This one goes along with sending mixed messages. A really good way to stress out a stressed dog is to coddle them and as if trying to soothe a child.
Sometimes Phoebe will walk around whining for seemingly no reason (I am sure she has a reason in her little doggie mind). It is natural for us to think that our dog is in distress and want to soothe him or her. As hard as it is to ignore it, that is exactly what you need to do. There is a difference between comforting a scared dog, cowering from thunder, and coddling a dog who whines for everything.
I found this on Vet Street; it sums up many of the reasons why a dog may whine.
I’m frustrated . . . because my toy is stuck behind the couch
I’m hungry . . . so please drop a morsel of that cheeseburger in my direction.
I’m happy . . . because you’re home!
I’m anxious to do my business . . . so open the door before we both regret it.
I’m excited . . . because there’s a squirrel in the yard who needs to know who’s boss.
I’m in need of some loving . . . so rub my belly!
I’m anxious . . . because there’s something new in the house — and it’s annoying me.
I’m protecting you . . . from the letter carrier who’s here with more bills for you to pay.
I’m scared . . . about that thunder.
I’m sorry . . . about digging up your flowerbed. Please forgive me.
For the most part, these are all examples of attention-seeking whines. The key to interpreting a whine is to ask yourself when it happens most, what’s occurring at the time of the whining and what makes the whining stop. If you’re lucky, your dog will give you a hint, such as whining while staring at his food bowl.”
As you see, the reasons run the gamut. So if you have the urge to rush over and hold your dog, or give him treat to “make him happy,” or break the rules by letting her jump on the couch so you can comfort them, think about what you may be fostering.
Phoebe went through a whining phase, when she started showing signs of stress. Hard as it was, I just ignored her. After about 5 or 6 of these episodes, I realized that she was whining when looking for a particular toy. So now, when she whines, I still ignore her instead of hopping up and getting her toy from outside. She figures it out eventually, or stumbles across another one and life goes on.
She also whines if we are out on a walk and another dog starts barking through the fence. Instead of barking, she whines. I toss that, in the, “I’m frustrated” category – most likely because she wants to stop and say ‘hi’ or wants to bark back and doesn’t do either. I really don’t know what to do with that other than keep on walking as if nothing happened.