If you have ever owned a dog, you have no doubt heard him whine from time to time. When a dog whines he is communicating, but most of the time dogs will communicate through their body language and the energy that they put into it. When a dog whines, it indicates that there is a higher, and a more immediate need that needs resolution.
When a dog whines, he is relating to a physical, emotional or a mental state of affairs. Different whines mean different things, and your dog may be attempting to tell you different things, depending on the whine that he is emitting.
If a dog begins to whine while in a position of relaxation, then you need to rule out any pain or discomfort. If he is in a seemingly submissive state, you want to rule out physical distress or discomfort. If the whining comes on suddenly, then you might want to take him to the vet to have him checked for injury or other illness that would be causing the whining.
Dogs will whine if they have to go outside to relieve themselves, especially if they have been house trained. The dog may also scratch at the door, or give you a friendly nudge with a nose to get you to help.
Whining can also be a form of submission, especially if the posture is a submissive one with the head down, along with the ears and tail. The dog can also whine when they greet you as they are glad to see you, and may wiggle, jump up and down and whine all the while. That means that your dog is excited and glad to see you.
Dogs will whine when they want something, especially if they have had a specific whine work in the past for something that they wanted. It might be just to go outside because they are bored, or they think they hear or see a rabbit outside, and son on. Much of the time, the whines will be accompanied by body language that is suggestive of what they want.
Dogs whine because that is the next level of communication that signifies more urgency when they are excited, fearful, frustrated or anxious. Excitement will have lots of jumping, circling and happy activity. Anxiety will have the dog more submissive, probably looking around, while frustration will be more intense with the dog looking more at you. Fear will have a submissive stance, with the dog possibly trembling.
In any case, when your dog whines, pay attention and try to get to the bottom of it, and you will learn more what your dog means the more you show concern.
About the Author: Karen Ratcliff is founder and trainer at Canine Connection in Chattanooga, TN. Karen is an accomplished Dog Trainer as well as a teacher. Call Karen with any questions you have about your dog!