There are many reasons why German Shepherds whine. Before you can stop this behavior, however, you have to figure what’s causing it. Below are the top reasons why your dog may be whining along with what you can do about it.
Is Your Dog Sick or In Pain?
German Shepherds whine when they are in pain or aren’t in the best of health. If you notice your dog whining, look for any symptoms or signs that something is wrong.
If your dog is hurt, it may be limping if it has a problem with its legs. They may also stay in a corner and not move as much as they usually do. Approach your pooch carefully in such instances as they may snap at you.
You should also look for signs of illness. This could include lethargy, excessive drooling, vomiting or diarrhea, or panting. Sometimes, you may notice that your pup just doesn’t seem like himself.
Go to the Vet
Even if you aren’t sure whether your German Shepherd is sick, a trip to the vet is best. Not all symptoms are noticeable or manifest physically. A vet will be able to run various tests on your dog to find out if there is something wrong internally.
If you suspect an injury, be careful about how you move and handle your dog. Try to limit their movement as much as possible so that you lower the risk of hurting them further.
Are They Experiencing Separation Anxiety?
On average, German Shepherds can’t spend extended periods away from their owners. They are prone to separation anxiety and one sign of this is whining. Your dog may do this if even one member of the family is away, especially if that person is their favorite.
You may have to spend a few days away from your German Shepherd at some point. Keep in mind that these dogs are pack animals and are very dependent on their family. This is why they are typically well-suited to families where at least one person is home most of the time.
How to Get Your Dog Used to Isolation?
If you can’t help but be away, you should get your dog used to being alone. Start while you are in the house. First, get your German Shepherd acclimated to the idea of being in a different room for increasingly long periods.
Once they are comfortable with this, you can move on to leaving the house for longer periods. In the beginning, leave for fifteen minutes and come back. Do this until your German Shepherd no longer shows signs of anxiety. Gradually increase the periods you are away for.
In case you will be away for most of the day, it is best to organize a dog walker to take your German Shepherd out for exercise. The combination of exercise and human interaction can help calm their separation anxiety.
Is Your Dog Excited to See You?
Dogs will also whine when they are excited about something. You or another loved one coming home will do the trick. The whining may begin when they know something fun or exciting is coming like a walk or a trip to the beach.
This type of whining is often accompanied by jumping around and boisterous behavior to show that they are excited. In most cases, it is pretty short-lived and will go away once your pooch has calmed down. As such, you don’t need to take any action.
Are They Sensing Something You Can’t?
Remember, German Shepherds can hear and smell things a lot farther away than you can. As such, they may be reacting to a perceived danger that you can’t sense yet.
This is quite common with thunderstorms that haven’t broken over your area yet. Checking weather forecasts can help you to rule this out.
Your pup could also be smelling or hearing other animals outside. Their territorial and protective instincts may kick in, causing them to whine. If this is the case, they may pace at the front door, sniffing, and scratching to get out. They may also run to the windows and peer out.
How Can You Comfort Them?
Under these circumstances, all you can do is comfort your dog. You can cuddle with them, distract them with toys, or comfort them.
If you feel like your pooch is trying to get to critters outside, then move them away from the main windows and doors. Take them into a bedroom so that they won’t be as overwhelmed by the smells and sounds of the animals. They should forget about the intruders outside soon enough.
Are You Rewarding Their Whining?
Whining can be rather distressing to listen to. Whenever your dog whines, you probably comfort or cuddle them, and give treats. German Shepherds are incredibly intelligent and will associate this with positive reactions from you. From then on, they will use whining to get your attention.
Take note of when your dog whines. Is it only when an especially attentive person is around? Are their whines rewarded each time? Does the whining stop once they are given cuddles or treats? If this is the case, they are manipulating you.
How Can You Stop the Positive Reinforcement?
The first thing to do is to stop reacting to the whining. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check on your dog when they whine. After all, it could be due to an illness or injury. Once you have made sure that your dog is fine, walk away without any rewards.
If you follow through on this every time and instruct other family members to do so as well, the whining will lose its appeal. After a while, your German Shepherd will drop the charade altogether.
Is Your German Shepherd Bored?
German Shepherds are intelligent and energetic dogs. If they don’t receive as much exercise and mental stimulation as is required, they can get bored. One of the symptoms of boredom may be excessive whining.
How Can You Boost Their Exercise and Mental Stimulation?
Adult German Shepherds need an hour or more of exercise. If they aren’t getting it, you will need to make an effort to do so every day. A vigorous walk will do the trick but playing Frisbee and fetch can make it easier for them to burn off excess energy.
Try to break up their exercise routine into portions – once in the morning and once in the evening, for instance. This will give your pup something to look forward to and guarantee that they are sufficiently tired out throughout the day.
Don’t forget to get them plenty of food puzzles and toys that can stimulate them mentally. Teaching your dog new commands and tricks as well as taking them out to agility courses is a great way to keep them entertained as well.
Can They Be Experiencing Triggers?
If you have rescued or adopted a German Shepherd, it can be difficult to know what went on before. If they have experienced any type of mental or physical abuse, they may feel triggered by certain things. This can include people, sounds, objects, smells, and more.
These dogs may whine when they are afraid. If you have a rescue, you may want to check if the whining begins after a particular moment. This can help you to identify the trigger.
How Can You Comfort Your German Shepherd?
If you find a trigger, you can naturally take steps to avoid them in the future. You should also be aware that these dogs may whine or recoil with raised voices or sudden or aggressive movements when these appear.
It is best to be careful about speaking and moving around them until they are more comfortable in your presence.
In case you can’t pinpoint a trigger or there appear to be too many to avoid, the best thing you can do is to comfort your dog. If they are cautious around you, you can simply lie next to them until they get used to your presence.
After a while, when they know how to seek comfort from you, you can offer them cuddles. With time, this fear may leave them.
These are the main reasons that your German Shepherd may be whining. When in doubt, always take your dog to the vet to ensure that there are no medical issues. Once you have ruled this out, you can identify and deal with any behavioral issues. You should have the problem under control in no time at all.