Why Do Dogs Whine?
If your dog is whining excessively and it just won’t stop, it may be time to take the dog to the veterinarian for an examination. The vet can rule out any underlying medical conditions that are causing the excessive whining. Some common underlying medical causes for excessive whining include arthritis, dental pain, or obesity which may cause back pain and difficulty breathing. If there is no medical problem with your pet, then you are left with a behavioural problem to figure out what is causing this behaviour and how you can change it by teaching new behaviours in place of old ones.
Some reasons for excessive whining are not so easy to figure out. If your dog is whining while being left alone it may mean that the dog is lonely and in need of new training. You may be able to solve this problem simply by spending more time with the dog each day, playing with him, and giving him plenty of attention when you are at home. However, if your dog is excessively whining while you are gone, then you need to take a closer look at his past experiences to see if there was something that he learned about being alone which produced behaviours that were undesirable, like barking or chewing up furniture. By changing these past learned behaviours, you can help stop the excessive begging for attention when left alone.
If your dog is whining because of some medical problem, then you must treat the dog before you can get rid of the whining.
If your dog is not suffering from any physical problems and has not been traumatized by a traumatic event, then his excessive whining may be a result of too much learning while he was very young. If this is the case, then you should perform desensitization with him after spending more time with him and socializing him more as an adult to balance out all the learning he got when he was young. Desensitization requires that you only give your growing puppy positive rewards that are associated with good behaviour. For example, if you want your puppy to play with you when he is a little puppy, then you should only give him positive rewards such as food treats or praise for this behaviour. If his whining becomes an excessive problem later on after he has learned about the world around him and started thinking about himself, then it is possible that he has more learning to do before he will be well balanced.
If your dog is obese, then try to lose weight before trying to stop excessive whining. If your dog has had poor dental hygiene or lives in a hot and humid climate where he doesn’t exercise enough, then clean his teeth twice each week if possible. Make sure that when you are out of the house, he gets at least an hour of daily exercise outside every day. In hot and humid areas, make sure that he gets at least an hour of exercise every day.
Learn new tricks
If there are no medical problems but you still can’t figure out what is causing his excessive whining, then it may be time to teach him new behaviour instead of allowing him to experience old unwanted behaviours. Before you start, you should know that teaching new behaviours is not always easy as teaching the 10 basic commands. Many dogs learn the “wrong” behaviours because they are reinforced more often in a certain situation than in another. You must change the negative behaviour so that it gets less reinforcement while having the same or more reinforcement when something else happens in behaviour.
One common problem with teaching new behaviours is asking your dog to perform a behaviour he hasn’t done yet. If you want your dog to perform a new behaviour in place of the unwanted behaviour, then you must first teach the dog the new behaviour and have him perform it at least 10 times without any treats or praise. Only after a new behaviour is well learned should you try replacing an unwanted behaviour with something better.
If your dog is barking or whining excessively while you are gone, then leave for just 5 minutes at a time at first and gradually build up to longer intervals. Make sure that when you come home, you give him lots of attention. You can also make his life more interesting by hiding his food bowl while he is gone and letting him do searches for it when he returns home. If your dog is excessively barking or whining while you are gone, the problem may be a result of him learning that you will come back and give him attention when he is silent. To be safe, you should teach him a new low-praise behaviour that occurs when he is quiet instead of waiting for your return.
If your dog is not barking constantly while you are gone but is excessively whining or barking while you are home, then try to increase the amount of time you spend playing with him when you are home. Always have “tasks” and “jobs” for them while you are gone to keep them occupied.
Some dogs and certain breeds cannot deal with being alone, as a pet owner, should always monitor your dog’s gestures and body language as it is their form of communication with us.
If your dog is barking at intruding animals, then try to remove these animals from his property, ensure and monitor this as it could be caused by social aggression. If your dog has been given the chance to learn that people approaching his yard may be harmful and have destroyed some of his possessions, then be careful who you allow into your dog’s yard in the future. If you think that all of these reasons may apply to you and that they may not apply to other situations involving dogs, then keep an open mind when looking for solutions for a particular situation.