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Why Does My Dog Whine When He Sees Other Dogs?

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Your dog whines when he sees other dogs because he’s greeting them, or because he’s feeling stressed, excited, fearful, or showing submission. The good news is that regular positive socialization training can put a stop to the whining. 

Does your dog whine when meeting other dogs or new people? 

If this behavior is excessive and causing you or your dog distress, you can teach your dog to remain calm when meeting other dogs. 

In this article, we look at the common reasons for dogs whining in the presence of other dogs and what you can do to stop your dog from whining. 

Why Does My Dog Whine at Other Dogs?  

Your dog whines when meeting other dogs because it is stressed, fearful, jealous, overexcited, or showing submission. These behaviors are part of dogs’ natural socialization mechanisms.

There are many reasons why dogs whine. 

When they do so specifically when meeting other dogs, it’s commonly a sign of one of four things:

  • Fear
  • Submission
  • Excitement or greetings
  • Jealousy and attention-seeking

Fear 

dog in fear

Whining can be a sign of stress. A dog that is afraid can whine to self-soothe or get your attention. [1]

Signs of stress: 

  • Whining or barking 
  • Prolonged and intense yawning
  • Excessive drooling and licking 
  • Wide open eyes (exposing the whites of their eyes) 
  • Ears pinned back against the head 
  • Cowering body posture 
  • Tucking tail between legs 
  • Panting 
  • Sudden need to urinate 
  • Avoidance – looking away and avoiding interaction 
  • Moving behind owner, tree or furniture 

Appeasement or Submission Behavior

Dog Appeasement or Submission Behavior

When a dog whines to show submission they are trying to stop or reduce the chance of aggression from the other dog.

By doing this, they signal that they aren’t a threat to the other dog. The stronger dog can choose to assert dominance. You can spot appeasement communication by looking at your dog’s posture.[2] 

Body language that signals appeasement/submission: 

  • Lower ears, head, and neck.
  • Twists neck to look away. 
  • Flickstongue. 
  • Hold tail low or between the legs. 
  • Low crouching.
  • Raising a front paw.
  • Lying down, rolling over, and exposing its belly.

If your dog does this with one or two dogs, it can be a justifiable response. Your dog senses aggression in the other dog and wants to appease it. But, if your dog reacts to every dog it meets like this, it lacks confidence. You should look into socialization training. 

Excitement & Greeting

Excitement & Greeting

There are dog breeds known to whine more than others. For dogs prone to vocalizing, whining is their preferred way of greeting other dogs.[3]

You can tell the difference by watching your dog’s body language. Dogs are happy and excited if they whine:

  • Standing upright.
  • With their head up.
  • While wagging their tail. 

On the contrary, dogs are sad, depressed, or submissive if they whine:

It’s not something to be concerned about, but you can train your dog to whine less if you want to. 

Jealousy and Attention Seeking 

Jealousy and Attention Seeking 

Have you ever spotted a friend long a walk, stopped to chat, and patted their dog only for your dog to start to whine? This is a sign of jealousy.

Dogs feel a range of emotions, including jealousy[4]. Typical signs of a jealous dog include whining to get your attention and pulling on its lead. They will try to pull you away from the other dogs and people.  

While it seems cute, be warned that jealousy can quickly escalate to aggression.  

How to Stop Your Dog From Whining Around Other Dogs

To get your dog to stop whining around other dogs, get out and socialize it regularly (daily if possible). When it starts to whine, distract it, give it a command to be quiet, and reward your dog when it listens. 

A dog that is fearful or jealous of other dogs can be a sign of not being socialized enough as a puppy. 

A dog is the most receptive to learning how to socialize when it is between three and twelve weeks old.[5] If you adopted an adult dog, you wouldn’t know if they were properly socialized or not. 

Illness during puppyhood, living in a remote area, or adopting a puppy during the extreme lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic are all potential reasons for a dog’s lack of socialization during this crucial period. 

According to master dog trainer Helene Scott, a dog’s behavior is built on the classic ‘flight and fight’ syndrome. A dog that is not socialized could become fearful (flight mode) or aggressive (fight mode).[6] 

You can’t go back in time, but the good news is it’s never too late to teach your dog acceptable social behavior. 

Related: How to Stop Puppies From Whining

How to Stop Your Dog From Whining Around Other Dogs

Dog Socialization Training Steps 

Here are three steps to train your dog to stop whining when meeting other dogs:

  1. Walk your dog daily 
  2. Avoid dog parks (for now)
  3. Give a calm and assertive instruction 

1. Walk your dog daily

Help your dog get comfortable around other dogs and people by allowing for meeting others regularly during daily walks. 

Dog behaviorist Ceasar Milan recommends walking as a wonderful opportunity for socialization because dogs are calmer due to the release of pent-up energy. [5] 

2. Avoid Busy Dog Parks (For Now)

It’s a great idea to socialize your dog on a lead, rather than letting them run loose in a dog park. You are in control when your dog is on a lead, which helps with training. 

It’s best to avoid busy dog parks to start with as they can be overwhelming for an overexcited or anxious dog. 

3. Give Calm and Assertive Instruction 

If your dog whines or barks, stay calm. Instead of pulling back on the leash continuously or shouting, which can exacerbate a dog’s anxiety or excitability, give the dog lead one quick tuck and say, “stop it.” or “quiet.” 

The quick pull on the lead distracts your dog from whining. If it listens to what you commanded, reward your dog with a treat and praise. Repeat this technique until you no longer have to give a treat – the praise becomes enough of a reward. 

Eventually, the habit of whining when meeting a new dog is replaced with a calm acknowledgment of the other dog. 

Give Calm and Assertive Instruction on dogs

How to Socialize a Fearful Dog and Stop It From Whining 

If your dog is fearful, the best thing you can do is stay calm. When your dog senses you are not scared of the dog passing by, it feels safe and more confident. [7] 

Here is what you can do if your dog displays signs of stress when meeting a new dog, despite your calm demeanor: 

  • Remove your dog from the source of stress. 
  • Don’t cuddle your dog as this is a reward and can reinforce fearful reactions. 
  • Distract your dog with a routine command, like sitting, and reward it with a treat.  

Getting your dog to respond to a routine command is a distraction. It helps an anxious dog regain a sense of normalcy. [1] 

Remember, you are helping your dog break a habit – it takes patience. Keep practicing, praising, and rewarding your dog when it listens.

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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