‘’How to stop my dog from whining’’ is no doubt one commonly asked question amongst pet owners. However, to thoroughly address this issue, we must jump on the question of ‘’Why do puppies whine’’, or ‘’why do dogs whine?’’ Both these questions come with a plethora of answers. In fact, whining is among the several forms of vocal communications exhibited among members of the canine population. Normally, a dog will whine when it is excited, when it wants to be noticed, or when it wants something. Other factors that can provoke canine whining are stress and anxiety, or it may be that your pup is seeking to appease you.
However, when you observe that your furbaby has taken to excessive whining, you should first decode the underlying cause before taking a course of action to lessen the whining. For sure, many dog parents don’t mind a bit of whining every now and then, but many others cannot tolerate it. The good news is that you can actually train your furry friend to whine less, or not to indulge in whining at all. Read on for some tips on how to tackle excessive dog whining.
Decipher the Reason for Whining
Closely monitor the sound of your furbaby’s winning and other accompanying behaviors. With time, you will be able to differentiate between volumes and pitches of whine, which are usually due to a variety of reasons. For instance, the “I’m bored” whine will sound different from the “I want something” whine. You might still hear another pitch of whine that is distinct from the aforementioned that might mean pain or stress. When you have familiarized yourself with all these whining pitches and volumes, then you will be better equipped to tackle the demands as they arise.
What’s more, if your dog is the type that suffers from separation anxiety, there is the tendency that the pup will resort to whining if left alone for an extended period of time. You might also observe them engaging in other negative behaviors such as drooling, pacing, and destructive behavior which all come with separation anxiety. Your best bet in this kind of situation is to enlist the services of a professional dog trainer or visit a vet who might be able to provide medication to manage the anxiety.
It’s also worth noting that dog whining might also be due to pain, discomfort, and cognitive dysfunction syndrome. If this happens to be the case with your pup, then it is time to visit your vet for professional advice.
Employ a Careful and Gentle Approach
When dealing with a whining dog, try to avoid being harsh or looking stern as your countenance may aggravate the behavior. This is especially true when the root cause is pain or stress; you might end up escalating the whining, which may well develop into aggression. However, you might not easily identify the real cause of whining – a dog will likely whine upon seeing another dog or as someone approaches, this can mean that your pooch is afraid or excited. In this case, you can only lessen the whining by downplaying the encounter. However, if fear is the culprit, then it must be well managed. This can be easily tackled with professional help from a dog trainer.
Never Punish your Dog for Whining
Before proceeding with whichever method you deem necessary to reduce your dog’s whining, it’s vital to first assess the situation objectively while you try and calm your dog. Once the root cause is discovered, you can attempt to change your dog’s behavior by trying out reward-based training. Like in a situation where you observe your pooch displaying heightened anxiety, the worst you can do is to resort to punishment, which has been long jettisoned as a practical training tool. This is because, although whining is a form of vocalization for the canine population; punishment may succeed in temporarily ceasing the vocalization, but will not do much for the anxiety. In fact, your dog might end up worse than before, and its response may become dangerous. It is not strange for a dog to bite when it feels threatened. So, punishment should be completely ruled out.
Desensitize your Dog to Overcome Fear
Mental stimulation is one effective way of diverting a dog’s attention from phobias and fears. An anxious dog that is stressed out will always benefit from the mental stimulation in training sessions. You can lessen a dog’s whining by making a comprehensive list of all the potential stressors and then proceed to counter-condition them one by one. You may begin by picking the top two and working on them by changing the way your pup feels about them. By so doing, those stressors will no longer be sources of stress for your pooch. You must address enough of those stressors to achieve a reasonable result. Once one is ticked off your list, move to the next one and start working on it. By the time you have exhausted most of them, excessive whining is sure to reduce.
Give your Dog What it Wants
If you know exactly the reason why your furry friend is whining, then you can pretty much stop it by obliging your pup and giving it what it wants. It may be that your pup’s whining is escalating because it needs to go outside to do its business. Once it gets the potty break, all whining will naturally cease.
On the other hand, always giving in to a dog’s “wants” immediately can still have some negative effects. It might conclude that it has to always whine before it can get what it wants – this is at the top of the list of the causes of canine whining. Yes, it might be difficult for pet parents to resist their whining dogs, especially when it is a puppy. However, if you continue giving in to that cutie, you are more likely to end up having a whining adult.
Your best bet is to respond selectively when you hear your pooch whine. In fact, ignore any whining that you feel is not coming from a genuine need for something. Also, be sure to reward it with treats and praises upon noticing a moment of silence – this is an ideal opportunity to practice the “quiet” command with your dog.
Always Discourage your Pooch from Whining
What we don’t know as adopters is that we might actually be the culprit. Some people unintentionally encourage their pups to whine. This is more true with those of us that keep obliging our pups with whatever they want the moment we hear them whining, thereby reinforcing the behavior. To tackle such a problem, you have to first redirect it to a different behavior before giving in and tending to its needs, be it food or attention. Ideally, it is best to get your pup to sit down quietly or even lie down as the case may be, and then you can now reward it with loads of treats, praises, and attention.
It is common knowledge that during the day, dogs that are preoccupied with all sorts of activities like games, food puzzles, and walks are less likely to be on edge, and consequently less likely to whine. Redirecting a whining dog to another activity like chewing away on a chew toy, playing catch, or searching out hidden kibble to eat will refocus its attention on a more tolerable outlet. Any pup that tends to resort to whining when nervous or excited can also be trained to relax more with different settling exercises like a down stay.
Shift your Dog’s Brain Into a Thinking Mode
A dog is likely to whine more when it has too much pent up emotional and physical energy. What’s more, if they always have something to do, they are less likely to whine; this calls for the need to always enrich their environment with plenty of distractions; which can come in the form of toys and exercise.
Additionally, some dogs whine when they want to greet their human family at the gate. This kind of whining can be controlled by shifting your fur baby’s brain from excitement mode into a thinking mode. This can be achieved by keeping a bag of toys handy at the entrance, and toss one for it to play with or retrieve once you enter.
As seen with the above information, there is no definitive answer to ‘’Why is my dog whining?’’. Excessive whining among dogs can be managed with mental stimulation, basic training, and exercise. However, behaviors that are observed to be really resistant to change may call for the attention of a dog behaviorist or a trainer who has the experience to handle such situations. Whatever the case, dog parents have to be consistent as well as patient. With time, the positive results will start showing, though it may not be possible for you to rid the whining habit completely; it will certainly be reduced to a tolerable level.