What is a dog conveying when he makes squeaky, repetitive yaps or whines?

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Did you ever notice that your dog whines when he wants you to give him some attention? Just like a child, a dog whines to pester you until you deliver the desired results. At first, the dog attempts to sound sad when he howls. When you finally stop what you’re doing and go over to attend to the dog, he jumps up on his hind legs, getting into the play stance and starts yapping—which sounds cheerful and happy.

Dogs will sometimes use this technique, combining the sorrowful whine with a cheerful yap, to control or manipulate their owners. First, the whine gets your attention, then when attention has been obtained, the dog will employ a little more control by yapping and striking some cute poses. This has the potential to make owners melt and say things like “AAWW!”, but above all, it keeps the attention on the dog for longer.

However, there are different reasons for whining and you’ll need to be aware of them so you can “read” your dog to know if there’s something else going on besides manipulation.

  • Appeasement: Sometimes your dog might feel a little threatened by another human or animal, and will want to be submissive. Body language in this situation could include ears lying flat back, tail tucked under, crouching or rolling over and avoiding eye contact.
  • Greeting: Some dogs just whine when they’re saying hello because they get overly excited. Telling your dog, “be quiet!” won’t do much good. Instead, try to stay calm and maybe give the dog a more polite task, such as going into the sit command or something else to keep the dog busy.
  • Attention: Attention-seeking and anxiety could be associated causes.

You’ll be in the best position to determine the situation by the sound of the whine combined with the dog’s body language. Dont’ be surprised if your dog whines when he needs to go out, combining whining with walking around in circles.

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