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Whining

Boxer Puppy and Dog Whining Issues

Overview

Dogs have an array of vocalization and we may never understand exactly what is going through a dog's mind when he is vocal; however one of the most perplexing sounds is whining. This sort of whimpering may last for hours. Boxers of any age may do this; though puppies often have very different reasons than adult dogs.
In this section we are going to discuss:
  • Reasons why a Boxer puppy whines and steps to take to stop it 
  • Reasons why an older adult Boxer may whine 
When a Boxer Puppy Whines 

It's not a minute of whining that gets to you. It's not even 5 minutes. It's the culmination of minutes upon hours upon days. Your Boxer pups whimpers so much and so often that you've either come to the point where you're thanking your lucky stars your kids are grown or if you don't have children yet, you've sworn off ever bringing a baby into the world.

You're ready to pull your hair out and if your Boxer puppy whines one more time, you're going to turn yourself in as an unfit dog owner. If you can relate to this, you'll be happy to know that there are reasons why a Boxer puppy whines and steps that you can take to stop it (or at the very least drastically cut down on the whimpering) while remaining a loving, caring owner.

Brand New Boxer Puppies

While bringing a new puppy into your household is a super happy event for you, it's a rather stressful one for a young Boxer pup. At this age, a pup is leaving his entire world behind. His life revolved around the dam and his siblings. While his previous owner/breeder hopefully did some socialization training, simply due to his age, it was limited. 

Most of his interaction was side-by-side play, sleep and eating with his littermates. He was never alone and he was just starting to feel secure when it was all taken away. Don't feel bad - soon he'll learn that his new home - your home - couldn't be a better place.

At this age, enough time has not passed for the Boxer puppy to understand his schedule. He's living minute by minute. You might wonder why he whines if he's hungry…"Doesn't he realize I feed him on time, all the time?" Not really. Memory is ultra-short term at this time and there are not enough past experiences and events for him to depend on any type of care at this point. He's dealing with the stress of a new environment coupled with real needs and for this reason he does not hesitate to be vocal.

The main reasons a new Boxer puppy whines is:

Separation from his littermates - The bond between littermates is very close, as is the security a pup feels with his mother. Puppies do always adjust to a new home, however it is not uncommon for there to be whining the first few days simply due to feeling sad and feeling the brunt of the lost connection.

He's hungry or thirsty - The environment of a new home and getting used to new humans can throw off a pup's appetite. The moment even a tinge of hungry begins, a pup may be vocal about it. Also, puppies may not eat enough to feel satiated due to one of several reasons. This may be due to many outside factors such as humans standing too close to his dish, too much background noise that's causing some stress or even a cold draft near the feeding area.

In addition, pups this young may need to be led to the eating area. A quick reminder of where food and water is may be needed for the first couple of weeks.

Be sure to choose a spot that is away from foot traffic and loud noise. In multiple dog households with more than one Boxer, don't expect a Boxer puppy to eat close to another dog. This can be very overwhelming and a young puppy may back down from eating if he interprets the setting to mean that an older, established dog has claimed the dining spot. Giving him his own corner, free from distractions will help him feel more secure.

He's cold or uncomfortable - Puppies need a safe, warm area to spend their resting, sleeping and independent playtime or else they may whine due to a feeling of insecurity. Many owners make the mistake of thinking that only older, senior dogs need a quality dog bed. 

However dogs of any age appreciate a 'den' that consists of a properly sized canine bed, placed in a room that is frequently used by people but out of the way of foot traffic. If the pup feels too isolated, this can lead to whimpering and barking. The corner of a living room that is free from drafts is usually the best place to keep a Boxer puppy. Keep his toys and chews in that same area.

This breed should not be crated. Boxers tend to be claustrophobic and a puppy will whine if he is put into too small of a space. A pen or gated off area works best.

If your Boxer will be spending his days home alone, it can help to have this area gated off with the entrance open when you are home. This way, he'll become accustomed to 'his spot' and be more prone to accept being there once you leave the house.
Boxer Puppies - 10 weeks to 1 Year 

It takes a couple of weeks for a puppy to start to learn his schedule of when he'll be eating, taken outside for walks and so forth; however this is still the most common age of whining. Each dog is different, some will bark to vocalize feelings and others will whimper. It's a coin toss as to which one causes more frustration for owners. But the good news is that there are some steps you can take to lessen this.

The 4 main reasons a Boxer puppy won't stop whining:

1) Hunger
2) Wanting attention
3) Bathroom need
4) Health issue

The 2 most important keys are:

1) Check for a valid reason
2) Teach the Boxer to self-sooth if all needs are met

Whining at night - If an owner wants to know how to stop a Boxer puppy from whining, chances are it's regarding nighttime issues. Until a pup is fully house trained, owners will always wonder if the need to urinate or eliminate is causing the Boxer to whimper. Owners may find themselves getting out of bed every 30 minutes which can be extremely taxing.

The best way to handle this is to:

1) Have a set schedule of house training. Feed the last meal of the day at least 2 hours before the intended bed time. Take the pup out 30 minutes to 1 hour before he's placed down for the night and be sure to give him plenty of time to both urinate and eliminate (some pups take up to 20 minutes for a bowel movement)

2) Only respond to whining if a bathroom need is a reasonable cause. If you take him out, keep lights dim, talking to a bare minimum and there should be zero play time.

If you are sure that the Boxer is safe, comfortable, warm and doesn't have a real bathroom need, it'll be time to allow him to learn self-soothing. It's not easy since human instinct tells us to go to those in need, whether this is humans or animals. However, if an owner rushes over comfort a pup he is teaching the Boxer that the situation warrants comforting.

With a blanket to snuggle with - or an actual snuggle stuffed toy - and some favorite toys to chew on, the pup will eventually calm down and eventually fall back asleep. Over the course of a few weeks, the time that it takes him to relax back down will become shorter and shorter.

Can Whining become a  habit?  When a Boxer puppy just won't stop whining and owners are ready to pull their hair out, it's not uncommon to wonder if it's become a habit.  And the answer is yes, in a way.  If owners rush to the pup with each whimper and yelp, that puppy will learn that whining quickly equals attention.  Even if owners 'shhh' the dog or say "Stop!" this is a form of attention as well.  For this reason, ignoring the behavior - if the pup is fed, safe and free of any health issues - can stop the endless cycle. 
Why Adult Boxers Whine

With adults Boxer dogs whining will almost always be due to one of three things:

1) Emotional distress - Adults that struggle with separation anxiety may begin to whine the moment that they even suspect that you'll be leaving. If you so much as walk by your keys or make a motion toward the door, that's it. Whether you'll be leaving or not, if a Boxer sees or hears you in what he interprets to be your pattern of 'getting ready', he may whine in response to what he 'knows' is coming. This can make it really hard for owners that already feel guilty about leaving a Boxer alone.

2) Communication - A soft whine usually coupled with playful actions such as extending the front legs out and 'bowing' or circling around an owner may simply be a Boxer's way of speaking.

When being petted, a Boxer may let out soft whines or humming noises that are a vocalization of feeling happy and relaxed.
 
A Boxer dog may also whine when excited; this is more of a high-pitched noise that may increase as the dog positions closer to the trigger or if there is no release for the excitement.

3) A health issue- Sudden whining from an otherwise normally healthy dog can always be a sign of a health issue that is causing discomfort and pain. We'll look at this ahead.

When Whining may Point to a Health Issue

Dogs that are ill, suffering from an injury or are in pain from a health condition will whine. There will usually be other signs that include but are not limited to:
  • Favoring a certain part of the body 
  • Impeded movement 
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Weakness 
  • Fever 
  • Restlessness 
  • Weight loss 
If your Boxer is whining a lot and this is out of character, it's always a good idea to bring him/her in for an evaluation at the vet's office.
What it Means if a Boxer Whines Around Other Dogs

This is an interesting event and is not that uncommon. This may happen when out on a walk or when at the park; essentially any time that a Boxer sees, approaches or is approached by an unknown dog.

The most typical reason for this is known as a calming signal. This may be accompanied by slight physical movements such as turning the head to the side, licking the lips, and/or yawning. This sort of whine is a dog's communication method to metaphorically say, "I'm not a threat' and to facilitate friendly interaction.  
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