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

Why Does My German Shepherd Whine So Much?

Your German Shepherd is a big whiner. 

They whine day in, day out. Happy or sad. 

And now your eyes are like a panda’s due to sleepless nights…

Is this normal? 

In this article, you’ll discover:

  • 7 tips to stop your dog from whining.
  • How to comfort your dog with the anxiety wrap.
  • 11 reasons why your German Shepherd whines so much.
  • Whether your dog shows their love for you through whining.
  • And much, much more…

Why does my German Shepherd whine so much? 

Your German Shepherd whines because of reasons such as being a vocal breed, excitement, being in heat, being threatened and scared, having separation anxiety, experiencing pain, boredom, trying to get your attention, or needing something. 

People also ask:

11 reasons why your German Shepherd whines so much

#1: They are vocal breeds

Your German Shepherd is not an opera singer, but they sure love hitting notes.

Whenever they whine, they look at you for approval as if saying,

“Did I do a good job? Was the whining tone high enough?”

You shake your head. 

You pray to the heavens that your neighbors won’t come knocking on your door one day, thinking you’re hurting your dog. 

What is the reason behind all this whining?

Being vocal is a part of a German Shepherd’s personality. It’s because they are descendants of wolves. 

You know, those ones howling during the full moon.

Another reason is that German Shepherds are bred for herding. Hence, where their name comes from. 

They were trained to bark, growl, and howl. 

This is to alert their owners of any threat in the herd. 

So every time your pooch sings – I mean, whines, remember that it’s just what they’re made to do.

#2: Seeing you is the best part of their day

Your German Shepherd Whines When They See You

Whenever you come home from work, you see your German Shepherd looking at you from your house’s window.

15 steps away… they slowly start wagging their tail.

10 steps away… their tail already looks like car wipers on a rainy day. 

5 steps away… they disappear from the window and come to the door.

And as you open it, they greet you by jumping on you. They whine like there’s no tomorrow. 

You ask yourself, 

“If they are so happy to see me, why do they whine?” 

It could be because of too much excitement. Whining is the only way they can express how they feel. 

Every dog is different. And not all whines are bad.

Some German Shepherds show their love by following you. While others adore you so much they just can’t help but whine. 

#3: They are scared of you

Dogs commit mistakes. It’s normal. 

You may have experienced coming home to a dug-up yard. Or a broken vase. 

“Now, who did this?”, you said loudly.

You try to look for your dog everywhere. And then you heard a small, almost crying sound. 

“Found you!”, you exclaimed.

By the looks of your German Shepherd and their constant whining, you already know that they are the culprit. You try to comfort them and reassure them that it’s okay. 

Dogs whine because they are scared of your reaction for something they have done wrong. 

#4: It’s their special way to make you feel better

Another reason why German Shepherds whine is because they are empathizing with you.

Have you ever noticed that whenever you’re sad, your beloved pet comes to you for a cuddle? 

They whine as if they are telling you that you are not alone. 

Dogs are very intuitive animals. They sense our emotions so they try to make us feel better with their presence. 

#5: Trying to get your attention

You’re petting your pooch one lazy afternoon. Stroking their fur, caressing their head. 

Every time you stop, they whine as if they are being tortured. Well, you can’t be petting them all day, can you?

Sometimes, German Shepherds can really be drama queens. Especially when they are used to being spoiled.

They use their whines as a way of talking to you. 

In their perspective, the more they whine, the more you’ll come rushing to give them what they want. 

#6: They need something

German Shepherd Whines When They Need Something

It’s not the habit of your German Shepherd to whine. 

They do it rarely. But when they do, it’s continuous. And it’s downright alarming. 

Whenever they whine, they sound like someone is making them cry! 

You notice that they only do this for some reason. It could be that their bowl of water is dry. Or they are still hungry. 

Here’s a fact. A study shows that dogs have the mental age of a 2-year old toddler. 

When a child cries, it is usually to let their parents know that they need something. Or it could be because they are hurt.

But dogs don’t cry. They whine instead. 

#7: Feeling threatened

Every New Year’s Eve, you close your windows. You don’t go out. And you stay as close as you can to your German Shepherd. 

When the clock strikes 12, your sweet pooch starts whining. They also start trembling. 

You hug them for comfort. You can’t help but feel bad for them.

Like many other dogs, your German Shepherd is scared of the loud sounds of the fireworks. 

You stay with them until the explosion stops. 

Dogs whine whenever they are scared of something. 

Aside from fireworks, they could also be frightened of other loud sounds like thunderstorms and fire truck alarms. 

That’s not all.

Another thing that makes them whine is when they are intimidated. Or something has changed in their environment. 

It could be a bigger dog. Or if there’s a new man in the house. 

Look out for these signs that tell if your dog is frightened or scared:

  • Cowering.
  • Head down.
  • Moving slowly.
  • Staying in one place.
  • Backing away and hiding.
  • Tail tucked in between legs.
  • Hair standing at the back of their neck.

#8: Something is hurting 

Your dog silently whines every night. It keeps you awake because you’re worried. 

“Is my dog alright or are they just dreaming?”, you ask yourself. 

But by the sound of their silent cries, it seems they are in pain. 

Dogs whine to alert their owners when they’re hurting. Another way you can tell they’re in pain is by their reactions. 

Are they wincing when you touch them?

According to research, this is a common situation for dogs as they age. Old dogs may experience illnesses such as heart problems, skin disorders, and arthritis.

So when your dog constantly whines, have them checked to the nearest vet. 

#9: There’s nothing to do

Dogs, such as your German Shepherd, spend half of their day sleeping. 

That’s around 12-14 hours each day! 

And when they are awake, they like to lounge around a bit more. Smell the air, cuddle with you a little.

And for the remaining time that they are awake, dogs try to exhaust all their energy. 

They run, they dig, and they play. 

But what if there’s nothing else to do? 

They don’t have a job. Much more a Facebook or Instagram account to kill time with.

So where will they spend all their remaining energy? 

German Shepherds are working dogs. If they are unable to do or perform activities that they are bred to do, they get stressed. 

Your dog whines to express their boredom. They want to let you know they need some exercise. 

#10: They don’t want to be left alone

Your German Shepherd Doesn't Want To Be Left Alone

Your German Shepherd whines every time they are alone. 

Even if it’s for just a little while, they can’t help but be anxious. They could be thinking:

“Are they coming back? Why did they leave me here all by myself? 

Don’t wanna be here all by myself anymore…”

Dogs are social animals. They thrive in an environment where they can interact with humans and other dogs. 

If they whine whenever they are alone, it could be because of separation anxiety. 

It’s a common thing for dogs who came from animal shelters. It could be that their previous owners abandoned them before. 

Or it could be that they were separated too early from their mother and other siblings. 

So when you leave, they fear you won’t come back again. 

Heartbreaking, isn’t it?

#11: Dogs also get jealous

You love each and every one of your pooches. But sometimes, it’s impossible to walk them all at the same time. 

They are dogs of all sizes. Some small, others big.

So you take them outside one by one. You want to spend quality time with all of them equally.

No more, no less.

Sadly, your German Shepherd doesn’t think of it that way. 

The moment you take your other dogs outside, your pooch feels betrayed. They whine like crazy, even if they went outside first. 

This is because they think that you’re giving more attention to the other dogs. 

Bonus: Female dogs whine when they’re in heat

It’s the time of the year again. 

Male dogs, yet again, come up to your house. 

Sniffing. Searching. Wondering where the prettiest female dog lives. 

As the males look for their mate, the owner of a female German Shepherd gets sleepless nights.

Their dog whines non-stop. She pleads, hoping she can come outside to meet her ‘Dog Charming’. 

They want to mate.

This goes on for about two weeks. 12 nights of constant barking and whining. 

Good grief. 

Twice a year, female dogs go through the heat cycle (also known as the estrous cycle). When this occurs, female dogs can get pregnant if they are not spayed.

7 tips on how to get your German Shepherd to stop whining

#1: Don’t fall for their tricks

The first tip to stop this habit is to not let them trick their way into you. 


Don’t give in and fall for their puppy eyes. Have self-control. If you don’t have it, you will not be able to properly correct this behavior.

Stop rushing your way to them every time they whine. 

#2: Wrap them up

German Shepherds love to cuddle. Especially as puppies. 

Whenever they are afraid of something, they find comfort in getting close to someone they trust.

But what if you can’t always be there?

Here’s a special technique you can use called the ‘Anxiety Wrap’

It’s done by wrapping your dog with a scarf to give them the impression of being swaddled like a baby. Or having a warm hug.

Here’s how to do it using a scarf:

Step 1: Find a scarf that will fit your German Shepherd’s size. Place the center of the scarf on your dog’s chest. 

Step 2: Pull it up and cross its ends over their shoulder. 

Step 3: Cross the scarf again on your dog’s chest and pull it back up. 

Step 4: Tie the scarf for security. 

Many dog owners make use of the anxiety wrap every New Years Day. It helps calm dogs when they are frightened because of the loud fireworks. 

#3: Reward over punishment

Which do you think is better? 

Giving your German Shepherd a reward for a job well done, or punishing them for bad behavior?

A study shows that rewarding, rather than punishing is more effective in correcting a dog’s actions.

So instead of grounding your dog who whines constantly, what you can do is ignore them instead. 

The more they whine, the more you don’t give them attention. This tells them that whining will not lead to what they want. 

When they stop. That’s the only time you give them what they want. 

You can also reward them with a cookie for good work!

#4: Take them to the vet

Not only will the veterinarian be able to check your German Shepherd’s condition, but they can also recommend medication and treatment for your pooch. 

If they are anxious or in pain, vets can provide the medication. 

And if your German Shepherd is a female dog who brings all the boys to the yard, you can have them spayed

This will end their heat cycles and chances of getting pregnant. 

#5: The power of the ‘Quiet’ command

This command is not just for dogs who bark excessively. It can also be used for dogs who whine all the time. 

The ‘Quiet’ command can be taught just like how you would with other commands. Ignore them when they whine and give a reward when they are quiet and calm. 

#6: Spend at least one hour a day with them

Not everyone has all day to spend around with their dogs.

You’ve got work, house chores, errands. And you also have to take care of the kids (if you have any).

Totally understandable! But remember…

You have all those things. While your dog only has you.

Yes, you may be overwhelmed by all those things. But the highlight of your dog’s day is the one they get to spend time with you. 

They depend on you for their everything. 

If your German Shepherd constantly whines for your attention, maybe they just really miss you.

Believe me, keeping that in mind makes me stop from whatever that I’m doing and spend quality time with my pooch. 

It doesn’t have to be a few hours. Sometimes, even an hour is enough. 

And if you’re not around, you can still keep them entertained. 

Give them toys and puzzles that will stimulate their mind and keep them busy at the same time. 

#7: Designated cuddle place

If your German Shepherd doesn’t whine excessively, then there’s no need to correct it. 

Especially when they are just too happy!

What you can do instead is to limit it by assigning a specific place in your home for cuddles. This will make them focus more on getting to the area rather than whining and jumping on you every time you come home.