If your Labrador has been whining a lot this post will show you a number of reasons why it might have been doing it and what you can do to get it to do it less.
So, why does my Labrador whine a lot? Possible causes are illness or injury, boredom, wanting attention, wanting something such as food, stress, fear, excitement or you might have inadvertently rewarded the behavior.
There are actually a number of reasons why your Labrador might whine a lot and it could be due to a combination of reasons. But, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason. Once you have a good idea of the cause, there are also a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Labrador whines a lot
Each of the different reasons why your Labrador whines will likely come with some clues.
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.
It is ill or injured
The cause could be that it has become ill or injured. This would be more likely if it has started whining suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill or injured like limping, being fatigued or vomiting. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Labradors are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise daily. When they do not get enough exercise, it can cause them to behave abnormally and it might be why yours has been whining.
Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise daily. If yours has not been getting that much it would help to make sure that it does.
It wants attention
The cause might be that it is looking for attention. This would be more likely if you have not been giving it as much attention lately, you give it more attention when it whines and it does it more when you haven’t been giving it much attention.
It would help to give it attention throughout the day by walking it, playing with it and training it. However, it would help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it whines unless it seems to be doing it for a different reason.
It wants something
The cause could be that it wants something from you. This would be more likely if it starts to whine more at a certain time such as when you would normally feed it or walk it or if it does it when you are eating.
It could be the case that something has been causing it to become stressed. This would be more likely if it has started doing it since an event occurred that might have caused it to become stressed or if it does it at certain times such as when you are about to leave home which would suggest it has separation anxiety.
It could also be the case that something has been causing it to become fearful. This would be more likely if it starts whining at times such as when there are noises outside like fireworks or if it does it more at times such as when someone is around that it does not like.
Sometimes, dogs will start whining when they are excited and this could be the reason why your Labrador has been whining. This would be more likely if it does it more in situations such as when you arrive home or when you are about to take it for a walk.
You have been reinforcing it
It could also be the case that you have been encouraging it to whine by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it whines then it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not whine and to wait for it to stop whining before rewarding it.
How to get your Labrador to whine less
Below are some options you have when getting your Labrador to whine less. Making use of a combination of them will likely work best.
Give it exercise
As mentioned above it is important to make sure that your Labrador is able to get daily exercise. Generally, it is recommended for them to get an hour of exercise per day. Provided that your Labrador is healthy, it would help to make sure that yours is able to get enough daily exercise.
Reward it for not whining
It would also help to make use of positive reinforcement training which is where you reward it for showing signs of behaving the way you want it to and avoid rewarding it when it does not.
If you reward your Labrador when it does not whine but it normally would and avoid rewarding it when it does whine, it should encourage it to whine less.
Avoid reinforcing the whining
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have encouraged it to whine more by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved and to avoid rewarding it when it whines unless necessary.
Give it distractions
In addition to the above, you could also give it things to be distracted with so that it is less likely to look for attention from you. Things that you could give it would include toys, puzzle games and bones.
Make sure that it is not ill or injured
If it seems like your Labrador has been whining due to being ill or injured or you are unsure of why it has been doing it, then it would help to take it to a vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Labrador and to rule out the possibility of it being due to medical causes.
Things to consider
When the whining started
When trying to figure out why your labrador has been whining, considering what else happened when it started would likely be helpful. If it did not always whine then it might be the case that there was an event that occurred that caused it to start.
If it did start whining suddenly, it could be because it became ill or injured, it learned that it gets rewards when it does it or there might have been a sudden change in its daily routine leaving it confused at times where it would normally get something. It would help to consider what else changed when it first started doing it.
When and where it whines
It would also help to consider the timing of when it whines since it might be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it tends to start whining more when you are about to leave home then it would be a sign that it has some separation anxiety.