Home GSD FAQ Why Does My German Shepherd Whine?

Why Does My German Shepherd Whine?

by David W.
German Shepherd Whines

A German Shepherd is one of the most sociable and vocal dog breeds. While everyone knows that these dogs are intelligent, brave, strong, and protective, whining is the last trait that can come to your mind. However, if you ask any GS owner, they will tell you that their pets tend to whine a lot, especially when they are young. This high-pitched sound may be quite troublesome and frustrating. If you ask ‘Why do German Shepherds whine?’, there is not a certain answer. The causes of such behavior can differ. This article will describe them and tell you what to do to solve the issue.

First of all, you need to understand that whining and barking are the main forms of communication for most canines. Since these dogs are very communicative, they use such sounds to make it easier to understand what they mean. When you and your puppy become close friends, you will be able to distinguish your pet’s needs by the character and pitch of its voice. However, before making these tight bonds, you may feel worried, upset, or even irritated. To help you avoid a lot of worries, let’s consider the main reasons why your Shepherd whines a lot.

Common Reasons for GSDs’ Whining

After you have acquired a young GS puppy, you may keep asking, ‘Why does my German Shepherd whine so much?’ The causes of whining may differ a lot – some of them are natural and harmless, while others will need your thorough attention and care.

Being ill or Injured

This reason is rather frustrating. Whining can start all of a sudden. You need to be especially concerned if it has started recently after something happened. For instance, your dog might have eaten something bad or was hurt in some way. If you suspect that the previous event or your dog’s behavior has resulted in its poor health condition, you’d better take your pup to a veterinarian and get it properly tested.

Boredom and Need for Attention

Whining GSD

Things may not be as bad as that. Your German Shepherd can start to whine when it is bored. Look whether your pup has something to engage with. These dogs are very active, and they need at least one hour of exercise per day. If they do not get it, and they do not have any toys to play with or things to do, they whine and disturb you until you pay some attention to them. They may even follow you with a ball in their mouth if they want to go outside and play.

Teach your young doggy to get engaged and entertained on its own because you won’t always be able to play with it. Before you start to get uneasy with your dog’s whining, make sure that it obtains enough exercise and activity.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is quite a common characteristic of German Shepherd dogs. They hate being alone. We can explain it by their origins from pack animals whose nature was to protect each other. GSs get closely attached to their masters, and they don’t feel calm and confident when they are left alone. When you are about to leave, your puppy starts to whine as if it tried to persuade you not to abandon it.

Your German Shepherd may also begin to whine when it feels that its ‘pack’ is not complete, for example, when someone in your family is not at home yet or has left for a long time. It whines because it does not understand how it can protect a part of its pack when they are not close around.

The separation anxiety can also result from the inability to guard. For example, your dog hears some threatening sounds or moves far away. It wants to check how dangerous they are but cannot do it from the inside and starts whining. It can even get alert and remain still for a while and then begin to pace and whine.

Stress and Fear

If you ask, ‘Why does my German Shepherd whine at night?’ an answer may be that it experiences severe stress or fear. Yes, dogs, like humans, can also get stressed. If your dog has recently started to whine at night, something is likely to have happened to it. For example, you have moved to a new place, or one of your family members has left or died. Dogs can also experience stress when someone treats them badly. 

When your puppy is frightened, it becomes fearful and whines. When someone who is not good at it is around, when it sees lightning or hears thunder, sirens, or other loud sounds, it can also be afraid. That is why fireworks do a lot of harm to dogs, and your German Shepherd is not an exception.

Excitement and Empathy

Your young GS can get extremely excited when you or someone from the family comes home. Or you are going to walk it or play with it. Whining is a strong expression of your puppy’s emotions. When it is curious about something new or unusual, it begins to whine, too. This is normal, and if this whining does not get on your nerves, let it show its emotions in this way.

Empathy is one of the sweetest things in your dog. If it feels that you are frustrated, in pain, or in trouble, it will commonly whine to support and comfort you. Let your GS know that everything is OK with you, and it will stop whining.

Feeling sorry is another cause of whining. Your pup is very smart and, when it has done something wrong and feels that you are angry or upset about it, it starts to tuck its ears back, tuck its tail, avoid eye contact, and whine. It is also normal for your dog’s behavior. You do not need to correct it. The only thing is that you should not feel angry with your puppy for a long time. Show it that you have forgiven that and give it a scratch or play with it as usual not to prolong its bad emotion of feeling sorry.

A Need to Obtain Something

Your German Shepherd may want something from you – playing with it, feeding it, giving it some treats, going for a walk, etc. Or it may just want to attract your attention. In this case, it will start whining and won’t stop until it gets the desired thing. You should not give in because your puppy is very smart, and it will understand soon that the only way to get the desired object is by whining. Instead, you have to show your pet that whining does not work and you will give it a treat only if it stops doing it.

What to Do About Your Dog’s Whining?

Excited GSD

There are different methods to make your GSD whine less. You may apply them according to the situation but they usually work very well.

Give Your Dog Training and Exercising

Your continuous worries like ‘Why does my German Shepherd whine so much?’ do not work until you take some action. The most helpful tip is to give your puppy more training. German Shepherds are very active dogs. If they do not get just one hour of exercising per day, that may lead to some behavioral issues. Make sure that this exercise involves walking, running, swimming, playing fetch, and other activities that require a lot of strength and stamina. If you cannot do it yourself because you are too busy, get a dog walker to perform it for you.

Positive reinforcement training can be quite efficient as well. Teach your dog to behave properly and obey all the commands needed for your perfect cooperation. Start with the basics, such as teaching it how to sit and stay. Choose a quiet environment without any distractors. Then, continue with more complicated things in the place with more distractions, such as a beach or a park. If you do not know how to train your dog properly, you may need help from an expert trainer. 

Remember that if your German Shepherd is not trained properly as a puppy, that will result in bad behavioral issues like whining, barking, anxiety, unmotivated aggression, and others, in adulthood.

Reward It for Not Whining and Ignore Whining

Don’t let your dog think that whining is a perfect way to get whatever it needs from you. You should show your puppy that whining for a treat or walk is not the best way to obtain the desired thing. The best way to do it is to ignore your puppy’s whining if you see that it has chosen to manipulate you in this manner.

Instead, you may stop giving your dog a treat or attention when it whines. Though, you can give it something if the whining stops. Then, if the puppy starts whining again, show it that no treat is available until it stops. That will teach your dog that whining is a bad method to obtain desired things.

Be Attentive to Your Dog

If you feel that your GS whines because it does not get much attention from you, use several options to increase the amount of care. Play some interesting games with it. Tug of war usually works very well. Your puppy will love it, and soon you’ll see that you enjoy it too.

You can also play some other games, such as ‘fetch’, with your pup. This game is useful for providing both enough attention and exercise to your German Shepherd.

If you don’t think that you have enough time or need to go to work for the whole day, try not to leave your puppy alone. Doggy daycare may be a great option. In this way, you will avoid many behavioral problems, and your puppy won’t feel lonely and abandoned.

Provide Your GS with Distractions

If you are busy, get something for your dog to be occupied with. Acquire special toys to play with. Or get it focused on some interesting things instead of chewing your footwear or furniture. It is especially important during the teething phase when a puppy wants to chew everything it sees and constantly whines because of feeling discomfort.

You can also offer your doggy some puzzle games. Your puppy will play with such puzzle toys to get the treat enclosed inside them. German Shepherds are very smart, so get them the toys that are not boring because they may lose interest in some simple things very soon and… start whining. Give your dog appropriate chews too.

Show Your Dog to a Veterinary

Nevertheless, if you are still worried and keep asking, ‘Why does my German Shepherd whine at night?’, it is better to take it to your veterinarian. It’s the best way to make sure that your pup is not ill or injured. If it whines at night, there may be some serious health issues. Your veterinarian will have it tested and tell you what to do or prescribe some medical treatment. If there is some other issue, they also advise you on changes in diet, training, exercising, or overall care.

Final Thoughts

So, why do German Shepherds whine? There is no distinct answer. When you bring your puppy home for the first time, its whining may even sound cute. However, you will feel that you should do something about it because it drives you mad.

You need to be very careful and patient about your puppy’s whining. Petting and cuddling may help a lot. Though, your dog also needs proper training and a lot of exercise. Train it to be engaged and not to feel lonely. Special practices for avoiding whining are not necessary. If your dog is healthy and well-trained, it won’t whine a lot.

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