How to Stop a Whiny Adult Dog

Stopping a whining dog takes patience, but the effort is worth it.
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Whining, though it can be annoying to humans, is one way dogs communicate vocally. And though adult dogs whine for a number of reasons, the behavior usually is a reaction to anxiety, stress or injury -- or because your dog wants your attention. The good news is, with a little patience and the occasional treat, you can stop your dog from whining in a short time.

Step 1

Give your dog treats before you go out to quell separation anxiety. Delicious treats will help your dog associate your going out with something positive.

Step 2

Put that treat inside a special toy that will make your dog work for her reward. The ASPCA says that having your dog work to solve a puzzle will keep her occupied and help to ease her stress in your absence.

Step 3

Downplay greetings with your dog to curb boisterous whining when she greets people. By keeping greetings short and simple, your dog will learn to calm his excited behavior whenever he greets you or others.

Step 4

Use your dog's favorite toy as a diversion. An occupied dog is less likely to whine from exuberance.

Step 5

Wait for your dog to calm down before you greet him so that he gets the idea that boisterous whining is not acceptable.

Step 6

Play tug-of-war with your dog to build his confidence. Dogs often whine when they feel intimidated by people or other animals. This is called appeasement whining and is accompanied by behaviors such as tucking the tail, rolling over on the back, avoiding eye contact and turning sideways.

Step 7

Play fetch or catch with your dog. Interactive games teach your dog to interact with others and become less intimidated by them.

Step 8

Spend more quality time with your dog. Some dogs need a lot of attention. The website Dog Problem Solutions recommends simply spending more time playing, walking or doing active things with your dog.

Step 9

Seek out your dog to play or bring treats when she is not whining for your attention. This will likely make her less likely to whine for your attention later.

Step 10

Spritz water in your dog's face and say "Quiet!" whenever she whines. Be sure to set the spray on a broad, mist setting. Never shoot a stream of water at an animal's face.


  • Take your dog to the vet if you think she is whining because of pain or injury. Whining often is how dogs tell us they are hurt. If your dog's whining comes on quickly and persists, it is best to take her for treatment.

  • If your dog's whining also involves destroying household items or defecating indoors when you leave, she may have severe separation anxiety and needs to see the vet.


  • If whining persists, consider a certified professional dog trainer or obedience classes in your area.