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6 Reasons Why German Shepherds Whine & How to Stop It!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

German Shepherd 4 months old_Simone O_shutterstock

Have you ever been sitting on the couch and noticed your German Shepherd whining, but you had no clue why or what to do about it? If so, you are not alone. Many German Shepherd owners find their best friend whining uncontrollably without any obvious reason.

In this article, we are going to learn the top six reasons German Shepherds whine, as well as how to determine the cause for your dog’s whining and what to do about it.

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Why Do German Shepherds Whine So Much?

In comparison to other dog breeds, German Shepherds actually whine more often. Because German Shepherds were bred to be herders and guard dogs, they had to learn instinctually how to get their owner’s attention to protect the herd.

As a result, German Shepherds are more likely to whine, bark, howl, and growl than other breeds simply because it goes back to their herding roots.

Why Does My German Shepherd Whine So Much?

Just like you can cry for a number of reasons, German Shepherds can whine for a number of reasons as well. As a dog owner, it can be next to impossible to pinpoint why your dog is whining, but it is important to resolve the issue, nonetheless. Here are 6 reasons why your German Shepherd is whining:

1. It Wants Something

man giving a german shepherd a bone treat
Image Credit: Nicky Rhodes, Shutterstock

Sometimes, dogs will whine because they’re trying to get something, such as to go outside or food. Often, dogs will make it clear what they want with the rest of their body language. For example, if your German Shepherd is whining because it wants to go outside, it will often keep running between you and the door or look at the door.

Clues To Look For:
  • Whining in specific situations
  • Another body language
  • Time of day or routine
What To Do About It:
  • Give the dog what it wants if it needs to go outside, be fed, etc.
  • Don’t give in to your dog’s every whim

If your dog is whining because it needs to be let out or it’s time to eat, pay attention to the whining. This will not teach the dog to continue whining, but it does allow the dog to get what it needs or wants.

That being said, don’t always give in to the dog’s whining if it is unprompted or unnecessary because it can teach bad behaviors.

2. It Wants Your Attention

smiling woman hugging her german shepherd dog
Image Credit: Sam Wordley, Shutterstock

German Shepherds are known for being some of the most loving and dependent dogs. If you have not given your German Shepherd attention in a while, it sometimes whines for it. Whether it wants to play or to be petted, the German Shepherd makes its desires known by whining.

Clues To Look For:
  • Where they are located in proximity to you
  • If they have toys around them
  • Body language
What To Do About It:
  • Play or pet the dog if you haven’t in a while
  • Be careful not to teach unwanted behavior, such as whining every time it wants attention

Be careful giving in to your German Shepherd whenever it whines for attention. Unless you know you have been accidentally neglecting your dog, don’t just give it what it wants whenever it whines. This will teach your German Shepherd that it can whine if it wants anything.

3. It’s Bored

German Shepherds
Image Credit: DanaTentis, Pixabay

German Shepherds need a whole lot of exercise to get all of their energy out. More so, these intelligent dogs need mental stimulation. If you do not provide your German Shepherd enough physical or mental activities, it will easily get bored and whine to let you know.

Clues To Look For:
  • Antsy movements or jitters
  • If they have toys around them
  • Time of day or routine
What To Do About It:
  • Provide toys to play with
  • Let your dog outside
  • Create a play routine

The best thing to do about a dog that whines whenever it’s bored is to create a great play and exercise routine. With the right routine, your German Shepherd won’t need to whine in the first place. Make sure to incorporate mental stimulation as well as physical stimulation in this routine.

4. It’s Excited to See You

german shepherd jumps on a woman
Image Credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

Whenever you first get home, your German Shepherd is likely to whine because it is excited to see you. Simply view this whine as an enthusiastic greeting and give the dog tons of attention since it is just excited to see its best friend.

Clues To Look For:
  • You haven’t seen the dog in a while
  • Other excited body language
What To Do About It:
  • Return the dog’s affection and excitement

You don’t have to worry about teaching your German Shepherd bad habits by letting it whine when you first come home. This is just a natural response that shows your dog is excited to see you. Pet your dog and give it all the attention it deserves.

5. It’s Scared

scared german shepherd
Image Credit: Brett_Hondow, Pixabay

Even though German Shepherds are a bit braver than other breeds, they can still get scared because of storms, new people, or stressful situations. If you notice your German Shepherd whines during the same potentially stressful situations, it is likely scared and needs your comfort.

Clues To Look For:
  • Shaking and other physical signs of fear
  • Loud noises, new people, stressful situations, etc
What To Do About It:
  • Try to minimize the scary situation if possible
  • Comfort your dog
  • Get your dog a kennel, thunder shirt, etc. to calm it down during scary situations

When your dog is scared, it looks to you for comfort and safety because you are the leader of the pack. Try to minimize scary situations if possible, such as when a new person comes into the home.

If it is a storm or some other uncontrollable situation causing your German Shepherd to whine, simply comfort your dog as best as you can. For instance, buy a Thunder shirt and do other things to calm the dog down while the fearful situation continues.

6. It’s In Pain or Sick

German Shepherd asleep
Image Credit: GoranH, Pixabay

Dogs that are hurt or sick will whine because of how they feel. Often, the whining will be accompanied by other signs of illness, such as lethargy, lack of appetite, and reduced interest. You need to take your dog to the vet as soon as you suspect pain or sickness is causing its whining.

Clues To Look For:
  • Other signs of illness or injury
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of interest or appetite
What To Do About It:
  • Take your dog to the vet
  • Be comforting in the meantime

If you think your dog is whining because it is hurt or sick, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. In the meantime, comfort your dog and be gentle with it to make it feel better in your presence.

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Other Ways to Prevent Your German Shepherd from Whining

Because German Shepherds are prone to whining more than other breeds, you should incorporate whining prevention into your dog’s training and daily routine. That way, you don’t have to worry about your dog whining unnecessarily. Here are some things to try out:

german shepherd looking outside the chain link fence
Image Credit: andr74b, Pixabay

Create a Schedule

Dogs thrive on a schedule. Giving your German Shepherd a routine can prevent it from whining due to boredom, the need to go outside, or eating. Create a schedule for your German Shepherd and stick to it as best as possible. In this schedule, block out times for eating, playing, going outside, and resting.

Obviously, there will be times when you have to break the schedule for special events or unforeseen circumstances. Just try to stick to the schedule as best as possible and listen to your dog if you accidentally have lost track of time.

Be Mindful of When You Give Your Dog Attention

Dogs learn very quickly how they can get your attention. Make sure not to give into your dog’s every whim just because it is whining. When you do this, the dog will quickly learn that it can whine to get what it wants, and that’s the last thing you want!

Of course, listening to your dog’s whining is perfectly fine if it is trying to relay important information, such as when it is scared or needs to go outside. However, be careful if your dog is whining simply because it wants your attention.

Whine Training

Train your dog to express its desires in other ways. Because German Shepherds are so intelligent, they aren’t very difficult to train. You can teach your dog to ring a bell when it needs to go outside. This lets the dog tell you when it needs out without whining.

The earlier you start training, the better. Early socialization and general training work best whenever your German Shepherd is around three months old. You can always teach older dogs new tricks, but they may take a bit longer to respond.

woman teaching german shepherd to keep paws on floor
Image Credit: marcin jucha, Shutterstock

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Although German Shepherds are really cute, their sometimes incessant whining can be downright annoying. Get to the bottom of your dog’s whining with the above-mentioned reasons and respond accordingly. Never be aggressive or downright angry when your dog whines, but incorporate training and routine to break bad habits, instead.

See also: 

Featured Image Credit: Simone O, Shutterstock

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