It might seem like your Jack Russell Terrier is whining for no reason as he sits on the couch by you, but have you considered all the options? Is something frightening him, or are his hip joints acting up again? Since dogs cannot communicate verbally the way humans do, it is important to pay attention to the sounds they make, even if there does not appear to be a reason for them initially. Here are some of the main causes for why your dog might be whimpering or whining throughout the day.

Reasons Why Dogs Whimper

They are in pain or uncomfortable. Even if your dog looks healthy, he might be in pain. Perhaps sitting is putting too much weight on his arthritic joints, or a tumor that might be developing without your knowledge.  Maybe his gums are aching after getting scraped or punctured by an object the pup dug up in the garden.  If everything seems normal, and yet your dog is whimpering, give him a quick physical examination to make sure that there are no thorns lodged in his paws, or objects stuck in their teeth, or itchy rashes on his skin.

They are lonely.  Separation anxiety plagues many pets. It might begin when their owner leaves for the day, and continue long into the night when the human retires to bed. Canines are designed to be companion creatures, so it is common for them to process long solitary hours poorly, or communicate a great sense of dread when they are about to be left behind at home.  Some dogs just need a playmate around the house that they can pass the hours with, while others will stop whining if they are allowed to be kept close by their owner.

They are nervous. Dogs whimper when they hear and smell things we don’t, or when they are worried about something.  A storm brewing miles away will emit low-frequency sounds, and scents that humans are not capable of detecting, but will be strongly evident to your dog. He might associate those scents with the loud clapping of thunder that gives him the jitters, making the very aroma of the oncoming rain nerve-wracking to your dog.

They want something.  This might be anything from your attention, to wanting to go outside to do their business, or want you to play fetch with them.  Some dogs (we’re looking at you, Beagles!) start whining the moment their owner walks into the kitchen and opens a cupboard. More puppy treats, please!

They are frustrated. A dog might also smell that squirrel through the open window, or the neighbor’s cat and start whimpering out of frustrated agitation that they can’t run outside and chase their prey.  Maybe their ball rolled under the entertainment set, or their treat got stuck between the couch cushions. Frustration can bring humans to tears, so why wouldn’t it do the same for dogs?

They are excited. You are walking to the closet to get… oh yes! To get the leash! Time to walk! Time to walk! Time to walk!  You can almost hear a pup’s thought process based on his body language, and the way he twitches with anticipation, and whimpers or whines with excitement.  This same behavior can occur at meal times when they hear the food bowl being filled with goodies, or when you come home from work.  Whining in these instances is just another way for the dog to send you positive feedback about what is happening.