Why Poodles Whine: What it Means and How to Stop It


Most poodle owners will admit they know the sound of a poodle whine a little too well. Poodles, more than other breeds, are known for their whining. Learning what that whining might signal and how to help calm your poodle are keys to their health and happiness, as well as a solid night’s sleep for you.

Poodles whine to Convey wants and needs to their owners. Before you can figure out how to stop it, however, you will need to identify the root cause(s). Here are the top five reasons Poodles whine:

  • 1. Excitement
  • 2. Separation Anxiety
  • 3. Pain
  • 4. Seeking Attention
  • 5. Stress

As you can see, the whining can come from a happy place as well as places of sadness or even pain. So, taking the time to better understand the reason for the whining is extremely important. There are plenty of ways to determine this, as well as best practices for the next steps.

The Top 5 Reasons Poodles Whine

Step one in helping your poodle calm down will be to understand what caused the whining. When there is such a wide variety of reasons for it, you always need to figure this out before moving forward with any action.

1. Excitement

Poodles love to love their humans. This is an undeniable fact. So when you walk in the door after a long day there is little anyone can do to stop their sheer thrill. Excitement may also be sparked if they see their favorite toy or smell their favorite treat being served up in the kitchen. 

When your poodle whines from the excitement it will usually be one of the easier causes to identify because there are those clear triggering moments. If they see their leash come out or you begin to smother them with hugs, you will likely hear some immediate whining.

How to React

If your poodle won’t stop whining for long periods after the triggering moment, you may just need to sit with them to calm them. Speak in a slow, calming voice, sit on their level and pet them in a methodical rhythm to help them calm back down, which will stop their whining. 

2. Separation Anxiety

Because of their love for their owners, poodles are easily prone to whining and crying due to separation anxiety. 

Poodles can easily become depressed if they don’t get to see their owner often enough over some time or if the owner is away for a while. So, before getting a poodle, make sure you know you have the time to dedicate to them. They are not a breed that does well with long work hours and weekends away.  

This form of whining is to express their sadness and anxiety over not being near you. Sometimes the person watching your dog while you are away will be the only person to see it, other times you will notice they whine right before you leave. Poodles are highly intelligent and instinctual and know when you are leaving again. The thought of you leaving can trigger that whining and anxiety. 

How to React

Here are a few simple tips that will help your poodle deal with their separation anxiety issues:

  1. Leave clothes or blankets around the house that smell like you. If they have a bed they like to sleep in, put one of your shirts right in there.
  2. Don’t make a big deal out of leaving. If they see you make a huge deal out of walking out the door, they are more likely to think something is wrong or you are leaving for a long time. 
  3. Try to get into a routine in how you leave and what you say. This will help them understand that you always do that before you leave, and you always come back after.

A great behavioral training course can really help with separation anxiety. I found a fantastic training system called Brain Training for Dogs. I really liked the private member’s area where I was able to connect with other dog owners to get solutions to issues I had with his training. If you need any behavioral training at all for your dog, I would highly recommend this course! Check it out here

3. Pain

This is, of course, the one that no pet owner wants to be the reason behind whining. But unfortunately, sometimes it is. You’ll want to pay attention to how your poodle is whining. Typically, if they are in pain, the whining will be more like crying sounds and their mood will be altered as well.

You will want to pay attention to their physical state any time you hear whining like this. Are they moving slower? Do they wince when you touch a certain area? Have they stopped eating or drinking? Ask yourself as many of these questions as you can and try to confirm if the whining is due to pain.

How to React

If you decide it is from pain, you will want to involve your vet immediately. Depending on how bad the pain is, you may want to take them, someone, right away or at the very least, have a conversation with your vet who can advise on the seriousness of the pain.

Use a soothing voice, surround them with familiar sights and smells, and offer them lots of comforts if they are experiencing pain. Listen to any instructions from your vet and do your best to calm their nerves. Just like humans, if they are in physical pain, they are probably experiencing some anxiety over it as well. 

4. Seeking Attention / Needing to Communicate

Sometimes your poodle just has something to say. Poodles are a little too smart for their good and they are also attention seekers. So, when they need something or want to express something, they know they need to get vocal about it. 

These communications can be a variety of different things, but you will begin to know certain whines and match them with what they might need. 

For example, that tiny little pipsqueak whining might mean they’re looking for some attention because they are astounded you stopped playing with them. While that long, obnoxious whine could mean they’re hungry and don’t approve of your strict feeding schedule for them. 

How to React

Poodles are quite good communicators. We just need to make sure we’re listening properly. Pay attention to the types of whining your poodle does. You will begin noting what sounds they make when they want certain things.

Whining is a form of communication for them. So, while it may take some trial and error, it’s up to you to meet them halfway and understand what they are trying to tell you.

5. Stress

While this category is a bit broad and can cover things like separation anxiety, it is worth noting separately. If you are home a lot and you determine the whining isn’t from separation anxiety, but your poodle seems stressed you will want to do some more digging to learn why. 

Stress in dogs can come in a variety of formats and for a multitude of reasons. It could be loud noises in the neighborhood that have been stressing them out or it could mean they had to meet a lot of new people this week and they’re stressed from all the strangers.

How to React

If you notice your poodle whining after moments that could be stressful for them, you can pretty much guarantee that stress is the main whining cause. You should always remove them from the stressful situation first, if possible. Then make sure to use a calming tone and try to either comfort and snuggle them or distract them and try to shift to a better mood. 

How you react may depend on your poodle’s personality. Since poodles are playful hunters, the distracting method tends to be a big winner so they get their attention off the stress and refocus on a health game of fetch. 

Poodles and Whining Habits

Understanding the reason for the whining, learning the best ways to identify those reasons, and then taking action to help stop the whining are all crucial things to master. While you may want them to stop whining, the more important element is understanding why they are whining in the first place and making sure they’re okay.

They may simply be whining to say, “Love you, mom!” or maybe they are trying to tell you something is wrong. If you pay attention to your poodle’s tendencies and communication methods, you will be able to easier understand what each whine means which will equal a healthy and happy pup.

Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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