Excessive dog barking is a commonly reported nuisance, both for the owner and for neighbors in particular. A barking German Shepherd can wake up the neighbors two roads away!
In this public article we are looking at your barking dog, not how to stop the barking of a neighbor's dog.
Before we discuss causes and remedies for a barking dog, note that you should not aim to stop barking altogether because barking is a dog's natural way to vocalize feelings - like you speak to your spouse or children or friend, or priest or taxman.
The latter already indicates: Dog barking is dog talk, and as such barking may have an entirely friendly nature, or an entirely hostile nature, or anything in between. Genetically, dogs are meant to bark. However, this should not and need not become a nuisance for you or others.
To control dog barking you do not need a bark collar or such nonsense. That's a total waste of money! We are not saying that none of them work, we say: You don't need such nonsense, you can do much better: Identify the CAUSE of barking and then address that CAUSE. Everything else is short-term palliation, a fake solution.
So let's briefly go through here. First, why dogs bark?
Dog Barking Causes
- The dog may want to alert you of perceived "danger"
- The dog may be scared
- The dog may be hungry or thirsty
- The dog may need to relieve immediately
- The dog may bark to demonstrate dominance or possession of an item
- The dog may be bored and seek your attention
- The dog may be excited
- The dog may be communicating with a distant dog
- The dog may suffer pain and use the barking to serve as a valve
You see, there is quite a large number of very different reasons why dogs bark, and your German Shepherd barking may have any of these causes.
Which cause for barking it is in your case, you can now identify through conscious observation. Nonetheless, more help with this you find at the end.
Dog Barking Control
Once you have identified the CAUSE of the dog barking with the help of the above, you are well on your way to control the dog barking. To help you with this as well, we will now systematize the above causes of dog barking into three main categories:
- Alarm barking
- Anxiety barking
- Barking for attention
These are dealt with in detail in our free MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL, so it makes no sense to copy that all out here.
Dog Barking Solutions
Note that Anxiety barking is always caused by lack of socialization (say, the determined postman is approaching the property).
And excessive Alarm barking is caused by lack of socialization (say, the dog feels alarmed by a passing butterfly).
While Barking for attention is caused by something else, most times:
a) neglecting the dog's needs (hopefully not)
b) not being the accepted Pack leader for the dog
So now let's associate the dog barking causes with the three main categories of dog barking:
- Alarm barking: 1 only!
- Anxiety barking: 2 only!
- Barking for attention: 3a, 4a, 5b, and 6b!
Barking causes 7, 8, and 9 above are not part of the three main categories listed here, and they are short-lived anyway, so these barking causes will not be a nuisance to anyone.
How to stop excessive barking
German Shepherd Barking and Neighbors
Don't be afraid to ask your neighbors if your dog barks or whines when you are away. Separation Anxiety is a real problem for German Shepherds too, and barking because of Separation Anxiety is a real nuisance for neighbors.
But you can find out if you openly talk to your neighbors about it. They will appreciate that you are proactive in solving a potential problem for them!
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