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Why Is My Puppy Whining on Walks? (7 Reasons & How to Stop It)

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If your puppy is whining on walks, it doesn’t mean your puppy doesn’t want to walk. But, it can mean your puppy is overexcited, anxious, ill, injured, or has a birth defect that makes walking uncomfortable. 

Most dogs love walks. Some so much that they start jumping around as soon as they hear the word. So why would a puppy whine when you’re out on the daily walk? 

Read on to find out why and what you can do to stop it. 

7 Reasons Why Puppies Whine on Walks  

Puppies whine to communicate. During a walk, they can whine when in pain, ill, overexcited, anxious, or when saying sorry. 

Puppies whine for a lot of reasons. 

On a walk, it’s unlikely your puppy is bored or lonely, but they can whine for the following reasons: 

  1. Excitement 
  2. Injury 
  3. Illness 
  4. Chronic conditions 
  5. Birth Defects 
  6. Anxiety 
  7. Submission 

1. Overexcited Puppy Whining on Walk 

Overexcited Puppy Whining on Walk

If your puppy hasn’t been for a walk in a while, the excitement of getting out can cause them to whine. 

Whining is a natural response to excitement, so it can be hard to change this behavior. Like people, some dogs are more vocal than others, making them more likely to whine. 

Owners can add to the problem by praising overexcited, whing puppies. 

2. Puppy Whining Due to Injury 

Puppies whine when they’re feeling pain. If your puppy has been walking happily for a few minutes and suddenly starts crying, check your pup for injury. 

Common injuries while walking include the following:

  • Paw impaled by a thorn, nail, or glass
  • Insect sting or bite
  • Paws burnt by hot pavement
  • Paws burnt by chemicals

3. Puppy Whining Due to Illness 

Puppy Whining Due to Illness

While most puppies love walks, they often start whining if they are sick. If this is the case, contact a vet instead of going on a walk.

If your puppy isn’t feeling well, it may be trying to communicate a need for rest through whining.

Signs of illness can include:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Sudden appetite loss
  • Diaoherra
  • Vomiting

Illnesses like pancreatitis and gastroenteritis can strike suddenly and cause pups to cry and not want to play or walk.[1] 

If you suspect your puppy is ill, get them to the vet immediately. Puppies are small and succumb to illnesses far quicker than adult dogs. 

4. Puppy Whining Due to Chronic Conditions 

Puppy Whining Due to Chronic Conditions

Panosteitis or hypertrophic osteodystrophy are chronic conditions that can make walking difficult and painful for a puppy, resulting in crying.

Panosteitis

If your puppy is whining while walking, it could have panosteitis. Sometimes referred to as growing pains, this condition causes inflammation of the bones of the legs. This causes pain and lameness.

Panosteitis affects young and fast-growing dogs. Large breed dogs and male dogs are more at risk.[2] 

Pups can have recurrent episodes that move from one leg to another. The condition can wax and wane.

Symptoms can start as early as two months old but resolves naturally by the time dogs reach two years of age:

  • Sudden and painful lameness of one or more legs
  • Limping
  • Pain when the affected bone is touched
  • Fever
  • Sudden loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss

If you suspect your dog has this condition, a vet can diagnose it with x-rays and prescribe pain medication and anti-inflammatories. Reduce exercise during episodes to the bare minimum.[3] 

Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD)

Hypertrophic osteodystrophy is a condition that causes inflammation in the growth plates of a dog’s long bones. 

Symptoms include the following:

  • Swelling in the joints 
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Sudden loss of appetite

In severe cases, it can damage the growth plates and cause deformed legs. A vet can diagnose and prescribe medication to reduce inflammation and pain.[4] 

5. Puppy Whining Due to Birth Defects 

Puppy Whining Due to Birth Defects

Birth defects, like deformed bones, can cause pain and mobility problems for puppies, resulting in whining when moving around. Birth defects can also cause conditions like luxated patella. 

Luxated patella is a condition where dogs’ kneecaps move out of place. It can be caused by deformed-shaped bones that don’t hold the kneecap in place. It is a common condition and can cause pups to whine and limp.

The good news is it can be treated. A vet will need to examine your puppy, and (depending on the severity) will either prescribe anti-inflammatories or surgery. [5] 

6. Puppy Whining Due To Anxiety 

If you have an anxious puppy, whining is a natural response and behavior they can’t help.

Joel Beckman of Beckman’s Dog Training says whining from anxiety is difficult behavior to get rid of because it’s an emitted behavior (natural response). [6] 

7. Puppy Whining in Submission  

Puppy Whining in Submission  

If your puppy starts whining after you have used a stern voice to correct it, your puppy is whining to show submission and as a way of apology. 

Whining is a form of communication and since your pup can’t talk, it uses its body language and vocalizations to communicate with you. 

Whining in submission is something observed in wolves. Wolves bow their heads, put their tails between their legs, and whine to apologize to the pack leaders when they have done something wrong. [7]

Puppy Crying in Excitement vs. Pain, Anxiety, or Submission 

Excited, whining pups wag their tail to the point of shaking their lower body from side to side. They jump and are often smiling with their tongue visible. Pups whining in pain, submission, or due to anxiety won’t be wagging their tail.

A dog’s body language tells you how it is feeling. Crying or whining due to excitement looks different from crying in pain or due to anxiety. 

The tail can tell you a lot. 

You can tell the difference between whining in excitement vs. whining in pain by your dog’s tail. A happy, excited dog will be wagging its tail while whining. The tail of a sick or scared dog is down and often tucked between its legs. 

How to Stop Your Puppy Whining While Walking 

The first thing to do to stop your puppy from whining on a walk is to assess whether they have an injury, illness, or birth defect. If your pup is in perfect health, consider anxiety or excitement as causes for whining. These are addressed with training.

To reduce the chance of your puppy whining on a walk you need to consider the following: 

  • Avoid injuries
  • Identify and treat illnesses
  • Ease anxiety
  • Deal with overexcitement
  • Acknowledge submission 

Avoid and Treat Injury

Avoid and Treat Injury on puppies

You can help your puppy avoid injury by avoiding going for walks in the heat of summer days. Hot sidewalks and roads burn the pads of their paws. 

Avoid walking your dog in areas where there is broken glass or thorns as these can puncture your puppy’s paws. 

Treating an injury can be as simple as removing a thorn from a paw and continuing your walk. Clean the area with soap and water or an antiseptic solution when you get home. 

Injuries like burns from hot roads or chemicals require immediate attention, bandaging, and possibly a visit to the vet. 

Identify and Treat Illnesses and Chronic Conditions 

If you suspect your puppy is ill or has a chronic condition, it’s important to deal with it fast. This is important to avoid deterioration or long-term damage. 

Take your puppy to the vet to rule out and treat illnesses or chronic conditions that can cause your pup to whine while walking. 

Ease Anxiety

Ease Anxiety on puppies

If your puppy is crying because it’s anxious, it’s important to stay calm. 

If you are feeling anxious, it fuels your puppy’s anxiety. Shouting at a nervous pup to stop whining doesn’t help. It can heighten their anxiety. 

The good news is exercise helps reduce anxiety. So get your puppy to run and play. You can start your walk with a little play in the garden first. 

Deal With Over Excitement

When dealing with an overexcited puppy, it’s important to stay calm. As cute as your puppy is when excited if you don’t want it to grow up whining excessively, you need to ignore it.

Many people respond to an overexcited puppy using a high-pitched and exciting voice, giving the puppy attention and affection. This response encourages the puppy to continue whining and acting in an overexcited manner.[8] 

Exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization help puppies that easily get overexcited. 

You can use active and mentally stimulating games to help an easily over-excited improve their impulse control. 

One game is to move from side to side, encouraging your pup to ‘chase’ you. The aim is to get your puppy excited and then suddenly stop all movement and put a hand out to signal stop and create a visual indicator to freeze.[9] 

Acknowledge Submission

When your puppy whines in resp[onse to being corrected, acknowledge your puppy’s apology and continue walking to signal you have welcomed your puppy back into the pack.[10]

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

Conclusion 

Puppies whine from time to time as a form of communication. However, you should never ignore excessive whining. It can indicate illness, injury, or pain caused by a chronic condition. 

Whining can also mean your puppy is overexcitement or anxious. Addressing these issues in puppyhood reduces the chance of it whining excessively as a dog. 

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.

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