Understanding Why Your Dog Whines
Dog Whining is a Way of Communicating in The Dog World or Pack
Whining dogs is one very common problem dog owners face. Have you ever been standing in your doorway trying your hardest to carry on a conversation with your neighbor and be forced to keep telling the dog to hush? Maybe you work at home and you need to spend time on the computer and your beloved pet just sits there demanding your attention? Frustrating as this maybe there is still hope.
Stopping this behavior is most effective when you start early. Let’s look at some reasons why you may be dealing with whining dogs, and then you can learn more about how to stop your dog’s whining.
Dog whining is a way of communicating in the dog world or pack. Annoying as it can often be, your dog may be trying to tell you something. You know your dog better than anyone so take these simple suggestions in mind when determining the reason. Dog whining is a behavioral response to possible feelings of stress. These stressors can be caused by lack of exercise, separation anxiety, insecurity, abandonment by the pack (for instance you going to work) or even something more serious such as an unseen injury or sickness.
Determine if the whining is new or a chronic problem. If the whining seems to be a sudden onset, than consider addressing your concerns immediately with your vet. On the other hand if your dog’s whining is unrelated to medical reasons and has been ongoing then training will be the way to go.
At this point you will likely have to train or retrain the way you approach the situation. Let me emphasize that punishment will do very little to curb this behavior and will only increase the dogs stress level. This in turn will create more whining. Training yourself and your dog alike will do a lot more than punishment will. You will need to put a large focus on remaining calm and assertive even as frustrating as a whining dog can be. Dogs, with no effort at all can look at us and read our mood. They know when we are mad, sad, frustrated or happy even if we say nothing at all. Take a moment to breathe and relax the best you can, your dog will be reading your demeanor from the moment you walk into the room.
Dogs, when in a pack environment, always follow a pack leader who remains calm and consistent. They always get this behavior from the leader and gaining their respect will be one of the keys to winning this battle. A very common mistake I see with owners of whining dogs is that they reinforce the behavior by telling the dog “it’s ok” or by petting the dog while it is whining. Stand your ground and make sure you are not contributing to the problem.
One of the best ways to stop a whining dog is by ignoring the dog while it is whining. The dog is waiting for a reaction from you it is irrelevant at that moment if it is a positive or negative response, as long as the dog got your attention that was their goal. Once the dog is quiet than you can pet/reinforce the dog. If the dog is very consistent about the whining, another option is to redirect its energy and teach it to do a “place” command. What place command means is that you assign the dog to a dog bed or elevated surface and the dog is to remain there until the handler returns to the spot and gives the release command. This gives an anxious dog or a dog with separation issues a way to redirect the whining into a “job.”