If your German Shepherd has been crying at night then you’re probably wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do about it.
So, why does my German Shepherd cry at night? Possible reasons are that it has separation anxiety, needs to pee, saw other animals outside or that it learned that crying gets attention from you.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to understand why your German Shepherd has been crying at night. Depending on the cause there are also a number of things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd cries at night
Each of the different reasons that your German Shepherd cries at night will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I will mention some reasons why it might be doing it and the signs to look for.
It might be the case that your German Shepherd has some separation anxiety. This is where being left alone makes it get anxious.
This would be more likely if it starts to show signs of being anxious when you are about to leave. Other signs of being anxious could include pacing or being destructive when you’re gone.
In this case, it would help to avoid leaving your German Shepherd alone for long periods during the day and to periodically check up on it if you can. During the night, one option would be to start out by periodically checking up on it and then leave it alone for longer and longer periods.
You can watch this video for some more tips on how you can deal with its separation anxiety if it has it.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd so anxious?
The reason that it starts to cry at night might be because it hears noises that it does not like.
This would be more likely if it only starts to cry when it hears things such as sirens, thunder or other noises that are high pitched.
It would also be more likely to be the reason if it only seems to start crying when you can hear a particular noise.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid?
It needs to pee
The reason that it cries at night might be that it needs to pee. This would be more likely if your German Shepherd is still a puppy and it will likely stop needing to as it gets older.
If your German Shepherd needs to pee a lot during the night and it is not a puppy then it would suggest that it might have an illness. In this case, your best option would be to take it to a vet.
Other animals in the yard
German Shepherds are very protective of their territory and owners which is why they are commonly used as guard dogs. The reason that your German Shepherd cries at night might be that it sees other animals outside.
This would be more likely if you have seen or hear other animals outside or if they have left signs of being there.
You have been reinforcing the behavior
It might be the case that your German Shepherd has learned that crying results in it getting the things that it wants. This would be more likely to be the reason if you tend to give it attention, toys or treats when it starts crying.
Instead, it would be a better option to ignore it when it is crying at night unless you think that it needs to pee.
Things to consider
Before trying to get your German Shepherd to stop crying at night it would help to have a better understanding of what is causing it to happen. Below, I will mention a few particularly helpful things that you can consider.
How old it is
If your German Shepherd is still a puppy then it is likely that it will start to cry less as it gets older. However, it would help to ignore it when it cries at night unless you think that it needs to pee.
If your German Shepherd is older then it would help to consider the two things below. However, it could be the case that an illness is causing it to cry at night so it might be worthwhile for you to take it to a vet especially if it has been showing other signs of illness.
When your German Shepherd started crying at night
It would help to consider the timing of when your German Shepherd started to cry at night. If it didn’t always cry and it started doing it suddenly then it would help to consider what happened at around that time.
Possible things that could have happened would be:
- You stopped letting it sleep in the same room as you (separation anxiety)
- You moved home
- Animals started breaking into the yard
- It started showing signs of being ill
What is different when it doesn’t cry at night
If it doesn’t always cry at night then it would help to consider what is different when it does cry.
Some things that might be different could be:
- It’s windier or there is thunder and lightening on the nights that it cries
- You don’t let it out to pee before bed when it cries
- You give it less exercise on the days that it cries
How to get your German Shepherd to stop crying at night
There are a number of things that you can do to reduce how much your German Shepherd cries at night that I will mention below.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
Avoid giving it attention
Since your German Shepherd might be crying at night because it wants attention it would help to avoid giving it attention when it cries at night. That is unless you think that it is crying because it needs to pee or it is crying in an unusual way.
Instead, it would help to give your German Shepherd attention throughout the day by playing with it, training it or exercising it.
Let it go out to pee before bed
To reduce how likely your German Shepherd is to need to pee during the night it would help to let it go out to pee just before bed. If your German Shepherd is a puppy still then it would be likely that it will need to pee again during the night.
Consider crate training
Crate training is where you teach your German Shepherd to learn to be comfortable inside of a crate designed for dogs.
If you crate train your German Shepherd in the right way it will give it a space where it can feel safe. This will give your German Shepherd a space where it will be able to feel secure at night without you being around.
Give it exercise
German Shepherds are a breed that is supposed to get a lot of exercise on a daily basis. If your German Shepherd is not currently getting much exercise then it is likely contributing to it crying at night.
Generally, it is recommended that your German Shepherd get an hour of exercise per day. You can give it exercise by walking it, teaching it to play fetch or having a dog walker do it for you.
You can watch the video below for more tips on how you can get your German Shepherd to cry less.