This post will show you why your German Shepherd has been grunting, groaning or moaning and what you can do about it.

So, why does my German Shepherd grunt, groan and moan? Possible reasons are that it is excited, it wants your attention, it’s ill or injured, it’s doing it as a warning, it’s protecting its food or possessions, it’s bored, it’s frightened or it is being aggressive.

There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your German Shepherd does it. Depending on the cause, there are also a number of things that you can do about it.

Why your German Shepherd grunts, moans and groans

Each of the different reasons that your German Shepherd does it will likely come with some clues.

Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might grunt, groan or moan and the signs to look for.

Excitement

The reason that your German Shepherd grunts, groans or moans could be that it is enjoying itself. This would be more likely if it does it in situations where it gets excited such as when you come home or when playing tug of war.

Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you

It wants your attention

The reason that it does it could be that it wants your attention.

This would be more likely if it does it at specific times such as when it would normally go out for a walk, get fed or get attention in some other way. It would also be more likely if it does it when you haven’t given it much attention for a while.

Illness or injury

It could be that your German Shepherd is injured or ill. When dogs are in pain it is common for them to make unusual noises. If your German Shepherd has been groaning or moaning a lot recently in situations when it normally wouldn’t then this could be the case. If pain is the cause then you’ll probably notice other symptoms such as limping or a change in behavior.

Warning

It could be the case that it does it as a warning. This would be more likely if it does it when people are trying to intimidate it or to enter its space. It would also be more likely if it shows signs of aggression when doing it.

It’s protecting food or possessions

It is common for German Shepherds and other dogs to grunt, groan or moan if someone approaches them when they are eating.

If your German Shepherd does this then be careful since they will often become aggressive if you go too close to it when it is eating.

If your German Shepherd is still a puppy then it will be very important for you to train it out of the behavior while it is still young.

You can watch the video below for some tips on how to do so:

Boredom

German Shepherds are meant to be a very active breed that are supposed to get a lot of exercise daily. When they don’t get much exercise it can cause them to develop behavioral problems and to make noises.

Generally, it is recommended that a German Shepherd get at least an hour of exercise daily. If yours is not getting that much exercise then it could be why it is grunting, groaning or moaning a lot.

Fear

It could be that, in certain situations, your German Shepherd remembers being mistreated in the past and this has caused it to become apprehensive. This could be the case if it becomes vocal when you try to pet it or when you go near it.

In this case, you can try the training method below but you’re best bet would be to get help from a dog behaviorist who can give you more relevant guidance in this situation.

Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid of everything?

Aggression

It could be the case that your German Shepherd grunts, groans or moans because it is being aggressive.

This would be more likely if it shows its teeth when it does it, it has its ears erect and it moves stiffly from side to side.

If it is the case that your German Shepherd seems to do it in an aggressive way then the best option for you would be to get the help of a dog behaviorist in your area.

Things to consider

Before trying to get your German Shepherd to stop grunting, groaning and moaning it would help to have a better understanding of why it is doing it. Below, I will mention some things that you can consider.

The way that it grunts, moans or groans

It would help to consider the way that it makes the noises. If it shows its teeth, lunges towards you, stands more erect and moves stiffly then it would be a strong sign of aggression. In this case, it would be best to keep your distance from it and to get the help of a professional dog behaviorist.

With that being said, even if they do not show signs of aggression they can still become aggressive. So, it would still be important to be cautious when it is making noises especially if it does it when eating.

When it first started to grunt, groan and moan

It would also help to consider when your German Shepherd started to do it.

If it never used to make those noises but it suddenly started doing it then it would help to think about what else happened at around the same time that it started doing it.

Some things that might have happened could include:

  • Moving homes
  • Someone was aggressive towards it
  • Someone moved away or another pet died

When it does it

The timing of when it makes the noises would also likely tell you a lot about why it is doing it.

For example, if it only seems to do it when you have not fed it for a long time then it would suggest that it is reminding you of that.

How to stop your German Shepherd from grunting, groaning or moaning

There are a number of things that you can do if you want to get your German Shepherd to stop making the noises. Below, I will show you a number of things that you can do about it.

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 grunting, groaning or moaning you would do something such as:

  • Stop giving it attention when it starts to make the noise
  • Give it attention when it stops making noises
  • Stop giving it attention again if it starts to make noise
  • Repeat the above and reward it with treats when it does not make noise when it normally would

Avoid encouraging the behavior

If your method of getting your German Shepherd to stop grunting, groaning or moaning 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 doing it will get it those things.

Instead, an alternative option would be to stop giving it attention until it stops grunting, groaning or moaning and then to reward it when it does not do it.

Make sure it isn’t ill or injured

If you think that illness or injury might be the cause then it would help to take it to a vet. This would especially be the case if it started to do it suddenly and if it has been acting differently in other ways as well.

Give it attention throughout the day

Since your German Shepherd might also grunt, groan or moan because it wants attention it would also help to make sure to give it attention throughout the day. If you tend to leave it alone for long time periods such as for work then it might help to try and come back quickly during your lunch break.

Get the help of a dog behaviorist

If you are unsure of why your German Shepherd grunts, groans or moans or you do not know how to get it to stop then the best option for you would be to get the help of a dog behaviorist in your area. This would especially be the case if it is aggressive when it does it as well.

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Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.

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