If you’ve had a dog for any length of time, you know they can sometimes lapse into a bout of dog whining. Some keep the whine going for a very long time. After a while, it grates your nerves and starts sounding like a toddler yelling nonstop.
You need the dog whining to stop! But how? Yelling at or punishing the dog will do no good. You will only stress them and make things worse. Instead, you first have to understand why your dog is whining all the time. At first, it may seem like the dog is whining for no reason at all.
But if you pay close attention, you will find that there is always a reason. Once you figure it out, you can decide what you need to do to fix the situation and restore your nervous system to its normal, unfrazzled state.
So let’s look at why dogs whine and a few ways to make it stop!
Look Who’s Talking: Dog Whining in Context
What They’re Saying
Dogs may not speak in words, but they have a language of their own, consisting of vocalizations and body language. Dogs make about six kinds of vocal sounds. With variations within each basic sound, they have quite the vocabulary. Along with body language, the pitch and intensity of the sound convey a complete message for you to translate.
- Barking: This can mean playful, frightened, aggressive, excited.
- Baying: The dog may be hunting or facing a threat.
- Growling: This is often a warning of aggression, but it can also be part of playing.
- Howling: This is communication with the pack, or it can be triggered by a similar sound, such as a siren.
- Whimpering or yelping: This means excitement or sudden pain.
- Whining: This has many causes and triggers, which we will discuss shortly.
Who’s Doing All This Talking?
Some dog breeds are naturally very vocal and love to whine and howl. For example, Siberian Huskies are well known for being talkative. You can search YouTube and find hundreds of amusing videos of Huskies arguing with their pet parents and whining and howling for all they’re worth. Other chatty breeds include Beagle, Yorkshire Terrier, German Shepherd, Basset Hound, and Chihuahua.
Why Does My Dog Keep Whining? And How Do I Stop It?
Because It Works!
Admit it. Your dog whined and whined until you couldn’t take it anymore, and you caved. You gave them whatever they wanted. Anything to make the dog whining stop!
Don’t worry; we have all been there, and we’ll help you fix it. Focus on positive reinforcement for the non-whining behaviors you want.
Illness or Injury
A dog in pain or discomfort may whine. They are asking you for help. Check your dog for injuries. Maybe they’ve eaten something that is making them sick. Take them to the veterinarian right away if you think there may be something wrong.
They Need to Go Outside
It could be that they need to get outside quickly to relieve themselves. Of course, you hear the dog whining, but you should also note the body language that comes with it, such as looking between you and the door. You can then teach them a better way of letting you know what they need. Having them sit quietly at the door or giving them a bell to ring will do the job.
Appeasement and Submission
Some dogs whine while displaying submissive body language. It’s their way of showing their place in the pack or apologizing when you’ve scolded them for bad behavior. Increasing your dog’s confidence may stop the dog whining. Obedience classes or some kind of sport (e.g., agility courses) will help.
Some dogs whine while wiggling themselves silly when greeting another dog or a person. It’s someone new! It’s exciting! They may also act this way while you’re about to play with them or you’re preparing their dinner. They have to greet that food!
To stop the dog whining, divert their attention from the excitement with a toy or keep greetings brief and simple. Calming techniques, such as hand targeting, can help as well. Hand targeting involves teaching your dog to tap your palm with their nose.
Whether a toy, a treat, or your attention, your dog wants something. Maybe they’re bored, and they need something to do. Like people, dogs need mental stimulation.
If they’re not getting what they want, they may whine in frustration. Your dog will insist that you explain why you are not cooperating or giving them what they want.
Teach your dog that being quiet, rather than whining, will get them what they want. For example, ignore them when whining and reward them when quiet. In general, consider how much exercise and stimulation your dog is getting and increase them if necessary.
Fear, Stress, and Anxiety
Thunderstorms and fireworks, unfamiliar people, a trip to the vet; whatever causes your dog discomfort may cause whining as well. For example, with separation anxiety, the dog may whine as soon as you start acting like you’re going to leave the house. Then, while you’re gone, they may whine while pacing or destroy your favorite sofa.
To fix this, you need to identify the source of fear and anxiety and address it. You can sometimes eradicate the anxiety trigger. If not, you can desensitize your dog to the situation to no longer be stressful.
A Parting Reminder
Dog whining is a natural part of dogs’ language. Unfortunately, it happens to have a nails-on-the-blackboard effect on your nerves. Fortunately, you can stop it by giving your dog alternatives for communicating with you.
The key is to recognize why your dog is whining about. Once you identify the root of your dog’s whining, you can successfully teach them some new, more acceptable language that satisfies both of you.