Why Do English Bulldogs Whine? 5 Must Know Reasons

English Bulldog ready to whine

Dogs have a system to communicate with us through their behavior and vocalizations, and whining is just one of the many ways to convey their message. There are a few different things that your English bulldog may be trying to tell you.

So, why do English bulldogs whine? Bulldogs, and other breeds, whine to communicate their needs, express emotions, or signal that they are in pain. This whining can serve a useful purpose by alerting owners to unmet needs, but it can also be a bad habit.

The fact that dogs are skilled at reading human emotion is well studied, but studies on human ability to accurately assess the emotions of dogs have only begun in recent years.

Our ability to understand our pets is essential to providing the best care, and recognizing vocalizations is one of the many ways to figure out how your dog is feeling.

In this article, we are going to explore the various reasons why your bulldog may whine and offer somesolutions to the problems that they are trying to express. Let’s jump right into the first reason.

Communicating Needs

The first reason your English bulldog may whine is to communicate that they want or need something from you.


Your bulldog may be hungry or asking for food or water. You may have forgotten to feed them, or they’ve decided that they want their meal earlier than usual. In order to make things easier, it is best to set up a consistent feeding schedule so that your dog knows when to expect food.

If they know that meals areguaranteed at the same times each day, they may be less likely to whine and “ask” for it. Also, clean and fill their water bowl often to ensure they have access to fresh water at all times.

A behavior that goes hand in hand with this is “begging” for human food. Make sure that you do not feed your dog from your plate or while sitting down to eat. This encourages them to seek food from you and giving them a piece only rewards and reinforces the behavior.

Bathroom Break

Another thing that your English bulldog may be trying to communicate is that they need to be let outside. Make sure that you give them the opportunity to relieve themselves every few hours (or more frequently for puppies) so that they are not uncomfortable.

This is also necessary to help prevent urinary tract infections that can occur due to holding urine for too long and causing bacteria to buildup.


Your bulldog may be whining because they want your attention. It is impossible to say for certain whether our dogs love us, but there is quite a bit of evidence that they bond with us.

In clinical studies, humans and canines have both been shown to release oxytocin (the same neurotransmitter that facilitates bonding between humans) when looking at each other’s eyes or “gazing.”

It is important to set aside time every day to pay attention to your English bulldog and keep them happy. Participate in activities like playing with toys and going for a walk.

At other times throughout the day, acknowledge them and offer petting or another action that they enjoy (brushing, feeding a treat, etc.).

If your dog is consistently whining for attention, they may feel that they are not getting enough, or they know that the behavior will get an immediate response from you.

In order to prevent constant cries for attention, offer it regularly but ignore your bulldog when the whining is occurring (as long as you make sure that they are not whining for a more serious reason).

Do not acknowledge them until they stop vocalizing, and then reward their quiet behavior with attention. 

Displaying Emotion

One of the most straightforward reasons that your English bulldog is whining is they are communicating with you or others about their current emotional state.

Dogs often whine when they are excited about greeting people or other dogs. One way to prevent this from happening is to greet your dog calmly and ask other people to the same.

You could also distract your bulldog with a toy or teach a command that signals them to settle down before receiving attention. Training basic commands like sit and stay also help your dog to practice self-control in other situations.

Your bulldog may also whine when they feel threatened by another animal or person and want “appease” them to avoid conflict. Other signs of this behavior include rolling over to show their stomach and avoiding eye contact.

Showing this behavior can indicate that your bulldog is stressed and would benefit from working with a trainer to overcome their fear.

While food, bathroom breaks, attention, and emotion are all normal reasons for your bulldog to whine, it is important to be aware of more serious causes for their behavior. Next, we will explore ways to tell if your dog may be indicating to you that something is wrong and what to do.


Did you know that dogs can have anxiety? Your English bulldog may be whining because they are frequently anxious or fearful. There can be a variety of causes but some common ones are separation from their owner and changes to their environment.

Separation Anxiety 

Separation anxiety is one of the most common causes of anxiety in dogs. It occurs when a dog is overly attached to their owner and becomes stressed when they are separated.

Dogs with separation anxiety can exhibit destructive behaviors, loss of appetite, restlessness, and vocalizations like whining. 

Your English bulldog may be experiencing separation anxiety if they begin to whine when you are preparing to leave the house or move to a different room without them.

Along with whining, destructive behavior when you are not home is another indication of a problem. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to prevent or decrease your bulldog’s anxiety.


Proper socialization as a puppy plays a large role in preventing anxiety from developing. Puppies that are well-socialized are less likely to be stressed as adults. It is important to define what qualifies as “proper socialization.”

Many people believe that just exposing their young dog to as many people, places, and situations as possible is effective socialization.  It is critical that these early experiences are positive for the puppy.

If they are exposed to something at an early age that scares them or that they find unpleasant, they may grow up to be fearful of it.

Crate training may also help prevent your puppy from developing separation anxiety. Setting a schedule for time on their own will get them used to being away from you and entertaining themselves.


If your English bulldog is experiencing separation anxiety, it will take time and patience to reduce. Depending on the severity of their anxiety, you may be able to help them on your own through training, but more severe cases may require a professional trainer, veterinarian, or medication.

It is important to find a trainer who does not use any aversive techniques or punishment as these often make the problem worse. 

Some things you can do to help reduce your bulldog’s separation anxiety in the short term:

  • Hire a pet sitter to stay with them when you are at work or away from home for extended periods of time.
  • Leave an article of clothing or blanket with them that has your scent on it, and make an area in your house where they can relax comfortably.
  • When coming home after being away, wait for your dog to settle down before greeting them calmly. This rewards their calm behavior. Do not act excited or give your dog attention if they are excited.
  • Make sure that your dog is getting adequate exercise and mental stimulation every day.
  • More details and techniques are outlined here.

Changes In Environment

Changes to your English bulldog’s environment can also cause anxiety and whining as a result. Moving houses and introducing a new pet or member to the household are two common changes that trigger anxiety in dogs.

Spending quality time with your dog, taking them for walks, and providing toys can help dogs adjust.

Dogs may display other undesirable behaviors like urinating indoors or being destructive. While these occurrences are annoying, try to be sympathetic towards your companion and avoid punishment.

Rewarding good behavior, like playing on their own and acting calm, does much more good than any punishment.

A great resource for training and behavior information is the American Animal Hospital Association’s Fear Free program website. There is also a search tool to find trainers and veterinarians near you that abide by the low-stress techniques outlined on the website.

The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists also has a directory of veterinarians that have completed extensive training and passed an intense examination to become behavior specialists. 

Pain or Illness

The rapid onset of increased whining, crying, or whimpering may indicate that your English bulldog is in pain. If they are normally quiet or reserved but suddenly start to vocalize, they may be signaling to you that they are injured or not feeling well.

If your dog does vocalize regularly, then watch for sudden changes in frequency, volume, or duration.

If your dog is whining because of an injury, you may be able to tell where it is by feeling their body and checking to see if they react in discomfort. Other signs are limping, moving around more slowly, or suddenly refusing to jump on or off furniture or use the stairs.

Other behaviors to watch out for if you believe your dog may be injured or sick are changes in food or water consumption, changes in bathroom habits, and changes in energy. If you suspect that your bulldog may be injured or may be sick, call a veterinarian as soon as possible.


Lastly, your English bulldog may be whining because they are bored. If your companion is not getting enough physical activity or does not have enough activities to keep them busy, they will be bored and could start to become destructive.

Luckily, keeping your bulldog entertained is simple. Here are some activities to try:

  • Take your dog for a walk. Exercise should be part of your dog’s daily routine.
  • Play fetch for a mix of exercise and playtime.
  • Participate in short training sessions. Teaching your dog new tricks and commands challenges them and keeps their mind engaged.
  • Give your dog puzzle toys. These toys use food as a reward and keep your dog occupied with solving how to get it out.


English bulldogs may whine for many reasons, so it is important that owners are observant and in tune with their dog’s behavior.Being mindful of your dog and the signals they are sending will help you identify any problems and provide an appropriate solution.

While communication between humans and dogs is trickier to understand than between people, it is a necessary part of forming a strong bond with your pet.

John Kilmerstone

I love dogs and believe that in particular, the bulldog breeds make great family pets and companions. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of bulldogs. Discover how to care for and look after this faithful pet and make the most of your valuable time together.

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