10 solutions to stop your dog from whining at night

There are a number of reasons why your dog might be whining at night, however they all have one thing in common, they cause you to have a disturbed night’s sleep. To help you deal with this behavior problem and sleep through the night, we’ve listed 10 solutions below that could bring peace to your home after lights out.

1. Find out why your dog is whining

If you can figure out what’s behind your dog’s whining, you’ll have a better chance of choosing the right approach and stopping the problem. The three most common causes of dog whining are anxiety, discomfort, or attention seeking, so watch your dog closely to see what clues he gives you. Watch how you react when they start whining and how they react to you, as this should give you all the information you need to decide your approach to the problem and start taking action.

2. Do basic checks before going to bed

Sometimes we overlook the most obvious reasons, so make sure your dog isn’t whining because he’s hungry, thirsty, or needs to pee at night. Get in the habit of always letting your dog out late at night, as past the puppy stage, he should be able to spend the night. If he needs to urinate frequently, check with your vet, as he could have a urine infection. If you need to let them out at night, do so with as little attention to your dog as possible, as if you play with or pet them, they might start waking you up at night to get their attention.

3. Check that your dog is not cold

Some dogs start whining at night because they are cold so if they sleep in an outdoor kennel make sure it is sheltered from the wind and provide plenty of warm bedding and if they sleep in the house check their bed for drafts. Some dog owners use heated bean bags to keep their dog warm, cozy and asleep all night and I’ve heard of others even using heated blankets. However, if you are going to use this method, always make sure that your dog does not get too hot and cannot chew on any wire attached to the blanket.

4. Dealing With Dog Separation Anxiety Issues

A lot of dog whining is due to separation anxiety in dogs, so if your dog sleeps apart from you and starts talking the moment you leave him alone, anxiety could be the reason. Another clue that this could be the cause is that they respond this way every time you leave them, day or night. You will need to use desensitization training to help get rid of the separation anxiety and a lot of patience as they may take a while to respond positively. Another way to help with this problem is to learn to show your dog that you are the decision maker or pack leader, which can be very reassuring to an anxious dog.

5. Make sure your dog is tired

If your dog is restless at night, has a hard time calming down, and then starts whining, try exercising him an hour before bed to use up some of his excess energy. Many dogs will instantly flop down on their bed to sleep after a long walk, but if walking after dark doesn’t appeal to you, try an energetic game of fetch or tag in the garden or around the house.

6. Calm your dog with sounds

A ticking clock placed on the dog’s bedding can help keep him calm as the ticking mimics the regular heartbeat of another dog. This can be very helpful with dogs that don’t like to be left alone and especially with puppies that might be missing their mom or brothers and sisters. Just be careful that your dog can’t reach the watch and use it as a chew toy.

7. Calm your dog with scents

If you think your dog whines at night because he wakes up and loves you, put something that smells like you with his bedding, like an old sweater or T-shirt. This can provide enough comfort for your dog to sleep through until morning.

8. Make sure your dog is pain free

Pain or discomfort of some kind could be causing your dog to wake up and start whining, for example, a dog may not notice joint pain until they lie down for the night. If you think that might be the case with your dog, get him checked out by your vet as soon as possible.

9. Get your dog a crate

A crate can feel like a den for a dog, so if you think your dog is feeling a little unsafe being left alone downstairs at night, a crate might give you the extra security you need. When you introduce them to a cage, make it a nice place to be with bedding, toys, and treats. Gradually increase the time they spend in their cage during the day until you feel they will be fine to leave them overnight.

10. Ignore the noise of your dog

If your dog’s nocturnal noise is trying to get your attention, the quickest way to stop it is to ignore it completely. That means not responding to their whining in any way, not talking to them, touching them, or even looking at them. It’s not always the easiest way to break this pattern of behavior, as you can feel really guilty for a few days, but if your dog is healthy, has been fed, drunk, exercised, and potty-trained before bed, you know he’s okay, so invest in a pair of earplugs and stick with them. It shouldn’t be long before they realize their whining isn’t getting them the attention they were looking for and should stop.

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