How do you stop a puppy from whining?

A pet behavior expert explains how you can stop your puppy from whining.

A puppy whines for a reason. First of all, it’s just a puppy; think of a puppy as a young child.

What would a young child do if you left him or her alone while everyone else was off having fun somewhere, and that child was in a big cardboard box he couldn’t get out of?

Hmmm…he’d for sure start whining or crying, just like your puppy.

Some dog breeds are more vocal than others, says Mary Remer, certified pet dog trainer, breeder and licensed AKC judge, having trained more than 20,000 dogs in her 30-year career.

But usually, “Whining is a sign of stress and/or distress,” she says. “Is there anxiety? Is the puppy lonely or frustrated?”

My parents got their first dog, a German shepherd/Great Dane mix, when I was in college.

Home for Christmas break, I witnessed the puppy frequently “crying” or whining while she was confined to a cardboard box  —  a box because she was in the process of being housetrained.

The puppy whined or cried only when left alone. It was a no-brainer why the puppy was whining.

What whining puppy continues to do so once someone enters the room, picks up the puppy and begins interacting with it?

An intelligent animal needs stimulation. This is why baby reptiles and baby rodents won’t whine; their brains aren’t developed enough to crave social interaction.

Remer also says, “Is the puppy over-stimulated?” Perhaps the dog is worn out because too many children have been handling it.

Remer continues, “Look to alleviate any stress or distress; try a novel chew toy, or the companionship of another dog.

“Try putting the crate in the bedroom for sleeping instead of having the dog sleep by itself. I can use exercise as well, as a sleepier puppy is usually calmer.”

If a puppy is whining, you might think this requires another 30-minute play session, but really, 10 minutes may be all that’s necessary to calm the puppy down.

And playing with a dog is good exercise for people as well, so think of it as an opportunity on your part to burn up some extra calories.

“Depending on the breed and exercise tolerance, increase activity,” says Remer.

“Set up play periods with other puppies, or go to a reputable kindergarten class with an experienced and certified trainer who has worked with your breed(s) of puppy.”

My parents’ puppy outgrew her whining and crying. Feed a dog well, give it plenty of love, playtime and structure, and the whining will take care of itself.

Mary Remer is founder of What a Good Dog, a dog training and behavioral facility.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


Top image: Shutterstock/Sonsedska Yuliia