Why Does My Dog Whine/Cry While Carrying A Toy?

Why Does My Dog Whine/Cry While Carrying A Toy

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When your pet whines or cries it can be a little alarming.  You’re not always sure what the problem is, so you can’t give them what they need immediately.  Have you ever noticed that your dog cries whenever they pick up a particular toy?  You might be a little curious and even worried as to why this happens and ask yourself;

Why does my dog whine/cry while carrying a toy?

There are a surprising number of reasons why dogs whine when carrying toys in their mouths.  Dogs might whine because they’re excited and or they want to play.  Your dog could also whine because they want attention, they’re being possessive, or they could even have some dental issues!

There are so many reasons why your pooch whines with a toy in its mouth!  Some of them are concerning while others are just plain cute.  We’ll discuss each reason in detail while also offering some solutions to the crying.

8 Reasons Why Your Dog Cries While Carrying A Toy

While you might be a little annoyed with your dog for all the whining, it’s important to consider why they’re whining.

Dogs can’t speak to us with words.  Your furry friends can’t just tell you, “I’m hungry.”  Instead, they might choose to nudge you, bark at you or jump on you when they’re past meal time.   Dogs growl, bark, whimper, and whine as a way to communicate something to the people and dogs around them.

Next time you wonder, “why is my dog whining with a toy in its mouth,” remember that they are trying to tell you something!  Although whining can quickly get excessive, if you can figure out the cause, you should be able to stop or at least reduce the sounds.

Here are some things to explain why your pup whines while carrying a toy.

1. They Want Attention

One reason why your dog might whine when they grab a toy is pretty simple, they want attention.

When dogs whine, they’re communicating.  One reason dogs whine is to get their owner’s attention!  There’s no way you’ll ignore your dog if they’re whining.  You’ll either choose to comfort them or to discipline them.  Of course, it’s not ideal for you to give your dog attention when they whine.  Instead, its probably best that you ignore your dog when they whine with a toy in their mouth.  If you want the behavior to stop, you can’t encourage it with positive attention.  We’ll discuss that idea more in just a second.

2. They’re Excited

One of the most exciting times of day for your dog is the moment that they get to play!  Whether that means a run in the backyard, a game of fetch, or tug o war with their favorite toy, they’re ready!

Many dogs whine when they’re excited.  German Shepherds, for example, are a breed of dog that whines when they’re excited.  While there are other reasons these dogs whine, sometimes, they’re just expressing themselves.

In the same way that a kid might bounce up when they’re excited, a dog might whine.  Sometimes they can’t help it.  If there aren’t any other concerning behaviors accompanying the whining, this might be a situation where you don’t need to do much.  It’s a healthy thing for your dog to be able to communicate excitement to you.

3. You’re Encouraging The Behavior

Another reason your dog always whines when carrying a toy in its mouth is that you could be encouraging the behavior.

I’m going to paint a picture for you.  Imagine it’s early in the morning, you’re sleeping in, your alarm hasn’t gone off yet, and all of a sudden you hear a loud whining sound.   Naturally, you wake up and notice your dog is staring at you and whining.  So, what do you do?

If you’re the type of person who gets up and gives your dog what they need, you’re encouraging the whining.  While there might be other more important reasons why your dog whines in the morning, it’s not a good idea to reward their crying.

This scenario is also true for a dog whining with a toy in its mouth.  If your dog comes up to you with a toy and whines, you might give them cuddles or start to play with them!  So, in their minds, they think that whining with a toy means it’s playtime.  You can see how it could get confusing for a pup.  If they associate whining with getting what they want, they’re going to keep doing it.

If you’re encouraging the whining the best thing that you can do is to stop engaging with your dog when they’re whining and want to play.  Wait for a minute, once they’ve calmed down, you should be able to reward their good behavior with playtime!

4. They Want To Play

Dogs love to play! We know this!

But, how does your dog tell you they want to play?  They might run up to you with a toy and drop it at your feet.  This technique might not work out unless you’re already paying attention to your furry friend.  If you’re distracted by something else like the TV, they might resort to making a loud noise and crying out.

Even though it’s annoying, this is how your dog tells you they’re ready to play when you’re not paying attention to them.  What’s the best way to avoid this kind of whining?  As soon as your dog gets their toy out you can try to play with them before they get the chance to whine. Or, you can initiate playtime with them yourself!  Once playtime is over, if they’re still whining while carrying their toy, you should just ignore them and let them know that’s not the best way to get you to play!

The last four reasons your dog might very with a toy are a little more specific, so keep reading if you haven’t found your answer yet.

5. They Want To Bury The Toy But They Can’t

One of the funniest things dogs like to do with toys is to bury them!

Digging and burying are instinctual behaviors for dogs!  Some dogs will try to bury things in strange places.  These instincts are one of the reasons why dogs scratch the carpet and one of the reasons your pup might be upset that they can’t bury their toy!

So why would a dog even want to bury a toy?

Dogs will try to bury anything that they find valuable.  Dogs love to bury things that they want to hide, protect, or keep secret.  It’s sort of like a hidden candy stache, but underground.  As gross as it sounds, my dog used to bury his raw chicken in the backyard!  While he was looking for a spot to bury it, he would sometimes whine.

When dogs find something like a toy valuable and they want to bury it, but they can’t, they might whine.  Observe your dog, if they are running from room to room with the toy while whining, they could be looking for a place to hide it.

Because this behavior is instinctual, it can be hard to fix.  Some people help correct digging-related behaviors by providing their dogs with a personal sandbox!  You can teach your do that this zone is a digging safe zone and a place where they can bury anything they want!

6. They Might Have Dental Issues

If your dog cries when they grab their toy or when you play tug of war with them, they could also be facing some challenges with their teeth! Usually, teeth issues are present in very young or very old dogs, but dogs of all ages can suffer from dental pain.

Here are two reasons your dog’s teeth might make them cry or whine while they carry a toy.

Teething Puppies

Puppies have baby and adult teeth just like we do!  Puppies are born with small sharp shark-like teeth.  After a few months, these teeth fall out and are replaced by stronger and more durable adult teeth!

Teething is a painful process.  Babies cry a lot while they’re teething.  Even when babies are actively chewing on a teething toy, they still might be crying.  For the same reason, a puppy might whine while they chew on a toy!  Even though chewing and hiding a toy in their mouths might relieve pain, it will still be bothersome!

Puppies don’t teeth forever, and just like humans, they’ll soon grow out of it.  If this is your scenario, hang in there are know it’s only a phase!  Puppies also whine more in general than adult dogs do.  This video will give you some tips and tricks to stop your puppy from whining.

Dogs With Dental Injuries Or Cavities

If your older dog is whining while holding a toy in its mouth, it could have a dental injury.

Did you know that most dogs need dental care as they age into adulthood?  Unless you’re brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, there will eventually be some build-up of plaque and tartar.   This accumulation of plaque can become painful for dogs if it turns into a cavity or even a rotting tooth!  Beyond that, dogs who chew on things can also fracture and chip their teeth.  These types of injuries won’t always cause pain, but will sometimes make it hard for your dog to hold things with their mouth.

If you’re not sure about the state of your dog’s mouth, it’s never a bad idea to take them to a veterinarian!   At a veterinarian’s office, dental x-rays can detect issues you might miss.  Taking good care of your dog’s teeth is a sure way to guarantee a long and happy life.  Plus, it might get your dog to stop whining so much!

7. They Might Be Acting Possessively

Does your dog love their toy?  Like, do they really really adore it?

It could be that your dog is whining when they’re carrying their toy because they are possessive over it.  Sometimes, dogs might make a special attachment to a toy.  They might like to carry this toy from room to room with them and whine when they carrying it.  In this situation, whining could mean that your dog is treating their toy like a baby and whining/crying to protect it.

It’s a strange thought but for dogs with maternal instincts, a toy might be the closest thing to a baby they’ll ever have.  Your dog also might feel very possessive over their toy.  If there are other dogs around, vocalizing is a good way to tell them to keep their distance from that toy.

If your dog starts to get a little too protective over its toy, it’s probably a good idea to take it away from them.  Possessive behaviors are cute until someone gets hurt.  Dogs that get agitated might lash out at someone who tries to pick up their toy in the wrong situation.

8. They Are A Hunting Dog

The last reason your dog might whine while carrying a toy is that they’re a hunting dog.

A dog can still be considered a hunting dog even if they haven’t been raised as a hunting dog.  Hu noting dog instincts are strong.  Many dog breeds that were kept for hunting were used to carry animals back to their owners.  To do this, they would have to keep their mouth gentle and relaxed.  They would also sometimes whine and cry on their way back to their owners.

Plus, some hunting dogs like hounds use their vocalizations to let their owners know that they have found and located the prey.  These kinds of dogs will either howl next to the prey or pick the prey up and whine while they hold it.  It’s the main reason why hounds made our list of 14 dogs that whine a lot.

So, if you do have a dog that was bred for hunting when they pick up their toys instincts might start to kick in!  They’ll vocalize when they have prey (or a toy) in their mouths.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hopefully, you found an answer to why your dog whines while carrying a toy!  But, if you didn’t, here are a few more frequently asked questions that could give you the answer you’re looking for!

Why does my dog whine/cry while chewing toys?

Does your dog only whine when they’re actually chewing on a toy?

Well, that could be a sign that something is wrong with your dog’s mouth!  Check out our explanation of dental problems above.  It could also just be an indication of excitement or possessiveness over whatever your dog is chewing.  If your dog is only whining because they’re excited to chew a bone or toy, this isn’t something to be concerned about.

Why does my dog whine/cry while playing?

If your dog whines and cries while playing, there are a few explanations!

The first explanation is just that your dog is excited and they’re trying to communicate that without barking loudly or growling.  A whine during a play can be a cute signal to another dog that your dog wants to keep playing!

On the other hand, if you feel like your dog is whining out of pain, your dog might have hurt itself while playing.  Although a yelp isn’t exactly the same as a whine, check out our article on why your dog suddenly screams for more explanations.  There are many injuries that could cause your dog to experience pain while playing.  If this is the case, you’ll want to take your dog to the vet ASAP!

Why is my female dog whining and carrying a toy?

If you have a female dog that has suddenly started whining while carrying a toy, she is probably experiencing some hormonal fluctuations!

Your female dog might be in heat or pregnant!  Your spayed dog could be experiencing a false pregnancy.  In any of these situations, your female dog will feel a rush of new hormones.  These hormones will tell her to take care of herself and her incoming babies.  You might notice that she starts to treat her toys more gently, and is whining because she feels like they might even be her incoming puppies!

Final Thoughts

There are so many different things that could cause your dog to whine while carrying a toy around.  The most important thing to remember is that your dog is probably trying to communicate something to you!  If you can figure out what that is, you can decide if you want the behavior to continue or not.  While whining can be cute it usually gets annoying after a while, so figuring out the root of the cause will help you have more peaceful playtime with your pup!