Do German Shepherds bark a lot?
Yes, they do. German Shepherds are known to be one of the more vocal breeds. Not only do they bark a lot, but they also whine, moan, and howl, This is especially true when they’re untrained and socialized.
Trust me, I know this from experience. I have three German Shepherds that just seem to love going crazy whenever I get into zoom work meetings. I also can’t count how many times they’ve kept me up at night because they’re going wild for something they heard outside.
Fortunately though, they are highly trainable and can be taught to stop excessive barking.
So, if you’re intent on getting a German Shepherd, but don’t necessarily favor the noise that comes along with one, do read on as we look into the reasons as to why they bark a lot and how you can stop or prevent excessive barking.
Why Do German Shepherds Bark?
German Shepherds primarily bark as a means of communication. In the same way that we speak, they bark to express their thoughts and emotions. So, their barks could mean different things and could be caused by a variety of reasons.
Being protective dogs, German Shepherds sometimes bark as a way to alert or protect their owners. This type of barking occurs when a German Shepherd perceives a threat such as a stranger or a different dog that comes near you or your German Shepherd’s territorial space.
A German Shepherd may also bark out of excitement and as an expression of joy. These barks are generally high-pitched and upbeat and usually occur in anticipation of something good such as mealtimes or walks.
If you notice your dog barking while wagging its tail and jumping around, know that it’s barking out of happiness and excitement.
German Shepherds require constant physical and mental stimulation. If deprived of exercise, training, or play, they get bored and start exhibiting behavioral problems like excessively barking as a way to entertain themselves or to get your attention.
Other signs of boredom include:
- Excessive chewing
- Digging or scratching
- Whining and nipping
- Escaping from home
- Stealing things
German Shepherds are social dogs that love to spend time with their pack. So, when left alone for extended periods, they tend to succumb to loneliness. And when they’re lonely, they bark to express their sadness or to get your attention.
To tell if your German Shepherd is lonely, look for the following signs:
- Excessive chewing
- Loss of appetite
Anxiety Or Fear
German Shepherds may also bark due to nerves and fear. For example, they may bark due to an object or noise which startles and scares them.
Provocation And Aggression
When backed into a corner, a German Shepherd will have to choose whether to fight or flight. And should it decide to fight, it may turn aggressive and start barking.
Lack Of Socialization
Socialization is the process of introducing a dog to different people, pets, environments, and situations. This allows a dog to develop a better understanding of how the world works and how it should respond to different interactions. The lack of socialization is a factor in the development of the aforementioned causes like, protectiveness, anxiety, and aggression. So, in a way, the lack of socialization also causes excessive barking.
German Shepherds may also bark when they’re affected by health issues. These barks could indicate a wide range of things from your dog merely being hungry and thirsty, to it having injuries or internal problems causing it pain.
So, if your German Shepherd doesn’t seem to bark due to any of the other causes, it may indicate an underlying medical problem.
How To Reduce Your German Shepherd’s Barking
Now that we understand the different reasons for excessive barking, let’s now look at how to reduce or prevent it. And really, it’s all about identifying the cause and applying the necessary solution.
Identify The Cause
The first step to reducing your dog’s barking would be to identify the cause. So, try to look for patterns or instances when your German Shepherd excessively barks.
Think of the following questions:
- Have you provided your German Shepherd with enough exercise and play?
- Is your German Shepherd acting withdrawn after you’ve left it for an extended period?
- Does your German Shepherd bark when it sees other pets or people?
- Do you notice your German Shepherd shivering out of fear?
- Is your dog perhaps sick?
Simply put, look into the list of possible causes, and try to identify which one applies to your German Shepherd. Only when you identify the problem, will you be able to address it.
Apply The Solution
After you’ve identified the problem, the next step would be to solve it.
Provide Enough Exercise And Play
To address barking caused by either boredom or loneliness, spend some time with your German Shepherd and provide the necessary amount of both exercise and play. Do your best to tire your German Shepherd out, as a tired dog would most likely spend time resting rather than barking.
However, be sure that your dog has stopped barking before any interaction. Doing so will prevent your dog from thinking that it’s being rewarded for barking.
Ignore Attention-Seeking Barking
If your German Shepherd is excessively barking to get your attention, address the behavior by ignoring the barking, and then by immediately rewarding your dog with attention after it finally quiets down. Doing so will let your dog realize that barking will not get your attention, but being quiet will.
Block Out External Causes
For barking caused by external factors such as people or pets passing by, or outside noise, your best bet would be to remove your dog from the stimulus. Maybe you can have your German Shepherd stay in another room where it can’t see other people or one in which it can’t hear the triggering noise.
Socialize Your German Shepherd
Barking due to protectiveness, anxiety, and aggression may all be caused by the lack of socialization. So, socialize your German Shepherd by introducing it to other people and pets. Expose your dog to different sights, sounds, and smells, so that it gets used to them and that it develops a better understanding of its environment.
You can also train your German Shepherd to stop excessive barking. But before you can do that, you would have to teach it to bark on command.
To do so, command your dog to bark and then reward it with a treat when it does. Keep practicing and repeating this command and reward system until your dog learns to consistently bark on command. When your German Shepherd finally gets the hang of it, you can then start to teach it to stop barking.
For that, you first command your dog to bark, then when it does command it to be quiet. If your dog stops barking, reward it with praise and treats. Repeat the process until your dog stops barking on command.
Visit The Veterinarian
If you suspect the barking to be caused by an underlying medical condition, don’t hesitate to take your dog to the veterinarian.
The veterinarian will be able to diagnose the cause of barking and will provide you with actionable steps to address both that and your dog’s health condition.
Do German Shepherds Bark A Lot?
Yes they do. German Shepherds are noisy and so they can sometimes get annoying. That said, always remember that barking is their means of communication. Through it we get an insight into their well-being.
So, don’t just think of it as an annoyance, but use it to understand what your German Shepherd wants to tell you and address any problems should there be any. After all, if your dog ever gets too noisy, you can always step in and teach it to be quiet.