Whining, though it can be annoying to humans, is one way dogs communicate vocally. And though adult dogs whine for a number of reasons, the behavior usually is a reaction to anxiety, stress or injury – or because your dog wants your attention. Don’t worry; stopping your dog from whining is possible with a few clever tricks.
Whining is one of many forms of canine vocal communication. Dogs most commonly whine when they’re seeking attention, when they’re excited, when they’re anxious or when they’re trying to appease you.
The good news is, with a little patience and the occasional treat, you can stop your dog from whining in a short time.
Identifying the Problem
- Greeting Behavior. Some dogs whine during greetings. This kind of vocalization is usually motivated by excitement and may be directed at dogs or people.
- Seeking Attention. Some dogs whine in the presence of their owners in order to get attention, rewards or desired objects.
- Appeasement Behavior. Some dogs whine excessively when interacting with people and other dogs, usually while adopting a submissive posture.
- Anxiety. Some dogs whine in response to stressful situations. In this context, whining sometimes seems involuntarily.
- Separation Anxiety. If your dog only whines just before you leave or during your absence, she may have separation anxiety. If this is the case, your dog will usually display at least one other symptom of the disorder prior to your departure or when left alone, such as pacing, panting, excessive drooling, destruction (especially around doors and windows), urinating or defecating indoors, depression or other signs of distress.
- Injury or Medical Condition. Dogs often whine in response to pain or a painful condition. If you notice that your dog vocalizes frequently or has suddenly started to vocalize, it’s important to take her to the vet to rule out medical causes.
1. Exercise to calm down. Make sure the dog is getting enough daily exercise based on its size and energy level. Dogs become stressed when they are not active enough, and this will start them crying.
2. Give the dog a sheltered place of their own. It is very important to use a crate, dog house, igloo, or some warm, comfortable shelter outside where the dog can rest. Put the dog’s “inside” bed or blankets as well as their used toys into the shelter so the area smells like them and they will recognize it as their own. Recognize that this new place might not seem like home to your dog, so take some time to gently teach them to go inside it.
3. Practice while you are home. Begin locking the dog outside for short periods of time . Ignore any crying! You must train the dog that nothing good will happen when they cry. If you give in and go out with the dog or allow them to return inside then you are giving positive reinforcement to the unwanted behavior .
4. Praise good behavior! This is a big key to training a dog. Once an allotted amount of time is up go outside with the dog and praise them profusely with attention and petting, and maybe even a bit of food or treats. The dog will eventually make a connection that if they are quiet and well behaved outside, they will be rewarded soon enough.
5. Slowly increase the time alone. Continue the training by lengthening the time outside until the dog remains quiet outdoors for at least an hour. Now the dog should be able to better deal with the separation anxiety when left outside or alone and hopefully quiet down and take a nap instead. And, give the dog something to chew on or play with when they are alone.
Audio tools to cause the dog to stop whining such as previously discussed are inexpensive and are not harmful to your pet. These devices simply produce a sound which the dog does not enjoy. What would happen if you heard a high-pitched, piercing scream every time you sat down with a piece of cake? To keep from hearing that awful sound one more time, you would probably be willing to give up the fattening food. This is the idea behind electrical sound emitters that are used to help your dog learn how to stop whining.
If whining persists, consider a certified professional dog trainer or obedience classes in your area.
Take your dog to the vet if you think she is whining because of pain or injury. Whining often is how dogs tell us they are hurt. If your dog’s whining comes on quickly and persists, it is best to take her for treatment.
If your dog’s whining also involves destroying household items or defecating indoors when you leave, she may have severe separation anxiety and needs to see the vet.