Why Does my Greyhound Whine? How to Interpret


A little whine with dinner? Or when you’re trying to sleep? Or following you all over the house, until you want to whine, too? Too much whining from your greyhound can become a problem!

Greyhounds whine as a preferred form of communication (over barking); but, as with people, tone is everything. 

You’ll want to find out what your greyhound is trying to tell you, but you don’t want to tolerate any greyhound sass! Read on to find out if you’re missing out on the conversation, or if your greyhound is just giving you a hard time…and what to do about it.

Often, the problem is not your gh’s whining, but other peoples’ reactions to it. My son was raised with gh’s whole life, but suddenly developed the notion that all whining is bad-dog behavior…because that’s how it’s treated at his gf’s house with her bulldog and mastiff! Great, now I have to listen to him whine about the dog’s whining. Sometimes, people are even harder to train than dogs!  

First, be glad your greyhound isn’t driving you crazy with barking, because they can bark, and quite loudly, too. More often, people complain that their greyhound’s Annual Bark is not enough. Greyhounds tend to be fairly silent friends, but then there’s that little whine…Why do they do it?

Why is the Dog Whining for no Reason?

Your greyhound is usually trying to tell you something. He may emit a little whine to remind you that it’s time for a regularly-scheduled activity, such as his walk or his dinner. Something may be amiss, like his blanket is still in the dryer and he’s having a hard time settling down for a nap without it; or his toy has rolled under the couch, and he can’t get it….

…So, the first thing you want to do is play the guessing-game. I ask Lily “What’s wrong? Did you lose your toy? Are you cold?” etc. When I hit the right answer, she stops whining and wags her tail. If I can’t figure it out, I’ll ask, “Do you want me to come with you?” and she’ll turn around and lead me to the source of the problem. 

Sometimes, what they’re trying to tell you can be pretty funny. A friend gave me a beautiful, handmade greyhound sweater. My macho-boy greyhound, Shannon, hated this thing. He’d stand in the middle of the kitchen floor, submitting to have it put on, but he kept trying to shake it off during our walks. One really cold day, I let him out the back door, and he turned right around, zipped back inside, planted himself in the middle of the kitchen floor, and emitted a little whine. He couldn’t want the Evil Sweater, could he? I slipped it onto him, not knowing what else to do. He went right back to the door and whined to be let out. When he got to be an elderly gentleman of a greyhound, he would whine to wear his dapper, red sweater in his bed, to ward off the draft. 

Pay Closer Attention When Your Older Greyhound Whines

As your greyhound gets older, by the way, do investigate any new whining behaviors thoughtfully. He may be more comfortable with less time between potty-breaks, or need a warmer spot or a softer bed than he used to. An arthritic greyhound hip can be greatly soothed by 10 minutes with a well-wrapped icebag. This may seem counter-intuitive if your old fellow is already cold, but ice is known as “poor man’s aspirin.” The first time I tried it on Shannon, he was so relieved, his eyes rolled back in his head.

“Another natural arthritis solution that I have found enormously successful are Arthrisoothe Gold tablets (check price here).  There’s a good reason why the huge size is such a big seller on Amazon.  We had poor Shanny on Rimadyl, which made him seem doped-up all the time; until a friend told us about Arthrisoothe.  It had worked great for his Doberman, so we gave it a shot…and never went back to Rimadyl!”

Your Greyhound’s Whining Keeps You On-Task

Lily whines to keep me on track. If I’m building a fire in the woodstove, and I stop to look at the TV, I’ll hear that whine behind me, Little Mother is reminding me to stay on task. If you stop to chat with a neighbor while your walking your greyhound, he’ll probably let you know when it’s time to move on.

The conversational whine is endearing and fun, but when does whining become a problem, and what can you do about it?  Whining can go from cute to stressful anytime it wakes you up in the night, or becomes persistant and hysterical, or (Heaven forbid) both.

The Night Whiner

This is usually a new greyhound trying to settle in. We had this happen the first night with our first dog, Peaches. She didn’t know how to climb stairs yet, and my husband didn’t know if having the dog in the bedroom would aggravate his allergies, so we left her downstairs in her kennel for the night. About half an hour later, Peaches decided she was lonely, and let out the most pitiful wailing I’d ever heard. I set up her bed just outside our bedroom door, while my husband carried her up the stairs. We left the door open, and, luckily, this was close enough. She settled right down, and the hallway became known as Peaches’ Room.

I have found it invaluable to walk my greyhound right before I turn in. An empty greyhound is a relaxed greyhound! She knows she’ll get a little treat right after we come in, so there’s no late-night sniffing around.

Some owners, however, will have the dog right there in the bedroom, and will be awakened by whining. Often, the first thought is to bring the dog up on the bed. Though some may disagree, I consider greyhounds on my bed a bad idea. They are pack animals, and bad things can happen when your head and your dog’s are on the same level, while you’re sleeping. 

Solutions for Dogs Who Whine at Night

It may be enough to bring the dog’s bed closer to yours. An old-fashioned mechanical clock (the kind you wind up and it ticks) can be very soothing. They even make special diffusers which release a scent that dogs find relaxing. Some greyhounds, believe it or not, are afraid of the dark, so a nightlight can be helpful. Your dog may have come from a kennel where they leave the radio on overnight, so try leaving one playing softly on the other side of the dog’s bed, where it won’t disturb you.

One very successful solution, although you’re going to feel kind of mean, is to spritz the beast with a spray-bottle. One owner recalled how this cured her whining greyhound, “after a night of ‘scattered showers.'”

If you don’t care to do this, and none of the other things are working, you could solve your problem on your end, by not waking up. Earplugs can be a wonderful thing. They are comfortable, and you may find you sleep better than ever. You can still hear well enough throught them to be aware, should an emergency crop up, but they are effective in making sure you’re not awakened by every little noise.

How Do I Stop my Greyhound from Whining?

It’s important to remember that when your greyhound whines, he is trying to tell you something.  It is not the same as a kid having a tantrum, and should definitely not be responded to as such!  You will be amazed at how fulfilling your relationship with your greyhound becomes, when you learn to interpret his different types of whines.

The Lonely Soul: separation anxiety in greyhounds

Another problem can arise if your greyhound is whining regularly, while home alone, if you live within earshot of your neighbors. This is separation anxiety; and, as I mentioned in my article, “Are Greyhounds Destructive,” prevention is the best cure. Greyhounds are sensitive, social dogs, who have spent their lives surrounded by company. Being alone is a new experience. You want to spend your first days with him leaving him alone for increasing intervals of time.

A doggie cam may be helpful in working this out. He probably doesn’t whine the entire time you’re gone, so try breaking up his alone-time a bit. Leave one or more Kong toys with a little peanut butter pushed deep inside of each to keep him busy for a while. Leave a ticking clock near his crate. Put a TV and a radio in different parts of the room on timers, so they come on a different times. The change in sound might distract you greyhound. 

The Misunderstood: keep this greyhound close to you

If you have a chatty greyhound, watch him carefully with other dogs. Some will take his whining as a sign of weakness, and can lash out suddenly. 

The Neurotic Drama Queen: gently discipline

One owner related the story of her greyhound, who would whine every time they came home from a vet visit. The dog would usually lodge his complaint, she wouldn’t pay him any mind, and he would settle down in his bed after a little while. Then, the “little while” became longer. Finally, after one check-up, he carried on for two full days. She finally turned to him, and said in a sharp tone, “CASEY. JUST. STOP!” That put an end to it. Greyhounds are pretty sensitive, so you don’t want to chew them out too often; but it can be an effective last resort. 

Another woman, in a similar situation, had a greyhound who didn’t tend to listen to her. Her husband stepped in to do the dirty work. One stern word from him, and their drama queen retired her crown!

The Beggar: bad manners

Dining can be unpleasant, when a furry, whining barracuda is doing laps around the table. This is bad manners, and shouldn’t be tolerated. Treat same as above (The Neurotic Drama Queen).

Try Joining the Conversation

Greyhounds communicate by staring, as well.  Read about that AND check out the companion video:

Enjoy the companion video for this article:

Check out my greyhound interpretation skills in this video:

Gail McGaffigan

The owner of the Greyhound Homecare website and YouTube channel, Gail has had retired racing greyhounds as pets since 1997. Please visit our channel, too! https://www.youtube.com/c/GreyhoundHomecare

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