Q & A: Whining dog

Q: Is it normal for a dog to just sit by himself and whine? What can I do about it?

A: This is definitely a reason for concern. The first step would be a visit to the vet. It’s possible that your dog is complaining about not feeling well.

Once any possible health concerns are ruled out, you are going to have to start playing detective. Your dog is telling you that something in his life is making him unhappy, and you will have to figure out what this is.

A qualified behaviourist can assist you with this, as it can be tricky sometimes! There are many stressors in our dogs’ lives, and often we are not even aware of them.

In order to determine why your dog is behaving in this manner, a behaviourist will ask you many questions. They will try to determine whether there is a pattern to the behaviour, for example, does it only occur on certain days?

  • Does it occur at specific times of the day?
  • Is there something else happening when the dog does this – something that might be causing fear or stress?
  • Further, your behaviourist will ask you if there were any big changes in your dog’s life recently.
  • Did you move to a new house?
  • Did one of your family members move out or pass away?
  • Any other trauma in the family?
  • Building alterations?
  • Or maybe the neighbour got a new dog?

All of these (and many more!) can cause your dog to become stressed.

Unusual behaviours are sometimes a way for the dog to make himself feel better. So only once the reason for the behaviour has been established will it be possible for your behaviourist to compile an appropriate treatment plan.

Noleen Fourie, behaviourist

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