6 Reasons Dogs Whine & How Seriously To Take It

6 Reasons Dogs Whine & How Seriously To Take It

Your dog could be really big on communication and likes you to know what they think throughout the day! If this is the case, you are quite familiar with your dog’s whine and might even be able to distinguish your dog’s specific whines from each other.

This aspect of your dog’s behavior is a common form of communication. It’s true that a dog’s whine can mean a multitude of things, but they may have different inflections or behaviors associated with specific whines that they use to help get their point across.

Not all whining is negative or something to be concerned about. Your dog might excitedly whine whenever they see their best friend on their daily walk, or they might whine because they are feeling discomfort. Monitoring their other behaviors can help you to determine what your dog’s whine might be about.

If you’re thinking, “Why is my dog whining?” and want to know when to take it seriously, keep reading:

Why Do Dogs Whine?

Puppies and adult dogs whine for a variety of common reasons. Because they can’t communicate with their humans in a normal way, our dogs rely on their body language and their voice to communicate their needs.

While moderate or excessive whining isn’t really a learned behavior, it can be a learned reaction. For many dogs, they learn that when they whine, they are given attention — this is a phenomenon sometimes referred to as “appeasement whining.”

If our pups are bored and in need of some mental stimulation, they might use vocalization. Vocalizing can be a tactic to get their human to pay attention to them and provide them with what they need, whether that be a favorite toy, a potty break, or some extra playtime with you, their pet parent.

Of course, dogs don’t always whine because they want something. If a dog is excited enough, whining might be the way that an excited or anxious dog expresses the anticipation of what’s about to come next!

1. Seeking Attention

According to animal behaviorists, one of the main reasons your dog is whining is because they want your attention. If you have a particularly needy dog, you know what we are talking about! Maybe you are typing away at your computer at home for too long, and your dog is staring at you, whining or whimpering because they want pets and cuddles.

You can tell when a dog is seeking your attention because of other behaviors like swatting with their paws and nuzzling into you. If you aren’t giving them the attention that they want, these behaviors will only progress until they give up and sulk in their beds (probably still whining).

2. Appeasement Behavior 

When a dog is meeting a new dog or person, they might whine as a submissive response. This will usually be accompanied by other submissive behaviors, like ears back, tail tucked, and head down.

It might be mixed with excitement or anxiety, depending on the situation that you are in. If your dog is meeting up with their best friend (human or animal), it might be as a result of their excitement. If your dog is in a new setting, it might be influenced more by anxiety.

3. Anxiety

Dogs can become anxious for a variety of reasons. No two dogs are exactly the same in this regard (or in any category — it’s one of the reasons we love them so much!)

If you are wondering if your dog is whining because of stress, you might want to take note of other anxious behaviors like lip licking, averting their gaze, and yawning.

If your dog is anxious or suffers from separation anxiety, the whining might be involuntary and not something they can stop easily. If your dog is extremely stressed out, they might not be able to control their whining unless the trigger is eliminated.

4. Greeting Behavior

If your dog is a people and dog lover, they might whine when greeting both new and old friends. This is a sign that your dog is extremely excited and truly can’t contain themselves. They will likely be wagging their tail, mouth open, and “smiling.” Some will even jump around or bow as a way to show their friendliness and invite the other dog or human to play!

This behavior is also connected to seeking attention, so while it’s adorable and good to see a happy pup, this might not be the behavior you are looking for.

5. Asking for Something

Whining might also be the way that your dog communicates they are in need or want something. The clock strikes six o’clock, and your dog starts whining for you to feed them. They might need to use the potty and combine whining and running to the back door to let you know.

There could be a toy that has gotten stuck underneath the couch, and your pet needs you to get it for them so to let you know they whine while staring between the sofa and you. Of course, your pet won’t always be able to tell you their exact needs, but as you learn more about your pet’s personality and unique behaviors, it becomes easier to guess what they want!

6. Expressing Pain or Discomfort

The worst-case scenario to explain why your pet is whining is because they are in some sort of pain. If your dog is whining, but it’s not accompanied by any of the above situations, it might be related to pain or an injury.

If you are able to eliminate the reasons above, you might want to consider taking your dog to their veterinarian to do further testing to find the cause.

When To Worry About Dogs Whining

If you think that there could be something wrong with your dog, whether it be anxiety or pain, you should take your pet to their veterinarian. Your pet could be under a lot of stress or discomfort that only you can help to fix. Your dog cannot communicate what their issue is exactly, but their whines are the best way for them to indicate a problem.

Additionally, if the whining is beginning to become disruptive to your daily life, you may want to correct the whining behavior. There are plenty of ways to do this, and it can help your dog’s overall relationship with you and others.

How To Stop Dogs From Whining

Whining can sometimes be annoying, especially when it’s persistent and uncontrollable. Many dogs whine as a reaction when they can’t contain their excitement or needs. While it can be cute, it is not always a desirable behavior.

Depending on what your dog is whining about, there are different ways for you to correct the behavior and teach your dog what the right reaction should be.

  • If your dog whines when you don’t give them attention, make it a point to only give attention, pets, or treats when the dog is not whining, jumping, or pawing at you. In other words, don’t give your pet attention if they are making a fuss. You can dramatically turn away from them, fold your arms, or turn your head whenever you make eye contact.
  • In turn, make sure you are giving your dog plenty of attention, enrichment, exercise, and treats when they are not whining. This can help reinforce good behavior and teach them that whining for attention doesn’t work.
  • With anxiety, it’s a bit harder to train the whining out of your dog. To relieve them of their stress, you need to eliminate the stressor. These stressors can include separation, new people and pets, changes in the home, and differences in routine, etc. If the behavior is severe, your dog may need the help of medication prescribed by their veterinarian.

Dog Whining? It’s Time To Call.

You might be wondering what a specific behavior means when paired with whining, and for every dog, the reasoning for the whine might be different. When you sign up with AskVet, you gain access to Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™, who can help work on these behaviors with you.

The best way to help your dog correct their whining behavior is to train them out of it and work on it from a young age. It’s easier to train a dog the right way to act the first time around than to correct bad behavior later on (though it is possible!).

Whether you have a new puppy or an older dog, your dog uses whining as a form of communication. Knowing what your dog needs can lessen your dog’s anxiety and have them feel confident and happy with you as their person. Schedule a call with an animal expert today and learn more about your pet and how you can better their life every day!


Communication in Dogs | NCBI

Canine Separation Anxiety: Strategies For Treatment And Management | NCBI

Pain and Problem Behavior in Cats and Dogs | NCBI

Is your dog trying to tell you something? Whining and how to make it stop | Bayview Seven Animal Hospital

Why Is My Dog Whining? | AKC

10 Dog Tail Positions & What They Mean

10 Dog Tail Positions & What They Mean

For hundreds of years, humans have worked on domesticating different breeds of dogs so that their main role can be as beloved family pets. We have learned the ins and outs of being a dog parent, and with that comes analyzing their behaviors in order to understand what is going on in their adorable little heads.

Luckily, dogs have adapted to know how to communicate with humans to get their needs met. Yet we aren’t always 100% positive about what is going on in our dog’s mind. Body language helps us to determine what our pet is thinking in different situations.

One of the best indicators of body language and communication is how your dog’s tail is positioned. Your dog’s tail reacts to what your dog is thinking and experiencing, so it can explain how your dog might feel in different scenarios.

If you’re wondering, “Why do dogs wag their tails?” and want to make your pooch happy and comfortable, understanding their tail positioning is one of the first steps.

Body Language in Dogs

When your dog is uncomfortable or feeling some negative feelings, their facial expressions and tail movements sure look a lot different from when they are feeling positive feelings like excitement.

When doing some basic dog training, you can tell a lot about your dog’s emotional state based on their mouths, ears, shoulders, and, yes: the position of a dog’s tail and the direction of the wagging. As humans, we are not always predisposed to understand what our dog’s body language is trying to tell us and why dogs do what they do, but through years of domestication and studying our dogs, we have picked up on a few things to pay attention to.

However, luckily for us, dogs often tend to pick up on each other’s body language so that we don’t have to do so much guessing. While our dogs do rely on us to keep them safe and protected, they are able to sense things that we aren’t, making them much better judges of situations than us.

No matter what, it’s a good idea to learn about different tail positions to better understand your dog’s thoughts or intentions in any given scenario. This way, you can better communicate with and adjust to make your dog happier overall.

Tail Positions and What They Mean

Tail positions reveal much about our dog’s thoughts and intentions.

It’s best to keep in mind that some breeds have different tails and, therefore, different communication techniques. Pugs have short, curled tails that might not wag in the same way that a Golden Retriever would. On the other hand, breeds like Huskies, Basenjis, and Pomeranians have long tails, so their tails naturally have a higher line and tend to curve over the back.

1. High Positioning, Tail Wagging

A fast and loosely wagging tail means quickly moving from the left side to the right side of your dog’s body, showing that your dog is happy. You might be approaching a friend on the street or coming up to a location your dog loves. As soon as your dog notices, that tail will start thumping.

Additionally, this position is usually accompanied by other excited whole-body actions like jumping up and down, spinning around, tapping their paws, or pulling you to get to the target faster. (The speed of the wag is helpful to consider)

While this is a preferred reaction, all that wiggling and wagging can be a lot! You might want to try calming down your dog so that they don’t know someone over or overwhelm another pup.

2. High Positioning, Tilted Upwards

A high, stiff tail that is not fully straight up but instead standing at an angle can be a position that shows dominance. Your dog is likely feeling confident and coming up on potential new friends. Your dog wants to assert their dominance before saying hello, but this doesn’t mean that they’re aggressive. This can often happen at a dog park or when meeting new dog friends.

You should keep an eye on your dog if this is the case because if they get a wrong vibe from another dog, the tail position might change to reflect their new feelings towards the situation.

3. High Positioning, Curled

Some dogs might already have a curly tail, which might skew this positioning just a bit. If your dog’s tail is naturally straight, a curled tail that has a high position likely means that your dog is happy, confident, and comfortable.

4. High Position, Relaxed Wag 

If your dog is producing a slow wag, it’s showing that they are happy and relaxed but not overly excited. They might react this way when being awoken from a nice nap, when their human returns from a night out, or if you walk over to give them some pets when they aren’t expecting it.

5. Stiff Tail

A stiff tail, whether high-positioned, low, or horizontal, is usually a sign that a dog is behaving very cautiously. You might notice that when a potential threat is approaching, your dog will zero in on it. You might notice that a wagging tail will come to a standstill, and your dog will be on alert.

This might happen when your dog is meeting someone new and is not sure how to respond, or they see a particularly suspicious new object like Halloween decorations. This movement may either shift into a nice relaxed wag or shift into danger mode.


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6. Down and Out

This position is the most casual and neutral position that you will see with your dog. When a dog’s tail is down and relaxed, sticking out slightly, it could be because they are feeling very neutral. This position is common around the house and in other settings where your dog is feeling confident and comfortable.

It also can mean that they are almost ready for a nap, as it is a position that exerts no energy. It’s what you might describe as a baseline for your dog’s tail behavior.

7. Downward, Not Quite Tucked, Still

When your dog’s tail is not quite tucked, not quite raised, but very still, your dog is showing signs that they are uncomfortable. Usually, a dog that has a tail in this position is confused about what is going on and feels slightly anxious. They could be around new dogs or people, in a new environment, or at the veterinarian’s office.

8. Low Against the Hind Legs

In this position, your dog’s tail is not yet tucked, but it’s sitting low against their hind legs. This is a very submissive position and it usually happens when they want to show other dogs or humans that they aren’t a threat.

This might happen if your dog is naturally submissive and encounters a new friend. They don’t want to come off as overbearing and want to show right away that they aren’t going to be an issue. This is generally considered appeasement behavior.

9. Tucked Between the Legs

This is the most obvious indicator that your dog is scared. When your dog’s tail is tucked in between their legs, they might be experiencing fear and anxiety. You should immediately comfort your dog and not force them to do anything that they don’t want to do.

This can happen in crowded locations, around dogs that your dog sees as a threat, in new environments, or when there are loud and intrusive noises.

10. Raised and Alert

When a dog has a raised and alert tail, this is a sign that they are preparing to go on the attack. If they are feeling threatened, their tail will shoot up and become very stiff and alert. It also might be accompanied by growling, snarling, barking, baring teeth, or raised hackles.

You should definitely remove your dog from this situation immediately so that nothing progresses into a dangerous scenario.

Get Answers to the Clues

All dogs are different, but tail behavior is something that tends to be universal. Some dogs might never feel threatened or fearful and so seeing their tails tucked or alert is uncommon. We all love seeing a happy dog with a wagging tail, but that’s not the reality all the time.

Knowing your dog and what they need from you can keep your dog feeling safe and comfortable. When questions about your dog’s behavior pops up, you can find answers with AskVet.

At any point, you can reach out to a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ and ask them questions about your dog’s behavior. They can help to come up with a plan that will help improve your dog’s life by making them more confident and comfortable.

We all love our dogs so much and want to do what’s best for them — Schedule an appointment, and we are here to help you do exactly that!


Tail Docking of Canine Puppies: Reassessment of the Tail’s Role in Communication, the Acute Pain Caused by Docking and Interpretation of Behavioral Responses | NCBI

Stress-Related Behaviors in Companion Dogs Exposed to Common Household Noises, and Owners’ Interpretations of Their Dogs’ Behaviors | Frontiers in Veterinary Science

Prevalence, Comorbidity, And Behavioral Variation In Canine Anxiety | ScienceDirect

The New Puppy Checklist: A New Dog Owner’s Guide

The New Puppy Checklist: A New Dog Owner’s Guide

Becoming a new puppy parent is no easy feat. It requires time, patience, effort, and definitely some money to do it as proficiently as possible, but the payoff is immeasurable. Who doesn’t want a furry best friend who lives and breathes for everything you do?

Having your own puppy is many people’s dream come true. There is nothing better than having a companion who wants nothing more than to spend time with you and give you great snuggles. Still, being a first-time puppy parent can be a big change.

If your family had dogs when growing up, you might have an idea of how to understand canine behavior, but committing to being the sole provider for an animal can feel like a lot of pressure.

Luckily, it’s all worth it in the end. Having some help along the way can make the experience less stressful. We’ve come up with a checklist so that you can follow along and help yourself prepare for your upcoming puppy parenthood journey.

Everything You Need To Know About Welcoming a Furry Family Member

There is so much that you have to do when adopting a dog, even more so when it’s a puppy! Many people will likely find themselves splurging on chew toys, dog treats, and adorable little sweaters (we don’t judge!) but are then unsure of what the puppy essentials are.

Before you go out and make any purchases, it’s important to first have a good understanding of what kind of dog you are looking to adopt and how much time and space they will need. Our goal in loving a pet is not to own them but to shower them with love and give them the best life possible. This means thinking deeply and researching about what kind of dog would fit your lifestyle and how much you can truly offer.

1. Start With Research

If you are someone who has never lived with a dog, don’t let this stop you from doing so. Instead, put in the time and effort to research what a puppy needs: You’ll be a pro in no time!

You’ll want to consider the financial aspects of keeping a dog — will you need to bring your dog to daycare if you work a nine-to-five? How much will dog food, grooming, pet insurance, veterinary visits, and supplies be?   How about toys and bedding?

Knowing that you have the time and resources to adopt a dog should give you peace of mind. The next step is preparing for how a dog might alter your day-to-day life.

Morning and evening walks will become a must. Yes, you might find it easier to get your steps in, but for people with busy schedules scheduling an additional 30 minutes to an hour a day isn’t always a breeze.

2. Match Breed to Lifestyle

Once you have come to terms with all of the changes that might come along when you adopt a dog, it’s time to find a dog that matches your lifestyle.

If you are working with a breeder or a shelter, you can likely talk to someone about what you envision. Luckily, plenty of dogs out there are looking for a home, so you are bound to find one that is perfect for you.

You may be matched with a few different dogs and then are able to meet them before you make any commitments. That way, you will be 100% positive about bringing home your new pup.

Not all dogs are going to be a match, and you may have to reconsider certain breeds if they simply need more than you can offer or if they don’t match the lifestyle you intend to live.

3. Gather the Essential Puppy Supplies

The first two steps have no timelines to follow, and you should move at your own pace. Getting a dog will happen when the time is right.

When you do move forward with the adoption process, it’s always best to come prepared:


You can never go wrong with having a house full of puppy toys to help welcome your new puppy into your home. Choose a variety of high-quality, safe options for your pup to play with. Like with food, puppies have different needs than adult dogs.

Puppy teeth are sensitive and call for a softer plastic. Plush toys are a great choice but don’t leave anything with pieces that may be swallowed in a playpen or dog crate when they aren’t supervised.

Grooming Essentials

Like baby shampoo for humans, puppy shampoo and conditioner are gentler than the adult variety. Dog shampoo is a must for both puppies and adults — human shampoo is too harsh on their skin.

Don’t forget a toothbrush and toothpaste formulated for dogs. Starting the dental hygiene routine young (with plenty of positive reinforcement) will make this practice smoother. Add in nail clippers and a brush, and you’ve got a head start on all things canine beauty and wellness.

Potty Necessities

If your puppy is small enough that accidents might occur, consider potty pads (and maybe even little diapers) and animal-friendly wet wipes. Don’t forget poop bags to use at home and take on your walks!

Puppy Food

If you’re adopting your dog from a shelter, they might come with some puppy food to wean them off of whatever you choose to buy. The animal experts in your life might also recommend a certain food to give to your puppy, so don’t be afraid to ask for their recommendations.

In terms of dog bowls, some dogs will do better with stainless steel, while others might prefer glass or BPA-free plastic. Food bowls can be put away outside of meal times, but water bowls should constantly be refreshed and kept in multiple locations if possible.

Training Essentials

You will want to have training treats on hand to start rewarding them for good behavior immediately.

Some other items include:

  • A clicker
  • A treat pouch
  • A leash
  • Harness/adjustable collar

4. Puppy-Proof Your Home

On top of selecting dog toys and supplies like water bowls and puppy gates, you will want to ensure your home is puppy-proofed. Any valuable objects on the ground should be put on elevated surfaces for the first few weeks while your puppy is teething. If you have a backyard with a fence, double-check that it’s fully enclosed so there can be no escapes.

You might want to give your floors a good clean and vacuum and mentally prepare for accidents on the rugs. Stocking up on plenty of paper towels and cleaners available will make these messes feel less daunting. For rooms you’d prefer not to have a puppy in (like those with white carpet), a temporary baby gate is wise.

If you are planning on crate training, which is frequently recommended, buy a proper-sized kennel with a dog bed. You will want your puppy to have plenty of room to lie down, stand up, and turn around but not so much room they can easily use part of the crate to go potty. Set it up in a comfortable location that is somewhat tucked away. If you opt for an adult-sized kennel, add in a divider that can be moved as your puppy grows.

By this point, you will be looking around thinking a puppy lives in your house even when they haven’t yet arrived! That means it’s time for them to come home.


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5. Find a Veterinarian and Schedule a New Puppy Check-Up

When you bring a new puppy home, there is going to be so much time for you to play, take them to new spots, visit family and friends, dress them up, and snuggle with them, etc. Taking them to the vet for their first check-up might not be as exciting as all of those other things, but it is one of the first items on the itinerary.

Find a veterinarian that you trust. You can do this by asking friends with dogs as well as doing your own research and finding what fits best for you and your pet. The first check-up is essential because your puppy will likely need vaccinations and to undergo a full exam to ensure they are in good health.

Don’t wait too long because you want to clear your puppy as early as possible to get them on the path towards socialization and training. A healthy pup is more likely to do better as they grow more comfortable in your home.

6. Microchip and License Your Puppy

Additionally, your vet may want to microchip your dog. The microchip allows you to enter your personal information into a database that can be accessed by you when the microchip is scanned. In the case that your dog gets loose, anyone who finds them can bring your dog to a vet or shelter where they can be scanned for a microchip. This helps get your dog back to you as quickly and easily as possible.

You will also want to register and license your dog with your town so that they can have them on file. This can include the microchip number.

The One Pet ID

Microchips are a must, but for a simpler, more streamlined process, consider the One Pet ID. The One Pet ID is a smartphone-capable tracking tool that allows pet parents to create a profile for their pets.

Unlike a microchip that needs to be read with a special scanner, anyone can scan the ID tag and connect with a lost pet’s family. Plus, the One Pet ID isn’t implanted under the skin as a microchip is. Lastly, you won’t run into the issue of needing the right scanner or registry per chip type.

7. Begin House Training

When your dog is beginning to settle into your home, you might notice they have a few accidents here and there. Your puppy might be going when they need to go and not realize that the outdoors is even an option, so you will have to teach them.

There are many potty training methods, including tools such as doorbells. Pet parents can hang bells over a door handle and teach their dogs to ring the bells when they have to go outside.

Little puppies have small bladders, so if you hear your pup slurping away, a bathroom break is a mere five to ten minutes away. Other times they may need to go would include after a fun play session, after a meal, or when they first wake up. Once you get to know your dog’s routine and they get to know yours, you will begin to build a schedule where your dog knows what time is appropriate for using the bathroom.

Don’t be discouraged if this takes you a while to master; all dogs are different and learn at their own pace.

8. Look Into Puppy Training Classes and Help Them Socialize

Enrolling your pup in puppy classes can help them build their confidence, teach them about socializing with other dogs, and show them how to mimic other dogs’ behaviors.

In these classes, you will go through the basics: sit, down, come, stay, and touch. These are core commands that you can focus your training on. They will be useful for your puppy as they age into a well-behaved dog.

Many shelters recommend attending puppy classes to help build your relationship while teaching your pup good behavior. There are likely to be other dogs in these classes, which can teach your dog patience and how to play with their canine peers.

9. Build a Bond and Share Some Love

Most importantly, you are going to want to shower your new pup with love. You want to bond with them so that they can understand that you are their provider and new best friend. The majority of people bring home a dog because they are looking to share their life with a furry companion and create beautiful memories.

Building this bond early on can help build up your dog’s confidence which will help as they learn new behaviors and encounter new situations. If they trust you, they are going to be just fine!

10. Schedule an Appointment With AskVet

Being a new pet parent comes with a lot of questions. When you sign-up with AskVet, you can contact a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ (CPLC™) at any time of the day. AskVet’s virtual experts can answer questions 24/7 and help build a 360° Pet Care plan unique to your animal (including fish, dogs, cats, reptiles, and more).

You shouldn’t feel alone in this new journey, and we have plenty of resources to help you out.

When you schedule an appointment, you don’t have to worry about waiting for your vet’s office to open to ask your questions. You can get guidance on what actions to take if your pet is in need and get answers to even the strangest questions (FYI – no question is too strange).

We wish you so much luck with puppyhood, and you should enjoy it as much as possible before they begin growing up right before your eyes!


Incentive Motivation In Pet Dogs – Preference For Constant Vs Varied Food Rewards | NCBI

Expectations Versus Reality: Long-Term Research on the Dog–Owner Relationship | NCBI

Improving Dog Training Methods: Efficacy And Efficiency Of Reward And Mixed Training Methods | NCBI

High tech: Identifying lost pets with microchips | The Humane Society of the United States

Teaching Your Dog To Speak 101: Easy Steps

Teaching Your Dog To Speak 101: Easy Steps

If you are a dog parent, you know that it can be useful to teach your dog basic commands. Some commands can help them learn obedience, such as “sit” and “stay.” Others can be fun tricks, such as “roll over” and “shake.” One trick that can serve both of these purposes is “speak.” This means teaching your dog to bark on command.

“Speak” is both a party trick and a useful command. You can teach your dog to bark when they need to go outside, but it can also be taught in conjunction with the command of “quiet.”

Some dog breeds love to bark more than others, but it’s not always a welcomed behavior. By teaching your dog when the appropriate time to bark is, you can improve your mutual trust and communication with your pet.

Read on as we review the basics of how to train a dog to bark on command:

Dog Training: Why Teach the Speak Command

“Speak” usually isn’t the first command you teach your dog; you may want to master “lie down” and “stay” before “speak,” but it’s still just as valuable.

When dogs realize their humans can understand their vocalizations, they might be more inclined to find ways to communicate with you through their voice. With a single, polite “woof,” your dog might be saying they need to go potty, want dinner, or that they want to go play.

So while teaching your dog this relatively easy trick is impressive to show off at the dog park, it also can serve a bigger purpose — improved communication. When it comes to the training process, the more you communicate with your dog, the stronger your bond will be.

1. Teach “Quiet” First

Before you can teach your dog to speak, you will need to teach them to quiet down. Most dogs have no issue with barking — they know how to do it, and they sure love to at times! Getting your pup to quiet down when they won’t stop barking is the real trick. By teaching them “quiet,” you are giving them the space to learn “speak.”

To teach the quiet command, first, we must mark the behavior. Like with all training sessions, use positive reinforcement. Reward the silent moment in between the barking. If you are clicker training, mark the quiet moment with a clicker or saying “yes” followed by a high-value treat. Once your pup is doing well with this, you can then work on the verbal command.

When your dog is silent in between barking sessions, repeat the word “quiet” followed by a treat. This will teach them that the word “quiet” is associated with the silence in between the barks and is the ideal and encouraged behavior.

2. Attach the Quiet Command to the Behavior

Next, slowly move the verbal cue back in time so that you begin saying it closer and closer to the moment that they are quiet rather than after they have stopped the vocalization. Soon, you are saying the cue and your dog is following up by being silent.

Just like with potty training, repetition is key. As long as you continue to reward the behavior and work on this cue, your dog will have it down in no time.

3. Prompt Your Dog To Bark

Some dogs don’t need to be prompted to bark; others may need a bit of encouragement. For this command, you must first motivate your dog to bark. You know your dog best — whether they tend to bark over a treat, a toy, or when they run around with the zoomies, help get them excited enough to vocalize

4. Mark the Bark and Reward

Once they let out a “woof,” mark the bark with the command “speak” and heap praise upon their perfect, fluffy heads. Generally, the goal is to elicit and praise a single bark, not excessive barking. When your pup gives one bark, stop the prompting at this point and reward.

Tip 1: Have a Reward Available

When moving on to the “speak” command, it’s essential to have tasty treats available when your dog behaves the way you want. Dogs don’t always understand praise as a reward, especially when you give them love and pets randomly for being a good dog.

Dog treats are an easy reward for canines to understand because it’s not usually something they get unless they are doing something right. Pick a treat your dog really enjoys, such as soft training treats, for an extra high-value reward. Some dogs even get really excited by a favorite toy. If you have one toy you use during training, your dog is more likely to comply with what you want.

Rewarding our dogs helps them understand which behaviors are encouraged and which are not. Your dog wants to learn how to impress you, so training can be really enjoyable for them! When there’s a treat or toy involved as a reward, this becomes even more like a fun game they get to play with their favorite person.

Tip 2: Involve Hand Signals

Another way to teach the speak command is to use hand signals. Dogs don’t typically know what we are saying most of the time (even if they understand the tone), but they can usually understand our body language, including hand signals.

You can make your own visual command up if you’d like, but a common “speak” signal amongst dog trainers is: start with an open hand, palm facing the dog, and then close your four fingers around your thumb.

Keep using the hand signals, rewards, and verbal cues at the same time so that you can reinforce that all of them mean the same thing. Soon you will be able to communicate with your dog in multiple ways, which can only benefit you and your pup and continue to build your relationship.

AskVet’s Tricks of the Trade

When going through the training process, either with a new puppy or senior dog, having tips and tricks available to you as a resource can make the process a lot easier.

With AskVet, you can get help with building behavioral plans and ask any question you might have about the training process to our Certified Pet Lifestyle Coaches™ (CPLC). Our team of animal experts will work with you to create a plan for your pup and learn more about their overall lifestyle and behavior.

Training isn’t always easy, but you can get help through AskVet! When you join AskVet and schedule your first appointment, you can start asking any question you may have about your animal family members — dogs, cats, horses, lizards, fish — basically everyone.

Our team of CPLCs™ and veterinarians are available 24/7 and are here to help make the pet parent process easier. You don’t have to do all of the heavy lifting on your own when teaching your pup about when — and when not to — bark. Your pet will thank you (and so might your neighbors)!


Speak! Tips On How To Train Your Dog To Bark On Command | American Kennel Club

How to Teach Your Dog to Speak and Be Quiet | Best Friends Animal Society

Does Training Method Matter? Evidence For The Negative Impact Of Aversive-Based Methods On Companion Dog Welfare | PLOS ONE

When dogs bark, humans understand | APA

Why Do Cats Like Boxes So Much?

Why Do Cats Like Boxes So Much?

Cats are notorious for finding the perfect boxes to sit in — aka, if I fits, I sits! You may be wondering why a cat is always looking for a way into any box. Interestingly, there are a couple of reasons for it.

Whether your furry friend is looking for warmth, is curious about the new box you have brought home, or has an absolute favorite box that only they are allowed to touch, consider having some lying around your house.

Boxes Make a Cat Feel Safe

When a domestic cat sits in an empty box, it might be helping them feel safe in its surroundings. Boxes are four walls that create enclosed spaces for cats.

For someone who is claustrophobic this might sound like a nightmare, but for a cat, they know this hiding box protects them from all angles. If a predator was to approach them, they would likely not be seen (especially if they are a healthy weight and fit in their favorite boxes). That means your feline friend could pounce and ambush predators or prey at any point.

A study on animal shelter cats showed when a cat was given a box to sit or sleep in, they showed fewer signs of stress during their stay. The boxes were great insulators and can give the effect of protecting the cat from the outside world. This can ultimately lower their stress levels and give them a sense of security in stressful situations.

Once your cat has made a home in a box, it will also smell like them. A lived-in box gives them a solid home base if they need to relax.

Boxes can offer hiding places for both domestic house cats and street cats. This kind of hiding spot can help if your cat is looking for a place to rest or if an outside cat needs shelter from the weather and cold.

Additionally, sitting in a box might remind your cat of what it was like to be in their mother’s womb, snuggled up next to all of their kitten siblings. If you have a new cat coming into your home, they might look for a box to sit in to adjust to a new environment.

Why Do Cats Love Boxes? It’s Pure Curiosity

Cats are famously curious, constantly seeking enrichment. When you get a new box, whether you ordered something offline or are about to ship something off, your cat will likely be involved with whatever is going on.

Your cat might be looking for the box’s purpose, wanting to check out how it smells or wondering where you will be putting the box, especially if they are avid box sitters.

For some cats, the box is something to make into a play toy, and this is completely valid! Your cat might like to sit in them, scratch them, bite them, or even bat them around. It’s a low-cost toy that might keep your cat entertained for hours. Of course, you will want to pay attention to how many boxes you end up keeping so that you don’t end up under a mountain of cardboard.

If your cat does like boxes, consider looking into cat trees and hideouts that you can create for feline enrichment and entertainment.

Warmth and Security in a Small Space

Cats, whether living in a home, in the outdoors, or in a shelter, deserve to feel warm and secure in their own safe zone. A cardboard box is an insulated object that is easy for cats to nest into that can help regulate their body temperature.

According to the American Veterinary Society of Applied Behavior, cats prefer environments around 86 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit. No matter how much we care about cat care, this temperature might prove tricky to maintain. A box can help our cats stay max comfy.

There are also plenty of broken down or beat-up boxes out on the streets that unhoused cats can make into their safe space. You may have even heard of people asking for donations of boxes and blankets to put out for cats that might get cold at night.

If a cat doesn’t have a home or is moving into a new place for the first time, they might become overwhelmed, especially if they are unsure where they’ll sleep. Most cats like to be warm and cozy, and boxes can provide them with this. It makes sense, as their own body heat is trapped and redistributed back to them.

How To Make Cardboard Boxes Safer for Cats

Before you let your cat sit or play with a new cardboard box, make sure there are no staples, nails, or tape that could be left over in the box. The last thing we want is for cats to get hurt when trying to get comfortable! If there are any rough edges or pieces that could cause a cut, you might want to get rid of the box altogether or remove any dangerous parts.

Ensure your cat can’t fall out of the box and hurt themselves. Placing it on the ground is the safest option because if you have it on a table, counter, or even the couch, they could accidentally knock the box over and fall. You can put blankets, towels, and toys into the box to make it more inviting and comfortable — your cat will surely be grateful!


Give your pet the personlaized care. Get the app!

Out of the Box Solutions With AskVet

When it comes to having cats, they can get into a lot of trouble (and fun, of course). Questions are bound to arise, and having AskVet at the tip of your fingers can ease you into animal parenthood. It’s harder to communicate with our animals than we want it to be, but AskVet bridges that gap and helps to come up with answers to any question you may have.

Join AskVet today and meet with a Certified Pet Lifestyle Coach™ (CPLC) who can help come up with diet plans, introduce behavioral support, and answer general questions you may have about your pet’s health or cat behaviors. It shouldn’t be difficult to get your pet help, and with 24/7 access to our CPLCs™ and veterinarians, you don’t have to wait long at all!

Reach out if you have any questions about how AskVet can help you.


Assessment Of Clicker Training For Shelter Cats | NCBI

The ‘feline Five’: An Exploration Of Personality In Pet Cats (Felis Catus) | PLOS ONE

Innovative Cardboard Based Panels with Recycled Materials from the Packaging Industry: Thermal and Acoustic Performance Analysis | ScienceDirect

The “If I fits, I sits” instinct: Cats will sit in a box even it’s an illusion (cat pics inside) | BBC Science Focus

Will a hiding box provide stress reduction for shelter cats? | ScienceDirect

Can We Keep Our Cats Warm Enough? | AVSAB