Understanding Why Your Dog Whines

Dog Whining is a Way of Communicating in The Dog World

Whining is one widespread problem dog owners face. There is nothing as frustrating as trying to focus on something while your dog whines at you the whole time. Many times this behavior will grow and grow until the dog is doing it quite often. Frustrating as this may be, there is still hope.


As with any behavior, training is most effective when you start early. It is also essential to understand why your dog is doing this. Understanding the root cause of the whining will allow you to address it effectively. Let’s look at some reasons why you may be dealing with whining.


Whining is a way of communicating in the dog world. Annoying as it can often be, your dog may not have another way to communicate with you. You know your dog better than anyone, so consider these simple suggestions when determining the reason. Dog whining is often a sign of possible feelings of stress. These stressors can include lack of exercise, separation anxiety, and insecurity. In some more severe whining cases, it can be the result of an unseen injury or sickness.


If your dog starts to whine suddenly, you should observe them. Sudden changes in behavior can often be blamed on the dog when an underlying medical issue is the result. The best way to tackle whining that crops up very suddenly is to note when the behavior started and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. If your dog’s whining is more of a gradual chronic issue, you will need to tackle it from a behavioral standpoint.


Most people would think addressing a dog whining is often not the best way forward. Punishment will do very little to curb this behavior and only increase the dog’s stress level. In turn, it will create more whining. A change in how you manage your dog in the household will get you much farther. You will need to put a significant focus on remaining calm and levelheaded, even with as frustrating as a whining dog can be. Dogs are masters at reading our body language and will pick up on any anxiety, stress, or frustration that you feel. Take a moment to breathe and relax as best you can; your dog will be reading your demeanor from the moment you walk into the room.


While we do not want to punish the whining, we also need to be careful not to reinforce it accidentally. Sometimes dogs will whine when they are nervous, and our natural response is to pet them, whisper to them, and soothe them. While this response may be natural to a human, the dog does not understand what you are trying to say, and you may reinforce a state of anxiety. Instead of petting your dog, give him another activity to redirect his state of mind.


If your dog starts to whine, ignore the behavior, and take note of the trigger for the behavior so that you can plan next time. Give your dog incompatible behaviors, such as a place command or even fun tasks like hunting for a stuffed Kong. Ensure that your dog is getting plenty of exercise and attention from you in healthy ways every day to reduce the likelihood of unwanted behaviors developing. 


If you still need help to eliminate this behavior, contact a professional dog trainer who has experience dealing with anxious dogs.