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How to Get a Puppy to Stop Whining: The 3 Best Tips

You need to know the cause if you want to get a puppy to stop whining. Puppies whine when in pain, when they need something, or when they are scared. 

Setting up a calming routine and training your puppy to enjoy alone time are straightforward ways to help a healthy puppy stop whining. 

But what can you do if your puppy is suffering from separation anxiety? And how do you know if your puppy is whining in pain because of a potentially fatal condition? 

In this article, we look at the reasons puppies whine, when your whining pup needs emergency medical care, when you can ignore whining and how you can train your pup not to whine. 

Why Do Puppies Whine?

Puppies whine to express pain and fear, to ask for something, express excitement, or to say sorry. The first thing you need to determine is if your puppy is in pain and if they need urgent medical attention. 

5 Reasons Why Puppies Whine

There are several reasons why puppies whine. Here are the five most common reasons: 

  1. Pain
  2. Fear
  3. A need or a want 
  4. Excitement 
  5. Submission 

1. Pain 

Puppy Is Whining due to Pain

Your puppy’s whining can be the result of pain from an injury or illness. You need to determine if an injury or illness is serious enough to rush to the emergency vet or if it can wait.

Illnesses to watch out for: 

  • Gastroenteritis
  • Bloating
  • Pancreatitis

Gastroenteritis 

Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Take your puppy to the vet promptly if it is vomiting and has diarrhea. Gastroenteritis can lead to dangerous dehydration and be related to other serious health conditions.[1]  

Symptoms of Gastroenteritis in Dogs
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Weakness.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Dehydration.
  • Abdominal pain.

Bloating

Bloating, also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) complex, kills about 30 percent of the dogs it affects.[2] Take your puppy to the vet immediately if your puppy whines and has a swollen belly. 

Symptoms of Bloating in Dogs
  • Swollen abdomen.
  • Pain and whining if it feels pressure on the abdomen.
  • Restless.
  • Retching and salivation.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Weak pulse.
  • Whining while lying down.

Pancreatitis

Dogs with pancreatitis whine, pace, vomit, and hunch their back. Take your dog to the vet as soon as possible if you suspect that your puppy has pancreatitis. 

Pancreatitis is a condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed. It can be fatal if the inflammation spreads to other organs.[3]

Symptoms of Pancreatitis in Dogs
  • A sudden loss of appetite.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weakness.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • A hunched back.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Drooling.
  • Fever.
  • Dehydration.
  • Collapse.

2. Fear and Separation Anxiety 

Puppy Is Whining due to Fear and Separation Anxiety 

Puppies whine when they are stressed and scared. A major cause of stress for many puppies is caused by separation anxiety.[4] 

A puppy with separation anxiety will whine when you are out of sight. The sense of fear felt by the inflicted puppy is relative to the human experience of a panic attack. 

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

  • Excessive whining, barking, and howling. 
  • Trembling and pacing. 
  • Chewing or digging around doors or windows. 
  • Urinating or defecating indoors. 
  • Excessive salivation, drooling, or panting.

How to Stop a Puppy With Anxiety From Whining

Exercise, calming techniques, and training your puppy to look forward to alone time can help ease separation anxiety and stop your puppy from whining. 

Exercise 

Take your puppy for a short walk or play catch in the garden to help your puppy burn off nervous energy and release feel-good endorphins before you go out.  

Research has found that dogs with separation anxiety get less daily exercise than dogs who do not suffer from the condition.[5] 

Calm Training  

A routine, training, and maintaining a calm atmosphere at home will help an anxious puppy. A daily routine helps a puppy feel settled as it knows what to expect. 

Train your puppy to look forward to being left alone by giving it a treat before you leave. Help your puppy stay calm by speaking in a calm voice when greeting and saying goodbye. 

If your puppy uses your living room as a toilet or chews something in your home while you were out, don’t shout or punish it as this can exacerbate your pup’s anxiety. 

Consider working with an animal behaviorist if your puppy is struggling with anxiety. You can also ask your vet about medication and natural therapies for anxiety if calming routine and behavioral training are not enough.[6] 

3. Your Puppy Is Whining Because It Needs or Wants Something 

Puppy Is Whining Because It Needs or Wants Something 

Puppies whine to communicate. They whine for food and water, to go out for a bathroom break, for a toy that is out of reach, or for your attention. 

Watch for cues in your pup’s body language to figure out what it needs. If it’s whining and scratching at a door, it needs to go outside. 

How you react when your puppy whines for your attention is a form of training. You teach your pup to whine for your attention if you fuss over them every time they whine. 

Train your puppy not to whine unnecessarily by ignoring this undesirable behavior and praising your puppy when it comes to you quietly.[7] 

4. Excitement 

Puppy Is Whining due to Excitement

A puppy can whine in excitement when you get home, take out its lead for a walk, have guests, or when meeting other dogs.  

It’s believed some dog breeds and personalities are more prone to whining when expressing excitement or submission.

While it is normal behavior you don’t want to encourage your dog to become easily over-excited. You want to encourage calm behavior. 

How to Stop a Puppy From Whining in Excitement 

Do not give your puppy your attention or affection if they are whining with excitement. 

Showing affection rewards the unwanted behavior. This means your puppy will do it again.  To train your pup to approach you and others calmly only give it your affection and attention when the pup has calmed down. [10] 

5. Submission 

Puppy Is Whining due to Submission 

Your puppy whines if you have scolded it as a way of saying “sorry” and expressing submission. A puppy can also whine submission to an older dog. 

This trait has been observed in dogs’ ancestors – wolves. A wolf will bow its head, put its tail between its legs and whine to apologize to the pack leader for wrongdoing. [9]

How to Stop a Puppy From Whining in Submission 

Acknowledge your puppy’s apology and walk away to signal that you have welcomed your puppy back into the pack. [9]

How To Stop a Puppy From Whining in 3 Ways

To stop your puppy from whining, either train them, calm them down, or ignore them, depending on the situation. You can only stop your puppy from whining when you know what causes it. Look for signs of pain, fear, anxiety, needs, excitement, or submission. 

Here are our top 3 tips to stop a puppy from whining: 

1. Ignore a Puppy That is Whining for Attention 

Ignore a Puppy That is Whining for Attention

Stop your puppy from whining for attention by ignoring the behavior. Stroking your puppy when it whines to quieten it down teaches it that whining works. 

Set a daily schedule for your puppy that includes a walk and playtime. If your pup gets enough exercise and can rely on scheduled time with you, it is less likely to beg for your attention when you’re busy.

Put your puppy in a playpen with chew toys to keep your pup busy while you are.  

2. Ignore a Puppy Whining for More Food

Make sure you are feeding your puppy enough before trying to stop it from whining for more food. You can check this with your vet if you aren’t sure. 

Once you know that you are feeding your puppy enough you can deal with the undesirable begging. Tell everyone in your household not to feed the puppy if it’s begging or when it whines. 

Make sure everyone is on the same page if you want to change this behavior.[8] 

3. How to Stop a Puppy Whining at Night

A little bit of whining at night can be expected, but you can help your puppy settle down by following tips: 

  • Exercise: Make sure your puppy has had enough exercise during the day so that it sleeps well at night. Exercise has been found to ease separation anxiety.[5] 
  • Warm your puppy’s bed: Place a hot water bottle or a heated beanbag under a blanket in your puppy’s bed. This adds warmth, mimicking the warmth of its mother. 
  • Simulate the mother dog’s heartbeat: Place a ticking clock near your pup’s bed or purchase a baby or pet ticking plush toy. 
  • Keep your puppy close to you: Bringing your puppy’s bed closer to yours can help reduce separation anxiety-related whining.[9] 

How to Calm a Whining Puppy

Calming a whining puppy suffering from separation anxiety is different from how you would calm an excited puppy. You need to soothe an anxious puppy, get help for a puppy in pain, and ignore a puppy that is whining for attention. 

Here are tips to help you calm your whining puppy and train it not to whine: 

  • Stay calm: Avoid shouting, clapping your hands loudly, using a whistle, or hitting your puppy. Startling your puppy in any of these ways increases its anxiety.  
  • Train your puppy to stay calm: Ignore an over-excited whining puppy and only give your attention and affection to your puppy when it stops whining. 
  • Create a daily routine: A routine ensures your puppy has the certainty that its needs for food, exercise, play, affection, and attention are met every day. This helps a puppy feel content and less likely to whine. 
  • Never ignore your puppy if it is whining in pain.

Caring for a new puppy can feel daunting. The good news is that the more time you spend with your puppy the easier it gets to determine why it is whining and gently correct it. 

About Monique Warner

Monique is an avid dog lover who grew up with dogs, cats, and budgies as pets. She has worked as a pet sitter and dog walker. With her passion for dogs and pets alike, she writes articles with the intention of helping pet owners solve their biggest struggles.