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Home > Dogs > Why Do Dogs Whine? 6 Common Reasons & How to Stop It

Why Do Dogs Whine? 6 Common Reasons & How to Stop It

sad french bulldog

Occasionally, your dog will whine. But why do dogs whine so much? The dog might look at you with pleading eyes and continue to make that high-pitched sound. You look at your beloved pet and wonder about all the different reasons your dog might be whining. Is it hunger? Is the dog in pain? Do they want someone to rub their belly? Are they concerned about the economy?

These are the times when you wish you and your dog could speak the same language. However, while we wait for technology to develop an accurate dog-translation app, here are the top reasons why your dog will whine and the ways that you can stop it.


The 6 Reasons the Dogs Whine

1. They Are Seeking Attention

Since your dog cannot verbally express that they want attention, whining is the best way to show this. The whining will most likely happen if you are preoccupied, like watching TV or working on your computer. If your dog wants attention, they will usually stare right at you or be close to you when they start whining.

2. Your Dog Wants Something

Dog Barking
Image Credit: dahancoo, Pixabay

Dogs will communicate that they want something by whining. Sometimes, it can be easy to figure out what they want. For example, if your dog is standing by the door, they want to go outside to play or relieve themselves. If their water dish or food bowl is empty, they will often stand near them and whine. If they look at you and whine, try standing up and seeing where the dog leads you. Their favorite toy might be stuck someplace hard for them to get.

3. They Are Overly Excited!

Sometimes your dog cannot contain its joy and excitement over something. Perhaps you are getting the leash used when going in the car. Your dog might start moving around and whining. Or maybe they are very excited about getting a treat or dinner. Many dogs will whine with excitement when they see their owners after they have been separated for a while.

4. Your Dog Is Apologizing

boxer dog tilted head
Image Credit: Charlotte Yealey, Pixabay

When a dog does something wrong or if they get scolded, they might whine to show they are sorry. A slouched posture or flattened ears might also accompany the whining. It is their way of ensuring things are settled between you two!

5. Your Dog Is Stressed or in a Stressful Environment

Dogs can be pretty sensitive. If you are arguing with someone else, your dog might react to the negativity by whining. Completely new or unfamiliar environments can also cause your dog to whine. Loud noises also stress dogs out. Thunder or fireworks can make canines quite stressed, and they show this through whining.

6. They Are in Pain

Doctor examining Basset Hound dog at veterinary clinic
Image Credit: sirtravelalot, Shutterstock

If you have considered all the above possibilities as the cause of your dog’s whining, then your dog might be in pain. The pain might be from feeling ill or something physical. Examine your dog to see if there is something physical that could be causing them to whine, like something sharp in their paw. However, if you cannot figure out why your pet is whining, contact your vet. Internal issues, like digestion, can be very painful but unseen by us. Get your dog checked out by a vet to make sure your dog is healthy.


How to Stop Your Dog from Whining

Now that you know why dogs whine, it’s time to put a stop to this behavior! Remember that when dogs whine, they are trying to communicate something. However, some whining turns into an annoying – and avoidable – habit. Here are some ways to reduce whining.

  • Find out the reason for whining. Check for the obvious reasons first. Make sure their food dish or water bowl is full. Remember the last time you took them out for a walk. You want to rule out common reasons before considering if the pain is the reason for the whining.
  • Get your dog on a schedule. It can be hard to resist your dog when they whine. You might leap up for every demand they make. But it is important to show your dog who is in charge. Have a schedule for your dog’s meals and stick with it. Avoid feeding them off schedule. Do the same with walking your dog or taking them out – if your daily schedule allows this. Getting your dog on these schedules will help reduce them whining whenever they want something.
  • Greet your dog calmly. We all get excited seeing our dog after a long day. But if your dog gets too overexcited, try to reduce your excitement when greeting your dog. It can be easy – and fun – to match your excitement to your pet. However, if you greet your dog with a calmer demeanor, this can help reduce how much they whine when they see you.
  • Consider calming aids or vests. Sometimes, little can be done to soothe a stressed dog, especially during a storm or fireworks display. Or maybe your dog has a high level of anxiety. Calming aids such as vests or nonprescription herbal supplements. Vests provide a gentle hugging feeling, making your dog feel protected. Chews and treats infused with natural, calming ingredients can also help a dog that easily gets stressed or anxious.
  • Seek out professional trainers. Occasional whining from your dog is tolerable. But if your dog is constantly whining and there is nothing medically wrong with them, think about seeking out a professional dog trainer. They can work with your dog on different ways to seek out attention or express needs without whining


Final Thoughts

When a dog whines, they are trying to communicate with you. The most important thing is to make sure your dog is not whining because of pain or illness. If that is the case, take your dog to the vet to get assessed. The next consideration is your dog’s mental health. They could be stressed or anxious about something. However, if your dog is whining for attention or asking for things, this can be reduced with training or having a feeding and walking routine. Until a dog learns how to use human language, dog owners should try their best to understand what their pet is trying to tell them.

Featured Image Credit: Mylene2401, Pixabay

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