Dog owners often notice their pets watching televisions, computer screens and tablets. But what is going on in their pooch’s head? Indeed, by tracking their vision using similar methods used on humans, research has found that domestic dogs do prefer certain images and videos.
This research indicates that dogs have a preference towards watching other canines – but our studies have also discovered that sound often initially attracts dogs towards television and other devices. Favoured sounds include dogs barking and whining, people giving dog-friendly commands and praise, and the noise of toys squeaking.
How dogs watch TV is very different to the way humans do, however. Instead of sitting still, dogs will often approach the screen to get a closer look, and walk repeatedly between their owner and the television. They are essentially fidgety, interactive viewers.
What dogs can see on the screen is also different to humans. Dogs have dichromatic vision – they have two types of colour receptor cells and see colour within two spectrums of light: blue and yellow. The use of colour within media is very important for dogs and explains why canine TV channel, DogTV prioritises these colours in its programming. Dogs’ eyes are also more sensitive to movement and vets suspect that the improved flicker rate that has come from the shift from standard to high definition television has allowed dogs to better perceive media shown on TV.
But do they enjoy it?
Multiple screens have also been used in research to see whether dogs can pick what to watch. Early research has shown that when presented with three screens, dogs are unable to decide, instead preferring to watch one screen no matter what is on it. This has still to be tested with two screens, and possibly more than three.
While science has shown that dogs can engage with television and that they prefer certain programmes, it has yet to delve into the complex question of whether they actually enjoy it. We as humans will often watch distressing footage or videos that make us feel a range of emotions, from distress to anger and horror. It’s not always because it makes us feel good. We just don’t know whether similar factors motivate dogs to watch.
What a dog does engage with, however, differs from dog to dog, depending on their personality, experience and preference. This is speculated to be influenced by what their owner watches, with dogs following their human’s gaze and other communication signals, such as gestures and head turns.
Dogs, unlike humans, will also often have very short interactions, often under three seconds, with the media, preferring to glance at the TV rather than focus on it like humans. Research has found that even with media specifically designed for dogs, they will still spend the majority of their time watching nothing at all. The ideal television for dogs, therefore, should contain lots of snippets rather than long storytelling scenarios.
But while dogs have their own TV channel, and have been shown to prefer to watch other dogs through short interactions with specially coloured programmes, many mysteries remain. Nevertheless, technology has the potential to provide entertainment for domestic canines, improving the welfare of dogs left home alone and in kennels. Just don’t expect a doggie version of the Radio Times just yet.
The Cone of Shame makes pets miserable
Cone of Shame problems
A global online survey, aimed at owners whose pets wore an Elizabethan collar during the past 12 months, was used to investigate the impact that these collars had on their animal’s quality of life. Most of the respondents were from Australia, with others coming from the UK, USA, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland and Sweden.
The majority of the 434 respondents reported a worse quality of life score when their companion animal was wearing the collar, significantly so when the Elizabethan collar irritated their pet or impacted on their ability to drink or play. Many owners were reluctant to keep the collar on due to changes in the animal’s behaviour or mental health.
Problems for cats and dogs wearing the collars include:
- Difficulty drinking (60.2 percent)
- Inability to play (67.5 percent)
- Collar-related injuries, including itching/irritation, bumping into walls, falling downstairs and psychological distress (25 percent)
- Other problems, including difficulty toileting, grooming, being fitted for a harness or lead, getting through dog or cat door, sleeping in a crate, navigating indoors “without smashing into doorways, tables or chairs” (10 percent)
“Our study found that Elizabethan collars had the potential to cause distress in animals, which in turn caused distress to owners,” Dr Fawcett said. “Some animals found ingenious ways to remove the collars themselves, for example running under furniture at speed, but damaged or poorly fitted Elizabethan collars could increase the risk of injury to animals.”
Animal Services receives several complaints every week concerning barking dogs. The ordinance reads that that an owner cannot allow his dog to disturb the peace of any other person by loud, persistent, habitual barking, howling, growling, yelping, or whining.
We handle complaints of barking dogs during regular business hours only. We respond to these complaints by issuing a written warning to the owner at the time of the first complaint. A written warning must be issued first. If we receive another complaint within 90 days of the warning being served, we will issue a citation to the owner provided that at least two adult witnesses sign a written statement for the same day, time, and event, and agree to appear in Municipal Court to testify about the complaint.
Once the initial warning has been issued another will not be given during the 90 days, even if it is a different complainant. After the 90 days, if the barking continues the process would start over with a warning being issued first.
The Barking Dog Complaint Form should be completed for a date after the warning has been issued, if the barking continues.
View the Barking Dogs Complaint Form (PDF).
Article by Victoria Stilwell
Dogs communicate with the world around them in all kinds of ways. An especially important aspect of canine communication to understand is how they vocalize, which can include barking, growling, and whining. While a dog’s reason for vocalizing in these ways may vary, it’s crucial to understand how and why dogs are communicating.
Dogs bark for all kinds of reasons – out of excitement, fear, stress, and boredom, to name a few. For dogs that bark excessively, the first step is to understand the root cause of the barking. While quick fixes like citronella collars and shock collars might suppress your dog’s barking in the moment, they can increase a dog’s stress and anxiety, leading to all kinds of behavioral problems, including aggression.
Learn more about why your dog barks and how to modify the behavior if your dog is barking too much.
Although it can be frightening when a dog growls or bares his teeth at you, a growl is essentially a warning. Most dogs that growl are actually trying to prevent biting, so good positive trainers always appreciate when a dog inhibits his bite and replaces it with a growl. If your dog is growling at you, he is likely trying to warn you that something you’re doing is making him nervous or uncomfortable.
Punishing a dog for growling increases the chances he will not warn you next time and go straight to bite.
Some dogs are more vocal than others, and growl during play or when they are overly excited. If you are concerned about your dog’s growling, consult a positive trainer to help you determine the cause.
Whining is a vocalization that dogs practice from a young age to express their need for a resource or attention. While the sound of a whining dog can be irritating, try to remember that it’s a sign your dog is trying to communicate with you.
Dogs may whine because they are…
- Need to go outside
- In pain
- Uncomfortable or stressed
Whining is a normal behavior and will usually fade as a dog grows but if you have any concerns about your dog’s whining, consult a positive trainer near you.
While dogs communicate with us and other dogs through many means, their vocal language is an important element to comprehend and interpret. Sometimes excessive vocalization by your dog can be annoying, but it’s never a good idea to punish him for vocalizing. In a best case scenario, you’re damaging the ability to communicate effectively with your dog, while in a worst case, punishing any dog for something like growling can be a downright dangerous move which might convince him to progress straight to a bite.
Whining youtube dog
All animals communicate in one way or another, whether it’s through a loud bark, a wagging tail, or an excited howl. Our beloved dogs, not only communicate instinctually, but they learn to “talk” to us in many different ways. Howling, whining, and crying are three common methods to get needs and wants across to their humans. Learning to understand their vocalization requires us to pay close attention, and to connect the dots to discern their communication.
But what does it all mean? Why do our furbabies choose a particular method to get and hold our attention? Here are 12 reasons dogs might howl, whine, and cry.
The top reason dogs whine is because of stress. Suppose you’re in a training class and suddenly your pup begins whining, pacing, cowering, licking lips, or panting, dropping their tail, and quits responding to your cues. They’re telling you that there’s too much stress. The best way to fix this is to change your training place or method.
Related Post: 10 Dog Breeds That Don't Tolerate Being Left Alone
If you ever catch your dog whining and folding their ears back, tucking their tail in, rolling over on the back, crouching, and refusing to make eye contact, that means they lack confidence. The whine from a dog is telling you that they do not feel safe, and are looking to you for assurance.
Related Post: 5 Tips to Help Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is a common issue for many furbabies. Although some may act out by tearing the house apart, others may cry, whine, or howl for hours on end. You can help by slowly conditioning the dog to be left alone for longer and longer periods. There are other ways to help your furbaby feel less anxious such as anxiety medication, toys, or supplies. A pet camera allows you to see and interact with your dog remotely when they become upset. Talking to your dog or tossing them a treat remotely is a great boon to those who must work and leave their dogs at home during the workday.
Interestingly enough, dogs with chronic pain rarely whine or cry from it. However, acute pain, such as the sharp pain that accompanies rising for an arthritic dog, can certainly cause them to voice discomfort. If your dog is acting out, looking tired, and whining out of the blue, a trip to the vet can be the best way to find out what’s going on.
Your dog adores you and wants your attention 24 hours a day. One way your pup might try to get your attention is by barking, whining, or howling. Whenever dogs feel bored or like they are being ignored, they may act out to grab their human’s attention.
As our dogs age, like humans, they sometimes develop cognitive problems. Confusion is very stressful to dogs, and often they will cry when they feel lost or afraid. Disorientation and dementia cause anxiety, which can cause crying, whining, or even howling. Visit your vet for professional advice and medications that may help.
Read more: Top 4 Golden Retriever Health Problems!
Dogs get excited easily, whether it is a nearby squirrel or the sound of someone coming home. Your pup may show excitement through barking, tail wagging, or pacing around in circles. Your dog’s communication is “I can’t control myself!” You can help by teaching your pup more moderate ways of greeting people so they can be calmer the next time a doorbell rings. Clicker training is a great way for dogs to learn how to be calm.
In the wild, wolves would howl to organize their pack. Howling helps the outgoing scouts locate the rest of the pack and return safely. . Howling may serve a similar purpose for domestic dogs. If you’ve been gone all day, your dog might howl in hopes of bringing you back home.
Sometimes dogs would urinate to set boundaries; however, some dogs may also use howling and barking to communicate their territory. Letting potential predators or even just trespassers know they have entered a dog’s territory is cause for a good, long howl. Many dogs bark when someone comes to the door or drives up in the driveway; it’s a form of communication that warns trespassers away.
Especially with hunting breeds, dogs may howl to alert you to the fact that they have found something. For most hunting dogs, howling is instinctual, but it can also be trained into them. Bloodhounds “sound” (howl) when they have picked up a track that they are trying to follow.
It seems that dogs love to howl in response to certain triggers. Sirens, music, and even the sound of someone singing! Science hasn’t been able to account for why dogs will howl from certain audio triggers. Perhaps they just want to contribute to the celebration!
Some people are convinced that their dog’s vocalizations are attempts to speak words. When sounds are selectively reinforced, they can seem to replicate human speech. However, it is unlikely that your furbaby knows what it means when they try to make the sound “I love you,” but people encourage it nonetheless.
We’re learning more all the time about the way dogs think. Maybe, in time, we’ll be able to truly understand what it is our fur buddies are trying to say through their howls, whines, and cries.
Read more: The World Through The Eyes of a Dog
Read more: 10 Ways to Calm Your Dog Down During Fireworks
What Your Dog’s Sounds Are Telling You
Your dog makes a lot of sounds that can be hard to translate. At times these sounds may be confusing –to you as a pet owner. Once you understand what your pup is trying to say, however, you’ll have a better grasp on what they need or what they’re trying to communicate.
Depending on the breed, a dog’s bark can be quite unique and range from a small yip to a deep woof. But despite the variety of barking, a dog’s barks are mostly used to get someone’s attention or make its presence known.
There are three things to listen for when assessing your dog’s barks: frequency, duration and pitch. These variations in bark intensity and length are great indicators of what your canine friend is telling you.
Here are some common bark examples and what your dog is likely saying:
- Multiple barks broken up with pauses are a familiar sound for pet owners. These types of barks usually mean your dog is trying to alert the pack that something needs to be investigated.
- Single, high-pitched barks are often used as a greeting for your canine’s friends and family. Many times, it’s your dog’s best way of saying “hello” to someone they know or love.
- Low, drawn-out barking suggests your dog may be on the defense. If you hear these types of barks, it could be that your pet senses danger nearby, or is uncomfortable with a place or person.
- A single lively bark preceded by a light growl means your pup is feeling frisky and typically coincides with other kinds of playful body language.
- Multiple pauses in a long barking sequence signals that your dog is probably lonely. These barks could mean your dog would like a canine companion or needs more of your attention.
Just like its ancestors, your dog uses howling to communicate all sorts of things to its pack – and to other dogs or packs in the area.
- Sometimes your dog will howl to let pack members know where they’re at so you can be reunited.
- Howling can also be warning others to stay away from their territory.
- In some situations, howling can be an indication of a problem with your pet. If your pup has an issue with howling and it looks unhappy or uncomfortable, they may be experiencing things like depression, separation anxiety, or illness.
- Your dog may be howling just because howling is contagious. When one dog starts howling, others are sure to follow. Any high-pitched sound, like a siren or car alarm, can also trigger a howling session.
Your dog uses howling to communicate all sorts of things to its pack
Whining and Whimpering
Whining and whimpering can mean a lot of different things, but it’s usually a sign that your dog wants your attention. Whether they need a good play session or simply want to be petted, fed, or noticed by their owner, whining and whimpering is a harmless way of saying they need interaction.
However, whining and whimpering can also be a sign of bigger problems, like pain, distress, or separation anxiety. Keep an eye out for other ways your pet might be expressing these emotions, such as panting, poor behavior, or an obvious change in appetite.
Yelping is often associated with pain or fear, though it usually comes as a sudden outburst instead of a prolonged cry. A yelp is meant to get your attention immediately and can be triggered by everything from a bite, sting, or other type of unexpected injury. But it could also mean your pet was surprised or frightened by something in their environment.
Yelping isn’t always a bad sign, however. Sometimes dogs will yelp with the arrival of loved ones, especially when they’ve been gone for a long time from your pup’s point of view. If you hear a quick yelp after returning from vacation or a long day at work, it could be your dog’s way of saying you were missed and they are excited to have you back!
When a pup is feeling frisky, they sometimes share gentle growls to draw an owner’s attention, or do it simply as part of everyday play. But more often than not, a growling dog is a sign that other people and pets in the area shouldn’t come any closer.
Whether they’re protecting food and toys, upset about a bath or nail trimming, or letting strangers know they aren’t someone to tangle with, growling often boils down to a sign of a fear or frustration.
It’s important to make a growling dog feel as comfortable as possible. Punishing a dog for growling may only exacerbate the problem – next time, they might skip the warning altogether and lead with more aggressive behavior. Learning how to identify when a dog might bite is important for every pet owner and may require training to break the bad habit.
Groaning and Sighing
Lots of pet owners refer to their dogs as fur babies. And just like human children using pouting to express boredom or disappointment, dogs use groaning in situations where they aren’t getting their way. But groaning doesn’t always mean your pet is feeling unsatisfied.
Another reason your dog might be groaning or sighing is to express their contentment. Many dogs use groaning and sighing to communicate satisfaction after a walk, a play session, or when they’re ready to relax. As long as the groaning and sighing doesn’t persist, which may indicate pain or discomfort, your pup is probably letting you know it’s all set for naptime.
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Whining is one of many forms of canine vocal communication. Dogs most commonly whine when they’re seeking attention, when they’re excited, when they’re anxious or when they’re trying to appease you.
Why Do Dogs Whine?
Some dogs whine excessively when interacting with people and other dogs, usually while adopting a submissive posture (e.g., tail tucked, body lowered, head down, gaze averted).
Some dogs whine during greetings. This kind of vocalization is usually motivated by excitement and may be directed at dogs or people.
Some dogs whine in the presence of their owners in order to get attention, rewards or desired objects.
Some dogs whine in response to stressful situations. In this context, whining sometimes seems involuntarily.
Other Problems That Might Cause Whining
If your dog only whines just before you leave or during your absence, she may have separation anxiety. If this is the case, your dog will usually display at least one other symptom of the disorder prior to your departure or when left alone, such as pacing, panting, excessive drooling, destruction (especially around doors and windows), urinating or defecating indoors, depression or other signs of distress. For more information about this problem, please see our article, Separation Anxiety.
Injury or Medical Condition
Dogs often whine in response to pain or a painful condition. If you notice that your dog vocalizes frequently or has suddenly started to vocalize, it’s important to take her to the vet to rule out medical causes.
What to Do About Excessive Whining
Dogs can try to appease people or other dogs when they perceive a threat or aggression being directed at them. Appeasement behaviors include holding the ears back, tucking the tail, crouching or rolling over on the back, avoiding eye contact or turning the body sideways to the perceived threat. Appeasement whining is also a normal canine behavior. You may be able to reduce your dog’s appeasement whining by building her confidence. Try taking her to an obedience class that uses reward-based training techniques. You and your dog can also try trick-training classes or dog sports like agility, flyball and musical freestyle (a combination of heeling and tricks performed to music). Playing fun, interactive games with your dog, like tug and fetch, can increase your dog’s confidence. Avoid physical and verbal punishment. Avoid physical and verbal punishment. Intimidating your dog will only decrease her confidence level and may increase appeasement whining.
Whining During Greetings
If your dog whines when greeting people, you can divert her attention to her favorite toys. Simply telling your dog to be quiet during greetings usually isn’t effective because, unless you’ve taken specific steps to teach your dog what the word “Quiet” means, she won’t understand you. Additionally, most dogs whine when greeting people because they’re excited, and in an extremely aroused state, they may not have control over their behavior. Instead, use management procedures to help prevent your dog from becoming overly excited. For example, downplay greetings, keeping them short and simple. Avoid speaking in excited, loud tones, and keep your movements slow and calm. Wait to pet and interact with your dog until she’s less excited. It may also help to teach her to do something you’d like her to do instead of whining, such as sitting or hand targeting when she greets you or other people. Your dog may whine a lot less if she’s busy performing some other, more polite behavior instead.
How to Teach Hand Targeting
Try teaching your dog to touch an outstretched palm with her nose during greetings to help her stay calm.
- Hold your outstretched palm right in front of your dog’s face, and wait for her to touch it with the tip of her nose. Don’t say anything. Just wait. If she isn’t paying attention at all, you can say her name to get her focused on you, but don’t say anything else and don’t move your hand toward your dog. Your touching your palm to her nose won’t help teach her to move her nose toward your palm. If your dog doesn’t touch your hand at first, you can try removing it and then presenting it again, or moving it side to side in front of her face, or rubbing a treat on your palm to encourage your dog to sniff it. As soon as you feel your dog’s nose touch your palm, say “Yes!” and feed her a small treat from your other hand.
- When your dog touches your palm reliably 9 out of 10 times in a row, start to present your hand in different places. Hold it out to the side of your dog’s face, down toward the floor and a few inches away so that your dog has to move toward it to make contact. Finally, hold your palm up above her head so she has to reach up to touch it. Always remember to say “Yes!” as soon as you feel your dog’s nose make contact with your hand, and then feed her a treat.
- When your dog touches your hand 9 out of 10 times in a row, regardless of where you’re holding it, then introduce a cue or command for the behavior, such as, “Say hello.” First say the cue then present your hand and wait for your dog to touch it. When she does, say “Yes!” and give her a treat.
- Incorporate your dog’s friends and family into the training. Practice her new skill in a variety of places: your home, a friend’s home and on the street during leash walks. Ask friends who your dog knows and likes and who walk along your regular route and stop to greet your dog so she can practice hand targeting with them. Remember to keep rewarding her when she responds correctly.
- The next step is to generalize the training to people your dog doesn’t know. In advance, tell a friend who’s never met your dog what to do when meeting her. Then invite the person to your home or arrange to meet while you’re taking a walk with your dog. During the meeting, if the stranger presents his or her hand and your dog seems confused, help her out. Remind her what to do by asking her to touch your hand first a few times. Then ask the stranger to try again.
- From this point on, if someone wants to greet your dog, either in your home or out in the world, explain that he or she should simply put out a hand and wait for your dog to approach. You can cue your dog by saying, “Say hello.” After your dog touches the person’s hand with her nose, she’ll turn back to you for her treat. In the event that the person ignores your request and reaches out to pat your dog, she should feel relatively relaxed because she’s expecting the person to extend a hand to be touched!
- Be careful not to reward your dog if she performs this new behavior when you haven’t asked her to do so by at least raising your hand to her. Some dogs can get pushy and will approach people to touch their hands, even when the people do not want to interact. Reward your dog for touching only when you’ve given the cue.
If your dog uses whining behavior to seek attention, rewards or desired objects, you need to teach her that remaining quiet is a better strategy. Sometimes reducing attention-seeking whining may be difficult because owners may unwittingly reinforce the behavior. Realize that any eye contact, touching or talking to your dog—even if you’re scolding her—all constitute attention. Use dramatic body language such as turning away from your dog or folding your arms across your chest and completely ignore her to indicate to your dog that her attention-seeking whining won’t work.
In addition to not reinforcing whining behavior, you need to reward your dog for being quiet. Teach your dog that she must always be quiet before receiving your attention, play or treats. Regularly seek out your dog to give her attention and rewards when she’s not whining. When your dog understands that silence works well to get your attention, she won’t feel as motivated to whine.
Don’t hesitate to contact a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) in your area. Many CPDTs offer group or private classes that can give you and your dog lots of great skills to learn and games to play that will reduce her appeasement whining, whining during greetings and attention-seeking whining.Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate a CPDT in your area.
Whining as a result of anxiety is difficult to eliminate unless the cause of anxiety is removed. Anxious whining is usually accompanied by other nervous behaviors, such as pacing, circling and licking. Many anxious dogs do not seem able to control their whining when under extreme stress.
Some medications may help reduce your dog’s anxiety. Consult a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB) or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB) to learn more about anti-anxiety medications. Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information about locating one of these professionals.) Do not give your dog any kind of medication for a behavior problem unless directed to do so by a veterinarian.