German Shepherds can be very loud dogs and you’ll often want to get yours to be quieter. This post will help you to figure out why your German Shepherd barks a lot and what to do about it.

So, why does your German Shepherd bark so much? The main causes are excitement, protection of territory and owners, fear, being young, pain and boredom. It’s important to consider the time, place and situation where your German Shepherd is barking when trying to figure out the root cause.

And how to reduce your German Shepherd’s barking? The most common approaches are to prevent the barking scenarios from being able to occur, giving it lots of exercise, using treats to get it to pay attention to you instead of barking and socializing it and training it from an early age.

There are actually a lot of factors to consider when you’re trying to reduce your German Shepherd’s barking. The best approach for you to take will depend on what is causing your German Shepherd to bark.

Possible Reasons For Your German Shepherd’s Barking

When trying to figure out why your German Shepherd is barking it’s important to consider the location that it is barking, the time that it is barking and if other people or animals are present when it’s barking.

Excitement

A common cause for German Shepherds to bark is excitement. When they’re anticipating something is about to happen that they enjoy they’ll often bark to make sure it happens. Scenarios, when this might happen, is when it hears you approaching the door, if you have a dog walker who just pulled up outside or if you’re about to walk it yourself.

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

Nerves or fear

The cause of the barking could be due to it being nervous or fearful about something. It could be that something has happened in it’s past that it doesn’t want to happen again so it’s barking to make it stop. It could also be that it’s nervous about a place that it is going such as the vet and it doesn’t want to go.

Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid?

It’s still young

It’s common for German Shepherd puppies to bark more. If your German Shepherd is still young then it should reduce its barking as it gets older.

With that being said, it’s important that you start to train it while it is still young so that it will be better behaved as an adult and so that you’ll be able to control when it barks.

Boredom/frustration

German Shepherds were bred to be very active dogs that would work with their owners doing intensive tasks for hours on a daily basis. This means that they need to get a lot of exercise. If they don’t get a lot of exercise then it’s going to cause them to get bored.

When they’re bored they can become destructive and it can cause them to bark a lot more since they want more attention and things to stimulate them.

If your German Shepherd isn’t currently getting a lot of exercise then this could be the cause of its barking. To correct it you should make sure to give it exercise on a daily basis.

Territorial barking

Another common cause of barking is to protect its territory or its owners. This type of barking will occur when strangers are knocking on the door or when you’re with other dogs. To correct this type of barking you’ll need to get it to look to you for direction before it starts barking. You can do this using the training methods in the next section below.

Hunger

Another cause of your German Shepherd’s barking could be that it is hungry. This type of barking will occur around the time that it is meant to be getting food such as in the morning. To correct this you can try to get it to sit and to only eat when you tell it to.

Pain

It could be that your German Shepherd is injured. If this is the case then it could be barking to let you know that it is in pain or it could just be out of frustration.

You’ll likely find other kinds of symptoms to go with this such as limping and the barking will be sudden and in situations that it wouldn’t normally bark. If you think that this might be the cause then you should take it to the vet.

How To Reduce Your German Shepherd’s Barking

There are a number of things that you can do to reduce how much your German Shepherd barks and the best option will depend on why it is barking.

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 lots of exercise

The first step to take will usually be to make sure that your German Shepherd is getting lots of exercise.

If it’s not currently getting lots of exercise then allowing it to do so will help to make it feel better and to reduce its attention seeking behavior. This should also have the effect of reducing its barking.

You might find that the exercise that you are giving it isn’t enough so you’ll have to find ways to make the exercise that it does get more efficient. 

If you find that walking it isn’t normally enough to wear it out then you should try to make it more efficient. You can do this by walking faster, walking further, walking in a hilly area or you could make it wear a doggy weight vest that weighs no more than 10% of its body weight. 

You could also walk it with other dogs since it will get it to use up more energy by playing with the other dogs.

You could also teach it to play fetch. It’s an effective way to give it a lot of exercise since it will get your German Shepherd to do a lot of sprinting without much rest in between. It can be difficult to teach dogs how to play fetch but I have talked about how you can teach it to yours in the past here.

Another option would be to teach it to swim. This is a good way to wear it out a lot since it will use up a lot of energy moving its legs around to stay afloat. It’s also good for the summer months since it helps to keep it cool.

If you don’t have the time to exercise it yourself you could consider hiring a dog walker to do it for you. There are apps that you can download now that let you book a local dog walker in your area through the app. 

Get its attention onto you

The next option you have is to train it to look to you for guidance before it starts barking. You can either do it before it starts barking or after it starts barking but it will work better by doing so before it starts barking.

To do this you’ll need to get some treats that it really likes then when you think that your German Shepherd is about to bark you need to get its attention and to give it a treat. You might think that this is rewarding it for being about to bark but actually you’re getting it to look to you before it starts to bark.

If you do it after it starts barking then you’ll want to get its attention on to you and then to give it a treat. You’ll want to keep repeating this until it stops barking.

You can watch the video below to see how

Reward compliance

When training your German Shepherd to not bark it’s important to reward it when it complies with what you want. This means that when you’re in a situation where it would normally bark but due to the training above it didn’t you should reinforce that behavior by rewarding it.

Socialize it from an early age

It’s important to make sure to socialize your German Shepherd from an early age. This will help to reduce its territorial behavior and to reduce it’s jealousy when you’re with other dogs helping to reduce how much it barks as an adult.

Ignore attention seeking barking

If your German Shepherd is barking for attention then the best method is to completely ignore it while it is barking and then to reward it with your attention when it has been silent for a little while. Doing this will reinforce that barking will not get it what it wants but being quiet will.

Be aware that it’s important to completely ignore it when it’s barking for attention and not to punish it because even negative attention would be giving it what it wants.

Easiest to prevent barking before it occurs

It’s also important to remember, when you’re training it not to bark, that preventing it from barking by paying attention to you is more effective than getting it to give you attention after it stops barking.

You can guess when it is about to bark based on its body language and if the thing that causes it to bark such as someone knocking at the door is about to happen.

Use a certified trainer

If you’re unable to get your German Shepherd to stop barking then using a certified trainer would be a good option for you. They will have more experience dealing with the matter and they will be able to better diagnose the best way to train your German Shepherd.

Rule out pain

If you think that your German Shepherd might be barking due to pain then the best thing to do would be to take it to the vet.

If it’s when you’re not home

If your German Shepherd is barking when you’re not home then getting it to stop will be a lot more difficult.

However, there are some things that you can still do including giving it more attention when you’re around, giving it lots of exercise, leaving them when they’re less likely to bark and leaving them at a doggy daycare.

Things to consider

There are some things that you should consider when you’re trying to get your German Shepherd to stop barking that I’ll mention below.

Be patient

Getting your German Shepherd to stop barking is something that will take some time to do so it’s important not to allow yourself to get frustrated and to be patient.

Barking is natural

Barking, growling and howling are all ways that German Shepherds communicate. To stop a German Shepherd from barking completely would be very difficult to do and it wouldn’t really be a good thing since it will make it harder for your German Shepherd to communicate with you when it wants to.

Don’t punish physically

Punishing your German Shepherd physically with shock collars or by hitting it is not something that will work. You’ll just be making your German Shepherd trust you less and be less responsive to you and you could cause other much worse problems than barking.

Related Questions

Why does my German Shepherd howl so much? There are a number of reasons for German Shepherds howling but they include it being in their nature, communication, sickness or warning. You can read more about German Shepherd howling and how to stop it here.

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