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9 Surprising Reasons Why Your Dog Whines When You Pet Him

Why Does My Dog Whine When I Pet Him

Your fluffy buddy is never one to pass a good petting session.

But recently, they seem to whine while you’re doing it.

You’re not sure if this is a good thing.

So you come looking for answers.

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

In this article, you’ll find out:

  • Whether whining is an indication of pain or not.
  • 9 reasons why your dog whines when you pet him.
  • Why some dogs don’t like being petted and how they show it.
  • And many more…

Why does my dog whine when I pet him?

Your dog is whining when you pet him because of excitement. They also whine to ask for attention, assurance, or something they want. Other reasons they do it include greeting you or being used to it. In some cases, it may be due to pain or anxiety. Or they simply don’t like being touched.

9 reasons why your dog whines when you pet him

#1: Your dog is excited

“I love it when you do this, hooman! Pwease don’t stop.”

One reason your dog is whining while you pet him is that they’re excited.

Dogs love being pet by their humans. It’s one of their ways to bond with you.

A study showed that by just seeing you, your pup will already feel excited.

And that excitement doubles when you touch them.

Signs that your fur baby is enjoying being pet are the following:

  • Waggy tail.
  • Floppy ears.
  • Relaxed body.
  • Leaning into you.

Those ear scratches and belly rubs are wonderful. But for your furry friend, it’s less about the touch itself.

It’s more about the energy you’re transmitting through that touch.

This is because you’re more inclined to pet them when you’re offering them praise.

Or attempting to show them some love. Or even when you’re seeking comfort.

Interesting fact: Researchers found that dogs prefer being pet over being given words of praise.

Also, did you know that dogs can benefit more by being touched in the right places?

It helps if you know where their sweet spot is.

And you’ll know you hit the spot when they start kicking their legs with delight.

The benefits of petting a dog are (both for you and for them):

  • Reduce heart rate.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Strengthens relationship.
  • Improves emotional state.
  • Reduces anxiety and stress.

“How can I properly pet a dog?”

First, you should be aware of their body language.

A friendly dog will approach you with their ears slightly pushed back. And you will also notice their tail wagging.

When they start to sniff your body, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re already requesting you to pet them.

This is only their way of getting information about you 

Don’t pet them if they pull back. Or when they appear nervous and jumpy.

You’ll know they’re signaling friendliness and a desire for interaction if they go toward you. 

And if you notice that their body posture, eyes, and mouth are relaxed.

They may also establish brief eye contact. Once they do these, it’s time for pets.

Pet the dog slowly in areas where they feel comfortable being touched.

If they want more physical contact, they will normally lean toward you.

Also, make sure to stop if they pull away or show signs of distress.

This includes licking their lips or revealing the whites of their eyes.

#2: Your dog is loving the attention

“Finally mum! It’s time for my daily hooman touch!”

Dogs love attention, especially from their humans.

And the reason they whine while you pet them is that they’re happy you finally gave them attention.

So make sure you’re giving them enough of it every day.

But do you know why they want constant attention?

Here are some reasons why:

  • Clingy.
  • Boredom.
  • Young age.
  • Excess energy.
  • Lack of exercise.

They could even whine out of nowhere just to get your attention.

Have you ever noticed how children throw tantrums when they can’t catch their parent’s attention?

Long whines in dogs can be the canine version of this.

This frequently happens when you’re busy with work or simply focusing in front of the television.

But it’s critical that you don’t give in to your dog’s whimpering.

This is because if you give them what they want (which is your attention), it will only encourage them to whine more.

Aside from whining, other ways they’re asking for attention are the following:

You might also want to read: 17 reasons why your dog bites your feet (so much)

#3: Your dog is greeting you

Some dogs whine while you pet them as a sign of greeting.

Maybe you immediately pet them once you go home.

And that’s why they greet you with a whine. It’s their way of saying…

“My hooman is home! I get to have some pets!”

Greeting is an important part of canine interaction. 

How they greet you would also show the kind of relationship they have with you.

If they have a strong bond with you, they’re likely to go running towards the door just to greet you.

While if they have a bad relationship with their owner, they’ll become scared once the person comes home.

However, do you know that proper greeting is part of a dog’s basic training?

There are dogs that stay calm and wait for their fur parent to greet them first.

And there are those that jump and even pee when they greet people.

Watch the video below on how to teach your pup to greet politely:

Check out also: 9 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Smells Your Breath

#4: Your dog wants something

“This doggo wants more of your caress.”

Your dog whining while being pet could mean they want something from you.

Which actually might be anything. They could be asking for food or treats.

They might want to play. Or they could be asking for more pets.

Maybe they’re also telling you where to exactly pet them. 

Most pet parents are inclined to pet a dog at the top of their heads.

But it’s actually one body part they hate being touched.

So where should you pet your pooch? Remember that each dog has different preferences.

But there are specific areas that most of them like being touched.

These are the following:

  • Belly.
  • Under their chin.
  • Front of the neck.
  • Sides of their tighs.
  • Lower back near their tail.
  • The underside of their chest.

Keep in mind though that you should wait for them to initiate contact.

And only pet them in places they like.

#5: Your dog is showing appeasement behavior

Dog Shows Appeasement Behavior When You Pet Him

“This is weird, hooman. I don’t know how to feel about this.”

Sometimes, your pooch whines while you pet them because they find it stressful.

And when they feel this way, they whine as a gesture of appeasement.

One study concluded that being petted on the head, shoulder, and paw showed more appeasement gestures in dogs.

This is why knowing where to pet your furry friend matters.

Appeasement behaviors include:

  • Yawning.
  • Crouching.
  • Licking lips.
  • Tucking tail.
  • Rolling over.
  • Holding ears back.
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Turning their body sideways.

VCA mentions that dogs display these gestures to calm a situation down.

They usually do it when they’re feeling stressed or fearful.

This is why it’s important that we know how to read our canine companion’s body language.

So if notice them giving you an appeasement whine, simply acknowledge it by ignoring them and going away.

In the wild, whining in a pack is a symbol of submission. It’s their way of saying to another canine… “I come in peace”.

Their tail, head, and ears are frequently pointed down when they whine like this.

That’s why domesticated dogs do this too when they think another canine is a threat.

They show appeasement behaviors like whining to avoid conflict.

However, when your pup displays these behaviors, it could also mean they’re not confident.

Some signs that they have low self-esteem include:

  • Cowering.
  • Urinating.
  • Fear biting.
  • Averting eyes.
  • Lowering head.

Dogs who are not confident tend to believe that new people or animals are a threat.

So if your pup whines and exhibits one or more of the mentioned behaviors, you may want to seek professional help.

This is to instill confidence in them. And help overcome their dread of meeting new people and dogs.

#6: Your dog is in pain

“Aw! That spot hurts :(“

Whining can sometimes be a sign of pain and discomfort. 

Especially if they whine whenever you pet a certain area of their body.

You’ll notice it right away if their whine sounds painful.

It’s known that dogs tend to hide their pain as much as possible.

So when they whine, it’s the closest thing they can tell you about how they’re feeling.

If this behavior is new to you, the first thing you should do is to check their health.

It would also help if you’re aware of the symptoms of pain in dogs.

These are:

If you can’t figure out what’s causing their pain, take them to the vet for a physical exam.

Whining could also be an indication of chronic pain if they do it while being touched.

AKC says that there’s a difference between acute and chronic pain.

Acute pain is more obvious. You’ll easily notice the signs which include crying.

It’s mostly due to injury, surgery, or an illness.

While chronic pain is more subtle. They might be able to tolerate this long before you notice any symptoms.

It’s also more common in senior dogs. And the major cause of it is osteoarthritis. 

Interesting fact: Researchers found that osteoarthritis occurs in 40% of dogs.

When chronic pain becomes severe, it could cause your pooch to become depressed.

So make sure to watch out for the following signs:

  • Limping.
  • Stiffness.
  • Lethargy.
  • Weight gain.
  • Reluctance to jump.
  • Avoids climbing stairs.

Read next: 11 Real Reasons Why Your Dog Cries When Picked Up + 7 Tips

#7: Your dog is anxious

Whining can also be your pup’s way of communicating that they’re anxious.

Perhaps your pup is suffering from separation anxiety.

And you only pet them when they’re about to leave the house.

This will make them whine because they know they’re about to be left alone.

The sound of the whine will be a little higher in pitch and will sound like a cry.

They may also have associated being pet with this negative experience that’s why they’re feeling anxious.

You may also notice your pooch trembling as well as pacing back and forth.

According to AKC, the following are other signs of anxiety in dogs:

  • Panting.
  • Drooling.
  • Aggression.
  • Restlessness.
  • Destructive behavior.

You can help your pup overcome this by avoiding petting them when you’re about to leave.

The following can also be done to help them calm down:

  • Give them a t-shirt with your scent.
  • Take them for a walk before leaving.
  • Play calming music before going out.
  • Leave them with toys to keep them busy.
  • Be lowkey when entering and leaving the house.

Read further: 18 anxiety signs in dogs + 5 causes

#8: They’re used to it

“Doggo whines because it gives me more pets!”

Another reason your fur baby whines when you pet them is they’re used to it.

Dogs who are permitted to continue whining while being pet will do it again.

It’s possible that a lack of training is also the reason they’re doing this.

Remember that whining should be ignored if they’re doing it to get what they want.

That’s why it’s also important to pay attention to the sound of their whine.

The more you get to know your dog, the more you’ll know the difference.

In no time, you’ll be able to notice that there are different pitches depending on what they’re feeling.

Did you know that some dog breeds are also more inclined to whine?

Some of them are the following:

  • Foxhound.
  • Chihuahua.
  • Schnauzer.
  • Toy Poodle.
  • Dachshund.
  • Pomeranian.
  • Siberian Husky.
  • Yorkshire Terrier.
  • Alaskan Malamute.
  • German Shepherd.

Reading tip: 11 Reasons Why Your German Shepherd Whines So Much + 7 Tips

“How can I stop my dog from whining while being pet?”

What you should do is wait to pet them until you notice them being calm.

And then teach them to do something else instead of whining.

You may let them sit or lie down. Once they do this, pet them.

And you may also reward them with treats and praise. Stop if they whine while doing it.

Repeat doing these until they understand what they should and shouldn’t do.

Also, remember that consistency is key.

Another thing to keep in mind is not to give in easily to what they want.

It may be hard to resist the sound of a whining dog but it’s better to discourage it.

This way, they won’t have any unwanted behavior in the future.

#9: They don’t like being touched

“Doggo don’t like pets. Pwease stop.”

In some cases, your pup may whine while being pet because they simply don’t like it.

Some dogs are born with an aversion to being pet.

These are the kind of canines that are more independent and don’t require a lot of affection.

Some may also be sensitive to touch.

This isn’t to say they don’t care about you or that they hate you.

It’s nothing personal, they just don’t like being caressed.

The following are signs your pooch does not like being pet:

  • Tensing up.
  • Licking lips.
  • Leaning away.
  • Ducking their head.
  • Avoids eye contact.

But even if they don’t like being touched, you can teach them to get used to it.

First, consult a vet to rule out any medical issues.

You want to make sure your pooch isn’t in any pain or discomfort.

If your dog is in pain whenever you touch her, no amount of training will help.

Once you’re sure that their whining is not caused by any illness, it’s time to train them.

It’s vital to always pay attention to their body language.

This will help you understand what your dog likes and dislikes.

Also, keep an eye on their facial expressions.

PetMD suggests reducing physical contact for a few days.

When you do this, you may notice them trying to initiate contact with you.

Look out for signs such as brushing against you.

You may now try to touch them by giving them gentle pets on their shoulder.

Do this for only a few seconds and watch how they’ll react.

Stop if they move away or if they begin to show signs of stress or anxiety.

If they want more, you’ll know it right away. They might move in closer or paw at you.

When they do this, pet them but only do it briefly. As they get used to it, you can add more petting time.