Welcome back to another entry here on the Acoma Animal Clinic blog! Are you keeping up with your resolutions we discussed last time? Well we hope so. And maybe it’s with that in mind you’ve noticed this peculiar behavior that has you yelling to the world ‘What’s wrong with my dog! Why won’t they stop whining!?’ We’re here to help. It can be incredibly tough (in fact, impossible) to know everything about your dog without looking for outside help and expertise. Here’s how to figure out just what is wrong with your dog.
Dogs whine for a large number of reasons. They may want attention, they may be excited by something else. They may be anxious because of any number of reasons, separation anxiety included. They also may whine if they are hurt, injured, feeling pain or some sort of cognitive problem. If you suspect that your pet’s whining is related to an injury or signs of pain, speak with your veterinarian right away.
What’s Wrong with My Dog – Identify The Problem
One of the best ways to discover the cause of the whining is to redirect and change your dog’s behavior through reward training. Why rewards? Because punishment is not a useful training tool in instances where your dog may be anxious. While the whining might cease because of the punishment, the anxiety and underlying cause may increase and be released in different behavior.
Whining causes are not easily identifiable. They may whine when approached by another animal or person, which could, in turn, mean they are afraid or excited. If you wish to correct the behavior you will approach each differently.
If your dog is whining due to excitement, you can downplay the experience, getting their attention elsewhere to decrease the whining. If fear is the primary motivator of the whining, then you will need to find help in managing it. This might mean getting professional help, beginning with your veterinarian.
How to Stop the Whine
You can do a number of things to help curb the whining, depending on the cause. If your pet is whining due to boredom, then providing them with more activities during the day can take the edge off for them and tire them out. Walks, games, food puzzles, any sort of play with you or others can help burn off that energy that might be fighting its way out. By giving your dog something proactive to do instead of whine you can help them redirect that energy regularly.
If your dog is whining for attention or food however need to be handled differently. If they’re whining for food while you are eating dinner, you may need to move them to another room while preparing a meal.
Praise the Positive
Remember, what it all comes down is reinforcing the desired behaviors in your dog. When they do what you’re looking for, make sure they know it! Encourage them, praise them, and they will want to keep that behavior up. If you talk to them or engage while they are whining, this will, unfortunately, reward the negative behavior and in turn support it. That’s the last thing we want to do! Negative reactions, like yelling, can also increase the whining behavior, so responding at all during the whining fit is bad news.
We hope your whining problem is one that is easier to address than needing to hire a professional, but you owe it to your pet (and yourself) to take care of them and make them feel better. Once the whine has been addressed and the anxiety (or excitement) curbed you can get back to all the things you both love! If you are in the Tucson area and need to call in a professional, then the vets here at Acoma Animal Clinic are happy to help. Contact Us, and together we can get your pup feeling right as rain.