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!
Zachary Tomlinson says
I had no idea that dogs whine as a sign that they’re feeling anxiety or in pain. My friend told me that his Beagle has been whining nonstop for a day now, and it’s starting to get him worried. What you said about how he should take the dog to the vet for a checkup is a great idea. I’ll suggest that he visit an animal hospital as soon as he can.
Better safe than sorry, I always say. I hope your friend’s beagle is OK!
The entire time Lucas took his reactive dog class (8 weeks!) he whined. Every session. The entire time. By the end, the trainer and her assistant both forgot his name was Lucas. “Whiney-face, you’re up next.” or “When you take Whiney-face around back, make sure to keep his attention on you.” Sigh.
Oh no, that’s rough! It’s not the way you want him to be remembered, is it? So far Luke doesn’t carry on for too long….I’m sure it will be more difficult if it becomes incessant. Fingers crossed.
Edie Chase says
My dog started whining but I had just taken her to the vet and he didn’t really have any suggestions. It turns out she has an allergy. She gets benedryl when she gets itchy now and no more whining.
I’m so glad you were able to figure it out with your dog! So it certainly can be a sign that they don’t feel well or are uncomfortable.
Pamela | Something Wagging This Way Comes says
Now i’m curious about the gender thing. I’ve always had female dogs and never had big whiners. Is that why?
I couldn’t find anything on the gender subject when I researched, so I don’t know, maybe it’s just the way it’s gone with us. I also remember though when my sister and I had dogs that were littermates, she had a male who whined all the time, and our female never did. But there are some comments below with females that whine too. It could be you’ve just been lucky to have quieter dogs (in that sense anyway)!
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
hahaha cute video, he just wants to play all the time. My dogs whine at times too.
I’m glad it’s not just him! Maybe when he has a little less energy, he’ll have a little less whine. 🙂
2 brown dawgs says
I think some dogs are just more vocal than other too. Freighter and Storm both whine from time to time but as Storm got older, it diminished. I expect it will with Freighter too.
Maybe with Luke it is just a puppy thing. We’ll find out in time!
Tenacious Little Terrier says
Mr. N will whine sometimes if he wants something and he thinks I’m not getting the message.
We humans are very slow sometimes. 🙂
M. K. Clinton says
What a pitiful whine. ♥ My boys whine when their meals are being prepared.
Oh goodness, Kobi used to BARK at us when we were getting his meals….he was so impatient! The other dogs always knew when supper was being served though…LOL!
Ann Staub says
Aw Luke you are so cute as a whiny baby though! BOL Don’t worry, you know what rhymes with Shiner? WHINER! She is also pretty whiny. Mostly when I’m outside and she’s not.
Maybe Luke and Shiner could get together and have a concert…BOL!
Yes, being left inside when others are out doesn’t go over well around here either. 🙂
I’ve never had a whiny dog but thanks in advance for the information if I need it.
Hopefully you never do! Maybe it is breed specific as Diane suggested below….and maybe poodles don’t whine?
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
Aww!!!! He is just so cute! Koda likes to whine too, but Mika is my biggest whiner of all!!! She whines SOOOOOO loud too!
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
He definitely uses that cuteness to get what he wants! BOL Well, if your girl is your biggest whiner, that might disprove my male/female theory!
Talent Hounds says
Kilo rarely whines, but if he does it’s only for treats or cuddles. He is just very food motivated and a huge cuddle bug who wants attention. Hard to get work done with him around.
My hubby sometimes says to Luke that he is “very needy”. He is jealous of the girls too when they get attention, so I think wanting attention is definitely a big factor here. I love that he is so lovable though, he wants to snuggle more than the girls do.
Great topic and info! Mom is very thankful we aren’t whiners! Have a great Friday!
Thank you, Miley!! Your Mom is lucky!
Diane @ To Dog With Love says
Interesting! Rocco doesn’t whine, but he does bark if he wants something. I wonder if whining is breed specific.
That’s something I didn’t think of either, but I haven’t really seen a pattern with ours as far as that goes. Both beagles did whine, but only one golden did, and I don’t remember our first two mixed breed dogs as whiners either.
I’m pretty lucky! Ours usually only whine a little bit when they are very excited, and sometimes it’s so low and quiet, I’m not sure they know they’re doing it.
One of the things I read did say it could be almost involuntary in certain situations.
Good topic…I’m fortunate that Jack and Maggie don’t whine. Our dog Sally used to and it was pretty much the same…for attention, food or toys. Thanks for joining the Hop!
You’re welcome! You’re lucky that your two don’t whine, though it actually doesn’t bother me that much, not nearly as much as barking. It just concerns me if my little boy is unhappy about something…LOL!
We rarely whine. Our weapon is howling, but we don’t do it all that often, in the house at least.
The girls, mostly Cricket, have been known to howl sometimes when they get left behind if I’m only walking one dog.