Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why Do Dogs Whine?

By Suzanne Alicie

Does your dog whine? Do you, like many pet owners, assume that whining means something is bothering your dog? Or does your dog whine at specific times when you know there is nothing wrong? Many of us have wondered why dogs whine and how to stop inappropriate whining. To put it simply, whining is a form of vocal communication for your dog. Whether he whines when he’s excited or anxious, or as part of a “conversation” with you, (don’t scoff – you know you talk to your dog!) whining serves a purpose. However, you can work with your dog to eliminate the whining when he simply wants attention or when he’s feeling anxious.

Let’s look at some of the times and reasons why dogs whine.

Appeasement - Some dogs whine and take a submissive posture when interacting with other dogs and with people. This is an age old pack trait, and can be changed by helping your dog gain some confidence and dominance. Take your dog to an agility or obedience class with reward based training. The more you interact with your dog, the more confidence he will gain and the less you will see appeasement behaviors. Avoid verbally intimidating the dog, and as always never physically punish your dog; these behaviors will make the dog more timid and prone to appeasement.

Greeting - Whining during greeting you at the door or meeting up with another dog is often a form of excitement and expression for your dog. While this is perfectly natural, if it bothers you, then you can work to train your dog not to whine. Teaching your dog to sit or hand target when greeting people is one way to help keep him calm and possibly eliminate the whining. Keep in mind that most whining is involuntary and your dog isn’t going to understand if you say “Quiet.” Your dog will learn what you teach, so take the time to teach other behaviors to replace the whining greeting and the dog will be focused on being mannerly instead.

Attention Seeking - This is a manipulative behavior that for some reason your dog has learned will work to get him attention, treats or some other activity that follows the whining. I know it’s hard to do, but to get your dog to stop this form of whining you must ignore it. Any form of scolding or even looking at the dog reinforces the idea that the whining will get your attention. You can also teach your dog that when he’s quiet you are more than happy to pet and interact with him or give him a tasty CANIDAE Tidnips treat. Do this by seeking the dog out when he’s simply sitting and being good.

Anxiety - When your dog whines while he’s in a stressful situation or feeling anxious, it’s pretty much involuntary and is a natural response. There is not much you can do to stop anxious whining except remove what is causing the anxiety.

Dogs are not quiet critters for the most part, but they can be trained to fit in with your family and household and to have some manners. This takes time and understanding on your part of how a dog thinks and what behaviors come naturally to him. Here at the CANIDAE RPO blog, we’ve covered many different behaviors that dogs may develop and how to deal with them. Part of being a responsible pet owner is training your dog. He can’t learn new habits unless you teach him. Read the following articles to learn about some of the behaviors we’ve covered:

How to Stop Your Dog’s Excessive Barking

Is Your Puppy or Dog Chewing Out of Control?

Is Your Dog Digging Up the Yard?

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie


  1. So true. We have ourselves a whiner from time to time. Guess i had better ignore it! Tough to do, but I know I have to!

  2. My dogs don't whine, or at least they didn't but the older dog has started to whine when she has to go out which is more often than normal. She lets me know when it is time to go outside. She also whines when the kitties get too wild. Can't blame her for that.

    1. My dog is a rescue. We hav 16 cats n she is fab with them. Just whines if they get attention n not her. I love them all too much to get cross.. We were told she wud never get on with other pets.!!!

  3. It's strange, but a dog has started whining just up the road, just over the last few days! I think it is because he's been shut out, but probably need to investigate!! Thanks for the post xx

  4. Wow. I love the coloring on the dog in the picture. How fascinating!

  5. my pitbull Selena is usually calm but lately she has been whining in whining I don't know what is wrong tomorrow I will take her to the vet just to make sure everything is okay


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