We’ve taken to calling Luke “Whiner Baby” lately. He’s not the first dog we’ve had that received this nickname….Kobi and Moses were both called that at times. There is a pattern here….these are all of our past and present male dogs. Now I’m not saying the girls don’t whine at all, but the boys seem to whine much more.
So why do dogs whine? There are many possible reasons:
- Anxiety (including separation)(look for other signs of agitation such as panting or pacing)
- Seeking attention
- Submissiveness/appeasement to other dogs or people
- Excitement when greeting people
Whining is another form of communication for dogs, the same as barking. They learn when they are puppies that whining will get them attention from their mothers. If your dog starts whining, the first thing you might want to do is try to figure out why. If it comes on suddenly or is persistent, with no obvious reason for it, you should take your dog to a vet to be sure the cause isn’t from pain or discomfort.
Kobi used to whine whenever he rode in the car. He LOVED riding in the car, and the only thing we could ever figure out was that he just saw so many things and he wanted to go everywhere he saw. His whining would ratchet up a notch if he saw people or other dogs. Kobi loved everyone and we really think he just wanted to see them.
I took a short video to demonstrate Luke’s whining, and you’ll figure out like we did exactly why he does it.
That is his most common place for whining….he wants to play with those toys up by the TV. This was learned behavior from one of his sisters:
The only time Cricket whines is when she wants to play with those toys. Sometimes on a weekend morning we’ll be trying to relax in bed and watch the news for a bit, and she’ll be downstairs staring up there and whining. So we know Luke learned it from her. I think that I can honestly say we have never heard Sheba whine. Apparently that’s just not a way she chooses to communicate. If she ever does, we’ll definitely be concerned something is wrong.
Luke also will whine for attention at other times. He often does it when my husband and I are in the office on our computers. He wants attention, or someone to play with him. He sometimes whines after my hubby leaves for work, and I think it’s just that he’s sad his Dad left. However, he also on occasion whines when he needs to go outside….so he is definitely trying to tell us something then, and we’re wise not to ignore it!
So what to do about a whining dog? There are ways to train them not to whine, just like you would try to train out any unwanted behavior. If they whine when you get home from work, maybe you can distract them with a toy. If it is appeasement whining, maybe you need to work on building their confidence. Anxiety and separation anxiety are issues that you need to deal with anyway, and there are many ways to do that.
For a dog who whines for attention like Luke, the recommendation is to ignore him, and then reward him when he’s quiet. Now my problem with this is that he feels like he’s not getting enough attention, or enough play time, and he’s trying to communicate that to me. I feel like my response should be to give him the attention or play time that he wants and needs. That is what I try to do….but I usually try to wait until there is a break in the whining, and step in then, so as not to reinforce the whining too much. If I’m going to give him one of the toys that he wants by the TV, I make him sit or lie down before he can get it. There are times that I really do just need to be doing other things so I just tell him to be quiet and no, we’re not playing right now. He usually does quiet down, so he does know that it won’t get him what he wants every time.
Obviously, more play time, exercise, and attention will give him less reason to want to whine. Although there are days when he’s had a lot of play time, and he just doesn’t want to quit! He is only 10 months old after all, and he has a lot of energy. I think if he were a human child, he would frequently be saying “I’m bored”!
If you’d like to learn more on this subject, here are some good articles where I found most of my information (click on title for link):
Why Does My Dog….Whine So Much? Vetstreet
How to Curb Whining in Dogs, WebMD
Canine Whining Decoded, VetDepot
Do your dogs whine? Do you know why? Do you think male dogs whine more than females? Share in the comments below!
We are joining the FitDog Friday blog hop. A fit dog is a happy and tired dog, and they have less reason to whine. So perhaps a little more exercise is just what our whiney dogs need. Thank you to our blog hop hosts SlimDoggy, To Dog With Love and MyGBGVLife. Please visit their sites and others through the links below to learn more about keeping your dogs fit and happy!