Green’s Dictionary of Slang

act the wet dog v.

[the annoyance of a wet dog shaking its fur]

(US) to make a fuss, to complain.

Oliver Optic’s Mag. 44: I don’t stay in nobody’s house when they act the wet dog this way.
[US]Saline Co. Jrnl (KS) 9 Mar. 2/1: The name of William A. Phillips appeared, but e town acted the wet dog so bad that his name was unanimously stricken out.
[US]G. Devol Forty Years a Gambler 178: You have acted the wet dog about this, and I will not give you a cent of your money.
J. Habermehl Life on Western Rivers 186: Both of us were fine men, every inch a man, while you drank at our expense; but after our whiskey has run down your throats you all act the wet dog; none of you will give us a red cent.