Excessive German Shepherd barking is a commonly reported nuisance both for its owner and in particular for neighbours. Before we start to discuss the causes of and remedies for a barking German Shepherd, please note that you should not aim to entirely stop your dog's barking because this is its natural way to vocalize its feelings. Dogs are genetically meant to bark. However, this should not and need not become a nuisance for you or others.
The course is set at the time of German Shepherd Puppy Training, but even with an adult dog you can control German Shepherd behavior with the right form of German Shepherd Dog Training and in particular German Shepherd Obedience Training. However, in order to control German Shepherd barking you must first understand the various reasons why dogs bark.
Why dogs bark
Like other dogs, German Shepherds may bark for a number of reasons:
- They may be ill
- They may suffer pain and try to tell you or to use the barking to serve as a valve
- They may be angry or aggressive
- They may be excited
- They may be scared
- They may be hungry
- They may need to go outside immediately
- They may bark to show their dominance or possession of items
- They may be bored and seek attention
- They may try to alert you of danger or an intruder
You see, there is a huge number of very different reasons why dogs bark, and German Shepherd aggression rarely is the cause for German Shepherd barking. After all, barking is the only way for dogs to vocalize their feeling.
A bit of barking is healthy for your GSD too. It clears its throat, releases tension, and significantly reduces other, more disturbing attempts to mark its dominance in the pack and territory.
For all these reasons it is both impossible and unadvisable to attempt to completely stop german shepherd barking. At times dogs need to, and must be allowed to, express themselves.
However, it is entirely possible for you to control the times and the duration of the dog barking. If you want to take control of the barking, you will first need to learn to identify why your German Shepherd is barking at all in a given situation. In most cases you can then remove the cause of the barking, which consequently will put an end to the barking. This may require anything from spending time to socialize with your GSD, to a visit to the vet.
Identify the Cause of German Shepherd Barking
Next time when your German Shepherd is barking, first try to determine if the behaviour is warranted. Can you rule out that he or she is ill or suffers pain? Could it be that your dog urgently needs to relieve itself - again? Is someone or something intruding the dog's assumed territory? Could your GSD feel bored or lonely and seeks attention? Could the dog have noticed some form of danger or an intruder that you haven't yet noticed or don't consider as such? Is there anything that might irritate or scare your dog?
You can almost bet that it is one such reason. Then you do not really have a reason to require your dog to be quiet because it is responding according to its genetic predisposition and biological needs. After all, a dog is a dog, not a human (and humans wouldn't always shut up either, would they?). When you have a close bonding with your dog it is natural that you may sometimes forget this fact. Most dog owners do.
Clues for Causes of German Shepherd Barking
To rule out any of the earlier mentioned reasons for facing a barking German Shepherd and to identify the specific cause in the present situation, you can seek out clues. For example, ask yourself:
- When does your German Shepherd bark?
- What is your German Shepherd barking at?
- Where is your German Shepherd when it is barking?
- Has there been a specific trigger that made your dog start to bark?
- What did ultimately stop the dog barking?
- Are there any re-occurences of any of these factors?
Think of it this way: Just as much as you may sometimes not understand why your dog is barking and not accept that it is barking, your dog too will in most cases not understand why you want to stop the barking at all.
In fact, in many situations it may materially irritate your German Shepherd that you are persistently trying to make it stop barking, for it feels to have a good reason to do so, maybe even instinctively in your own best interest. In that case, the more you insist that the dog stops barking, the more the dog will suffer a conflict if the barking trigger remains.
Stop German Shepherd Barking
Now let's look at basic means how to stop german shepherd barking. First of all, if you for example realize that your GSD is barking to protect its territory or because it is alarmed by something, you certainly shouldn't start yelling at your dog, kicking it or hitting it to make it stop barking. Any form of negative reinforcement is likely to ultimately result in German Shepherd Biting or German Shepherd Aggression of another form - and will make a stronger bonding with your dog very unlikely.
Instead, create an environment where your dog feels safe and at ease, and where there is no territorial conflict. Look at the Causes of German Shepherd Barking above. Use the Clues for Causes of German Shepherd Barking in order to Identify the Cause of German Shepherd Barking. Now remove the cause, not the symptom. Then you will be able to control at least 90% of your dog's barking.
From time to time we systematically address the causes of and remedies for a barking German Shepherd in the MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL, so make sure you subscribe to it here on the site for free.
German Shepherd Barking and Obedience Training
An effective way to control German Shepherd Barking is to make it part of German Shepherd Obedience Training, and to consistently use adequate Dog Commands so that your best friend knows when you want it to be quiet and when you want it to bark.
With the right training you will control the barking on command, and your GSD will still alert you autonomously if for example there is an intruder or other danger looming.
German Shepherd Barking and Neighbours
Don't be afraid to ask your neighbours if your dog barks or whines when you are away. Dog separation anxiety barking is a nuisance for neighbours, and for logical reasons a dog owner will know least about the level of separation anxiety a dog suffers. But you can find out if you openly talk to your neighbours about it.
For a dog that is instinctively as protective and loyal as the German Shepherd, separation anxiety can be a serious issue that remains unnoticed if not dealt with openly. You may actually even contribute to the problem if you established the (quite common) habit to give your GSD a treat when you come home, or if you give it a lot of attention immediately when you come home.
The more excited your dog is upon your return, the less attention you should give it at that moment, or your dog will associate your return with getting attention which would contribute to separation anxiety when you are away.
If your German Shepherd is overly excited when you come home, change the routine and ignore your dog for about 10 minutes after your return so that it stops to associate your return with attention. Overall, this will keep your dog happier and healthier, stop the German Shepherd barking in your absence, and keep your neighbours calm too.