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    Don't Misunderstand This Common Dog Communication

    Don't Misunderstand This Common Dog Communication

    by Behavior / 3 min read

    Dog Communication: What Are They Trying To Say When They Whine?

    We often hear our dogs whine, but it’s not always clear why they’re doing it.

    Whining is one of the most versatile forms of communication for our sweet pups, so learning the various meanings of it could help you to understand them a little better. The context will help to figure out what they mean, so let’s take a look at the reasons your dog could be whining.

    Dog Communication: Whining Could Mean They're Hurting

    There are only so many ways our furry friends can communicate with us, so we need to pay attention when they do. You see, dogs are proud beings, and they don’t like to admit when they’re suffering. But we, as their pet parents, need to make sure we’re listening to them and taking care of them.

    When dogs are in pain, like us, they cry. Admittedly, this is easier to pinpoint if your dog doesn’t usually whine, which is another reason training could come in handy. Because if your dog is always whining, how will you know when they're being serious?

    Check your pup for any injuries or bites, including their paws, to see if there’s an obvious reason for pain.

    If your dog is a bit older, it’s possible that they may have joint pain. Joint related conditions affect up to 65% of dogs over the age of 7 years old, and it’s one of the biggest killers of dogs in the US.

    Taking your dog to the vet is the first step to take if you think your dog’s whining is caused by pain. Let them do a checkup, and you can make an informed decision together what to do from there. 

    Any vet who sees a dog with joint issues like hip dysplasia and arthritis will recommend that you boost the Glucosamine in their diet. Glucosamine helps maintain synovial fluid that lubricates joints, helping to lessen friction during movement, whether sudden or sustained, and fighting soreness and discomfort in both the short and long term. Any good joint supplement should contain Glucosamine, and these supplements are typically used for prevention or early intervention as they are safe for long term use.

    Related Read

    8 Natural Ingredients That Are Proven To Reduce Joint Pain

    Dog Communication: Whining Could Mean They're Anxious Or Stressed

    When dogs feel stressed, they’re likely to whine before they bark.

    You can look out for other signs of stress or anxiety, such as cowering, licking their lips, panting, pacing, and pulling in their tale. Dogs who are feeling overwhelmed or stressed may also be unresponsiveness to your instructive cues at that time too. Noticing these signs in your dog will help you know when your dog needs to be taken out of a situation and have a break.

    This kind of stress can occur when you’re trying to train your dog. If you do find that your dog is whining while training, you might need to change something – possibly the place or the method you’re using, or if it’s in a group, they may not like being around other people and dogs. If your dog is stressed during training, they won’t actually be able to learn.

    Try using a dog specific calming supplement that contains natural and ethically sourced ingredients. They may help reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety in your dog, so that they can feel more at ease in scary situations.

    Related Read 

    How To Calm An Anxious Dog

    Dog Communication: Whining Could Mean They're Appeasing

    Socializing can be frightening or stressful for some dogs, especially if they haven’t been officially trained to meet other dogs and people. So, you may find that less confident dogs are appeasing you or the situation, rather than openly greeting strangers.  

    What whining dogs do in these circumstances will be linked to fear or stress, because they perceive this new being as a threat. Other behaviors you may notice are tucking in their tale, holding their ears back, avoiding eye contact, crouching, or turning away from the stranger.

    If your dog displays these behaviors when meeting new people and animals, it’s time to train your dog. It may be down to a lack of confidence, which you can help with, or they need some specific training for meeting new friends.

    Overcoming this fear will stop the whining and give your dog much more confidence!

    Related Read 

    Nervous Dog? Here Are 5 Ways To Build Confidence In Your Pet

    Dog Communication: Whining Could Mean They're Excited

    When our pups get excited, they make noise, and you’ll probably have noticed that whining is one of those noises! You’ll know your dog is excited when they start to wiggle their body and wag their tail, and that can often be accompanied by the sound of a high-pitched whine.

    It’s likely that the more excitable pups will make even louder and bigger gestures, such as barking, jumping and perhaps looking a little crazy. If you think your dog is too excitable in certain situations, such as when they meet new people, it’s worth training them to be calmer or have self-control, which can be done at home or with an ethical obedience trainer.

    Dog Communication: Whining Could Mean They're Seeking Attention

    It’s heartbreaking to leave a dog alone, no matter what their age! Especially when they cry. Whining can be a sound that represents the sadness they feel when they don’t have your attention anymore, and it’s very common among puppies.

    But, don’t always give in! Unfortunately, we have to put up with the whining while they’re very young, otherwise, they will stick with that behavior. And sometimes that whining can turn into barking when they’re trying to demand attention or other treats from you.

    Give attention to your dog when they’re not whining, and they’ll learn that the noises won’t get them what they want.

    Dog Communication: Are They Trained Or Untrained?

    Dogs who are not trained from a young age may have carried on through life whining and barking for attention. If you have adopted a dog at an older age, and they whine for food or affection, it’s never too late to train them.

    Dogs who have been abandoned or neglected may whine due to fear or stress, which can be handled with careful and sensitive training. 

    It’s important to remember not to punish dogs, of any age or training level, for whining. Instead, you should use positive reinforcement when they do behave correctly, such as wait patiently for food rather than whining or barking.

    On the other hand, there are ways that dogs can be trained to whine when it is necessary. You can teach your pup to communicate with you when they need something, such as to go outside when they need the bathroom. 

    Make sure you train your furry friend to behave how you’ll want them to behave in the long term, because once they learn it, it will be hard, and unfair, to train them to act another way. 

    If you’re able, a professional dog training class can be a fantastic way of teaching your dog good behavior and communication.

    When choosing a class, make sure that the trainer’s methods are kind, positive, and reward-based. If a class or trainer suggests punishment or utilizing equipment like choke/electric collars avoid at all costs! These classes are cruel and stressful and ultimately an ineffective way of training your dog. These methods just ensure that your dog will become fearful of humans and you. The focus in dog training should be on using praise, food, and play for doing well, not scolding or physical pain.

    Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of regulation around dog training centers or trainers, so make sure the trainer is friendly, experienced, qualified, kind, and seems able to handle the number of dogs taking the class at one time.

    As an alternative, there are lots of dog charities who offer free training videos online!

    Remember that patience is a virtue, and your dog is new to this behavior you'd like them to learn! They won’t be intending to misbehave, and the more settled your dog becomes, the better they’ll get at understanding you and exhibiting better dog communication and behavior.

    Dog Communication: Our final thoughts on why dogs whine...

    Our pups want our love and attention, as we do theirs. But there are certain ways they should be trying to communicate that to us.

    Whining is generally seen as bad behavior, so good, ethical trainers have methods to tackle this behavior. Once your dog learns that it’s not the right thing to do, it will be easier for you to tell if the whining is caused by something serious, such as pain or stress.


    South Boston Animal Hospital

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