German Shepherd Whining – Why They Do It & How To Stop It

Most dogs whine from time to time, however, sometimes they may end up doing it too much. If your german shepherd is whining all the time it’s important you can teach them to stop!

In this article, you’re going to find out how to get them to stop, and just as importantly, why they’re doing it in the first place. So keep reading to find out everything you need to know!

Why Is Your German Shepherd Whining

Remember, dogs can’t communicate with us like we can to each other. But they do have different forms of communication (one of which is whining). Here are the most common motives behind whining.

They Want Something

One of the most common reasons your german shepherd is going to whine is because they want something. It could be some attention, a walk, or food and water. Whatever it is they’re letting you know they want it.

Remember, sometimes you should listen to them (like if they need more water, or want to be let out). Other times, you’ll need to take the time to teach them that whining isn’t a good way for them to get what they want. Like if they want attention or to play.

Lastly, whining that they want something could indicate a problem. For example, if you notice them whining for food after they’ve eaten they may still be hungry (which could mean they have a digestive issue).

They’re Trying To Alert You

German shepherds are bred to be herders. Part of their built-in instinct is to whine when there’s something that could be a threat.

The only issue is that what you see as a threat and what they see as a threat are completely different. For example, they may whine when they see a cat or person outside your house or when a car drives past.

And while this is good behavior in a sense, it still good to only train your german shepherd to whine at things you actually need to be alerted too. Or in most cases, not at all.

To Try And Get Your Attention

Similar to when they want something, sometimes a german shepherd whining can be because they want your attention.

This is more likely to happen if you give them attention when they do this. Soon they’ll learn that every time they whine they get rewarded.

So if you think this is the reason your german shepherd is whining make sure you stop giving them attention every time they do it immediately.

They’re Greeting You

Some dogs whine when they’re greeting you. This whine isn’t the same as other whines. It tends to be quicker to end and followed by their whole bum wagging.

The reason they’re doing this is that they’re so happy to see you. However, while it is cute, there are some times you don’t want your german shepherd to behave like this. And other people may not want to be greeted like it.

So it may be better to train them on how to greet people properly.

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They’re Scared

Is there a new person in your house? Perhaps something going on outside that doesn’t normally happen, like builders fixing a pothole.

Whatever the reason, sometimes your german shepherd will be whining because they’re scared. If they’re doing this you need to make sure that you help remove their fear, while at the same time, avoid rewarding the behavior.

They’re In Pain

If your german shepherd doesn’t normally whine, then they may be doing it because they’re in pain.

This a very common way for them to let you show that they’re in pain, and if you notice it you may need to take them to the vets.

Pay particular attention to your dog if they’re just lying down and whining, or acting in a way they don’t normally act.

I had a golden retriever that started whining differently to how she normally would, and when we took her to the vets, they found something and tried to operate. But sadly, she didn’t survive.

If you think that your dog is whining because they’re in pain make sure you take them to the vets as soon as you can.

They Feel Sick

As well as being in pain, your pup may also be whining when they’re feeling sick. If you think this is the case then make sure that you observe them to check they’re okay.

Sometimes they’ll do it when they’ve got a stomach bug, however, it can also be indicative of something more serious.


Sometimes when your german shepherd is whining, they may be doing it because they’re bored. So if they’ve been stuck inside all day it could be an indicator that it’s time for them to go out.

They’re Feeling Anxious

Anxiety is a lot more common in dogs than you’d think. And it’s even more common in new dogs. Anxiety can stem from a new home, new people or animals in your home, and when you leave them alone.

If your german shepherd is suffering from separation anxiety then in most cases, you’ll need to speak to a dog behaviorist.

They’re Saying Sorry

When your dog knows they’ve done something wrong, they will often whine as a way of apologizing. This is most likely to happen when you scold them.

It’s a way of them showing you that they’re being submissive and want your forgiveness. As well as whining, they may also show other submissive body languages as well.

(Ever wonder if german shepherds are aggressive to humans?)


How To Stop Your German Shepherd Whining

Fortunately, there are LOADS of different things you can do to help your german shepherd stop whining. But, you do need to remember that some of these methods will only work for some problems.

Here are the best ways to get your german shepherd to stop whining.

Give Them More Exercise

This is one of the best methods as it’s kind of one size fits all. Unless they’re in pain or sick, giving your german shepherd a lot more exercise should decrease their whining.

Once they’re tired, they’re not going to want to whine as much. As well as this, it’s all going to help keep their mind entertained so they’re not going to get bored either.

If you’re only walking your german shepherd for half an hour, increase it to an hour. Give them multiple walks a day, or if that’s not possible, take some time out in the evening to play with them.

Give Them A Thunder Shirt

A thunder shirt is a shirt you wrap tightly around your german shepherd to make them feel safe.

It may sound like they won’t like it, but in fact, dogs feel safer when they’re wrapped tightly in something. We use them when there are fireworks to keep are dog calm.

You can buy a thunder shirt of Amazon for a good price, however, if you want to try and do it yourself, you can try swaddling your dog in an old tee shirt.

(Have you ever thought about whether your german shepherd has webbed feet.)

Thunder Cap

As well as using a thunder shirt you can also try using a thunder cap. Thunder caps are going to work best for german shepherds who respond to visual stimuli. Such as someone walking past your house, or a cat sat nearby.

If your dog is whining to alert you to danger, then thunder caps can be ideal. They work by covering your dog’s eyes. While they can see, they can’t see as well.

When you first start putting your german shepherd’s thunder cap on, make sure you give them lots of treats. Keep doing this the first few times, and they’ll begin to get positive feelings when you go to use the cap.

Give Them Lots Of Positive Reinforcement

Punishing a dog for negative behavior isn’t as effective as rewarding them for good behavior. If you notice your german shepherd is being calm, and not whining, then reward them!

Over time, they’ll soon begin to realize when they’re sitting calmly they get rewarded, and that’s the way they should act.

It’s also better for you as you don’t have to feel bad disciplining them!

Use A Calming Plugin

You can also try using a calming plugin like Adaptil. They work by releasing the pheromones of a breastfeeding mother. This will remind your dog of the time they felt safest. And obviously, the safer they feel, the less likely they are to feel anxious and whine!

And you don’t just have to buy a plug-in either. You can also use a spray or collar too!

(One thing to note is that there are varied reports on whether it works or not.)

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Give Them More Toys

If your german shepherd is whining because they’re bored, you should give them more toys. But make sure you’re buying toys which are going to keep them entertained. My go-to toy has to be a KONG.

Fill it up with treats and let it entertain your dog for hours!

Invest In A Good Training Program

If you haven’t trained your german shepherd properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether they’re constantly whining, barking, or even growling and biting, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to have peace and quiet in your house, and also know your shepherd has never been happier! Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT. 

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior, or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here, to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)


If your german shepherd’s whining is related to anxiety issues then sometimes medication is the best solution, however, it is often used as the last solution.

Once you’ve tried everything and your german shepherd still keeps whining and seems anxious, it may be time to speak to your vet.

There’s lots of different medication that can help and your vet will best guide you.

(If you have a cat, find out how they can be friends with your pup!)

Teaching Your German Shepherd Hand Targetting

Hand targetting is where you get your german shepherd to focus most of their attention on your hand. Rather than whining. It’s most effective in german shepherds that can’t control themselves and get excited or scared when they meet new people.

Here’s how you should train your dog to hand target.

Step 1

First of all, hold your hand out in front of your german shepherd. Every time they touch their nose to your palm give them a treat.

However, when you’re doing this don’t say anything. Just keep your palm outstretched to them and let them touch it with their nose.

And make sure you don’t bring your hand to them if they aren’t going for your hand. Instead, try moving it from side to side in front of them.

If they still don’t move towards it, then rub a treat on it so they can smell it. That will definitely get them to bring their nose to it.

Give them a treat and congratulate them every time they do this successfully.

Step 2

Once your german shepherd realizes they get a treat every time they touch your hand with their nose, it’s time to kick it up a notch.

Start putting your hand to the left and right of your dog, or a few inches back. Every time they touch it with their nose, give them another treat.

Do this 20-30 times.

Step 3

Now things are getting interesting. Each time you hold your hand out say a command, like ‘calmly’ or ‘hello’ and then proceed to let them touch your hand.

Once again, every time they do this give them the treat to let it sink in.

Step 4

Once you’ve really nailed it with your dog, it’s time to bring new people in. Now get family and friends to put their hand out every time your dog is whining. And let your pup touch their hand and come back to you for a treat.

Keep doing this until they’re used to it.

Eventually, they’ll learn that when someone sticks their hand out, they should touch their nose to it instead of whining for attention.

(If your german shepherd is jumping over your fence, check out this article on how to stop it!)

Why Do German Shepherds Whine More Than Other Dogs?

You may have noticed that your german shepherd whines more than other dogs. This isn’t in your head. There’s actually quite a good reason behind why this happens.

It goes back to the fact that their herders and guard dogs. They’d need to get the attention of others when somethings wrong.

Whining, along with barking, howling and growling are great ways for them to do this! And all of them are common behaviors many people notice in their german shepherd!


It’s clear now that whining is completely normal behavior for your german shepherd. But while it is normal behavior it’s important to know how to train it out of them.

With the information you’ve learned above, you should be able to successfully do this. However, if you want to have a happy well-trained dog, you should definitely consider a training program.

Not only will this stop them from whining, but it will also teach your pup to be a good boy or girl! If you’re not sure what training to go for, then Brain Training For Dogs is your best choice!


1 thought on “German Shepherd Whining – Why They Do It & How To Stop It”

  1. really enjoyed what that you wrote actually. it just isnt that easy to find great text to read (you know.. READ and not simply browsing through it like some zombie before going to yet another post to just ignore), so cheers mate for really not wasting any of my time! :p


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