If your German Shepherd has been barking at you, you’re probably wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you why your German Shepherd might bark at you and a number of things that you can do about it.
So, why does my German Shepherd bark at me? Possible reasons can include wanting attention, inadvertently rewarding the barking, excitement, it was mistreated by someone or that it is being dominating.
There are actually a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to stop barking. However, the best thing will depend a lot on what is causing your German Shepherd to bark at you.
Why your German Shepherd barks at you
Each of the different reasons that your German Shepherd barks at you will likely come with a number of clues in the way that it does it.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons that your German Shepherd will bark at you along with the signs to look for.
It wants attention
The reason that it barks at you could be that it is looking for attention.
This would be more likely if it does not bark in an aggressive way, if it barks at you when you have not given it attention for a while and if it barks at you when it knows that you will be gone for a long time.
In this case, it would help to try to give it attention throughout the day, to give it lots of exercise and to try positive reinforcement training which will be discussed below.
You have been encouraging it
It could be the case that it barks at you because you have been inadvertently rewarding the barking.
This would be more likely if your method of getting it to stop barking is to give it treats or things that it likes like toys. Doing this will teach the dog that barking will get it things that it wants which will cause it to bark more.
The reason that it barks could be that it gets bored. This would be more likely if it barks when it has not been very active for a while. It would also be more likely if it tends to bark on days that it has not been able to get much exercise.
Generally, it is recommended that German Shepherd get an hour of exercise per day. When they do not get much exercise it can lead to behavioral problems.
If your German Shepherd is not getting much exercise then the first thing to do would be to make sure that it does. You can do this by walking it, teaching it to play fetch or having a dog walker to do it for you.
Related post: Ways to exercise your German Shepherd.
Your German Shepherd might bark at you when it is showing that it is excited. This would be more likely if it only seems to do it when exciting things happen such as when it is about to go out for a walk or when you come home.
Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you
It could be the case that your German Shepherd barks at you because it is being aggressive.
This would be more likely if it shows its teeth when it barks at you, it has its ears erect and it moves stiffly from side to side.
If it is the case that your German Shepherd seems to bark at you in an aggressive way then the best option for you would be to get the help of a dog behaviorist in your area.
It could be the case that it was mistreated by previous owners and it now either doesn’t trust people or it thinks that it is supposed to bark. This would be more likely if your German Shepherd is adopted from a shelter.
It is being dominating
It could also be that it barks at you because it’s in your German Shepherd’s nature to be more dominating.
These types of dogs seek to control other dogs and people that live in their environment. They will often be more difficult to train since they will be less compliant to humans commands. It’s very important to train these types of dogs from an early age.
However, even if it is older regular and consistent training should help a lot. If it is also aggressive then the best option for you would be to get help from a dog trainer or a dog behaviorist.
Things to consider
Before trying to get your German Shepherd to stop barking at you it would help to know the exact reason that it is doing it.
There are a number of things that you can consider and below I will mention some of the main things to think about.
When it started barking
If your German Shepherd didn’t always bark at you and it only started to do it recently then it would help to consider what happened at around the time that it started barking.
Things to consider would be:
- If it might have gotten injured
- If you moved home
- If someone moved away
- If someone was aggressive towards it
When and where it barks
It would also help to consider if it only barks in certain situations. If it does then it would be likely that the barking will have something to do with it.
For example, if your German Shepherd only seems to bark at you when it would normally be getting a walk then it would likely be reminding you that it is time to walk it.
The way that it barks
It would also help to consider the way that it barks and if it is aggressive or not.
If your German Shepherd tends to show its teeth when barking, it tightens its ears and its hair raises then it would be likely to be aggressive barking. In this case, it would be best to get help from a dog behaviorist.
How to get your German Shepherd stop barking at you
Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do if you want to get your German Shepherd to stop barking at you.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
Positive reinforcement training
One option would be to try positive reinforcement training. This is where you reward your German Shepherd for behaving the way that you want it to.
To use it to get it to stop barking you would do something such as:
- Stop giving it attention when it starts barking at you
- Give it attention when it stops barking at you
- Stop giving it attention again if it starts to bark at you again
- Repeat the above and reward it with treats when it does not bark at you when it normally would
Avoid reinforcing the behavior
While positive reinforcement training can work well it can also work against you.
If your method of getting your German Shepherd to stop barking at you is to give it things that it wants such as a toy, a walk or attention then it could be that it has learned that barking at you will get it those things.
Instead, an alternative option would be to stop giving it attention until it stops barking at you and then to reward it when it does not bark at you.
Get help from a trainer
If you are unable to get it to stop barking at you, it seems to be aggressive or you are unsure why it barks at you then getting help from a dog trainer would likely help a lot.
It is unlikely that you will be able to train your German Shepherd to stop barking at you in one training session. However, if you are consistent with the training over the course of weeks and months then you will be able to make great strides.
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Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.