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It is normal for dogs to whine at some point or another. Dogs often whine when they need to go out, and sometimes dogs whine when they are trying to tell their owners something. In some cases, however, dogs may begin to whine excessively, and it can be a difficult behavior to deal with.
- Dogs often use whining as a means of communication. Because your dog can’t use words to communicate, he may resort to whining to get your attention.
- He may need to go outside. If you do not let your dog out on a regular basis, he may end up coming to you and whining to let you know that he needs to be let outside.
- He could be trying to tell you something is wrong. Dogs do not often show it when they are sick (because predators would view it as a sign of weakness), so you may not even realize when your dog isn’t feeling well. If your dog is whining, it could be because something is medically wrong.
- Your dog may be bored. When dogs are bored, they are likely to exhibit a variety of behaviors, including excessive barking, chewing and whining.
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- Whining may be a reinforced behavior. If the goal of whining for your dog is to earn your attention, you may be unknowingly reinforcing that behavior by responding to it (even if you simply enter the room to tell the dog to stop).You haven’t been spending enough time with your dog. Dogs require regular human interaction and playtime in order to thrive. If your dog is feeling neglected, he may begin whining as a means of getting your attention.
- You can control the behavior. The quickest way to end your dog’s excessive whining is to stop rewarding or even acknowledging it. The only reason your dog whines for your attention is because it has worked in the past. If he no longer gets the desired response, he will stop doing it.
- Reward your dog for being quiet. When your dog is whining, approach the room and give your dog a “hush” command just before closing the door firmly (do not let the dog see you). When your dog stops whining, wait five seconds, then enter the room to praise and reward your dog for his good behavior.
- Give your dog plenty of exercise. Dogs that do not receive enough exercise are more likely to become bored and to develop problem behaviors.
- Make sure your dog has toys to play with. If you have to leave the house or cannot play with your dog at the moment, make sure he has toys that will keep him occupied.
The Bottom Line
Excessive whining is just like any behavior ¾ you can condition your dog not to do it. Rather than punishing your dog for whining, you should try to reward him for being quiet. If you are consistent in not reinforcing the negative behavior and in rewarding good behaviors, you can easily control your dog’s whining.