Is your German Shepherd constantly barking and making noise, even when nothing, in particular, seems to set them off? Are you wondering whether this is normal?
German Shepherds are a very vocal breed of dog. Barking, whining, howling, and more is how they communicate with one another—and with their owners! In fact, they usually begin making whining noises as early as two weeks old, and soon move on to barking. All of these noises, especially barking, are your German Shepherd’s way of letting you know what is going on in their lives.
The rest of this article will discuss why German Shepherds are so talkative, what they may be trying to communicate with you, and some ways you can try to reduce your dog’s barking if it has become excessive.
Do German Shepherds bark a lot?
Do German Shepherds bark a lot? Most of the time, the answer to this question is a resounding YES. If you are not a fan of loud, barky dogs, then a German Shepherd may not be the breed for you.
These dogs are quite vocal, but they are not doing it just to be annoying! Barking, howling, whining, and even growling are just some of the various ways that your German Shepherd may “talk” to you. These noises are your dog’s way of communicating various things to you.
Why do German Shepherds bark so much?
Since German Shepherds were bred to be working dogs, they would originally spend their time guarding, herding, and watching over livestock. The various noises that they make were their way of communicating with not only the livestock they were bred to take care of, but also their owners and fellow working dogs.
Over the years, this habit of communicating vocally has been bred into German Shepherds. Even if your pup is not working as a herding dog, the instincts to communicate this way remain in their blood. So, instead of getting frustrated with your dog when they seemingly never stop barking, stop and learn what their various noises mean!
What does my German Shepherd’s barking mean?
Do German Shepherds bark a lot? Yes! Barking can have several different meanings, ranging from alert to happy to aggressive. This is one of the most common sounds a dog can make, and you should be able to differentiate different barks by length and tone.
Firstly, your dog will probably bark when something catches their attention. This may include cars, people, other dogs, or birds and squirrels out in the backyard. Your dog may also bark when they are very excited, so play sessions with you or other dogs will probably involve a lot of yapping!
Lastly, barking can sometimes be aggressive. If your dog is feeling threatened, they may bark. It should be easy to tell if your dog is barking aggressively because their body language will be stiff and on guard. They may have bared teeth and raised hackles, and their tail may slowly wag from side to side.
What about other noises my German Shepherd makes?
In addition to barking, your German Shepherd will probably make lots of other noises. Some of these noises may include:
- Grunting or groaning
Does growling mean my German Shepherd is aggressive?
Just like barking, growling can often mean many different things. Although this may seem like a scary sound, unless your dog’s body language is stiff, indicating that they are scared or threatened, then growling is not always aggressive.
Your dog may also growl when they are feeling very playful. If this is the case, their body language will tell you so easily. They will most likely be jumping or bouncing around, and they may bend down into a “play-bow” with their rear end raised into the air.
If your dog is indeed growling because they are feeling aggressive, their body language will look similar to that of aggressive barking. The growling will also probably be longer, more drawn-out, and lower-pitched than that of playful barking.
What does my German Shepherd’s whining mean?
Whining, just like the other noises your dog may make, can indicate several different things. Usually, whining means that your German Shepherd is one of two things: anxious or excited. Once again, you should pay attention to your dog’s body language in order to interpret what their sounds mean.
If your dog is bouncing around and wagging their tail while whining, then chances are they are very excited. They may be wanting to go for a walk or beg you for a toy or treat.
On the other hand, if your dog seems upset or scared while whining, or if they are favoring a certain part of their body, they may not be feeling well. You should carefully check out your dog to make sure they are not hurt, and if necessary, seek veterinary help.
What does my German Shepherd’s howling mean?
German Shepherds love to sing just as much as they love to bark! Usually, howling is done to get attention. This may be your attention, or it may be the attention of other dogs nearby or elsewhere in the neighborhood.
Your dog is likely to begin to howl if they hear another dog howling, or if they hear certain noises such as ringing phones or ambulance sirens.
Can I train my German Shepherd to stop barking?
You will most likely not be able to train your German Shepherd to stop barking entirely, since barking is an important part of how these dogs communicate.
However, if their barking is excessive, you may be able to teach your dog to quiet down just a little bit. This may involve training and conditioning your dog not to bark so much, or it may involve addressing the underlying issues which are causing the excessive barking.
Sometimes, issues like anxiety, especially separation anxiety, can cause excessive barking. This barking may mostly occur when you are not home, causing problems for your neighbors. In this case, addressing your dog’s separation anxiety would be the most productive way to get at the root of their excessive barking.
If your dog simply likes to talk, however, then training may be an excellent solution to your barking problem! Teaching them a command like “Quiet” or “No bark” can be a good place to start.
How do I train my German Shepherd to stop barking?
The easiest way to train your German Shepherd to bark less is by what is called “non-rewarding” them when they bark. Instead of punishing your dog, you will simply stop giving them positive attention whenever they display undesirable behavior. At the same time, whenever they do show desirable behavior, you should reward them.
For example, if your dog is constantly barking whenever they see you getting ready to take them for a walk, immediately stop preparing to go outside the moment they begin barking. Do not resume getting the leash ready until they are quiet, at which point you should give them a treat and reward them with the walk.
The goal is to teach your dog that being excessively noisy will not get them what they want, but rather the opposite.
What if my German Shepherd still won’t stop barking?
If you have tried training your German Shepherd to be quieter, but their barking is still excessive, there are a few things you should consider.
Firstly, see if you can figure out what is causing the barking. As we mentioned before, factors like anxiety may cause your dog to bark louder or more frequently than normal. If nothing out of the ordinary is causing the barking, however, you should return to training.
Training is a process that requires a lot of time, patience, and dedication. It is entirely possible that you have simply not had long enough with your dog for the changes to take effect. Especially with an instinctually ingrained behavior like barking, it can be very difficult to get your dog to stop. Some dogs may simply not ever stop barking.
This is why it is very important to consider the breed before you adopt a dog. If you think that a very noisy dog would bother you, perhaps consider a different type of dog than a German Shepherd.
Should use a no-bark collar to get my German Shepherd to be quiet?
No, you should never use a no-bark collar on your German Shepherd. These collars, which often shock your dog or vibrate, are extremely inhumane as they hurt your dog. Not only that, but they simply do not work.
They may get your dog to stop barking while they are wearing the collar, but it is only because they will be fearful of the collar, not because the actual behavior is being addressed.
These collars can also cause long-term issues such as anxiety, fear, and even phobias, which can ultimately lead to more barking.
Do German Shepherds bark a lot? Yes, this breed is very vocal, and barking, howling, and other noises are how they communicate with their owners. This is completely normal. You can use your dog’s body language to figure out what they are trying to tell you with their barking. However, it may be possible for you to train your German Shepherd not to bark so much.