Canine Clues: Why Your Dog Whines and What You Can Do About It

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You love your dog, but you can’t stand all the whining. What can you do about it? Many dog owners don’t really understand dog psychology that well. They want to have a happy dog, but at the same time they don’t know what to do to get from here to there.

Fortunately, the ASPCA has some killer tips for you to follow:

Some Reasons Why Dogs Whine

One of the main reasons dogs whine is for appeasement or attention-seeking. Some dogs will whine excessively when they interact with other dogs or even people. Usually, this is while adopting a submissive posture. Sometimes, this behavior is done as a way to get attention – a favorite toy, a treat, or food.

Another reason for whining is a form of greeting. During greeting, some dogs vocalize their excitement and that might be directed towards you or another dog.

A reason that’s becoming more common is anxiety. When a dog whines in response to a stressful situation, and you reinforce it, it creates a cycle where the dog learns to whine because of the situation – creating more stress for pooch.

Separation anxiety is when you leave the dog alone during the day or night and that absence causes the dog to whine. Usually, dogs suffering from separation anxiety display one other symptom of the disorder, like panting, pacing, excessive drooling, or a destructive behavior.

When your dog is injured, it can cause whining. If you notice that your dog vocalizes frequently for no apparent reason, check for injuries, especially when the whining is accompanied by limping, or favoring of a particular side, leg, or some body part or when the dog engages in guarding behavior of a body part.

What You Can Do About Whining

Frustrated dog owners sometimes resort to violence against the dog. This is never a good idea and, in many cases, may be illegal and considered abuse. Dogs can try to appease people or other dogs when they perceive that there’s a threat or aggression being directed towards them.

You don’t want this kind of behavior to take hold. You also don’t want the dog to become aggressive, or suffer from any kind of anxiety.

Teach your dog hand targeting, and spend more time training the dog how to behave. Hand targeting is done by extending your arm out in front of your dog’s nose. Wait until the dog touches your nose and then reward the dog. Repeat this process until the dog learns that this is the goal.

If your dog becomes distracted, do not touch your hand to the dog’s nose – this will not reinforce hand targeting.

If you’re having trouble with this basic exercise, contact northern NJ dog trainers for help.

If your dog whines during greetings, you can divert his or her attention to her favorite toys. But, the best exercise is to train dog not to whine excessively when you arrive. This is done by establishing new behaviors when you arrive at home. Instead of pacing and whining, teach dog to sit calmly.

Note that this may take a long time, especially if dog has already learned that whining is an acceptable or tolerated behavior from you.

Avoid encouragement of whining by not speaking in an overly excited tone of voice, yelling or encouraging the dog to jump on you or otherwise display unwanted behavior. Consistency is key.

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