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Why Do Australian Shepherds Whine So Much? 7 Common Reasons

Patricia Dickson

By Patricia Dickson

sick australian shepherd dog lying on grass

If you have an Australian Shepherd, you know how sweet, loving, and loyal they are. Also known as the Aussie, the dog gives unconditional love and affection in spades.

However, for some reason, Australian Shepherds tend to whine and cry a lot, especially if they are spoiled, like most of ours are. They tend to whine and cry to get your attention when they’re trying to tell you something and if something is wrong. Their whining can also be their way of keeping your attention constantly on them.

While Aussies are generally easy-going and eager to please, they also have a lot of energy. They will try whining to get their way, especially if they’ve been unintentionally trained to think it will work for them.

In this guide, we’ll give you seven reasons why Australian Shepherds tend to whine so much.

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The 7 Reasons Australian Shepherds Whine So Much

1. Your Aussie Is Stressed

It’s crucial when you have a dog to learn to read their body language. You need to know the difference between the dog being stressed and hurt or just trying to get your attention. You can look for signs when trying to determine if your Aussie is stressed out about something.

  • Growling
  • Barking
  • Licking its lips
  • Pacing
  • Yawning
  • Panting
  • Raised hackles
  • Wide, white eyes
  • Freezing or holding its body stiff and tense

If you see any of these signs in your Aussie and he’s steadily whining, the dog could be stressed. Have you moved to a new area or changed the dog’s environment? Determining why the dog is stressed will do a lot to help you stop the whining.

As for what to do about your Aussie being stressed, there are a few things. If possible, you can change the environment, stay calm, reassure your Aussie that everything is all right, and make sure your commands are clear and concise. You should never yell at or scold your dog when he is whining due to stress, as this will only worsen the problem.

sick australian shepherd dog
Image Credit: Irini Adler, Pixabay

2. Your Aussie Is Excited

It’s possible that your little Aussie is just excited about something going on at your house. Also, Aussies are very high-energy dogs, so they need to be physically active, which means you need to play with and spend a lot of time with your Aussie pal.

If your Aussie doesn’t get the exercise and playtime they need, they can quickly become over-excited and over-energized, which can cause whining. It’s not hard to figure out when your Aussie is overexcited; here are some signs.

  • Barking
  • Running in circles
  • Wagging its tail rapidly
  • Jumping up and down
  • Displaying zoomies

There’s a simple fix for an over-excited Aussie. You can take the dog outside to exercise or play. If you can’t get outside, you can dim the lights or use a calming treat or candle to help the dog calm down. There are a few ways to calm down an over-excited Aussie, and you have to find the one that works for your furry friend.

3. Your Aussie Wants Attention

This is the number one reason most Aussie pet parents give for their Aussie whining a lot. It’s a huge responsibility and time-consuming to raise a puppy, and an Aussie can sometimes be more challenging than most.

This breed develops strong attachments to their pet parents, and they have a strong need to be right up under their owners most of the time. If your Aussie feels like it isn’t getting enough attention, it will whine and cry until you give it the attention it wants.

Of course, the best thing to do is pay attention to your Aussie, but you can also try a program that trains your Aussie. You want to reinforce certain behaviors to be repeated and discourage others. For example, if your dog is whining while you’re eating, they probably want your food. This isn’t a behavior you want to be repeated.

However, if the dog is whining to be taken out to potty, it is a behavior you want to reinforce. You need to determine why the dog whines for attention, then support the good behaviors or try to eliminate the bad ones.

Man Carrying a Australian Shepherd Dog Beside a Woman
Image Credit: Cottonbro, Pexels

4. Your Aussie has Separation Anxiety

Aussies tend to become attached to their pet parents and love nothing more than having your undivided attention. That’s why it’s easy for an Australian Shepherd to suffer from separation anxiety.

If you are someone who travels a lot and isn’t able to take your pet with you, an Aussie might not be the best pet for your home. If you’ve been home with your Aussie for quite a while, and it gets used to playing, walking, and lounging on the couch constantly, the whining may become extreme if you try to leave the pup behind when you go back to work. Signs of separation anxiety include the following:

  • Whines and jumps when you cuddle or pet them
  • Howls or whines when you leave them alone
  • Is overly excited when you come home
  • Is destructive and tears up things when you’re gone

Dealing with separation anxiety in your Aussie can be difficult, especially if they’re used to you being home with them. Make sure not to make a big deal of leaving or a big deal when you return. No kissing and cuddling before you walk out the door, and when you return, ignore your pet until it calms down.

You can also provide plenty of toys and chew sticks for your pup while you’re gone to keep it busy. Make sure there are no loose pieces on the toys that can choke your Aussie. It’s still best not to leave your Aussie alone for too long. They are people dogs and need their owners around as much as possible.

5. Your Aussie Is Scared

Puppies, whether Aussie puppies or not, are impressionable and become startled easily. That’s why it’s important to socialize and train them early in their lives. It is possible that the breeder you got your puppy from isn’t reputable and didn’t take care of it the way they should have.

This could make the puppy scared of everything, which will end with it whining a lot. Signs that your Aussie is scared include the following:

  • Shaking
  • Tucked tails
  • Lowered ears
  • Trying to hide behind you

Getting a puppy that’s been mistreated to trust you is not easy, and it will be a long, hard road. It can be done with patience, love, and determination, however. Make sure you don’t yell at the Aussie or raise your hand at it because that will make the problem worse, and the dog will learn to fear you.

mini australian shepherd up close
Image Credit: Helen Rose Gabriel, Shutterstock

6. Your Aussie Is in Pain

While Aussies are usually a pretty healthy breed, they get sick or injured just like any other dog. It is possible that your Aussie is whining because it’s in pain. Some signs of a dog in pain include the following:

  • Limping
  • Constantly licking one area
  • Yelping when moved or picked up

If you suspect your Aussie is in pain, you should take it to the vet immediately for diagnosis and treatment. Your vet can determine the cause of the problem and hopefully treat it so your pet recover.

7. Your Aussie Is Bored

If you discover that none of the issues listed above are the reason your Aussie is whining, it could be that your dog is just bored. We’ve already mentioned that the Aussie is a high-energy dog that needs plenty of exercise and playtime. If your Aussie is bored, it’s going to whine until you pay attention and give it something to do.

When you decide to give an Australian Shepherd a forever home, you must be willing to commit to exercising and playing with your puppy daily. If you don’t always have time to do that, you need an active family member or dog sitter who can. Signs that your dog is bored and needs a job to do include the following:

  • Whines that are short and high-pitched
  • Sighing
  • Seems lazy and disinterested in their usual toys and games
  • Becomes destructive
  • Hides its things or even its food

As previously mentioned, the best way to cure boredom in your Aussie is to get out and play with it. Give the dog mental and physical exercise for the best results.

australian shepherd dog standing on carpet in living room
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

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Australian Shepherds are intelligent, energetic, loving, and loyal. They are an affectionate breed but tend to whine and cry if there’s something they want or need. When you adopt a puppy, you need to get to know the different whines that a dog has. For instance, there’s a whine for hunger, but there’s also a whine for boredom, and you have to watch for the signs, so you know which is which.

If you have an Aussie puppy, the reasons above are probably why it’s whining. If you cannot determine the source of the behavior, it’s time to make an appointment with your vet to ensure there’s no underlying condition causing the problem.

Featured Image Credit: EvitaS, Pixabay

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