Whining is one of the earliest vocal behaviors of puppies. Its first significance appears to be related to the stress of social isolation, cold and hunger. When whining becomes a problem in a pet under 6 months of age, the cause is usually easily determined by defining when and where it occurs.
Why does your dog whine?
A pup whines to gain some objective. For example, the pup that is isolated in the kitchen on its first nights in a new home finds that sufficient whining gains the sympathy of the owners, who may then carry the pet into bed with them. This puppy often generalizes its whining to many other life's frustrating stresses, and whines for relief. Another cause may be a genuine internal physical discomfort, such as gastritis or internal parasitism. If a problem whiner has not been thoroughly examined by its veterinarian for health problems, this should be done before any remedial behavioral steps are undertaken.
Certain Arctic breeds (Malamutes and Huskies) and some strains of German Shepherds are apt to emit an excruciatingly piercing whine whenever they are anxious. This type of anxiety whining is more complex and requires careful attention to the relationship between the owners and the pet involved than the simpler forms typically shown by young puppies.
How can you stop your dog from whining?
In the simplest type of whining, that which is goal oriented, correction is straightforward: satisfy the need. However, if isolation is the cause, the problem must be solved with the same steps applied in barking.
The owner should stop isolating the pup, or, if this is impossible, gain a strong leadership position with the pup and use some distracting stimulus to interrupt the first signs of anxiety when the pet is isolated. This type of correction requires some play acting. The owner must prepare to be going off to work even on the weekends, and start the workday an hour earlier than usual to allow enough time for the correction procedure.
When whining results from generalized anxiety, the pup involved is typically a "bossy" type. These pups whine when the owner's attentions are withdrawn. They seem generally discontent in any situation they can not control, such as car rides, when the owners have company and try to ignore the pup, or when the owner tries to make a telephone call. In other words, these pets become the canine counterparts of human children best described as spoiled brats.
Correction in these pups involves the owner's winning response to simple commands, such as "Come," "Sit" and "Stay." The puppy must be ignored at all other times insofar as praise, petting or other unearned social (or food) rewards are concerned. If the pup penster for attention, it is immediately given one of the commands taught and then petted briefly. This teachers the puppy that the owners are in control of the relationship and avoids physical punishment, a step that is usually unsuccessful.