Dogs make a range of noises. The occasional bark is perhaps the most annoying, especially when you’re on the phone or in the middle of a conversation. But what if your dog whines at other dogs they meet?
Dogs whine for more than one reason. Whining is a means of communication, like talking for humans. When they meet people, dogs often whine because they want attention. When a dog whines at another dog, the most common reason is that they’re being submissive.
Dogs show submission for many reasons, and whining is one of the ways they show it. Let’s go through the signs to look for when a dog whines so you can better understand their behavior.
Why Do Dogs Whine?
Dogs whine for four primary reasons — submissive behavior, greeting people or dogs, wanting attention, or because they’re anxious.
The most common reason dogs whine when meeting other dogs is submission to another dog. Most dogs are friendly, happy creatures and want to show that to other dogs and people.
Dogs show other dogs they mean no harm by displaying submissive behavior. Whining is only one aspect of submissive behavior. If your dog is showing submission, their whine will accompany other signs, including:
- Tail tucked between their legs
- Lowered body
- Head facing down
- Not looking at other dog’s eyes
Greeting People or Dogs
Another common reason your dog whines when meeting other dogs is a simple one—they’re greeting another dog in a friendly way. Whining can be a sign of submission, but it can also signify enthusiasm.
If your dog shows other signs of excitement, such as tail wagging or tapping their paws while whining, it is excited. They most likely want to meet and play with the new dogs they see!
If you stop to pet a new dog while out with yours, it may whine to get your attention back. Dogs love their owners and the attention they give them. When you pet another dog or provide them with attention, it can make your dog jealous.
Most dogs understand that when they whine, their owner gives them attention. So, if your dog whines while you’re petting another dog, it could mean they’re jealous of the attention you’re giving to the other dog. They want you all to themselves.
Dogs, just like people, can suffer from anxiety. Many things can trigger their anxiety, including visiting new places, meeting new people, or meeting new dogs. One way dogs vocalize that they’re feeling uncomfortable is by whining.
Whining can signify anxiety, especially if your dog only whines when it meets new dogs. Your dog may be fearful of other dogs. It’s best to work on your dog’s anxieties by gently exposing them to new experiences. In some cases, a vet may recommend medication.
When Does Whining Become Excessive?
Excessive whining can annoy you as a dog owner, but it can also be off-putting for other dogs and their owners. If your dog is whining so much that other dogs don’t want to interact with them, it’s a sign your dog is whining excessively.
If your dog whines anxiously when meeting other dogs, it’s an issue you must resolve. If you don’t, they could be at risk for abnormal socialization, making them interact with other dogs negatively.
Let’s go through some strategies you can use to help alleviate or stop your dog from whining when it meets other dogs.
How To Correct Excessive Whining
Each of the reasons for whining at other dogs requires a unique solution. Let’s go through some ways to stop excessive whining in each scenario.
Whining to show submission is a normal aspect of your dog’s life. In general, you shouldn’t worry if your dog whines in a submissive way. But if your dog does this too much, it can signal low confidence.
You can help stop this behavior by building your dog’s confidence. You can take it to obedience classes or try training them with rewards, such as dog treats. You can also play more often with your dog. Games like fetch or tug-o-war can help them become more confident.
You should avoid verbally disciplining your dog, too. Never physically discipline a dog unless it’s an emergency. Verbal discipline can also make your dog more fearful and less confident. Instead, use positive reinforcement to reward good behaviors.
Greeting People or Dogs
Unfortunately, we can’t just tell our dogs to be quiet. If we could, life would be a lot easier! If your dog whines when meeting other dogs or people, the best thing you can do is distract them.
Your dog is excited to see their friends or new dogs and shows it by whining. You can train your dog to stay calm during these meetings. Make these meetings short and gradually increase their duration as your dog builds confidence. After a while, your dog will learn better behaviors.
Dogs that whine for attention are often the most persistent. To stop this behavior, you must be strong and not give in. They’ll learn after repeated failures that whining isn’t an effective way to get their owner’s attention.
If ignoring your whining dog doesn’t work on its own, you can also add rewards. If your dog meets another and stays quiet, reward them with a treat.
Anxious whining dogs are the hardest to treat. They may have an underlying anxiety disorder or are traumatized by an event in their past. The best way to treat anxiety in dogs is with obedience training and medication. Speak to your vet about medication options.
Dogs make dozens of different noises when they meet other pets, but one of the most common is whining. Whining is most often a sign of submission. Be on the lookout for signs of their emotional state when they whine so you can determine the root cause.