If your Doberman is constantly whining it’s both concerning and eventually, quite annoying! This article covers the likely reason as to why your Doberman whines so much, as well as covering what you can do about it.
The most likely reasons why your Doberman is whining include being bored, frustrated, understimulated, or anxious. Other reasons include noise phobia, chronic pain, or canine dementia.
Is Your Doberman’s Whining Normal or Excessive?
All vocal behavior, whether it be whining, crying, or barking essentially comes down to communicating and relaying a message.
In fact, it is an important behavior that helps them feel in control of their environment. If they were unable to express their fear, excitement, or frustration, it would actually make our relationship with our Dobies very difficult.
If your Doberman protests loudly when they’ve been crated for too long, whines to greet you after a long day of you being at the office, or cries when someone trod on their foot accidentally, this is only to be expected and wouldn’t be considered excessive.
Your dog may also become vocal when ‘asking’ for something they need such as a toilet outing, a meal, or for their water bowl to be refilled. In moments like this, “whining” or “crying” is completely acceptable and it’s actually good that your Dobie is being vocal about something he needs/requires.
When it becomes a problem
Vocalizations become problematic when they occur for no obvious reason or when they are happening too often.
Similarly, if his constant whining is interrupting family life or happens alongside other behavioral issues such as digging or destructive behavior, then this does indicate a problem.
Additionally, if your Doberman whines incessantly every time you leave the room or barks all night long; something needs to be done and we can be confident there is an underlying issue.
Related article: Why is my Doberman shaking so much? (and what to do)
6 Reasons Why Your Doberman Whines So Much
Much like any other behavioral issue, there is no ‘cookie cutter’ formula and there are many reasons that your Doberman may be overly vocal.
The most common causes would include:
1. Separation anxiety
Separation anxiety is, unfortunately, something many Dobies can develop and can be a cause of excessive whining. Separation anxiety is a serious condition, that can either develop from past traumas or even from being left alone too long, too often.
Signs of separation anxiety include:
● Erratic behavior when you prepare to leave the home
● Destructive behavior while you are gone
● Urination despite being let out
● A lot of nerves and anxiety throughout the day
● Constantly following you around the house
● Excessive whining as soon as you leave the home or keep him in another room
If you think your Dobie has separation anxiety, it’s best to seek advice from a canine behaviorist in your area. As separation anxiety is a complex issue to deal with, every case needs to be dealt with depending on the situation, the extent of the anxiety, his environment, and more.
2. Boredom / frustration
A healthy and happy Doberman is a sufficiently stimulated Doberman, both physically and mentally. This is in fact one of the most important aspects of their daily routine.
If your Doberman is not receiving enough exercise (1-2 hours of solid exercise for a healthy adult) and at least a couple of hours of combined mental stimulation (training, interactive puzzle toys, and general interaction) then this could very well be the cause of the whining.
It’s also important to provide some of this first thing in the morning. If you are leaving your Doberman without exercise or mental stimulation until you get back home from work, this is not ideal. Your Dobie will wake up with full energy ready to go, having to wait several hours before any amount of stimulation, will lead to a lot of frustration and general boredom.
Consider your Dobermans daily routine and be honest with how much overall stimulation he’s receiving, and when he’s receiving it.
3. Noise phobia
Many Dobermans are fearful of loud noises such as fireworks, gunshots, or nearby construction work. The loud bangs can panic them and, as well as whining or being extra clingy, they may pant and hide away.
Again, a canine behaviorist is best qualified to address this complex behavioral issue and it can take some time before we see real improvement.
4. Chronic pain
While we might expect dogs to make noisy and audibly ‘cry’ when in pain, this doesn’t always happen. However, it can happen, especially with severe pain. Those who have very painful conditions such as bone tumors, for example, may cry out when trying to walk or after jumping from a height. Those who are in pain will usually also have other signs such as a reduced appetite, limp or lethargic demeanor.
5. Canine Dementia (cognitive decline)
Senior Dobermans can suffer from canine dementia as they get older. This condition tends to come on over time and Dobies who would once have been silent may become very vocal, especially at night.
Though this condition is not treatable, we can help affected Dobermans by providing them with predictable routines. We can also start them on brain-supportive supplements and diets.
6. Attention seeking
Some Dobies have learned that if they make whine, they get our attention. They can use this to manipulate us, especially if they are feeling under-stimulated.
Sometimes, their whining can be legitimate, particularly if you haven’t spent much time interacting or playing with your Dobie. Sometimes, it’s inappropriate and excessive.
If you are confident all of your Dobie’s needs have been met, try not to be too reactive to his whining as this can create a long-term issue.
Although attention-seeking is quite common, it’s important not to automatically rule out whining as just attention-seeking. All other areas should be considered, especially potential health issues.
Recommended Read: How To Stop Your Doberman From Digging: Top Solutions
Finding The Root Cause of The Whining
Typically, the first step is determining why your Doberman is acting the way they are. If nothing from the above list sticks out, then it’s important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for further checks.
Your vet will examine your Doberman and will also ask for a detailed history, in order to help you understand what is going on. They will then check them over, ruling out any possible medical issues. For some, they will recommend further tests such as a blood test, urine analysis, or imaging studies.
If the whining is thought to be behavioral, your vet may discuss some training and modifications to try. It is also likely they will refer you to a canine behaviorist. It may be advised that you trial your Doberman on some calming supplements and/or anxiolytics, especially if they are generally anxious or stressed.
Recommended Read: Why Does My Doberman Have Eye Boogers? What To Do
6 Ways To Stop Your Doberman Whining At Home
After ruling out health issues, there are a few things you can try that should solve most behavioral cases of whining (with the exception of fully developed separation anxiety)
1. Make sure your Doberman is receiving sufficient exercise
Healthy adult Dobermans need moderate to high-intensity exercise, preferably one hour in the morning and another in the evening. 1-2 hours per day of varied exercise like hiking, chasing their ball, swimming, or playing with other dogs is a daily requirement.
2. Keep their minds occupied
With a combination of games, training, food puzzles, and interactive toys. Whatever their age, they need to be kept occupied, especially when left alone. Check out one of my related articles: 8 Fun Ways To Give Your Doberman More Mental Stimulation
3. Be present
While we can leave our adult Dobies for a few hours each day, if he or she left in one room or in the garden for hours on end, it is only expected that they may whine and bark to be let out or in.
As much as possible, try to make sure your Dobie has plenty of interaction. If at work all day, consider doggy daycare and/or a dog walker.
4. Be consistent in your interactions
A training program should be in place and all family members should follow the same program.
For example, if you have decided your Doberman isn’t allowed in your bed, don’t confuse them, by letting them come in one lazy Sunday morning. You may find them whining outside your room every morning thereafter!
5. Address anxiety
If you feel your Doberman is naturally anxious, consider a pheromone adaptor that can be plugged into the room or a collar that they can wear which releases “happy hormones”. Similarly, you can purchase calming supplements to add to their meals or foods which aim to improve mood.
6. Teaching a certain command can be very useful
Pick a word such as ‘quiet’ and teach your Doberman that when you ask for ‘quiet’ they should not whine. When they stop being noisy, they get lots of praise and a high-value treat such as a morsel of chicken.
Over time, they should be able to respond to the training request without the need for treats (though rewarding every now and then will be appreciated and should keep them compliant!).
Recommended Read: Keeping Your Doberman Cool In Hot Weather: 8 Summer Tips