Why Is My Dog Whining?
Though not as loud as a canine bark, a whining pup can still gain your attention.
The subtle yet high pitch tone of a whining pup is enough to get you to look their way, often raising questions on what they could be trying to tell you.
So why is your dog whining so much?
In this article we will discuss the most common reasons why our dogs whine, and help you better understand how to address this behavior going forward.
Understanding Whining In Dogs
Unfortunately, we do not speak the same language as our dogs.
This can make it extremely challenging for a dog to express their needs, leading to the need for different forms of vocalization.
While a bark may be a stern message to alert those around them, a whine is typically a more subtle way of getting our attention.
If your dog is whining for any reason, they are likely trying to tell you or those around them what’s on their mind.
Why Is My Dog Whining?
Just as the behavior of barking is ingrained into a dog’s DNA, so is whining.
Our dog’s wild ancestors used whining to communicate subtle needs to members of their pack, whether they were displaying submission or expressing concern.
Dogs have carried this behavior into their actions today, making it a sound most dog owners are used to hearing.
To help you decipher your dog’s whine in the future, let’s discuss some of the most common reasons why your dog is whining so much.
They Are Trying To Tell You Something
A whine is a dog’s subtle way of telling us that they need something.
It’s not as abrupt as a bark, but still helps them get our attention when it’s needed.
A whining pup may be telling us:
- They need to go outside
- They are hungry
- They want to play a game of fetch
- Their favorite toy is trapped under the sofa
If your whining pup is looking your way, it’s time to look closer for any clue as to what they need.
Your Dog Wants Attention
Many canine friends will resort to whining if they are craving attention.
This is most common in puppies or other young pups, as they are still learning how to properly communicate their needs.
Puppies often whine when they need support from their mom, so it makes perfect sense as to why they use this behavior on us as well.
The next time your pup has their head perched on your lap with a quiet whine, they may be wanting some of your undivided attention.
Your Dog Is Excited
Have you ever been so excited that you feel like you could burst?
Our pups experience this feeling as well, often causing them to whine and shriek each time they experience extreme happiness.
This is essentially their way of expressing just how happy they are to see you, eat their favorite snack, play their favorite game, and anything in between.
The next time your pup begins to wag their tail and whine when you walk in the door, just know how excited they are for you to be home.
Your Dog Is Nervous Or Anxious
When humans are overcome with nerves, we can experience sweaty palms and an elevated heart rate.
Our minds may be flooded with anxious thoughts, but we understand that we should not verbalize our every thought at that moment.
Though we have the awareness to work through our intense nerves, our pups don’t have this ability.
Each episode of intense nervousness and anxiety in dogs will lead to an array of outward symptoms, often including whining.
An anxious dog may also tremble, yawn, hide away, growl, and even act out.
Your Dog Is Showing Submission
Whining has long been a way that dogs display submission toward other canine friends.
Our dog’s ancestors traveled in packs with many dogs, with each often having a complex power dynamic.
If any dog was ever deemed out of line by the more dominant members, they may be faced with a harsh reaction that required a canine apology.
The submissive dog could then tuck their tail under and whine, hoping to be forgiven and allowed back into their pack.
Our dogs still participate in this behavior today, showing submission toward any dominant dog or human in their life.
Your Dog Is In Pain
Just as you and I may whimper when we are in pain, our dogs are no different.
Pain of any kind can cause extreme distress in our canine companions, causing them to whine as a result of their discomfort and anxiety surrounding it.
A dog whining in pain may only cry out when they have aggravated the injury, or they may even whine constantly if their discomfort is severe.
Dogs in pain will typically experience other symptoms outside of whining, so it’s important to examine your dog’s behavior in search of any additional clues.
Some dogs will whine, while others will bark when in pain.
How To Make My Dog Stop Whining
If you have a whiny pup on your hands, you may be searching for an effective way to put an end to this behavior for good.
While we expect our dog to whine from time to time when they need something, excessive whining can be extremely bothersome.
To help you address this behavior going forward, let’s list some of the most effective ways to get your dog to stop whining.
Meet Their Necessary Needs To Stop Their Whining
As we mentioned above, some dogs will whine when they are trying to tell their owners something.
Needs such as wanting to go outside or expressing hunger are important for our dogs to demonstrate, so we should always be sure that we are not ignoring any necessary whining.
Before you brush off your dog’s whining, be sure they are not trying to tell you something important.
Search For Clues As To Why They Are Whining
You should always examine your dog and their environment for any clues of a problem that needs addressing.
This can include looking for an empty water bowl, ensuring they have gone outside recently, and even examining them for any signs of pain or illness.
Like we just mentioned, you want to be sure that your dog is not trying to tell you something important.
Address Any Stress Or Anxiety
Whining is a common sign of stress for our canine friends.
Addressing any potential stressors in your home is essential for a nervous pup, as well as tending to any phobias your dog may be experiencing.
While this may not be a quick fix, their whining can tell you that you need to focus on helping your pup with their current struggles.
Offer Plenty Of Exercise And Stimulation
If a dog is not receiving enough daily exercise and stimulation, this can cause them to become more vocal.
A whining pup may simply be a bored pup, and this can be resolved with an increase in daily activity.
This can include going on daily walks, playing fetch outside, taking your dog along on outdoor adventures, and even offering them engaging dog toys and puzzles.
Don’t Encourage Whining
If your dog seems to whine every time they need something, it’s important to refrain from giving in to them each time.
While we want our dogs to get our attention when they need something urgently, we don’t want whining to become a staple in their communication methods.
If you know there is no urgent need, try to ignore their whining.
Once they have finally settled down and gotten quiet, give them a treat.
My Dog Won’t Stop Whining
If you are asking yourself why your dog keeps crying despite your attempts to meet their needs, this can be a sign that something more is going on.
A dog that is constantly whining may be suffering from extreme stress, pain, cognitive decline, and an array of other underlying issues that need to be addressed.
If your whining pup is continuing this behavior for an extended period of time, especially if they do not whine often, it is always a good idea to give your vet a call.
A whining dog is often trying to tell us that they need something.
Be sure to review the potential causes of whining that we discussed above, and you can better understand your pup the next time they cry in search of attention.
My name is Amber. I am a dedicated animal lover that turned my passion into my career. I am a Licensed Vet Tech with 10 years of experience in veterinary medicine, but I recently took my career online to help spread accurate information on animal care. With how vast the online world is, I have a strong desire to ensure that the reader always walks away with helpful pet advice. With the experience I’ve gained from my time in this field, I have been able to travel the world, offering my services to as many animal rescues as I can find. If I am not at my laptop, or back home visiting family, you can find me somewhere in the world, cuddling every furry friend that I can find! Read more about us here.