Dog seeking attention

The sound of a whining dog can be a little bit like nails on a chalkboard. In order to address the problem, you have to find out the catalyst as quickly as possible. MarketPlace Veterinary Hospital is here to help you solve the mystery. 

Dog Communication

Dogs are pretty good communicators, if you know what you are looking for. Within a pack, they are able to do things like sort out a social hierarchy, signal danger, communicate affection, and delegate day to day tasks. 

Within their species, most communication is non-verbal. Body language cues are vital in canine communication, with smells and facial expressions also contributing. While we humans are getting better at following our pup’s lead with these communication methods, we still rely heavily on verbal cues.

Dogs don’t speak English, but they can use noises when interacting with their humans and among themselves. Barks, growls, groans, yelps, and whimpers all are viable vocal communications.

Reasons Your Dog Is Whining

It is probably just as frustrating for your pet as it is for you when you are unable to determine the reason that your dog is whining. 

Not all whines are the same, but there are a few common reasons the canine species might choose a whine to communicate.

  • They are trying to get your attention to fulfill a need
  • They are trying to elicit affection or play
  • They are stressed or anxious
  • They are exhibiting submissive behavior
  • They are in pain

These communications are all about very different things, and it is important to use other clues to determine what makes the most sense in each particular instance. A pet who has just been discharged from a medical procedure might be in pain, while one who is eagerly awaiting dinner at 6 p.m. might be trying to get your attention. 

The No-Whine Zone

If your dog is whining, perhaps the most logical thing to do is to fulfill whatever need is causing the whining. This can be easier said than done, though. A pet who whines to get a treat may amp up the volume as they learn their efforts are rewarded. Obviously, we can’t always give them what they want!

Sometimes distraction can be a good tool. Interactive toys and games such a a walk in the park, a trip to the dog park, a puzzle toy, nose games, or a training session may get your pet to focus on something different.

Anxiety can be a big source of whining in dogs. Pets might have situational or noise phobias or a diagnosis such as separation anxiety. In these situations environmental and social enrichment and physical exercise can be helpful. Our veterinarians may also recommend nutritional supplements, medications, and/or behavioral training  to aid in lowering your pet’s anxieties.

If you cannot determine the cause for your pet’s whining, making an appointment to see us should be the next step. Undetermined pain or illness can be an underlying cause, and that shouldn’t be ignored. 

If your dog is whining, they are trying to tell you something. Don’t let their communication go unheard, they are counting on you to help.