They may not be able to talk, but dogs can use many other methods of communication to interact with us. Sometimes, whining is one of those methods. Whining can be cute, but if it goes on for long periods, or becomes a regular habit, it can get aggravating. If you want to stop your dog from whining, you first have to understand why he is whining. Let’s take a look at some of the possible reasons.
1. He Needs/Wants Something
The most obvious reason your dog may be whining is that he needs or wants something from you, like food, water, or a walk. Maybe his favorite toy is stuck underneath the couch, or the cat is sleeping in his bed. The whining should stop once you identify the problem and fix it.
However, if your dog is whining for more food after you just fed him, this is a problem that needs to be corrected. Make sure no one in the family is giving your furry companion extra helpings, and never feed your dog from the table. If you give your dog more food in response to his whining, the behavior will only get worse.
Additionally, if your dog is whining for another walk after you just took him out, this could indicate a bladder problem or a digestive problem. If your dog has to go again as soon as you come back inside, you should take him to the vet.
2. He’s Whining for Attention
Sometimes dogs whine just because no one is paying attention to them. This is similar to how little kids whine when they’re bored with the grownup talk at the dinner table. Your dog wants someone to play with or something to occupy him.
Make sure you’re giving your dog enough exercise and mental stimulation each day. Boredom doesn’t just lead to whining; it can also lead to destructive behaviors, such as chewing on the furniture and digging up the flower beds.
3. He’s Scared or Stressed
Whining can be your dog’s way of saying that he is scared or anxious. If your dog is also pacing, trembling, or panting while whining, he is likely fearful or anxious about something. Perhaps there is a new guest or resident in the house making your dog nervous, or perhaps he is worried because someone is missing.
If your dog is whining anxiously right before you leave the house, this could indicate separation anxiety. Dogs with separation anxiety often engage in destructive behaviors while you are gone. You can treat your dog’s separation anxiety by using these desensitization and counterconditioning techniques.
4. He’s in Pain
Whining could be an indication that your dog is in some kind of physical distress. If he whines every time he tries to go up the stairs or jump on the couch, he may have joint pain because of arthritis.
If there is no obvious reason why your dog is whining, (all his needs are met and there is nothing to make him anxious) you should take your dog to the vet to get him checked out.
5. He’s Saying He’s Sorry
Whining can be a submissive behavior — a way of saying “You’re the boss.” When you scold your dog for chewing your shoes or tipping over the trash can, he might whine as part of his apology.
This behavior comes from dogs’ ancestors, wolves. Wolves can be shunned from the pack when they break the pack rules, like biting too hard during play. To be accepted back in, a wolf will bow his head and put his tail between his legs. This is the same posture our dogs display when they look guilty.
If your dog is whining to apologize to you, simply acknowledge his apology, and walk away. This sends a signal to your dog that he has been welcomed back.