Demystifying your dog’s nocturnal noises


One of the main reasons dogs whine could be pain and they are distressed and seeking attention.

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Some dog owners struggle with their dog’s nocturnal sounds, crying and whining throughout the night. They cannot tell what the dog wants, whether it is unhappy, lonely, sick, tired or just scared.

One of the main reasons dogs whine could be pain and they are distressed and seeking attention. Senior dogs especially whine due to discomfort, anxiety, joint pains or other medical conditions. Older dogs tend to be more vocal all the time- whining, barking or howling.

Another reason for dogs’ noise is they are bored or they have excess energy. A dog needs to get enough mental and physical exercise throughout the day. If they don’t, they usually become restless and frustrated so they whine to release pent-up energy or to ask for more activities. You can avoid this by keeping your dog active. Depending on their breed, age and temperament, they may need at least half an hour of daily exercise. Play with them fetch, tug of war or any other games that they enjoy like chew toys.

The dog may whine out of discomfort or dissatisfaction with its sleeping area. If it is feeling too cold, the dog may whine to express displeasure and may only shut up when given a warm cover-up or when brought inside the house.

Separation anxiety

Some dogs experience separation anxiety when they are away from you or they hate being alone. They will whimper and complain at night to get your attention or to ask for your company. Teach the dog to enjoy their own company and to be independent. You might need to do this gradually by increasing the distance and time that you normally leave them alone in their sleeping area. Reward them for being quiet and calm in their sleeping area by giving them treats and lots of praise.

Learned behaviour

Sometimes whining is a learned behaviour and the dog knows it gets him what he wants from you. Teach the dog to unlearn this behaviour by ignoring him when he cries and only giving him attention when he is quiet. Doing this will teach him that whining does not get him what he wants but quiet behaviour does.

As with any dog behaviour, undoing it and correcting it takes patience, consistency and love. So be kind as you teach them to be less nervous, clingy and whiny.

Maryanne is a pet owner. [email protected]