Why Does My German Shepherd Whine

Why Does My German Shepherd Whine? 8 Reasons With Advice

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

German Shepherds aren’t known to be big barkers but they will make lots of other noises and sounds including that good old fashioned whine. While dogs differ in personality and the levels and types of sounds they make, they are great at communicating to their owners. Some German Shepherds may be shy while others let you know right away that they need something. This is why it is a good idea to know some of the reasons for their vocal harmonies. These top reasons should help answer the question: Why does my German Shepherd whine?

German Shepherds whine because they are a vocal dog breed and like to communicate using different sounds including the whine. Normally some of the main causes for whining include: needing food or water, needing to go potty, wanting to go play or take a walk, telling you they missed you, getting excited, wanting their toy, fear or stress or being ill or in pain.

8 Reasons that your German Shepherd may whine.

The majority of these reasons were taken from a poll of German Shepherd owners who were asked why their German Shepherd would whine.

German Shepherd Hungry Or Thirsty

1. Hunger or Thirst

Topping the list of reasons for “Why does my German Shepherd whine” is one of the most obvious and straight forward answers for your dog’s barking or whining.

Your German Shepherd will definitely let you know when they are feeling hungry or thirsty.

Your German Shepherd’s whine could be saying:

“I have no more water”

“mom I am SOO hungry please hurry”


This is especially true if the whining is close to their normal feeding time. Make sure they are also eating a healthy diet so that they aren’t still hungry for certain nutrients that they may not be getting in their current food.

A lot of dog food brands aren’t necessarily good for your dog. A high quality food brand such as Orijen is pricey but very healthy for your German Shepherd containing all of the necessary high quality ingredients.

If your dog whines a lot, changing their diet to something much more healthy could help reduce the amount of whining before meals but isn’t necessarily always the case.

2. Potty Time

Potty time is another common reason for why your German Shepherd may whine. Dogs can drink a lot of water so normally lots of potty breaks are in order for your furry friend. You definitely want to avoid them using your carpet as a pee pad so pay close attention to this whine.

Your German Shepherd’s whine could be saying:

“I need to go out”


“mom, I urgently need bathroom”


You will be dealing with this a lot if you have a new puppy that is crate training. A lot of owners have had success by repeating the phrase “go potty” after taking their puppy outside. Eventually your puppy will associate this phrase with their bathroom break and act accordingly.

Another method one owner used with success was to hang bells on the door and every time the dog needed to use the restroom, they would bump the bells signaling their need to go potty.

Dog Going For A Walk

3. Wanting to Play or go for a Walk

The third reason that your German Shepherd may whine is because they want to play or go for a walk outside. German Shepherds have lots of energy and need their exercise.

If they aren’t getting enough playtime or walks, they could be telling you this with a bark or a whine.

Your German Shepherd’s whine could be saying:

“Isn’t it time for a walk?!”

“I’ve got a really great idea, let’s go outside and play frisbee!”


Exercise is very important for German Shepherds. It is recommended that they get at least two hours of exercise daily. This can be playing with toys or going for walks outside.

There are also lots of fun games that you can play with your dog to give them some of that much needed exercise to expend their energy.

4. Telling you they missed you

The fourth possible reason that your German Shepherd may whine is your dog telling you that they missed you dearly while you were gone for work or other reasons. Dogs are not very good when it comes to hiding their emotions.

They will definitely let you know how much they love you and missed you when you walk through that front door after a long day of being away from them. They may bark or whine to show their excitement about you coming home.

Your German Shepherd’s whine could be saying:

“OMG!!!! You’re HOME!!!! I MISSED YOU SO MUCH!!!”


Your dog’s whining because they missed you should make you feel warm inside. They would much rather you be lounging around at home with them.

German Shepherd Pure Excitement

5. Pure Excitement

Pure excitement and joy could be the reason that your German Shepherd may whine.

German Shepherds can get very excited and love to show their owners just exactly how excited they are.

They can do this using a ton of different noises and sound effects but barking and whining are the top two. This excitement could be due to many things including: coming home from work, having friends over, going for a walk, getting food or a treat or going for a car ride.

One owner had this to say about their German Shepherd:

When we come home or his human uncles come over for a visit (his fav people), he lets out this weird whine bark for a few minutes while greeting everyone.


German Shepherds, like a lot of dogs, love to get attention. If they feel like you are lacking in this department, they will let it be known.

6. Wanting their toy

A very common answer among owners for their German Shepherd whining was their dog wanting their toy. A lot of times their toy will get stuck under the cabinet, chair, couch, desk or refrigerator.

This can drive a dog crazy. They love their toys and balls are especially prone to rolling underneath furniture and getting stuck. Your dog may whine until they get their favorite toy back into their mouth.

Your German Shepherd’s whine could be saying:

“mom my toy is stuck under the bureau again, please help”


They may also whine for their toy when it is kept out of reach. This is a good opportunity to teach your dog patience and that they can’t always get what they want instantaneously.

Dog Fear Or Stress

7. Fear or Stress

This is a less common reason that your German Shepherd may whine but nonetheless it does happen from time to time.

Moaning or whining could mean that your dog is fearful of something or someone.

They could be scared of a stranger, sensing that something is off with that person. Dogs can sense if you are a dog person and like them. They could also be fearful of another animal that they perceive as a threat to their owner and family.

Some dogs are afraid of car rides and will moan and whine hoping to avoid getting into the car. This is especially true when they know they are going to the veterinarian. Most dogs are not so happy when it is time for their checkup.

Of course a lot of dogs do not like storms. We use to have a Golden Retriever named Mack who was extremely afraid of thunder storms. He would normally jump into the bath tub to seek safety and shelter from the storm. He would also scratch the door and whine because of the fear and stress.

8. Being Ill or In Pain

Obviously the worst case scenario for why your German Shepherd may whine is because they are ill or in pain. Most of the time this isn’t the case. But their are rare occasions when you dog may be hurting or in a lot of pain.

Crying or whining could be the result of an underlying health issue. It is also possible they ate something that hurt their mouth, throat or stomach.

Because there could be so many different reasons causing them to be ill or in pain, taking them immediately to the veterinarian is your best option.

How Do I Get My German Shepherd To Stop Whining?

How Do I Get My German Shepherd To Stop Whining

While it may be impossible to get your German Shepherd to stop whining completely, there are several methods that will hopefully reduce the amount of whining.

Give Them Lots of Attention:

German Shepherds love attention and will bark and whine to get it. Make sure that they are getting plenty of love and affection to avoid any unwanted whining. They will definitely let you know if they feel like they are being ignored.

Play Games With Them:

German Shepherds are extremely intelligent animals who need to be stimulated with games and other activities otherwise they will build up a lot energy and possibly whine.

To avoid this, play games with them. Obviously fetch is at the top of the list but there are tons of other fun games and activities that you and your German Shepherd can do.

Give Them Plenty of Exercise:

Exercise is a must for the high energy of a German Shepherd. Feeding them a high quality diet and keeping them active daily will keep them healthy and satisfied. This should help reduce some of the whining although some dogs just love to be very vocal.

Two hours of exercise a day including one or two walks should be sufficient for your German Shepherd and hopefully curb some of their whining.

Reward Them When They Don’t Whine:

Make sure not to unintentionally reward them during a whine with anything positive such as food or a treat. This could end up reinforcing their whining because they may connect the two.

Instead reward them when they aren’t whining. This is assuming that they are whining at a specific time of the day like before a meal or to go get one of their toys.

This will teach them to be patient and the fact that they can’t get anything they want at the drop of a hat with a whine. This will take some time and training but eventually it will pay off.

Make Sure They Aren’t Ill or in Pain:

You will definitely want to make sure that they aren’t ill or in any type of pain. There could be several causes for sickness or pain. You can assess their body and look for any marks or wounds to their skin. You can also check their mouth to see if they swallowed anything funny.

Some possibilities for illness or pain:

  1. Disease or underlying health issue
  2. Wounded from another animal or hit by a car
  3. They ingested something they shouldn’t have
  4. Sore from a skin allergy

These are just a few examples. If you feel like your German Shepherd is ill or in any pain, please take them to a veterinarian immediately.

Some Other Fun Noises Your German Shepherd May Make:

Dog Making Noises And Sounds

Some German Shepherds can very vocal and may make a plethora of different noises and sounds depending on the situation or environment.

They may just talk to you with a bark, growl, grumble, howl, huff, jabber, purr, yell or yodel. They may also sing along to your favorite song in the car. Of course some owners have reported some interesting sounds coming from the mouths of their canine friends.

A couple of owners compared their German Shepherds sounds to a famous Star Wars character:

My big boy makes grumbles like a Wookie from Star Wars.

mine might audition for the part of a Wookie in the next Star Wars series.


Another owner compared their German Shepherd to another popular TV show’s character:

When she was happy, our late GSD would make a noise that was kind of a cross between Scooby Doo’s signature noise (“arrroooo”) and an elk bugling.


In Closing:

We hope that this article gave you some ideas as to why your German Shepherd may whine. Remember there are so many different situations that could be the cause of your dog’s crying. It just depends on each specific dog. I have seen several owners state that they have one dog who is completely silent and another who won’t stop talking.

Communication with your dog can be a beautiful thing. Learning how to understand their sounds and body language can give you a better idea of how they are and what they are feeling. You just need to figure out how to interpret what they are saying to you.

Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Does your German Shepherd whimper and wail? We would love to hear about your personal experiences and what you did to reduce or stop their moaning and groaning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *