How to treat a whining dog

A young dog who often whines to get attention, is a delicate situation, because it’s important that your dog knows he can always communicate with you when he needs to. But you also don’t necessarily want a dog who whines at you constantly! Try and find out why he wants your attention – is it for a cuddle, a game, or does he need to go outside? Once you know what he’s asking for, you can start addressing it appropriately.

Most dogs are looking for some kind of interaction; dogs thrive on human attention and, yes, they need a lot of it. Make sure to set aside time throughout the day for quality, focused, one-on-one time with your dog – include affection time, playtime, fun training games or walks.

Don’t look at your phone or TV when it’s quality time; much like children, dogs are aware when you’re not focused on them properly. Addressing his need for attention when he’s not actively asking for it will ensure that his needs are met, but not when he’s whining! When you’re busy with other activities, your dog should have plenty of options for keeping himself busy. Set up treat searches in the garden, give him a stuffed Kong or invest in a puzzle toy. And keep in mind that each dog has different needs when it comes to attention, and some dogs can be a bit more dependent than others.

If the whining continues, consult with a qualified behaviourist – there might be more to the whining behaviour than just seeking attention.

Katherine Brown, behav



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