We get it. As pet owners, hearing your pup cry is the worst. There are few things more upsetting than hearing your furry best friend howl, whine or cry, when all you want for them is to be happy, comfortable and to be your best friend “furever” (I love dogs, okay?). Dogs whine from time to time, period. However, we also get that not only is this behavior upsetting, it can also be quite disruptive. It is incredibly stressful to know that your pup is not only crying as soon as you leave the house, but it is disrupting your neighbors on top of it. What’s worse, you have no idea what could be causing this behavior in your dog. Let’s take a look at six reasons why your pup might be howling, whining or crying, and a few tips on what you can do about these dog behavior problems and how you can teach your dog to stop.
If your dog whines, it is probably nothing. However, if it is out of character and the dog’s behavior seems to have changed, it could be something more serious. Okay, let’s get the obvious and most upsetting possibility out there—you are going to want to follow up with a veterinarian to make sure that your pup is not in any physical pain. If you genuinely do not have a clue what may be causing this behavior in your dog, it is definitely best to get this possibility ruled out and make sure that there is nothing physically wrong with your puppy. More often than not, this will not be the case; however, once it is ruled out, you can start examining other reasons why your dog may be exhibiting this behavior.
One of the most common types of anxiety in pups is separation anxiety, which means that they simply hate being away from you, and get scared when you’re apart. This is certainly not an uncommon issue in dogs and can be just as upsetting for both of you, especially if you leave them in a crate for the first time. Your pup may be suffering from anxiety for any number of additional reasons, such as loud noises, new people/situations or traveling. It is important to remember—just as in humans—that canine anxiety is most definitely a real thing and is not something to get mad at your dog for (this will likely make it even worse). Treat your dog with sensitivity and research some solutions to help ease their discomfort (we recommend FOMO Bones’ CBD Dog Treats for Anxiety, but that’s just us).
Unfortunately, there comes a time in our pet’s lives where it becomes apparent that they are not as young as they once were. This hopefully means that your pup has lived a long, fulfilling life, full of walks, dog treats and cuddles. However, with old age can also come age-related mental deficiencies, which is a reality for animals and humans alike. They might have started to forget things that were never a problem before or feel disorientated. This, in turn, can result in anxiety, confusion and/or depression. It is important to try to relax them and be there for your pup during this time, even if there’s not a ton you can realistically do for them. Keeping them comfortable and loved, and on a well-balanced diet, are generally some recommended ways to minimize your dog’s discomfort as much as possible.
More often than not, your dog is making these noises to communicate something to you, as this is the only way that they know how. Is their food and water bowl filled? Do they want to go for a walk? Do they need to go to the bathroom? Or do they simply just want attention? Regardless of what it is that they want, they do clearly want you to hop to it. While you do not want to encourage howling, barking, whining and so on, sometimes your pup really has no other choice than to get the point across to you this way. It’s their way of saying, “Pay attention!” However, it is important to not always respond to this sort of behavior. If your pup learns that this is what gets your attention—even if it’s not an urgent situation—they will try to use it to their utmost advantage.
This may apply to a new person or a new animal. Meeting someone new for your pup may be a source of stress or anxiety. The behavior that results from this is referred to as “appeasement” and is exhibited in dogs that lack confidence. They are afraid that this new person or animal could be a threat to themselves, or even to you, and they are not sure how to handle this. Although whining is not the only sign of appeasement, it is certainly one of the most prominent. If your dog is exhibiting this type of behavior when meeting someone new, you may very well want to get a professional dog trainer involved to help your pup with their confidence level. You certainly want your pup to be confident and to set them up for success. After all, being scared when meeting a new face can often lead to aggression and it is best to nip this behavior in the bud as soon as possible.
Yes, it is true: your dog may just be excited. However, as mentioned above, although we love our furry friends to be happy and excited, we do not want to reinforce this behavior. Your pup should not be associating exciting events like you walking in the door after you get home from work or getting to go for a walk with them being allowed to make all the noise that they want. While your dog may be indicating that they’re happy, you are likely going to want to keep the noise to a minimum by working on this with them. Refuse to praise them until they’ve settled down, and let them know that even though you coming home is very exciting, you will reciprocate the love once they quiet down. So, there you have it, six reasons why your pup may be howling, whining or crying. Keep in mind that these are six of many possible reasons and to always follow up with a vet if you think that your dog may be in pain. Although excessive noise can most definitely be a nuisance, it is important to make sure that we are addressing any possible issues our pups may have and to set them up for success and a long, happy life with you.
Jennifer is the voice behind the FOMO Bones blog. She's pretty sure in her past life, she was a Great Dane. However, we peg her as more of a labrador. Regardless of her breed, she's a dog enthusiast who has 15 years experience training dogs and owners.