If your German Shepherd has been whining or crying whenever you leave you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.

This post will show you a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might be doing it and what you can do about it.

So, why does my German Shepherd whine when I leave? It is likely to be because it has separation anxiety. It could also be due to a lack of exercise or that you have been inadvertently reinforcing it.

There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why it might be whining when you leave. Depending on the cause there are also a number of things that you can do about it.

Why your German Shepherd whines when you leave

Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd whines when you leave will likely come with a number of clues in the way that it does it.

Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might whine or cry when you leave and the things that would make them more likely.

Separation anxiety

The reason why it cries or whines when you leave could be that it has separation anxiety. This is where your German Shepherd does not like being left without you and it gets anxious when you are gone.

It would be more likely if it also shows other signs of being anxious when you leave such as pacing or standing in the way. It would also be more likely if it does anxious things when you are gone such as it becomes destructive, it pees inside or if it continues to cry.

If it does seem to be the case that it has separation anxiety then it would help to follow the tips in the section below.

Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you

A lack of exercise

German Shepherds are a breed that is meant to be getting a lot of exercise. When they do not get so much exercise it can cause them to become anxious. The reason why your German Shepherd whines when you leave might be that it is bored and it wants you to give it exercise. This would be more likely if it seems to whine a lot more when you have not given it any exercise.

Generally, it is recommended for a German Shepherd to get an hour of exercise per day. If your German Shepherd is not currently getting that much exercise then it would help to make sure that it does.

Related post: Ways to exercise your German Shepherd.

It’s hungry

The reason why it has been whining when you leave could be that it is hungry and it wants you to feed it before you leave it alone for a while. This would be more likely if it only seems to whine when you haven’t fed it. In this case, it would help to try to feed it before leaving.

You have been reinforcing it

It might be the case that you have been inadvertently reinforcing the whining. This would be more likely if you tend to give it things that it wants when it whines such as attention or treats. In this case, it would be more likely that it will have learned that whining gets it things that it wants so it does it more.

Instead, of giving it things that it wants when it starts crying try implementing the tips in the section below and avoid rewarding the crying.

Related post: Why is my German Shepherd always afraid?

German Shepherd barking out window

Things to consider

There are a number of things that you can consider that will help you in figuring out why it whines when you leave that I will mention below.

When it first cried when you left

It would help to consider when it first started doing it.

It could be the case that there was a trigger that caused your German Shepherd to start crying when you leave. It might be that it whined one time and you gave it something that it wanted so it continued to do it whenever you leave. Alternatively, it might be that you stopped giving it as much attention when it started doing it.

What is different when it does not whine when you leave

If it does not always whine when you leave then it would also help to consider what is different when it does not whine.

If you notice that it tends to whine when you have not given it exercise or you have not fed it then it would make it more likely that it wants one of those things.

Whereas, if it always whines when you leave then it would make it more likely to be due to separation anxiety or that you have inadvertently reinforced the behavior.

How to get your German Shepherd to stop whining when you leave

There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to whine less when you leave that I will mention below.

Train it not to using positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement training is where you get your German Shepherd to do the things that you want by rewarding it when it displays those behaviors.

To use positive reinforcement training to get your German Shepherd to whine less when you leave you could do as follows:

  • Get some treats that it likes
  • Reward your German Shepherd with a treat then make a small movement towards the door. If it does not whine reward it with a treat. If it does whine then wait for it to stop then make a much smaller movement towards the door and reward it for not whining.
  • Continue to make movements towards the door and rewarding it until you are able to open the door without it whining.
  • Start to actually walk out the door and then come back in and reward it for not whining. Each time you do it stay outside for slightly longer.

You can watch the video below to see how it is done as well as a number of other very helpful tips on what you can do:

Give it exercise

If your German Shepherd is not already getting a lot of exercise then it would help to make sure that it does.

By giving it exercise you will be able to get it to be less energetic when you are leaving and more likely to just want to sleep while you are gone. You can give it exercise by walking it, playing fetch with it or you could get a dog walker to do it for you.

Avoid encouraging it

As mentioned earlier it could be the case that you have been inadvertently rewarding the whining. Instead of giving your German Shepherd things that it wants when it starts to whine it would help to reward it only when it behaves the way that you want. When it does whine it would help to try the training tips in the video above and to make small training steps so that you don’t ask too much of it too soon.

Get help from a dog behaviorist

If you cannot get your German Shepherd to stop whining when you leave then it would help to get the advice of a certified dog behaviorist or a dog trainer who will be able to give you expert advice tailored for your particular German Shepherd.

Most Recommended For German Shepherds

Best German Shepherd Training Program

Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.

Best German Shepherd Guide

Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.

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Our favorites: N-Bone Puppy Teething Ring (on Amazon) - Great for German Shepherd puppies. American Journey Dog Treats (on Amazon) - Great for adult German Shepherds.

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