ALL ABOUT DOGS and CATS Resource Center for Canine & Feline Lovers
Tips for Handling a Dog Who's a Whiner!
by: Kristi Carter
Puppies are very similar to babies - when babies are not content, they cry. When puppies are
not content, they whine. If they think they are starving, if they are hot or cold or if they are
tired they whine. This is the way that they communicate with their mothers, who promptly
respond with something to eat, a cuddle or two and security. As the mother responds
continuously, the puppy begins to realize that her whines bring help from her mother, so the
puppy will continue to whine, knowing that the mother will respond. Adopting a puppy at 8 to
10 weeks will bring her a possible new realization. The whining doesn't necessarily work with
her new 'pack,' or that her whining brings her new mother (you) to her aid.
This is why many people will tell you to allow the puppy to sleep by herself. When you respond
naturally to her whining with comfort and sympathy, she will learn that she gets attention and
love when she whines. Therefore, she will continue to whine. If she is truly upset for some
reason, of course you should respond to her whines. She may be truly scared that she has
been moved from her familiar location and is with a new family in a new place. Here's the trick.
Wait until your puppy is not whining so that you can cuddle, love her and give plenty of
attention. This way, your puppy doesn't correlate the whining with the attention she's getting.
When she realizes that the whining isn't getting her anything, she will not do it anymore. You
might have a really hard time ignoring her whining and you will want to pick her up and give
her some comfort, but doing this could lead to a hard road! Now, it's important to realize that
some puppies will not just stop whining. If your puppy is one of those, grab an instant when
she's quiet to give her some attention. Even if she only stops whining for a second, that's
when you should respond. This way, you are not allowing her to be completely miserable and
neglected, but you are not teaching her that whining gets what she wants.
While most dogs will not continue to whine after half a year of age or so, many of them do
continue to whine. If yours does, there are a few different reasons. One of them is that your
dog is whining and truly doesn't realize that she's doing it or that she's learned that this is the
way to get what she needs or wants. There are a few reasons your dog may whine and some
of those include the fact that your dog is in pain or hurting, he or she is feeling a bit lonely, it's
potty time or he or she is nervous or scared.
In order to figure out how to respond, you need to figure out why she's whining. There are
times when there is a legitimate reason and times when it's simply because she is craving
your attention. Here are some of the ways that you can respond depending upon why your
dog is whining.
A Whine That Says, "I'm in Pain!"
If your dog begins whining suddenly, or with a sharp yelp and then continues on for a while
she may be in pain. There are many different things that might cause pain for puppies,
younger dogs and adult dogs. You need to check the obvious things to see if there is a reason
she is whining. For instance, checking to see that she's holding any paws up or if she is acting
strangely. Then you can check her body for injuries of any kind to see if there is something
present which is causing the pain. After that, feel her limbs, especially around the joints to see
if you feel any swelling or strange differences in her. Be sure to be very gentle as you don't
want to cause more pain. If you simply can't find anything, don't rule out the possibility that
your dog may be in pain. A trip to your veterinarian is a good idea.
A Whine That Says, "I'm Bored!"
There is a significant demeanor that you may notice in your dog who is whining because she's
bored. She may pace around the room or follow you throughout the house. She will whine to
herself and seem miserable! One great tip is to give her some quick exercise. Take her for a
run, play a half hour game of fetch or do something else that she loves to do. You may also
want to make sure that she starts getting more play time each day - whether you are
exercising her or taking her out and about while you run errands. Either way, you will create a
solution to her boredom and hopefully stop the whining. Spend more quality time with your
pooch, cuddling, loving and showing attention!
A Whine That Says, "I'm Scared."
If your dog is afraid of something, the whining will be different than the other reasons. For
instance, she may look in one direction while she's whining. If there is a lot of lighting or
thunder during a storm and she looks toward the windows, whining, she is probably
frightened. She may also be anxious if there is no direction to her whining. Pause and
determine your own mood as dogs often pick up on the stress and tension in their pack
leaders. If this is the case, you should never try to punish your dog to make him or her stop
whining. In fact, it will most likely make it worse. The key is to tune her out. Sure, it sounds
terrible but when you do it, you teach your dog that she is scared or anxious for no reason.
Running to comfort her and give her attention will confirm her feeling of fear or anxiety. Rather,
ignore her until she stops whining and then give her the attention she needs!
A Whine That Says, "I Need to GO."
This one is an easy one. If your dog is whining because she needs to go to outside, she is
obviously potty trained. She really needs to go but knows that the place to do it is not inside
the house. She will probably stand by the door, looking at you and then looking back at the
door. She may also have the look that owners come to recognize in their dogs after a while.
The look says, "I really need to go!" Simply let her out - no big deal!
About The Author Kristi Carter
Is your dog traumatized when you leave him alone? Don't get mad or frustrated. He may be
suffering from dog separation anxiety. Learn proven and humane tips to help him overcome
dog separation anxiety once and for all! Visit http://www.dogseparationanxiety.net today!
Pet Behavior Articles - Canine Behavior