that dogs can also feel calmed by being held; the Thunder Shirt appears to be effective for many dogs.

— Adaptil This artificial substance, formerly called as Comfort Zone, Dog Appeasing Pheromone, and DAP, is designed to resemble the pheromones naturally released by a mother dog nursing her young. This product claims to have the same calming effects on adult dogs that the natural pheromone does on puppies. It comes in a collar, plug-in, and spray form. While some professionals claim to have had success with the product, others are adamant that it is a scam. We classify it as “can’t hurt, might benefit.”

– Via a Dog’s Ear. This music was chosen with the intention of calming pets. The music selections from Through a Dog’s Ear are available as CDs or in the wonderful, little (21/2 by 3 inches), portable iCalmDog device, which has outstanding sound quality. It has a really relaxing effect on people; if I listen to it while working in my workplace, I’ll pass out at my desk! You may utilize this music during counter-conditioning practice to offer your dog the same calm association that he had while it was playing at home by playing it when things are calm in your home to assist your dog relax and so he builds a really nice association with it.

– Nutraceuticals

These foods that have been extracted or purified are typically sold in medical forms that are not typically connected with food. A nutraceutical has been shown to have physiological advantages or to offer defense against chronic diseases. Anxitane (L-theanine) and Zylkene are two that have received FDA approval for use in canines (casein). If they pique your attention, talk to your veterinarian about them to make sure she is okay with using them on your dog. If so, you can purchase them online or from your veterinarian. L-theanine sold over the counter has worked well for me. I purchase the capsules so I can break them open and add the powder to my dog’s diet. Make sure not to purchase any chewable tablets that contain xylitol because it is fatally harmful to dogs.