If your German Shepherd whines a lot then you are probably wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you why your German Shepherd might be whining a lot and a number of things that you can do about it.
So, why does my German Shepherd whine a lot? Common reasons include illness or injury, boredom, stress, fear, excitement and inadvertently reinforcing the behavior.
There are actually a number of reasons that your German Shepherd might whine a lot and there are a number of things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd whines a lot
Each of the different reasons that your German Shepherd whines a lot will likely come with a number of clues in the way that it does it.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons that your German Shepherd might whine a lot and the clues to look for.
It is ill or injured
The reason that your German Shepherd whines a lot could be that it is ill or injured.
This would be more likely if it only started to whine recently and if something recently happened that might have caused it to become ill or injured. For example, it might recently have eaten something it shouldn’t have or gotten hit by something.
If you think that it might be whining due to being ill or injured then the best option for you would be to take it to a vet.
Another reason that it tends to whine could be that it is bored.
This would be more likely if it tends to whine more when it is not doing anything and if it tends to whine at around the time that it usually gets to do something.
German Shepherds are meant to be very active dogs and it is generally recommended that they get at least an hour of exercise per day. If your German Shepherd is not getting an hour of exercise per day then making sure that it does would likely be a good start.
It wants attention
It could be the case that it whines a lot because it wants to get attention from you.
This would be more likely if it tends to whine when you have not been giving it much attention. It would also be more likely if you start to give it attention when it starts whining. In this case, it will have learned that whining results in it getting the attention that it wants.
It wants something
Another cause of it whining could be that it knows that whining will get it something that it wants such as to go outside, to get food or to get attention.
If this is the case then it would be more likely that it would only whine in specific situations where it would normally get something.
Like humans, dogs can become stressed and this could be why your German Shepherd has been whining.
If this is the case then it would be more likely that your German Shepherd would only have started to whine recently. It would also be more likely if something happened, recently, that might have caused it to become stressed.
Examples of possible causes of stress could be:
- Moving to a new home
- A family member or another dog leaving
- Someone mistreating it
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd so anxious?
Another possible reason that it might whine a lot could be that it is frightened.
This would be more likely if it only seems to whine when something happens that might cause it to become fearful.
Examples could include:
- Someone being around that is mean to it
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid?
German Shepherds can also whine when something is happening that could cause it to become excited.
Examples could include:
- When someone comes home
- When it is about to go out for a walk
- When you are playing with it
Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you
You have been reinforcing it
The reason that it whines a lot could be that it has learned that whining gets it things that it wants.
This would be more likely if your method of getting it to stop whining is to give it attention when you normally wouldn’t have been, to take it for a walk or to give it treats.
How to get your German Shepherd to whine less
There are a number of things that you can do if you want to get your German Shepherd to stop whining and I will mention a number of them below.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
Give it exercise
German Shepherds are active dogs and they are meant to get a lot of exercise daily. If a German Shepherd does not get a lot of exercise then it can lead to behavioral issues.
Generally, it is recommended that your German Shepherd get at least an hour of exercise per day. You can make sure that it gets enough exercise by walking it, teaching it to play fetch, teaching it to swim or getting a dog walker to do it for you.
Reward it for not whining
Positive reinforcement training, which is where you reward the behaviors that you want to see, can be very effective.
If you want to get your German Shepherd to stop whining then one option is to reward it when it does not whine when it normally would.
Additionally, when it does start whining you would stop giving it treats or attention and then do it when it stops whining. If it starts to whine again you would then stop giving it treats or attention again until it stops. Doing this will teach it that whining does not get it the things that it wants.
Avoid reinforcing the whining
While positive reinforcement training can be very effective in getting the behavior that you want, it can also work against you.
If you tend to give it things that it wants when it starts whining then it is likely that your German Shepherd has learned that whining will get it what it wants.
Instead, a better option would be to ignore it until it stops whining and then to reward it with what it wants when it is not whining and it is acting the way that you want it to.
Give it attention
If you think that your German Shepherd whines a lot because it is not getting enough attention then one option for you would be to give it more attention throughout the day.
There are a number of ways that you can give your German Shepherd attention that it wants in ways such as:
- Tug of war
Playing tug of war with your German Shepherd is a good way to give it the attention that it wants. German Shepherds love to play tug of war so you’ll probably find that yours will enjoy playing it too.
One way to give your German Shepherd attention would be to train it. Obviously, this will have the added benefit of getting your German Shepherd to behave the way that you want it to.
If you haven’t trained your German Shepherd before then you should start with the basics such as to teach it to sit and stay in an environment where there are not many distractions. You can then teach it harder things in locations with more distractions like a park.
- Play fetch with it
By playing fetch with your German Shepherd you’ll not only be able to give it attention but you’ll also be able to exercise it in an efficient manner.
- Doggy daycare
If you don’t think that you will have the time to give your German Shepherd attention then consider taking it to a doggy daycare. By doing this you will be able to avoid problems such as having it misbehave while you are away.
Give it distractions
If it is not possible for you to give it attention at certain times then it would likely help to give it some things that will help to keep it occupied.
One way to do so would be to give it lots of toys to play with. That way you will be able to direct its attention onto something that you don’t mind it being focused on instead of something like your sofa.
Giving it lots of toys to play with is especially important when it’s in the teething phase as that’s when it naturally wants to chew on things a lot.
You could also give it some puzzle games to play with. There are a number of puzzle toys that you can get know that are designed to make your German Shepherd think about what it is doing in order to get the treats inside.
If you do get a puzzle game for your German Shepherd get one of the harder ones since German Shepherds are a smart breed and it will get bored quickly if it’s an easy one.
You could also give it some chews to chew on. There are chews that you can buy now that are designed to calm your German Shepherd down.
So, you might want to consider getting some for when you think that it might be about to misbehave.
Make sure that it is not ill or injured
If you think that the reason that your German Shepherd has been whining due to illness or injury then the best option for you would be to take it to a vet.
Things to consider
Before trying to get your German Shepherd to stop whining it would help to figure out the exact reason that your German Shepherd might be whining a lot.
There are many things to consider but a couple of important things to consider would be:
When the whining started
If your German Shepherd has not always whined a lot and it has only started to whine a lot recently then it would make certain causes more likely.
If your German Shepherd only started to whine a lot recently then it would help to consider what else happened at around the time that it started to whine a lot. It could be that it ate something it shouldn’t have, got injured, you moved home, someone left home etc.
When and where it whines
It would also help to consider the timing and location of your German Shepherd’s whining.
If you notice that it only seems to whine in certain locations or when certain things are happening then it would be very likely that it has something to do with the whining.
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