Does your German Shepherd make all manner of barking, howling, whining, and shouting noises? Are you wondering whether this level of noise is normal for the breed?
German Shepherds are extremely talkative dogs. They usually begin making small whining sounds at as young as two weeks old, and this soon progresses to barking and more. This level of vocality has to do with the German Shepherd’s background as a working dog. All of these noises are your dog’s way of communicating with you.
The rest of this article will detail why German Shepherds are so vocal, what they are trying to say to you, and how you can try to stop your dog from being so loud.
Are German Shepherds loud?
Are German Shepherds loud? Usually, yes! This breed is a very vocal one, and your German Shepherd is likely to make all sorts of noises throughout the day. Some of the noises your German Shepherd may make include:
Although this may sometimes be annoying, it is not necessarily a bad thing—it is perfectly natural for your dog, especially this breed.
Why are German Shepherds so talkative?
The reason German Shepherds like to talk so much has to do with their background as working dogs. Many Shepherds are also this way. It is because they were originally bred to work at guarding and herding various livestock. The noises your German Shepherd makes are their way of communicating with you or other dogs (and with the livestock they were bred to handle!).
The barking, growling, howling, whining, and other noises your German Shepherd makes all have different meanings. Once you learn to listen to your dog and recognize their sounds, you will be able to better understand what your dog is trying to tell you—or other dogs—at different times of the day.
What do my German Shepherd’s sounds mean?
As we mentioned, all of your German Shepherd’s sounds mean different things. Keep reading to discover what your pup may be trying to say with their noises.
Barking is one of the most common sounds that a dog will make, and barks can have several different meanings. Your dog will probably bark whenever something catches their attention. So, they may bark at passing cars or people, other dogs, or wildlife in the yard.
Dogs will also bark when they are having fun. When your German Shepherd is playing with you or with other pups, there will probably be quite a bit of barking going on! Your dog may also bark when they are trying to get your attention for some reason.
In some cases, barking can also be aggressive. However, it should be very easy to tell the difference between normal barking and aggressive barking. Check your German Shepherd’s body language. If they are stiff, especially with bared teeth and raised hackles, they are probably on guard. Their tail may also move very slowly back and forth.
Although growling may seem scary, this sound is actually not always aggressive! Sometimes growling is actually playful. It is harder for humans to distinguish between different types of growls than for other dogs. One easy way to tell the difference between playful and aggressive growls is by studying your dog’s body language.
Just like with barking, if your dog is scared or aggressive, it will be easy to tell from their stance. They will be stiff and still, probably with raised hackles and bared teeth. If your dog is playful, they will likely be bouncing around or bending down into a “play-bow” with their rear end raised into the air.
Although it is difficult for humans to hear the difference in growls, generally playful growls will be higher-pitched than aggressive ones. They will likely also be shorter in length.
Whining usually indicates that your German Shepherd is either excited or anxious—or sometimes even a combination of the two!
Whining can also indicate a range of other things, including that your dog is in pain, sad, begging, or wants attention. Like with barking and growling, one of the easiest ways to figure out what your dog is trying to say with their whining is by paying attention to context and body language.
If your dog is whining next to the dinner table, they are probably begging you for a treat. If they are whining when you leave the house, then it is likely that they do not want you to go. If the whining occurs when they see you reach for the leash where it hangs next to the door, then your dog is probably anxious to go for a walk.
If you are here checking out this article, it’s probably because your German Shepherd loves to “sing the song of their people”! Are German Shepherds loud? When they are howling, yes they are! Howling is usually to get attention—whether that be your attention or the attention of other dogs.
Your German Shepherd is very likely to start howling when they hear another dog howling, which is how your neighborhood can quickly start to sound like a wolf pack reunion! Dogs will also sometimes start howling when they hear certain high-pitched noises such as ambulance sirens or ringing phones.
How do I get my German Shepherd to be quieter?
Although your dog’s noises may sometimes be annoying, it is important to keep in mind that German Shepherds are a talkative breed. If you do not already own one, then this is something to keep in mind before you adopt one. You are not going to be able to get your dog to be completely silent, because it is in their nature to communicate with you!
With that being said, sometimes barking and howling do become a behavioral issue. If your dog is making very excessive levels of noise, then it may be time to attempt to train them to be somewhat quieter.
Excessive barking and howling can be a sign that your dog simply needs more training, but it can also be a sign of other issues such as anxiety or aggression. The main two ways you can address your dog’s excessive vocalizations are:
- Addressing the underlying issues like anxiety
How do I train my German Shepherd not to be loud?
Training your German Shepherd not to be loud is actually a fairly simple process. Again, you will not be able to get your dog to be completely silent, and you should not want to—barking and making noise is how your pup communicates. However, there are some ways you can train your dog to bark less.
The easiest way is by doing what is called “non-rewarding” your dog for undesirable behavior. For example, if your German Shepherd barks a lot while playing, then as soon as they start barking too much, immediately stop playing. By doing this, you will teach your dog that when they start barking, they no longer get to play.
You can also immediately stop giving your dog attention by becoming like a tree: stand still with your arms crossed and do not look at or acknowledge your dog while they are barking or howling. This will teach them that making too much noise will earn them the opposite effect of what they wanted from you.
Should I punish my German Shepherd for being too loud or use a no-bark collar?
No, you should never punish your German Shepherd for being loud. Instead, you should utilize the non-reward method that we discussed in the previous section. Punishing your dog will only be harmful, as it will make them fearful of you and give them poor associations with you rather than with the behavior.
As for no-bark collars, such as shock collars, we never recommend that these be used with your dog. Not only are they extremely inhumane, but they also ultimately do not work. Although they may produce short-term results by getting your dog to stop barking while wearing the collar, they can produce long-term problems.
For example, a shock collar can result in your dog developing issues such as excessive aggression, fear of you and the collar, anxiety, and even phobias. Imagine that your best friend slapped you every time you tried to communicate what you were feeling to them! This would be horrible, and that is exactly what it feels like to your dog when you use a shock collar.
Ultimately, if you want your dog to stop barking so much, you should be patient and use non-fear-based methods in order to produce the most humane, long-lasting results.
Are German Shepherds loud? Yes, as a working breed, they are very talkative and will communicate with their owners and other dogs via barks, howls, whines, and more. This is perfectly normal, and you can use your dog’s body language as context clues to determine what they are trying to communicate with you.
If your dog barks excessively, you can train them to be a bit quieter by denying them the attention they want when they bark.