There’s nothing sadder sounding than the whimper and whine of your furry best friend. Dogs whining can break your heart, or drive you nuts, depending. So how do you get them to stop? First you need to determine the cause of the whining, and then nip it in the bud. Here are some reasons your dog may be whining and how to get them to stop.
If your dog whines when he or she meets new people and dogs, the cause could be appeasement. This means your dog lacks the confidence to greet new situations without displaying submissive behaviors. A good way to tell if your dog is whining as an appeasement behavior is to look at the other body language. If your dog is tucking his or her tail, holding ears back, rolling on his or her back, turning sideways toward the new person or dog in addition to the whining, chances are this is due to appeasement behavior. A professional trainer can help you teach your dog the confidence to face new situations.
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One of the top causes of dog whining is stress. It usually comes before a bark and is accompanied by other behaviors like pacing, licking lips, panting, cowering and carrying the tail low. This kind of body language, accompanied by whining, can help you alter the way you’re training. Look for cues of stress so that you can bring your dog back to a comfortable place where he or she can actually absorb the lesson you’re giving.
Some pups whine to get attention. This is especially common in younger dogs. Be very cautious about reinforcing this behavior by giving the dog what he or she wants. Give the dog attention when he or she is quiet if your dog engages in whining to get attention.
If whining is accompanied by body language like wiggling, fast and furious tail wagging, jumping up and down and barking, your dog is likely whining due to excitement. Doing mat training can help your dog work on self-control and calming behaviors.
There are some times you may want your dog to whine, such as when he or she is sitting at the door and needs to go out to use the potty. You want to reinforce whining at this time, while being careful not to reinforce whining at undesired times, as with appeasement whining or attention whining.
Whining can be a good indicator that your dog is in pain. If your dog develops whining behaviors suddenly and you notice limping, whining when getting up or laying down or when climbing stairs, it probably means that your pup is in pain. This means it’s time to go see a vet. As soon as you notice this new whining, make an appointment right away. This gets your dog comfortable as soon as possible and helps you save money by not allowing your dog to exacerbate any possible injuries.
If you need help identifying the source of your dog’s whining, we may be able to help. If we don’t know the answer, we can point you in the right direction so you and your furry pal can rest more easily daytime and night. Contact Head of the Class Dog Training today.
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Lisa Marino, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP, PMCT, has taken her varied teaching experiences and applied them to helping owners understand and train their beloved four-legged family members. She has more than four years’ experience leading group dog training classes at Best Paw Forward in Hartland, WI, and opened Head of the Class Dog Training LLC in Winchester, VA in 2012, where she conducts group classes and private lessons, as well as helps owners to modify their dogs' problem behaviors.
Lisa earned her CPDT-KA in 2012, is a 2015 graduate of the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy and is a Pat Miller Certified Trainer.
She has 4 registered therapy dogs and is a Pet Partner Therapy Team Evaluator and a member of HOPE AACR. As a former middle school teacher, she works well with families and children and does school presentations on various dog related topics.