Dealing with a dog whining at night can be very frustrating because apart from your broken nights sleep, it can be hard to work out why they are doing it and respond in a way that will stop this problem fast. That’s why we’ve listed 10 different solutions below that might help you stop your dog whining and get a good night’s sleep.
1. Identify the Reason for the Whining
The reason your dog is whining is likely to fall into one of these 3 groups; discomfort, anxiety or attention seeking. If you can identify the reason behind this behaviour problem, you’ll make it so much easier to stop it. Observe your dog closely and try and work out what triggers the whining before choosing a solution.
2. Check Their Basic Needs Have Been Met
One of the first things you can look at is some basics. Do they whine because they need to urinate in the night? Remember to let them out just before you go to bed and most dogs should be able to go through the night. If you do need to let them out in the night, do it without paying any attention to the dog so they don’t see it as a great opportunity for attention and play. If they need to urinate frequently, check with your vet they don’t have a urine infection. Also check that they aren’t whining because they are hungry, or in need of water.
3. Make Sure Your Dog Isn’t Cold
Your dog could be whining because they are cold at night. Do they sleep outside? If they do, make sure their kennel is out of the wind, (which can increase the cold significantly) and that they have plenty of warm bedding to lie on too. If they are inside, make sure their bed isn’t anywhere too draughty. I have heard of dog owners using warm bean bags or even heated blankets to make sure they and their dog got a good night’s sleep. But a word of warning – do make sure they don’t get too hot.
4. Watch Out For Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Whining at night can be driven by separation anxiety in dogs. If this is the cause, they will probably act in the same way whenever you leave them alone, day or night. You’ll need specific training to sort out this problem and one of the best ways to calm your dog is to make sure your dog knows that you are the pack leader. For a great free video all about dog anxiety, click on this link.
5. Use up Excess Energy
If your dog finds it difficult to settle at night and wakes in the night whining, exercise an hour before bedtime may help the whole process. I’m sure many of you have noticed how dogs ‘flop’ down to sleep after a long walk. Although it doesn’t have to be a walk if you don’t fancy walking after dark, a 10 minute energetic game of tag or fetch in the house or garden could be all they need.
6. Use Comforting Sounds
A ticking clock left underneath dogs bedding seems to work for some dogs and especially and with puppies who might be whining because they are missing their mum! The ticking of the clock is an attempt to mimic the regular heartbeats they are use to curling up with.
7. Use Comforting Smells
If you think your dog wakes and whines in the night because they want you, try putting something that smells of you in with their bedding, such as an old jumper. This may give them enough comfort to keep them sleeping through the night.
8. Check they are not in Pain
If you think your dog might be whining during the night because they are in pain, pay a visit to your vet and get them checked over.
9. Ignore Them
If your dog is whining in the night for attention, the only effective way to teach them that it doesn’t work is to ignore them. If you respond to whining by speaking to them, shouting, touching or even catching their eye, they have got your attention and you’ve just given them the best reason to keep going. Dogs only do what works for them so if you can ignore it for long enough, they will stop this behaviour.
10. Use a Crate at Night
Some dogs may feel a bit lost and lonely left downstairs alone in a big space. A crate can act like a den for a dog and help them feel safe and secure. Introduce them to a crate gradually, and slowly increase the amount of time they are left in the crate until you feel they will be comfortable left in there overnight.
Tell Us How You Stopped Your Dog Whining at Night
Sleepless nights can play havoc on your life, so if you’ve tried any of these solutions with your dog and they worked, leave a comment below because it will be really helpful for other over-tired dog owners! Also if you have any other solutions to add to the list, we’d love to hear them.