You might not realize this, but whining is probably one of the most various forms that dogs often use to communicate. They whine to show their emotional, mental, or physical state. Though they are not created equal, understanding the different reasons behind the act can help you know your pet better and strengthen the bond.
It can also help you in training your dog to ensure that you properly identify his/her whining signals. By this, you can respond appropriately and train him/her effectively.
Below are the most common reasons why dogs whine and what he is trying to tell his owner.
1. It Is A Sign Of Anxiety
Whining can be your dog's response to stressful situations. Some dogs often whine before barking. In this situation, whining sometimes seems involuntary. Usually, it is followed by cowering, pacing, panting, licking of the lips, or low tail carriage.
During training, it is good to take notice of this behavior. If your dog is whining, he is over his minimum in terms of distress. With this, you may need to alter the methods you are using to bring him back to focus and can learn.
2. It Is A Sign Of Frustration
Not addressing the initial signs of stress may lead to frustration. A frustrated dog may show obsessive behavior while whining. This could be the time when he/she starts scratching at the door or reaching under the couch.
On the other hand, a fearful dog will whine while showing submissive body language. When you see your dog trembling while whining, he/she is trying to tell you that it wants to escape or avoid the people around him.
3. It Is A Sign Of Appeasement Behavior
Does your dog whine when he greets new people or even dogs? Appeasement is something the timid or dog with no self-confidence will do. Still linked to stress, the dog would believe that the new person or dog they just met may be a threat. By then, they will display appeasement behaviors such as tucking the tail, lowering the body, holding the ears back, or whining.
4. It Is An Indication Of Submission
Whining is basically the indication of submission in a pack, meaning that it is a way of showing a more powerful pet: "Take the lead" or "Give up". Most of the time, whining will be accompanied by a submissive posture such as putting the whole body to the ground.
The best thing you can do when your dog gives an appeasing whine to you is to quietly acknowledge it and walk away. For a pet, this means that his apology is accepted.
5. It Is A Sign Of Excitement Or Greeting Behavior
Excitement whine is one of the easiest to recognize “whines”. Whenever your dog is so happy to see you or someone, his/her entire body wiggles and your dog will start whining. It is just like he/she can’t contain the happiness in greeting you, thus not able to control himself/herself.
Most of the time, your dog will jump, bark, and get “crazy” when he/she is doing something fun or exciting. It’s time to train your dog “no eye contact, no talk, no touch” until he behaves and settles down.
6. It Is A Sign Of Seeking Attention
Whenever your dog wants to get desired objects, rewards or attention, he will whine in your presence in order to get it. Also, when you leave the room, your dog may immediately start whining because he wants you to come back and give him more attention.
Also, your dog can whine to tell you that he wants something, especially when this has worked before. Just be careful though, give in just once. If your dog will continue with this type of whining, it may even turn into demand barking. Make sure that he goes into a submissive-calm state before you meet his demand.
7. It Is A Sign Of Pain Or Injury
Surely, your dog may whine when they are in a painful state or pain. If you notice your dog whines when he/she gets up, goes up and down stairs, or for example, he puts weight on a leg, it’s time to see a vet. Due to arthritis, an old dog, on the other hand, may whine when he/she moves.
Also, if you see frequent or sudden vocalization from your dog, it is necessary to take him to the veterinarian to identify medical causes. Pay attention to this whine. It may save you money at the vet’s since untreated injuries can be more costly to fix.
8. It Is A Trained Behavior
“Trained” whining behaviors can be classified into two types -- the good and the bad. The good is when you have trained your dog to whine at the door when he needs out to go potty. The bad is when your dog gets to train you that whining gives him attention. Again, be careful what you teach your dog. Also, be careful what you let him teach you.
9. Separation Anxiety
If your dog only whines during your absence or just before you leave, he might have separation anxiety. In these cases, your dog would often show at least one other sign of the disorder when left alone or before your departure.
They would start panting, pacing, excessively drooling, urinating, depression defecating indoors, or other signs of distress. If your pet is displaying this behavior type, talk with your vet about professional training. A medication can help to manage the anxiety of your dog as well.
Finding out the Problem
The best way to handle whining in dogs is probably to identify the cause of this behavior. Also, make sure to change their behavior through a reward-based training. In any situations where your dog is showing heightened anxiety, it is not good to use punishment as a training tool. Moreover, if you punish a dog for whining, the whining or crying may stop. But the anxiety would not change but might become worse. Your dog could respond in an even more dangerous way like biting.
The exact reasons for whining are not always easy to recognize and identify. Your dog may whine when a dog or a person approaches him, meaning that he is afraid or excited.
If your dog is excited, you should minimize the greeting and refocus his attention to lessen the whining. If he is afraid, you might need to manage his anxiety in order for stopping the whining. If you think that your pet’s whining is an indication of fear, seek a professional help like your vet.
How to Stop the Whining
The more occupied a dog is during the day with a lot of activities, the fewer chances to whine he will be. You can bring him/her to walks or give him food puzzles and games. You would also want to try to redirect your whining pet to better activities. You can be creative and expose him/her to play such as chewing on a filled toy or searching for hidden ball in the garden. These activities refocus the attention of your dog on an acceptable outlet. A dog that often whines when he is nervous or excited could also be trained how to relax with some settling exercises.
It is easy to consider the whining of a dog as cute. However, if you fail to identify the reasons behind it and give immediate affection as well as attention to a whining dog, you will just show your dog how to whine the whole time. This can then result in other unwanted manners such as constant barking.
In most situations, the most important is to keep a calm. Be an assertive leader, and try to move your pet from a whining state to a submissive, calm one before giving him what he is asking for.