Wean your dog off whining: What to do with a whining four-legged friend?
It can be pretty scary when a dog whines all the time and for no apparent reason. If you want to break the whining habit, you need two things above all: a little patience and empathy.
If your dog suddenly howls conspicuously often, you should take him to the vet: He could be in pain. Otherwise, whining can often be traced back to mistakes in the upbringing. Fortunately, these can be remedied.
Breaking the whining habit in a young dog
If your dog is still very young, constant whining can signify that he feels lonely or bored.
From the beginning, try to provide him with enough play opportunities and a stimulating environment so that the puppy learns to occupy himself on his own.
If the little dog cries every time you leave the house, you should not make a drama out of it. On the contrary, stay calm and composed and behave normally when you leave the house and return.
In this way, the little one will learn that there is nothing special at all about being on his own in between. Nevertheless, your puppy should not be left alone for too long.
Puppies need clear rules.
However, puppies may whine because they don’t know exactly their place in the family. The “hierarchy” between dog and owner can become confused through unclear instructions or inconsistent actions in dog training.
The four-legged friend is then insecure and expresses this through inappropriate behavior, for example, by yelping.
With patience, clear rules, and specific basic commands, you can get your dog out of the habit of this behavior.
Tip: In our guide “How your dog understands commands better: 5 tips,” you will find a few more suggestions on how you can convey to your dog what you want from him.
Also, don’t respond immediately when he calls for you. Instead, reward him when he behaves calmly, for example, by petting him, saying kind words, and giving him a treat now and then.
Breaking the adult dog’s yelp habit
If an adult dog comes to you from the shelter or a previous owner, he will need time to get used to it at first. Whining in the early stages may signify that he misses his former owners or is “homesick.”
With extended, varied walks, games, and cuddle sessions, you show the dog that you are there for him. Little by little, he will get used to the new situation and take you to his heart just like your predecessors.
A case for the vet or the animal psychologist?
An animal psychologist can help if you fail in getting your dog to stop whining despite all your efforts and patience.
If the whining remains a permanent condition and you feel overwhelmed, a dog trainer trained in behavioral science can help you with the education.
However, it is not a training error if the dog is ordinarily calm and suddenly whine. Then there may be an illness or an undiscovered injury behind it.
In this case, be sure to take the dog to the vet to get to the bottom of the cause and have it treated.