Dogs often whine when they are seeking attention, excited, anxious or attempting to appease a person, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This behavior is typically associated with other submissive behaviors, such as a tucked tail and lowered posture.
Some dogs whine due to more serious underlying problems, such as separation anxiety or a medical condition, according to the ASPCA. Dogs with separation anxiety whine just before their owners leave or while they are away. They also tend to display other symptoms such as pacing, panting, excessive drooling, destruction, urination and sadness. Dogs with an underlying medical condition whine due to pain and require veterinary attention if the noise is frequent.
Some dogs whine when greeting people or attempting to please their owner, according to WebMD. In either case, a simple command to stop is unlikely to be effective. Dogs that whine when greeting a guest or an owner who has just come home do so out of excitement. The best way to stop this behavior is to downplay greetings and keep a quiet, calm tone of voice. Dogs that whine to appease humans have overtly submissive postures, and the behavior is most easily corrected by improving the dog's confidence through play and training.