Why Does My Dog Whine When I Come Home? (Howls Every Time)

Why Does My Dog Whine When I Come Home

I spoke to a regular reader this week who said their dog had malfunctioned. Rather than being happy with excitement when they got home, their dog had started whining and howling when they got home. It started when the owner got into a different routine due to a new job.

So, just what is the reason for this new behavior? After all, you would think that dogs would jump up at the owner, rather than howling and whining when they returned home.

Well, there is a good reason for why this happens as I will explain. Here’s the short answer first though before I get into the deep crux of the matter and how you can deal with it.

Most of the time when I get home, my dog would greet me with excitement. Along with the approach is the high-pitched, pitiful crying sound I sometimes hear while he snuggles.

Why does my dog whine when I come home? Dogs whine when their owner comes home for reasons such as wanting immediate attention, showing their displeasure at being left at home, sadness and fear, or sometimes howling just out of pure joy that you’ve returned.

Howling and whining is your dog’s way of communicating. As pet owners, we can grow to understand our pet’s emotion, letting us figure out the root of the behavior. Here’s what I discovered.

Why does my dog cry every time I come home?

You might like the fact your dog starts howling when you come home through the front door, but your neighbors might not be so appreciative. Here’s why it happens when you come home, and what you might be able to do about it.

1. Your dog whines for attention

Your dog wants attention. He wants to be around when you’re at home. It seems that dogs can never get used to us leaving the home.

why dogs howl when you get home
As soon as you get home the howling and whining for attention will begin (Image via https://pixabay.com/photos/sad-dog-animal-pet-brown-puppy-3700421/)

When you leave home for a long period (which could be just a few minutes in your dog’s world), he will generally feel the solitude for eternity. When you come back and have already settled, his thinking will be “After I’ve waited for you human, you still don’t get to play with me?”, and then the whining begins.

The bottom line is, your dog might have learned that by whinging when you get home, he gets the reaction he wants. That could be lots of fuss being made, a cuddle, treats, excitement, and a walk.

According to the ASPCA animal charity website:

“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.”

This advice definitely works for most dogs. They will eventually get submissive and once finally successful settled down, you can give them a treat as a reward for stopping the whining.

2. Your dog whines due to fear and anxiety

Fear can manifest itself in many different ways, and whining will often be the first you know about it… when you get home, or perhaps even within sight of your door!

Take my friend’s dog for example. At first, he was scared of going up the stairs. When gets near to them, he’ll start folding his ears back, tucking in tail and starts whining. But with the proper guidance, my friend helped him overcome his fear.

It’s the same when you leave the house.

Your dog might hate being left alone. It could be that things happened when you were away that scared them, and the dog howls until you get home.

There are other common fears that can affect dogs left at home alone, including:

It is important that you try to understand what’s causing the fear, and why your dog whines when you come home each day. You can then help to manage their fears with patience and a gentle approach.

In some instance, exposing our dogs to fear in a controlled setting may help them to overcome it. It will condition their mind to eventually make them feel comfortable.

If the latter isn’t applicable, it’s best to bring your pet to your vet for professional advice.

3. Your dog whines due to boredom

If you are a busy person that rarely has the time to play with your dog, then chances are he’s bored.

Whining and howling when you get home could be your dog’s way of alleviating the boredom. Think about it, your dog howls, you rush to get your key in the door, then make a massive fuss of him.

It’s going to be the highlight of his day. He’s making his own fun, and pestering you might be one of his best options.

Think of ways you can stop your dog from getting bored whilst you are away from home. It might be that your give yours a puzzle to help to stimulate his mind. There’s one on Amazon below which has great reviews.

I let him play the Shuffle Bone Puzzle. It is a bone shaped board that has holes for hiding treats. Above the holes are sliding disks that challenge the dog in finding treats inside the holes. It’s the same game you see above.

Another thing you can do is make sure your dog always has something to chew on.

Handy Hint: If you are planning to give your dog a tennis ball to play with, make sure you read these warningsfirst.

4. Your dog whines due to pain and discomfort

Dogs can be very vocal when they feel pain. They will express their discomfort and vulnerability by howling and whining. They can’t tell us where their pain is coming from so this is their way of communicating.

It could be that your dog has been lying down all day waiting for you to get home. They then get up to greet you and the pain starts… meaning you think your is howling when you get home for different reasons.

Keep a careful eye on your dog’s body when they whine and howl. Check for any unusual or pained movements before calling the vet for a professional diagnosis.

5. Your dog whines due to frustration

Us humans get frustrated when we don’t get what we want, right? This is probably the same for dogs. But whilst (most of us) have learned how to deal with these feelings without screaming the house down, dogs aren’t quite the same!

Dogs are different, they don’t have full control on how they behave.

Your dog’s frustration may be a result of you not being home. When you get home, your dog’s howling in a result of all that pent up frustration in one massive whining session.

To fix this, distraction is the key to break the frustration. Leading them to something else to take their mind off it will help break the issue.


Dogs can express emotions in different ways. Whining and howling when you come home form work is one of the ways they show you how they feel. It is their form of communication.

However, with a careful assessment, you should be able to get to the root of the problem, and possibly work on ways to stop the home time howling.

However, if you think the whining is due to a health problem, seek veterinary help immediately.

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Image in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/dog-door-snout-input-entrance-door-407601/

Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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