Although having a dog is one of the most exciting experiences, sometimes life can become unbearable for you, especially if your dog is always whining at night. It’s hard to enjoy a good night’s sleep when your dog is crying incessantly.
So, even as you enjoy the excitement that comes with owning a dog, it’s important to know why dogs whine at night and how to stop it. This article offers you 7 tips on how to stop a dog from whining at night.
Why Is My Dog Whining at Night?
There are many reasons why your dog could be whining at night. This behavior is more prevalent in puppies, especially because they are still learning how to communicate. Sometimes they will cry because they want to get the attention of their mothers or their pet parents, especially when they are hungry.
It is the same way your baby will cry when it’s hungry or distressed. Therefore, if you have puppies who are always whining at night, don’t assume they are crying for no reason. But what about mature dogs that are always disturbing your sleep at night with their whining?
At times it is not easy to tell why a mature dog is whining at night. It requires you to be extra observant to know exactly why your dog is crying. In most cases, you have to check your dog’s body language that accompanies the crying to know why the dog is whining. Nevertheless, there are few common causes of whining in dogs.
1. Asking for Something
Whining is one of the ways in which dogs communicate. Therefore, your dog may whine if it needs something from you like food, a chewing bone, a toy, or a walk. But to know exactly what your dog needs, you have to analyze its body language.
For instance, you may find that your dog is shifting its eyes between you and the door, bowl, or other desired object while crying. If the dog is looking at the door while whining, it should tell you that it wants to get out of the house; a doggie door can solve this one! If it’s hungry, it will be looking at the bowl.
He or she may whine about a wet bed. Due to stress or discomfort, your dog may mark around or have urinary incontinence, during which he or she will whine for you to change. It is important to choose a pet blanket or pad that is highly absorbent to ensure that the pet and pet-parents have a good night’s sleep.
2. Looking for Attention
Like a small child, your dog can whine to get your attention. This often occurs when your dog feels like you are not paying attention to it, especially when you are talking on the phone or performing other important tasks in the house. It can also happen if your dog is jealous of the amount of time you are spending away from it or with another pet.
3. Showing Excitement
Your dog could be whining at night because of excitement. In this case, whining could be a way of showing excitement and burning the extra energy. This kind of whining is often accompanied by jumping up and down and running around the house with excitement. Sometimes this kind of whining also happens when your dog wants to get your attention.
4. Signs of Boredom
Your dog will certainly not shy from letting you know that she is bored. She will come right up to you and push your hand, and if that doesn’t work, she will whine and grumble until you pay attention to her. A dog knows exactly how to get your attention, and whining and barking at you (demand barking) are some of the most effective ways.
This type of whining is also accompanied by destructive behaviors like digging holes, going through garbage, and chewing household items.
But this type of whining should not be mistaken with the show of excitement because excited dog whines, barks, and seems more active and playful. Boredom whining usually comes off as a “woe is me” combination of sigh and whine.
5. Pain and Discomfort
Your dog will whine all night if it is in pain or experiencing any form of discomfort. So, you need to pay attention to your dog because it could be suffering or unwell. At times, the whining could be the dog’s way of calming itself down instead of getting your attention.
It should even be more worrying if the whining behavior starts abruptly for no apparent reason. So, if the whining doesn’t stop even after eliminating all the other reasons, you should take your dog to the veterinarian immediately for a checkup. You need to rule out the possibility of an ailment or injury before you dismiss the whining as just a behavioral problem.
6. Signs of Stress
Like humans, dogs too become stressed. This mainly occurs when the dog is anxious or afraid. One of the main signs of stress in dogs is whining. This type of whining is normally accompanied by pacification gestures, such as yawning, licking of lips, and averting of the eyes.
In most instances, the whining and yawning will happen concurrently. These appeasement gestures are an effort by the dog to calm itself down and show other dogs that it is not a threat. This type of whining can also be accompanied by several signs of fear, including cowering, a tucked tail, and flattened ears.
What Does Dog Whining Mean?
As discussed above, there are many reasons why your dog could be whining at night. So, it is your duty to figure out what your dog is trying to tell you when whining. First of all, you need to ask yourself: Is dog whining always a bad thing?
The truth is that whining is normal for some dogs, especially when they are excited or want to get their owner’s attention. But some will whine when they are unwell. Dog experts agree that dogs don’t whine only when they want to communicate something negative.
Sometimes, your dog will whine when it’s happy and full of energy. So, it’s up to you to figure out if the whining is a sign of a bad or good thing. For instance, if your dog is whining while standing at the door, it could mean that it wants to go outside, and if it is whining while lying next to the leash, it could indicate that the dog is hoping you will take her for a walk.
You also need to remember that whining can mean anxiety and fear. Another important question is: Should I take my dog to the doctor when she starts to whine? The truth is that not all whining incidents require a trip to the veterinarian. But the most important thing is to understand what the dog is telling you.
Although not all cases of whining are a sign of illness, you should not dismiss your dog’s cries as just a behavioral issue. It is important to pay attention and address the issue before it goes out of hand. If the whining problem is not addressed immediately, it could lead to other serious behaviors such as aggression.
7 Tips on How to Stop a Dog from Whining at Night
If your dog whines continually, it is important to learn the reasons why it is behaving that way before you even try to find a solution. A little whining from time to time may not be a bother to you and your neighbors, but continuous whining can be irritating. It can even get you into trouble with your neighbors especially if you leave in a closely populated area.
Some people even consider the slightest amount of whining as excessive and irritating. The good news is that you can easily train your dog not to whine at night or to whine less. Here are some of the steps to take to stop your dog from whining.
1. Pay Attention
You have to pay attention to your dog when it’s whining to understand why it is behaving that way. Don’t just focus on the whining, pay attention to any other behavior that accompanies the whining. For instance, listen to the various pitches and volumes of the whining to understand the meaning.
For instance, you might notice that a particular pitch or volume of whining means the dog is bored or wants something. So, if the pitch changes suddenly, you will know that the cause of the whining is different. Sometimes you will just realize that your dog is whining just to get your attention.
2. Reinforce an Indoor Elimination Behavior at Night
Sometimes your dog will whine at night because it wants to go outside for a potty break. To avoid this, you should make your dog comfortable taking a potty break in the house at night by training it. If reinforcing indoor elimination behaviors is not easy, you can leash the dog up where you expect it to poop at night.
3. Deal with the Cause of Fear and Anxiety
If your dog is whining at night because of fear or anxiety, you should find out the cause of the fear and deal with it immediately. Once you find the source of the fear, you should train your dog to overcome the fear. You should also try to desensitize your dog to get over the situation that could be making her anxious.
4. Never Encourage Your Dog to Whine
You could be encouraging your dog to whine at night, even without your knowledge. For instance, if you always give your dog food or treats every time it starts to whine, you could be reinforcing that behavior unintentionally.
Instead of giving your dog food and treats as a way of making it stop, you should try to redirect it to another behavior before rewarding it. For instance, you could start by getting it to lie down before praising it or rewarding it with your attention.
5. Don’t Give in Immediately
Don’t respond to your dog’s wants immediately when it starts to whine. Doing so encourages the dog to whine just about anything. Although it’s not easy to ignore your whining puppy, responding immediately every time it whines will encourage it to continue with the behavior, and you could end up having a whiny adult dog.
6. Choose What to Ignore
You should also make a habit of responding to your dog’s whining selectively. If you are sure that the dog is whining just to get your attention, just ignore it. And if you notice a moment of silence, reward it with praise or a treat. You can even take advantage of the silence to reinforce your “quiet” command.
7. Enrich Your Dog’s Environment
As mentioned above, your dog could be whining at night because it is bored or too excited. Therefore, you should give your dog something to play with at night so that it can burn the excess energy without whining. You should also make a habit of exercising your dog to reduce its pent-up physical and emotional energy.
With these tips on how to stop a dog from whining at night, you should be able to manage your dog’s whining behavior professionally and in a friendly way. Remember, if you do not stop the whining behavior, it will soon develop into a more serious behavior like aggression.
When you are training your dog to stop whining, be patient with it or else it will become defiant and irritate you even more.