While having a German Shepherd that doesn’t bark may seem like a good thing, it can be a bit worrisome when it doesn’t bark at all.

This post will give you a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might not be barking and will show you a number of things that you can do about it.

So, why isn’t your German Shepherd barking? The main reasons are a timid personality, needing time to become comfortable in its new surroundings, an illness, age (bad hearing), bad past experiences and previous training to stop it from barking. 

While an overly quiet German Shepherd isn’t something to be too concerned with by itself. It would still be worthwhile to figure out why it isn’t barking. Also having your dog learn to bark in certain situations so that you can help it such as when it wants to come inside.

Reasons Why Your German Shepherd Might Not Be Barking

There are a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might not be barking that I will mention below.

Personality

The first reason why your German Shepherd might not be barking is that it has a more subdued personality. If this is the case then it could be that it just prefers not to bark often.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing it means that your German Shepherd won’t be bothering you and your neighbors constantly. It also means that, when it does bark, it will be because something really is wrong so you’ll be less likely to ignore your German  Shepherd when it needs help. If your German Shepherd is otherwise acting normal and doesn’t show signs of any other weird behavior then this is more likely to be the reason.

With that being said, there are situations where having the German Shepherd bark can be helpful such as when you want it to let you know that it wants something. You can get your German Shepherd to do this with training that I will discuss in the next section.

Still becoming comfortable

If your German Shepherd hasn’t been living with you for long then it could still be in a stage where it doesn’t feel comfortable with its surroundings.  If this is the case then it is not unusual for it to not be barking much.

Past Experiences

If the German Shepherd has had bad experiences with barking in the past then it might have learned that barking will lead to bad things so it doesn’t bark often. This is especially likely to be the case if it is a shelter dog where it might have had previous owners that treated it badly.

Age

One reason why your German Shepherd might not bark as much as it used to could be that it is getting older. When dogs get older their hearing declines so they won’t react to sounds as much as they would when they were younger. This can result in them barking less.

Vocal stress

It could be that the German Shepherd has been barking too much and it has swollen its throat so it has stopped barking. You can tell if this is the case since when it does bark it will sound different and if it has been barking a lot lately but it has suddenly stopped then it’s throat could be sore.

Previous Training

It could be that previous owners have taught it not to bark so it doesn’t bark around you either. If your German Shepherd has had previous owners then this could be the case you could try contacting them or you can try to train your German Shepherd to bark when you want it to.

It could also be that you have inadvertently taught it not to bark in the past yourself. If you punished the German Shepherd in the past when it was barking then it could have learned not to bark. If you think that it might have happened then you should take measures to correct it that will be discussed below.

Medical

The reason why your German Shepherd isn’t barking could be medical related. It could be that your German Shepherd is not feeling well so it doesn’t have the strength to be active and bark a lot.

If your German Shepherd has been acting strangely lately and it isn’t as active as it normally is then this could be the problem. If you think that it is then you should take it to a vet and make sure it’s nothing serious.

What To Do About Your German Shepherd Not Barking

If you want to get your German Shepherd to bark more then there are a number of things that you can do which I will mention below.

If you would like some more tips on how to train your German Shepherd, take a look at the German Shepherd training book on Amazon.

Give it time

If your German Shepherd has not had much time to adjust to its new surroundings then it’s probably not feeling comfortable enough to start barking. If this is the case then you can wait a few more weeks to see if it starts barking as time goes by and it starts to get more comfortable.

Make it comfortable

If you think that your German Shepherd is not feeling comfortable then you can help to make it feel more comfortable. You can do this by giving it treats to play with, taking it out for walks and giving it lots of attention.

Make sure it isn’t a medical problem

If you think that your German Shepherd might not be barking due to illness then you should take it to a vet and find out. If you find that it isn’t ill then try the method below.

Train it to bark

If you want your German Shepherd to bark more then you can try training it to bark more.

To do this have some treats that the dog loves in your hands, give one of them to the dog so that it knows that you have them then keep the other just out of its reach until it barks and then give it to it.

You’ll probably find that it won’t just begin to bark straight away so start out by rewarding slight growling and then gradually require more and more until it starts to bark.

It will probably start doing the other tricks that it knows, such as sitting or rolling.

Make sure to only reward the German Shepherd when it barks when you tell it to and not to give it the impression that barking when it wants will get it rewards a loud dog can be worse than a quiet dog.

Watch below to see how to do it.

Things to consider

When you’re training your German Shepherd to bark more there are some things to keep in mind.

Don’t use physical measures to make the German Shepherd bark

Using physical measures to get your German Shepherd to bark more like electrical collars are not a good way to go about doing it. Physical methods could make your dog scared and not trust you and will not help you in forming a bond with your dog.

It may just be a timid German Shepherd which isn’t so bad

Even though having a German Shepherd that rarely barks may seem concerning it really could just be a dog that doesn’t have it in its nature to bark a lot. If this is the case then it is not so bad since your German Shepherd will not cause you difficulties as often and when it does start being loud you’ll know that something really is wrong.

Train it to bark only when you want it to

When training it to bark make sure that you get it to do it on command otherwise you might get the opposite problem where you have a German Shepherd that won’t stop barking since it thinks barking will get it treats. This is why it is important to only reward the German Shepherd for barking when you tell it to.

Give it other ways to communicate

If your German Shepherd doesn’t want to bark when it wants things then you can consider giving it other ways to communicate. This could include something like putting chimes on strings attached to doors so that it can jingle them when it wants to come in. If you do this be sure to take the time to teach it to communicate the way that you want it to so that it knows how to.

Related Questions

Why is my German Shepherd so quiet? The causes of your German Shepherd being quiet are similar to the causes of a German Shepherd not barking. It could be that it doesn’t feel comfortable yet, it has been previously trained to be quiet, it is not feeling well, it is naturally quiet or it might be that it is just older and doesn’t have as much energy as it used to.

Why does my German Shepherd not howl?  The causes of a German Shepherd not howling much are, again, likely to be related to the causes of it not barking.

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