Why Do German Shepherds Bark a Lot?
Before getting a German Shepherd, you might wonder do German Shepherds bark a lot. If they do bark a lot, then you may wonder why.
One of the most famous dog breeds found in the United States is the German Shepherd Dog. They are intelligent, competent dogs who love working. They are incredibly courageous, and their devotion is incomparable to any other breed of dog that exists.
The species is also known as the ‘Alsatian,’ mainly in the United Kingdom and Europe. They can be most commonly found in rescue centers and animal shelters, so if you are looking to get a German Shepherd, you should consider adopting one.
The German Shepherd is a comparatively modern breed of dog, despite its primeval, wolf-like appearance, with its origins dating back to 1899.
Around the world, German Shepherds are usually the preferred breed for different tasks, including search-and-rescue, police and military roles, assistance with disabilities, and acting because of their intellect, strength, train ability, and compliance.
The breed is the second-most registered breed by the American Kennel Club and sixth-most registered breed in the United Kingdom, as reported by The Kennel Club. German Shepherd dogs have many distinct characteristics that make them different from other dog breeds.
In the upcoming section, we will shed light on these characteristics, which will help us understand the answer to the one fundamental question— Why do German Shepherds bark a lot?
What Are Characteristics of German Shepherds That You Must Know?
The average German Shepherd is 22 to 26 inches tall and weighs 75 to 95 lbs. There are two main bloodlines of German Shepherds: the German and American, and they both vary slightly in size and build.
German Shepherds can make themselves acquainted with almost any living space as long as they are well exercised. However, due to their physical size and the amount of hair they shed, a house with a yard for sufficient exercise would be perfect for this dog breed.
German Shepherds are very defensive of their families. Their alert and reticent personality make them exceptional guard dogs. They are territorial, can be possessive, and have a strong prey drive, so the boundaries and expectations of behavior around children need to be clear. They’ve got a reputation for being excellent watchdogs and should never be chained or tethered to stand guard. It leads to frustration and aggression.
German Shepherds are faithful, courageous, dependable, intelligent, and to some extent, aloof. They are intensely focused on their leader and not instantaneously pleasant with people who aren’t a part of their inner circle.
German Shepherds have bodies that are intended to defend them against harsh environments, but they are more susceptible to overheating as they are double-coated dogs. A colder temperate location is better suited for their bodies. The breed also needs ample exercise.
They are easy to work out with and the right partner for nearly any athletic activity that you wish to undertake. They can get frustrated if they do not get enough exercise, and this frustration can lead them to engage in bad behavior like unnecessary and excessive barking.
Watch this video below about German Shepherds.
What Are Possible Causes for Your German Shepherd’s Barking?
If you have a German Shepherd as a part of your family for quite a while now, you have likely heard complaints about its barking from other people, especially your neighbors.
When they are 2 to 4 weeks old, German Shepherd puppies try to vocalize by mumbling or whining. They start giving a shrill bark at around 2 months. When they turn 4 months old, German Shepherd puppies usually start barking properly. Some may start barking earlier or later than 4 months due to temperament differences.
A German Shepherd’s bark is deep and powerful, so they’re often used as police dogs. Their bark is also successful in stopping criminals dead on their paths. The bark of a German Shepherd can go up to 108 decibels. Any sound above 85 decibels is considered unsafe for humans, so you can imagine how loud their barks are!
German Shepherds tend to bark a lot for several reasons, so you need to understand what causes this behavior and how you can solve it. Let’s start with the basics and then make our way through other possible causes.
German Shepherds tend to bark when they are excited and enthusiastic. When they anticipate that something they enjoy is about to happen, they bark to make sure that it happens. German Shepherds get excited and bark when they see their owner return from work, see a dog walker approach or other related activities that make them happy.
Boredom or Frustration
German Shepherds are bred to be incredibly active dogs that are meant to work with their owners, doing intensive tasks for hours every day. For this reason, they need to get a lot of exercises. They will be bored if they don’t engage in any activities.
When they’re bored, they can become vicious, and it can cause them to bark a lot more since they want more things to do and activities to arouse them. If your German Shepherd isn’t getting a lot of exercises, then this could be the cause of its barking.
Hunger or Pain
Like many other breeds, a German Shepherds bark a lot when they are hungry and usually around the time when they should be getting food, such as in the morning, so you must keep them well-fed at all times.
If your German Shepherd is barking a lot, it is also possible that it might be in pain due to an injury or a disease. When you notice that it is barking at unusual instances, then it is a sign that they are in pain. In many cases, this barking might also be accompanied by limping, and you should take your pet to the vet in this scenario.
Out of Fear
Your pet could be barking because it is afraid or nervous about something. Some German Shepherds might also bark because they are afraid of going to a place where they had an unpleasant experience before, like to the vet.
A German Shepherd is very likely to engage in territorial barking when it feels threatened in any way. Because it has such as strong guarding and defending drive, it will always be on the lookout for probable threats and will most likely bark to alert you in cases of possible dangers.
How Can You Stop Your German Shepherd From Barking a Lot?
You can do numerous things to reduce your German Shepherd’s barking, but the first step is to figure out why it is barking and implement the possible solutions. Let’s look at some of the common solutions that you need to be implementing:
Giving it Lots of Exercises
You, as a German Shepherd owner, need to make sure that your pet is getting lots of exercises. If it’s not currently getting lots of exercises, allowing it to do so will help make it feel better and reduce its attention-seeking behavior that precedes excessive barking.
Sometimes, the exercise you are giving your pet isn’t enough for its development. You might want to engage in faster walking, jogging, walking in hilly areas, playing fetch, swimming, sprinting, and even playing with other dogs. This can be time-consuming, so you can hire a professional dog walker if you have the finances to do so.
German Shepherds are incredibly territorial around people or animals they are not familiar with, so you must engage your pet into socialization from an early age. By doing so, you can ensure that it’s territorial behavior and jealously around other dogs reduces substantially. According to the American Kennel Club, early socialization can turn a rowdy puppy into a well-mannered dog that is not too aggressive and hence, does not bark a lot!
Rewarding It When It complies
While you are training your German Shepherd to not bark, it is essential to give it a reward when it obeys. When you reinforce positive behavior, your dog will learn the behavior and comply.
Ignoring Attention Seeking Behavior
Many German Shepherds also bark a lot for nothing but mere attention. In such cases, you should ignore their barking, reward them with a treat, or give them your attention when they have been quiet for a while. By doing this, you are telling your pet that barking will not give it what it wants but being silent might.
Use commands like “No,” “Stop,” and “Quiet” when your German Shepherd is barking unnecessarily when it shouldn’t be. It will not understand the meaning of the commands, but it will eventually learn that it should stop doing what it is doing whenever these sounds are made.
Watch the following video on how to stop German Shepherd’s excessive barking.
What Are Some Training Tips to Control German Shepherd’s Barking?
To control a German Shepherd’s barking, you need to focus on consistent training and positive reinforcement. Here are some great training tips to help you while you are helping your loyal friend:
Identify Reasons for Excessive Barking
To discover what triggers this behavior, you must see the probable causes behind why German Shepherds bark a lot. See what the root cause is so you can take up the appropriate training method for your pet.
Use a Sound Tool
By using a small, hand-held device or using your mouth to make ‘click’ noises, you can train your German Shepherd to exhibit only the behaviors you want it to. You should pair the reward you have for your dog, like a pat or a treat, with a sound, so your dog knows that to do to get the reward.
Use Positive Reinforcements Only
Praises, pats, playtime, and treats are all examples of a few of the reinforcements that should be used. Positive reinforcement always works much better than negative reinforcement. Positive training is a safe way to train your pet and is essential for an intelligent, huge, and powerful breed like the German Shepherd.
Provide Regular Training
Being inconsistent in training your dog has many disadvantages, the most important one being that it can tell when you are inconsistent. German Shepherds are the smartest of all dog breeds, so you can expect it to notice if you slack off the training even faintly. Maintaining consistency is one of the most crucial things you need to do to ease excessive barking.
Why Does My German Shepherd Bark a Lot at Night?
A howling pet at night can be extremely frustrating for you, your family and even your neighbors, especially if you all are light sleepers!
The most common cause for German Shepherds to bark at night is that they can often hear something. Being guard dogs, German Shepherds have an excellent sense of hearing that can alert you. Their barking can turn into howling and growling and deeper and more powerful barks as potential threats increase. Cats, dogs, and other animals like a raccoon that your German Shepherd is not familiar with can also cause it to bark.
If your German Shepherd is barking a lot at night, it can also be to get your attention. It might be telling you that it needs more water or that it has gotten hurt and needs help. Separation anxiety is another reason why your dog might be barking in the middle of the night.
Since you aren’t there with it at night, it will start barking, running in circles, chewing, pacing, and destroying things until you get up from your bed and spend some time with it.
Another extremely common cause behind “why do German Shepherds bark a lot?” at night is that their sleeping arrangements have changed. For instance, if your dog used to sleep with you or in a crate but is now sleeping in the yard, it will miss the comfort that it was provided before and bark at night.
If your pet is regularly barking at night, even when there is no potential threat, you must try to give it an ample amount of exercise, revert to old sleeping arrangements and not give unnecessary attention to it. If the issue persists, you must consider paying a visit to the vet.
How to Teach Your German Shepherd to Bark on Command?
An excellent way to fend off any people or animals looking for trouble is to teach your German Shepherd how to bark on command. You should start by observing the cases that trigger your German Shepherd to bark.
You might notice that your pet barks every time you give it a treat. To start training it, create an obstacle between you and your pet and then offer it the treat teasingly. It will attempt to get the treat but will not able to because of the barrier. Since this is something that it won’t like, it will naturally bark. As soon as it barks, you must give it a treat and make a distinct sound.
Keep repeating this process until your pet learns to connect its bark with your sound signal. Your pet will understand the meaning of the signal. Once that happens, you should offer it a treat without any obstacle. When it barks, give it a treat and give your sound signal.
Teaching your German Shepherd to stop barking or bark on command is necessary, especially if barks a lot.
Remembering Why Do German Shepherds Bark a Lot
Patience is key. No matter how annoyed you are with your German Shepherd’s barking habits, you must understand that your pet communicates with you through barking, so never aim to silence it completely.
You must never lash out on your pet, especially if it’s a German Shepherd. They are energetic dogs that cannot be controlled with power and might react by being aggressive. If you shout at them or hurt them physically, they might also get violent and respond in the same way.
One must stay calm and deal with their pet’s barking habits with patience because only patience and hard work, along with proper training, can make this habit go away. The next time you ask yourself, “why do German Shepherds bark a lot? Refer back to this guide to find the root cause and the solution to the problem that your faithful companion might be suffering from.
- Carter, Noelle, and Elaine Walker. “How Often Do German Shepherds Bark?” Embora Pets, 29 Jan. 2020, emborapets.com/how-often-do-german-shepherds-bark/.
- “Dealing With Constant GSD Barking? Problems Solved.” Shepped.com, 5 Sept. 2016, www.shepped.com/gsd-barking-problems/.
- Greenberg, Aurora. “German Shepherd Dog Dog Breed Information.” American Kennel Club, 6 Nov. 2017, www.akc.org/dog-breeds/german-shepherd-dog/.
- “German Shepherd Dog Breed Information, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts.” DogTime, dogtime.com/dog-breeds/german-shepherd-dog#/slide/1.
Daniel Bloom is the mind behind the Dog Pages blog. He created this blog for the love his dog, Augustine. He manages his team of contributors who love dogs as much as he does. When he is not blogging, he spends his time cooking and reading. He never misses his daily walks with his dog and loves to play Frisbee with Augustine whenever he gets a chance.