If your German Shepherd has been barking, howling or whining at night you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you why your German Shepherd does it and what you can do to stop it.
So, why does my German Shepherd bark at night? Possible reasons are that it is not getting enough exercise, you have inadvertently rewarded the behavior, fear, noises that it doesn’t like, a poor diet, separation anxiety, needing to pee or a problem with its sleeping environment.
Why does my German Shepherd bark, howl or whine at night?
Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd does it at night will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might be doing it and the signs to look for.
Not enough exercise
It could be the case that it has excess energy at night due to not getting enough exercise during the day. This would be much more likely if it doesn’t seem to be as noisy on nights where it has gotten a lot of exercise.
Since German Shepherds are an active breed it is generally recommended for them to get an hour of exercise per day. If yours isn’t getting that much exercise then it would likely help to make sure that it does.
Related post: Ways to exercise your German Shepherd.
You have inadvertently reinforced the behavior
It could be the case that it has learned that barking, howling or making any other noises at night results in it getting things that it wants from you. This would be especially likely if you tend to give it things such as attention or treats when it does it.
Instead, it would help to rule out any other possible causes of it doing it and then to avoid rewarding it when it becomes noisy at night by making use of the tips in the section below.
It might be the case that there is something that is causing your German Shepherd to become frightened at night. This would be more likely if it seems to bark at specific things at night such as by barking at the window.
In this case, it would help to try and remove the thing that it might be barking at if possible or to let your German Shepherd sleep somewhere else.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid?
Noises such as sirens or it can hear other dogs barking or howling
It could also be the case that certain noises are causing your German Shepherd to be more active at night. This would be more likely if it tends to bark when there are other noises being made outside such as sirens, or other dogs barking and howling.
In this case, you could try and let it sleep in a quieter room if you have one or to try and make the room that it sleeps in quieter.
It might be that there is something wrong with its diet that is causing it to have trouble sleeping or to be more energetic at night. You can look here to see what you should and should not be feeding your German Shepherd. It would also likely help to try and feed your German Shepherd earlier in the evening if you tend to feed it late at night.
If you are unsure of what food to get for your German Shepherd, consider getting dog food designed specifically for German Shepherds. You can get a GSD specific dog food on Amazon here and one for GSD puppies on Chewy here.
The reason why it does it might be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where being left alone causes it to get anxious. This would be more likely if it tends to show signs of getting anxious when you are about to leave it. Ways that it might show anxiety could be by pacing, whining or crying when you are about to leave it.
A problem with its sleeping environment
It could also be the case that it struggles to sleep due to a problem with its sleeping environment. This could be because it is not comfortable, it’s too hot or it’s too bright.
It needs to pee
It could also be that it tends to need to pee at night. This would be more likely if it is still a puppy, you don’t let it pee just before bed or if it tends to go straight outside to pee when it barks at night.
If it has suddenly started to need to pee at night then it might be because it has gotten an illness. In this case, it would help to take it to a vet to rule out illness as a cause.
How to get your German Shepherd to stop barking, howling and whining at night
There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to be less noisy at night that I will mention below.
Make sure that you are feeding it correctly
Since diet might be the reason why it gets loud at night it would help to make sure that it is eating the right foods. You can look here to see what you should and shouldn’t be giving it. Feeding it earlier in the evening would likely help as well.
Give it exercise
As mentioned above, German Shepherds are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise daily. If your German Shepherd does not currently get much exercise then it would help to make sure that it does. You might find that just walking it isn’t enough in that case you could train it to play fetch to wear it out even more.
Make its sleeping environment comfortable
It would likely help to make sure that its sleeping environment will allow it to sleep as easily as possible. You can do this by reducing how much noise it lets in, turning the light off, keeping it cool and making it comfortable.
Try 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.
Train it to be less anxious without you
Since the reason why it barks or whines at night might be that it has separation anxiety it would help to train it to be less anxious without you.
One way to do this would be to start out by leaving it for very short time periods and then to reward it for not being anxious and then to build up to leaving it for longer and longer periods.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
You can see more on how to do this in the video below.
Avoid rewarding it
Since your German Shepherd might do it because it has learned that it gets attention from you it would help to avoid rewarding it unless you know that it is because it needs to pee. Instead, it would help to try the suggestions above and to reward it when it is well behaved.
Things to consider
When it started doing it
If your German Shepherd didn’t always bark at night it would be helpful to consider what changed when it started doing it.
Things that might have changed could be:
- You started to feed it differently
- It started getting less exercise
- It’s schedule changed
- It’s sleeping environment changed
If it doesn’t always do it
If it doesn’t always get noisy at night it would also help to consider what is different when it is not noisy.
Things that are different, when it doesn’t bark, could be:
- Other dogs don’t start barking
- It’s less windy
- It gets more exercise
- It eats earlier in the day
- It pees right before bed
- It’s cooler
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Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.
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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.