From anxiety, to pain, to attention seeking, a dog’s whine can mean several different things. Whining is one of many forms of canine communication, and it’s important for owners to try to understand what their dog is trying to say. Below are explanations behind a few types of canine whining:
•Whining while greeting: When dogs lets out a whimper when saying hello to their favorite people, it’s likely they’re just vocalizing excitement.
•Attention seeking: Some dogs will whine when they want attention, treats, or other desirable things.
•Anxiety: When accompanied by panting, an elevated heart rate, or other signs of agitation, whining can sometimes be a symptom of anxiety.
•Separation anxiety: When dogs whine in their owner’s absence, there’s a good chance they’re experiencing separation anxiety. Other separation anxiety clues include destructive behavior, urinating or defecating indoors, panting, and excessive drooling.
•Appeasement: Sometimes, dogs will whine to appease other, perhaps more aggressive dogs. Appeasement whining is often accompanied by other submissive behaviors like a tucked tail and an averted gaze.
•Pain or discomfort: Sudden vocalizations are a red flag that a dog is experiencing an injury or a painful medical condition. Sudden or frequent whining should be addressed by a veterinarian right away.
If whining becomes excessive and all medical conditions have been ruled out, there are a few things owners can do to appease their canine companion. If excessive whining occurs during greetings, owners can try to divert their dog’s attention with a toy. Also, the calmer everyone else remains during greetings, the quicker a dog will be able to find composure.
Attention seeking whiners need to learn that behaving well will get them more of a reaction than pushy behavior. Owners can reinforce this by offering rewards for quiet behavior, and conversely, ignoring any whining.