If you find it difficult to work out why your dog is whining at you, you’ll know just how frustrating it is to have a dog that whines a lot. Besides the frustration, it’s also a form of communication that can so easily turn into a dog behaviour problem if it’s not handled in the right way.
Other forms of dog communication seem to be so much easier to understand. Growling is a warning, barking is all about excitement or danger, howling is a long range communication devise, but research has linked the use of whining to a dog being alert, anxious, eager, excited, fearful, and submissive. That makes it a lot harder to interpret your dogs whining and more importantly, how you should react when your dog whines at you.
Whining For Attention
In a domestic situation, many dogs will whine to get attention or when they want something. My dog whines every time he loses his ball under the sofa. I’m not sure whether he’s feeling anxious or just eager to get it back, but it’s definitely aimed at getting me to do something about it.
Sadly, it seems the more they can get your attention through whining, the more often they’ll use it, so be careful how you respond. If they think they can have your attention whenever they want it simply by whining, they might also think that puts their status above yours and you’ll get all sorts of other behaviour problems emerging. Completely ignoring this kind of whining, rather than responding to it (even if it’s driving your mad) is the quickest way to stop it.
Whining Because They Are Uncomfortable
Dogs will also whine when they are in some sort of discomfort. Pain can make them whine, as can being hungry, cold or wet. My dog sometimes rolls in a cowpat or foxes poop when we’re out for a walk and then whines non-stop when I get the hose out and wash him down, because of the cold water.
You just have to use your judgement to work out if the whining is worth taking any notice of. If you think they are in genuine pain, see your vet, but if you think it’s more like a complaint it’s best to pay no attention to it.
Whining Because Of Dog Separation Anxiety
Dog separation anxiety can be the driver behind dogs whining habits. This is your dog’s way of showing that they are both anxious and fearful. Some dogs will start whining the moment they can’t see their owners, even if they are only in the next room and others will whine non-stop whenever you have to leave them at home alone. If you’re concerned that your dog might be doing this, ask your neighbours – they’ll soon tell you if that is what your dog is doing! You’ll need time, patience, persistence and a good training programme to stop this kind of whining.