At first, you almost don’t think you hear it, it’s so low. Then the noise grows in volume until it’s unmistakable. Your Australian Shepherd is whining at you, and you have no idea why. What’s going on here and how do you make them quiet down?
To get your Aussie to stop whining, try these tactics:
- Take them to the vet (in case they’re in pain)
- Train them to be quiet
- Play with them and tire them out
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about why your Aussie whines and how to put a stop to it once and for all. If you want a quieter house, then you’re not going to want to miss this! Keep reading.
Why Do Australian Shepherds Whine?
Australian Shepherds by their very nature are vocal dogs. As herders, they have to be, as their barks and stern noises could keep other animals in check. We wrote on our blog recently how to deal with your Aussie noisily barking at every last little thing, but whining is another issue entirely.
When a dog whines, it comes across as a sad sound, at least to us. You might always think something is wrong when you hear your Aussie whining, but it’s not necessarily. Among canines, whining is another communication method, just like barking is.
That can also make it hard to pinpoint why your Aussie is barking. Are they upset? Hungry? In pain? Let’s get into the many reasons your Australian Shepherd might sit and whine at you.
It could be that your Aussie is trying to appease a bad situation, so they’ll start whining. For example, let’s say you come home from a long day at work and see that your couch cushions are destroyed.
Rather than take the brunt of your verbal punishment, your Shepherd could begin whining to try to make the problem go away. You typically end up feeling bad for your dog in the process, so you let the whole matter go. It works, so your Aussie does it again the next time.
In other cases, whining can be exactly what it sounds like, a display of anxiety. Perhaps it’s a stormy afternoon and you’re out walking your Aussie, but they don’t like thunderstorms much. In the distance, you both hear a low rumble of thunder. In response, your Aussie begins whining.
In a case such as this, it’s very easy to determine why your Australian Shepherd is whining. Once you bring them indoors where it’s safe and they can’t hear the thunder as much, they should quiet down and settle in.
You may express excitement by jumping around, clapping, and shouting. Dogs do it more subtly, such as whining when they’re overjoyed. If you offer your Aussie a walk and they begin whining, it’s not that they’re anxious or that they’ve changed their mind. They’re just expressing how happy they are to go on a walk with you.
This is one that will probably come up a lot, especially if you’ve adopted a young Aussie. Your dog has lots of ways to get your attention, such as sitting right by you in the same room. If you’re particularly busy with work or taking care of the children though, then you might not even see your dog.
Thus, they decide to rely on vocal cues to grab your attention. Barking works, but whining does too. It sounds more immediate, so you drop what you’re doing to see what your dog wants. It turns out, your Aussie just craves your time. They’d like to play ball, go for a walk, or even sit out in the backyard with you.
Illness or Injury
In more serious situations, your Australian Shepherd may begin whining to indicate to you that something’s wrong with their health. Perhaps they’re feeling under the weather but aren’t yet exhibiting any major symptoms. Whining is a good way to tell you they’re not at their best.
If your dog is whining and limping, acting lethargic, or staying in one place, then that could be a sign of injury.
How Do You Get Your Aussie to Stop Whining?
Whew, your Aussie sure does whine for a lot of reasons! Contextual clues should point you in the general direction of whether your dog is vocalizing for attention or because something is actually wrong.
Only in having a decent idea why your Australian Shepherd is whining can you begin to ameliorate the issue. Here are three methods you can then try for a quieter dog and a more peaceful home.
Schedule a Vet Appointment
First thing’s first, you want to bring your Aussie in to the vet if you’re not sure why they’re whining. Many dog diseases don’t necessarily have symptoms, so you wouldn’t know something is wrong with your Shepherd until it’s too late. These diseases include canine coronavirus (unrelated to COVID-19), canine degenerative valve disease, leishmaniasis, and giardia.
If you’re not familiar, leishmaniasis is a canine disease from a type of parasite known as the Leishmania. Giardia affects the intestines when Giardia duodenalis, a parasite, gets in your Aussie’s system and wreaks havoc. Both diseases can infect people too, by the way.
Once at your vet’s office, they can give your dog a checkup, ensure your Aussie is up to date on all their shots and meds (such as heartworm), and diagnose any injuries or illnesses that may make your dog whine so much.
If it turns out your Aussie has a clean bill of health and you took them to the vet for nothing, then at least you know that. Yes, you shelled out some money, but you also ruled out the biggest and most serious reason for the whining, which is injury or illness.
Train Them to Be Quieter
Now that your dog has been to the vet, you know their whining is more behavioral than a sign they’re in pain or sick. You may never be able to completely stop your Aussie from whining if they’re excited or anxious, but if they want your attention because they’re bored, that you can control.
What normally happens when your Australian Shepherd begins whining? You probably look at them and give them a pet, right? At least the first time. By the fifth instance of your Aussie whining, you’re eager to shush them so you can get back to what you were doing.
Anytime you acknowledge your whining Aussie–yes, even to shush them–you’re giving them what they want, your attention. That will only encourage them to keep up with the behavior because they know it works.
The next time your Aussie begins whining at you, turn away so your back is to them. Put your arms across your chest and don’t turn back until it’s quiet. You can even walk away if that makes things easier.
Once your Aussie realizes that hey, you’re not acknowledging their whining and rewarding it with attention, they’ll stop. When your Aussie can quit whining for a few minutes, come back in and give them pets and snuggles. You might even offer a treat to encourage further silence.
Like with any training, it can take several instances of repeated behavior like this for it to sink in that your Aussie gets rewarded when they stop whining. Have patience and keep at it!
Get Them on a Reliable Play Schedule
If your Aussie is exhausted to the point where they want to collapse and take a nap, then it’s hard to muster up the energy to whine. Many Australian Shepherd owners, especially those with puppies, will get their dog on a regular play schedule to tire them out.
This, combined with the training above, works especially well if your Aussie primarily whines to get attention or to play.
Is Whining in Australian Shepherds Common?
You’ve owned other dog breeds before, and sure, they’ve all whined a little, but none as much as your Australian Shepherd. Sometimes it leaves you a little worried.
Aussies possess some traits that make them uniquely them, and whining is one of them. Yes, sometimes you have to take the good with the bad, and this is one example of that. If you’re truly concerned with how much your Shepherd whines, then as we said before, go to the vet. Outside of that, know that some whining is a trait of the breed. It’s all very normal.
Australian Shepherds tend to whine for all sorts of reasons, such as to get your attention or if they’re sick or injured. If you can rule out a medical condition, then the next step to quiet your Aussie is to train them not to whine. Failing to indulge in their bad behavior will clue them in to stop. Good luck!