When our dogs start to whine, we may not know what to do. If you can’t establish why they are whining, you may end up reacting in the wrong manner in your efforts to address the situation. Obviously, there is a language barrier between the two of you and ultimately, you may end up in serious miscommunication.

What should be your reaction when your dog starts whining? Well, whining is a simple way for your dog to let you know what is happening in his mind. At times, it can be challenging to understand what he is trying to tell you. Here are things to consider as reasons why your dog is in such a state:

  • Stress. You will be misinformed to think that your dog should always be playful and take long naps. It is important to note that dogs tend to react to stress the same way humans do. This is especially when they encounter unfamiliar environments, other dogs or people. Ideally, they get stressed when they are in uncomfortable settings. In such a case, your dog will start to whine as a way of letting you know about his feelings. This may be accompanied by an inability to react to cues and pacing.
  • Boredom. When your dog is bored, it gets unhappy. As a result, they will do anything to win your attention. He may choose to chew your furniture, whine, and pace. When he starts to whine, his intuition tells him to seek play. You can be tempted to surrender to his pitiful sound and plunge you into trouble should your dog combine the whining with those puppy dog eyes. Instead, don’t encourage that behaviour of seeking attention from your dog. If you give in, you will simply be telling your dog that he can solve all his problems by whining. Dogs can be determined and stubborn and what looked like mere whining may go for hours if he is left to believe that he will find help at the end of the day. All you need is to give your dog enough physical and mental stimulation to keep him engaged.
  • Excitement. When your dog is over-excited, he can also end up whining. It is not difficult to tell whether your dog is having a bored whine or an excited one. When your dog is whining because of excitement, he will wiggle, jump, wag his tail and may act in a manner that would make you think he’s out of control. If he is a puppy, he becomes almost uncontrollable with his emotions. Whining usually is part of those other behaviours. You can help your dog by teaching him impulse control by calming him down or by telling him to go to his mat.
  • Pain. For us humans, we groan, moan and cry when in pain. The same case applies to dogs. Should you notice that your dog whines all the time as it stands up or walks upstairs, it is a good indication that something is paining him. Arthritis is a common problem in older dogs just as is the case with aging humans and the pain is equally the same. Young dogs also tend to whine when they are injured. It is unlikely that your dog can verbally communicate it. For that reason, you have to be alert and seek the services of a vet to attend to your dog.
  • In Need of Something. When your dog needs something, he is unlikely to tell you about it. This is for example when he wants to go to the bathroom. When the water basin is empty, he will tend to whine. Here, you will be forced to do a number of guesses before you can actually get the right reason why it is whining. However, you will finally identify a good reason for his whining. Be attentive to his basic needs such as water and food. Is it missing something that it feeds on occasionally or does it want you to get its favourite blanket back on the couch? Communication is very important for you to get what your dog is whining for.

Your dog will tend to whine from time to time and there are quite a number of reasons why he will do that. Don’t get frustrated when you can’t understand what your dog is saying. Endeavour not to misinterpret his actions by checking on these reasons as highlighted in here. Look at the body language and his other behaviours and relate it to his needs.

About the author

Amanda Johnson is a freelance writer at from New York. She loves writing about education, marketing, and self-development. Amanda has two dogs.

This story is a guest submission and does not reflect the views of Dogs Monthly Magazine, always consult a qualified expert.


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