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Why Do German Shepherds Whine? 7 Reasons & How to Stop It

Patricia Dickson

By Patricia Dickson

sad german shepherd lying on sand

As a dog parent, you know that German Shepherds tend to whine at the most inopportune times. You’ll be watching television in your pajamas, ready to settle in for a long night of movie-watching, and then the dog starts whining.

German Shepherds are supposed to be stoic dogs that aren’t scared of anything, so why is your faithful companion whining? It could be several things, including the dog being sick or in pain. However, before calling the veterinarian, you can examine our list of seven reasons German Shepherds whine and how to stop it.

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The 7 Reasons Why German Shepherds Whine

1. Your Shepherd Needs to Go to the Bathroom

The reason your German Shepherd is whining could be as simple as the dog needing to go outside to potty. The dog might whine, then run to or stare at the door, trying to tell you it needs to go outside. You should never ignore your dog’s whines to go potty, as it’s not good for the animal to hold it for long or good for your house if it decides it can’t any longer.

This whining usually happens right after your dog wakes up from a nap or just a few minutes after it eats.

2. The Dog Wants Attention

You already know that your German Shepherd is an affectionate, loving animal, just like most German Shepherds. The dog could be whining because it wants your attention and is ready to cuddle or play. These are attention-seeking animals, and if you haven’t paid the dog attention in a while, it will let you know it by whining until you do.

It’s best not to give in when your Shepherd whines for attention initially. Instead, distract it until the whining stops, then give it the attention it’s craving. You don’t want your dog to start associating whining with getting its way, or you’re in for a disaster.

german shepherd dog with his owner at the park
Image Credit: Happy monkey, Shutterstock

3. Your Pet Is Bored

German Shepherds are a very active breed. If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise or being mentally stimulated, it’s possible that it’s bored and whining about it. You can cure this by ensuring your dog gets at least 2 hours of physical exercise daily and providing it with many challenging games and toys. A hyperactive, bored German Shepherd will become destructive, aggressive, and whiny, so make sure your dog gets the exercise and mental stimulation it needs to be healthy and happy.

4. The Dog Is Happy to See You

Dogs, including German Shepherds, are usually happy to see their pet parents when they walk through the door in the evening. Your German Shepherd may whine when it first sees you out of sheer excitement.

However, if the whining is excessive or your German Shepherd suffers from separation anxiety, you should wait for the dog to calm down before you greet him, as you don’t want it to become a habit.

german shepherd dog lying on sand
Image Credit: Christel SAGNIEZ, Pixabay

5. Your Dog Is Sick or in Pain

Unlike cats, dogs that are injured, sick, or in pain sometimes whine to show you something’s wrong. If the whining is accompanied by a lack of appetite, drowsiness, or other signs of sickness, you must take the dog to the vet for an examination. Until your appointment, it will help to comfort and love your pet to make it feel better.

An illness or injury should never be ignored because it can cause other health issues if not addressed by a veterinarian and treated promptly.

6. Your Shepherd Is Stressed

Although German Shepherds are known for being fearless dogs, they get scared, anxious, and stressed. If your German Shepherd is whining and none of the reasons above apply, your dog may be stressed or afraid of something.

Some events that could be stressing your dog and making it whine include storms, fireworks, and even a stranger in the home. You never know what will scare or stress your pet, so ensure you’re prepared for every eventuality. If your dog is whining because it’s scared, it’s best to try calming it down.

If it continues, your vet can prescribe a calming medication to help relieve your German Shepherd’s fear and stress.

German shepherd looking up scared
Image Credit: Pxhere

7. The Dog Is Trying to Apologize

While dogs don’t and can’t apologize, they can act submissive if they feel they’ve done something wrong. It’s not that they feel guilty about chewing up the furniture or getting out of the yard; it’s that they can tell you’re upset with them and are trying to make up for it.

There are a few other signs of a dog trying to apologize, including keeping its ears flat, its tail between its legs, and a droopy body.

How To Reduce Whining in Your German Shepherd

Now that you know the reasons for your German Shepherd whining, you’re probably wondering how to reduce the whining to an acceptable level.

  • Ask your vet for recommendations
  • Ignore the whining unless your dog needs to go potty
  • Give your dog plenty of attention
  • Train your pet not to whine (professionally if needed)
  • Distract the dog
smiling woman hugging her german shepherd dog
Image Credit: Sam Wordley, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds are known for being courageous, loving, protective, and loyal pets. However, they do tend to whine a bit. Whether it’s because they are sick, suffering from separation anxiety, or one of the other reasons on our list above, you can effectively stop the whining when you determine the reason. However, you should make an appointment with your vet if the whining continues to ensure your dog is not suffering from an injury or illness.

Featured Image Credit: DanaTentis, Pixabay

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