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Jun 25 2018

Is your dog trying to tell you something? Whining and how to make it stop

If you have or have ever had a dog, then you’ve probably heard it whine at one time or another. Whining is one of many forms of canine vocal communication, but since a dog’s primary form of communication is through energy and body language, the progression to whining indicates a higher level of excitement and need on the part of the dog.  Most commonly dogs whine to communicate their physical, mental, or emotional state, and not all whines are created equal.  Dogs whine when they’re seeking attention, when they’re excited, when they’re anxious or when they’re trying to appease you.

Mental State

Some dogs whine for everything…”Pay attention to ME!”  They whine for food, for water, to play, to be pet, to go outside…to come back inside pretty much for whatever it is that they want all the time.  This behavior often gets worse because the behavior gets reinforced by the pet parent when they “give in” just to stop the whining.  It is very difficult when it feels like the whining can go on for hours driving a mental spike right through your brain, but you have to stand strong.  The Veterinarians in Richmond Hill remind you you can not give in to the whining in these cases or you are rewarding the behavior.  This means not looking at or talking to your dog until he/she quiets.

In the pack, whining is often a sign of submission. It’s a dog’s way of telling a more dominant dog, “I give up.” This is usually accompanied by submissive posture: ears, tail and head down, and a dog showing submission or deference may often also “squat,” putting their entire body low to the ground.  If your dog does give you an appeasement whine, the best thing you can do is acknowledge it quietly, and then walk away. To a dog, this means, “Apology accepted.”

Your dog may whine when she greets you, when you grab her leash, on approach to the dog park or when he’s in the car?  This is all about excitement and there are two ways to approach this – management and training.  As an example, for management, you want to remove or distract your dog from the situation that is causing the whining.  For training scheduling a consultation with the veterinarians in Richmond Hill will help give you some specific skills related to your pet but generally this is the time to practice “no touch, no talk, no eye contact,” until he settles down.

Physical Necessity

Is your dog acting strangely? Breathing differently?   If your dog suddenly starts whining for no apparent reason, you will want to rule out pain or any other kind of physical distress. This is particularly the case for a dog that whines while lying down in a very submissive posture without trying to engage you in any other way.  Please contact your veterinarian in Richmond Hill to rule out any pain or discomfort.

The need to relieve him/herself can also induce whining depending on what sort of routine or schedule you have set up for your dog.  House training a dog can be stressful as the physical need to urinate or defecate conflicts with their natural instinct not to relieve themselves inside their ‘den’.


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Julia Lohasz

Practice Manager

Bayview Seven Animal Hospital

“Your healthy companion is our pride & joy”

Bayview Seven Animal Hospital, a veterinary clinic located on Hwy.7, one block West of Yonge, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Thornhill, Vaughan and North York since 1988. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, rabbits, pocket pets and birds.

Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.

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