==> Nerves wrecked? Neighbors complaining?

Address German Shepherd Excessive Barking immediately

End GSD Excessive Barking

Is your German Shepherd barking a lot? Too much for your liking?

Are your neighbors complaining, your nerves wrecked, or people scared? Or even the police closing in? ;-)

Or are you simply struggling to stop your GSD from barking at certain people or certain things your dog sees or hears?

No matter which issue you are facing, if it's about excessive barking, then this MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL should meet your needs.

  1. Why do dogs bark?
  2. Causes of Barking and your Response
  3. Benefits of Barking
  4. How to Stop excessive Barking

1. Why do dogs bark?

First of all, from your dog's standpoint:


Think about it: We talk about everything we feel, hear or see - even to ourselves. More so: Many people talk to some imaginary entity they hope or fear exists. And: Many people talk to their plants too. ;-)

To dogs, all this would appear outright insane (had dogs a concept of sanity versus insanity). Why? Because dogs typically only talk:

  • consciously to communicate with their environment (us or other people, another dog or other animal)
  • and consciously or subconsciously to warn and fend off perceived danger - including in their sleep!

So, dogs do not talk to plants, dogs do not talk to an imaginary entity, and dogs do not talk to themselves. Very different to people, indeed.

When dogs bark, they bark to communicate, or to warn and fend off perceived danger. That's it.

This is absolutely crucial insight, because it helps you to understand and appreciate your dog's barking!

This is what a Top dog expert says:
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!

Most dogs, including German Shepherds, really only bark (talk!) when they expect that their body language alone may go unnoticed!

Dogs normally avoid barking because it drains a lot of their energy - see Energy Tools in the Dog Training Toolkit. And because they know that their body language is much more precise - if only the people and other animals understand the dog's body language as well as the dog understands theirs?

Proof? Sure. Just look and listen how much and how easily dogs bark in moderate climate - and yes, how aggressive they are on average. Now compare this to the average dog behavior in hot climate: I've now been in the Algarve for a year, and even in winter when it's not so hot, I've not yet heard one of the many stray dogs bark. No aggression at all. Not even a fight among them when one of the dogs was able to secure some meat! In the heat, both barking and aggression would drain their energy! Energy that they feel they may need to retain to find some water.

Very different to dogs in London, New York, or Toronto.

2. Causes of Barking and your Response

It is our responsibility to understand our dog's needs and reasons for barking. Also, we need to realize that barking may be a nuisance to us, our neighbors, or whoever at that moment - but with the right training (listen above), barking actually can become a positive quality of our German Shepherd Dog.

Basically, like your spouse probably sometimes tells you to "Be quiet for a moment, will ya?", and other times asks you for your opinion "What do you think of this?" (ie the spouse/partner trains you when to talk and how much to talk - and possibly even what to talk about) - you can do the same with your dog. You can train your dog when to bark, how much to bark, and what to bark about. :-)

Meaning, you can indeed train your dog to stop excessive barking, ie to stop barking for reasons you absolutely don't want to accept.

Now, since Barking is Talking:

If you want your GSD to bark less, first consider how much you talk to your dog?

Or more generally: How much attention do you give your dog?

Or more precisely: In what situation do you give attention to your dog?!

And is that attention with your body language or with your voice - possibly even resorting to commands??!

Your dog does indeed consider all of this, and (s)he will behave depending on how you behave. This will become very clear in about eight months.

Why is this the key consideration?

See above: Why do dogs bark - first point: to communicate with you like you do with the dog! Dogs adapt to us much more than we adapt to them.

This is what a Top dog expert says:
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!

Now the second point. This relates directly to a simple question - one that most dog owners find too difficult to answer correctly: Who is the accepted Pack leader? See again The Prime Secret about dogs, which you received already two months ago.

Because, if your German Shepherd is barking a lot, it is almost certainly because your dog feels as Pack leader - who aims to fend off all perceived danger from its Pack (ie you and your family) - unless in your case it's the first point, to communicate with you like you do with the dog?

It is only when you start to consistently demonstrate that you are the Pack leader that your GSD will become more submissive and accept your assessment of perceived 'danger'. Note that what a dog perceives as danger is not what we perceive as danger:

  • a neighbor coming 'too close' to our fence while cutting the bushes or mowing the lawn
  • a bird settling 'too close' to our house or us in person, while making excessive noise
  • another dog approaching 'too close' on the other side of the road
  • the postman getting 'too close' when delivering our mail
  • a passing motorbike
  • you name it!

You need not worry "If I demonstrate too much 'Pack' leadership then my dog may not defend me when there is real danger" (like assault, property invasion, and similar): If you consistently demonstrate Pack leadership in all situations like the ones listed above (and a dozen similar ones, each day) then your GSD will get used to accept your decision in all these situations.

Nonetheless, in a new and different situation, your dog will again attempt to act as Pack leader, and fend off the real danger (say, the mentioned assault, property invasion, and similar). This is because:

a) German Shepherds (and most other breeds) do notice the slightest difference in situation, and

b) all dogs attempt in every new situation to become Pack leader!

That's why I wrote above the word 'consistently'. If you consistently demonstrate Pack leadership in all situations where only your dog perceives 'danger', then you eliminate excessive barking in all such situations, while still being alerted and defended in any new situation. This is exactly what we want.

With the above we already touched on two major causes of a barking German Shepherd, namely Alarm Barking and Anxiety Barking. So, let's now explicitely address the key causes of barking:

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  28 Site Comments, ZERO SPAM Add one


    Thank you for your website-while ignoring does work w/barking, i think all dogs are individual. My shephard barks at the neighbors mowing their yard behind us & to the side. I was on the back porch w/her, neighbor was mowing, she barked, then got onto the couch w/me & crawled in my lap. I told her "it's ok" your fine. She eventually just lay down on the couch & did not continue to bark. This was actually a "first"-usually she keeps barking & barking. She is three yrs old now & i think she finally "got it" that the mowing wasn't going to do any harm to her or me.


      Great, congratulations! Don't forget what I wrote in the Feeding Routine Periodical. Very few people realize that it affects every other area.


    my GSDs get plenty of exercise but my younger one (roughly 2.5y/o) needs to 'hunt' bark every night... well every night bar nights when it rains... it gets that bad that I have to go out (only coz it's like 3am) and I have to move items around so he can check under them and behind them. It doesn't matter if I leave things or move things, I still have to move it again.

    My older one all I need to do is tap on the window when he barks insistently, but the younger moving things around and physically walking him back to his bed is the only way to do it.

    Another thing my younger one does and I've never experienced this with the multitude of GSDs I have had throughout my life. He jumps at the fence, we have an alley way beside our house and he wont do it at everyone that passes but certain people, the problem is I have confronted them for what they do (throw things over the fence at him.... hit on the fence... all sorts of stuff) it's a colorbond fence and he kicks the panels out completely when he does this. My biggest fear is, I know he wont leave the yard but I fearful that these people who stir and provoke him might fabricate an attack by him.

    Unfortunately there are people that cannot be respectful so is there anything that may work in stopping him jumping AT the fence??


      Interestingly, you write WHAT you are doing against the barking, and NONE of it is the advice you just read. Why?
      If I were you I'd immediately apply the GSD Training Essentials, and THEN this anti barking training. I would STOP doing anything else. But that's me.

      Re/ the fencing: This too will stop once you follow the Training Essentials TO THE LETTER. In addition I would then systematically desensitize him from people throwing things over the fence, such that he no longer cares. He will just walk away to a safe place. THAT's how relaxed he should be until someone is actually coming OVER the fence.


    Thank you for the great advice. I will go out of my way to make sure I provide even more exercise for my gorgeous and wonderful GSD!


    Thanks so much, Tim. This is so, so helpful. We have had complaints from our neighbours (our two female GSD's are 8 months old), who never complained about anything during all the years we lived next door to them ... it has become quite awkward. But this advice from you is AWESOME. We love your site and appreciate all the advice!


    I see Collar Freeze above but there's no link or information on what/how to do this. Can you provide one? Thank you.


      Hi Betty, that's correct, I don't often link to my books (where it's explained in detail), but the first mention of it here in this Periodical does actually explain the essentials. I quote from above:

      "Collar Freeze: Hold your dog still, at the outer underside of the collar, for as long as it takes to calm down your dog (usually a few seconds only). While doing this, don’t speak to your dog, don’t look at your dog, and don’t pat your dog at all!"

      Just hold still, nothing else, there's no trick or such. But it does the magic, because when you freeze your dog starts to think...

      PS: If you meant a video, then I can only refer to Dan's video library of all dog training situations (includes the Collar Freeze, he just calls it different).


    Thanks i think i should get the varsity ball i hope i can get it in south africa


    It seems like exercise is the key to everything! I need to get my 7 month old really tired every day. Its harder in the winter with the bad weather, but she just goes and goes. I tire out way before she does. I found that a soccer or volley ball work pretty well so far because she hasnt been able to puncture them YET. She will soon,though, I think because she has gotten her teeth through the leather outer shell, but not yet the inner bladder. The varsity ball may be my next option.
    Thank you Tim, for all you do!


      Will she not run to fetch a stick you throw? If not, the chuckit kick fetch is fun too - as long as she brings it back ;-)
      I realize I need to prepare a Periodical on play behavior training, such that the dog mouths our item (ball, frisbee, stick, whatever) with care. Because you can train that as well. It's related to bite inhibition training.

      Maureen have you done that?

      I myself have just posted first time ever on facebook, yeah! (took me hours to figure out how...!)
      EDIT: That page is now DEAD, the contractor&^%!$$ somehow ruined access :-(


        I have. She is very good with toys that we play with together. She returns the ball or other toys to me without chewing them (although they get slobbery after a while). But she chews up all the stuffed toys that she plays with by herself. I bought one that said it was tougher than tough, and she had it in pieces in 10 minutes!
        Now I am going to check out facebook!


        I don't think the subcontractor will uphold the page: I can't log in anymore, facebook has blocked my access!

        Like I always thought: Put things up on other people's websites that you cannot control, and wumm! it's gone! Will never understand why so many businesses risk their reputation on a kindergarden-managed site like facebook.

        Is any adult working there, who knows how to behave professionally? :-(


    Great article, I do have one question but not about barking, but about a high pitch howl or cry. Is crying or howling a sign of separation anxiety? We have a 14 month old female that will howl for about 15 minutes after she sees my husband or myself arrive or leave the house. Is this something we need to be overly concerned about? Should we continue to ignore her until she quiets, or should we comfort her? She does settle down after about 15-20 minutes, but I now my 7 month old male has begun to join her "in song". I have never heard our other GSD's do this. Is this something GSD's will do?? Since our senior GSD male has never done this I was curious. Thanks


      Have you followed our advice to film them when away? Does the film footage reveal behavior issues?
      If not, no need for concern, but certainly do not comfort her when she howls, as she would understand this not as comforting, but as supporting.


    Thank-you. I have not filmed her, but that is something that I can do.


    Hi Tim,
    I actually know the different barks that Max uses. One bark is to play ball or get the tail teaser out, (excited barks) another type of his bark, is when he's outside and sees or hears something (his "big boy bark", or protection) and when we are walking, he barks at people jogging, not sure why. And he will bark slightly when he has to go out while standing at the door.
    Thanks, Trish


      Oh Trish, did you receive the leash training paperback yet? And downloaded the toolkit, and started applying it? Hope you took a definited pro-Max decision now. Let me know how it goes


    Hi Tim, yes I did receive it and thank you so much!! I am definitely pro-Max, however, the "big boy" will NOT stop digging and chewing on the carpet. I'm trying my hardest not to yell at him or get mad because I know he wants any kind of attention, but is very hard not to ring his neck...lol Another thing he has started doing...when he goes to the door to go "out", he will not go unless one of us goes out with him. Has only been doing this for about a month....why?
    Thanks for all your help,


      Trish, you really need to calm down, dogs are energy recipients! I said before, it won't improve for you if you don't adapt. You are still not his accepted Pack leader, because you don't do as I say. Why not??


    I now have my 9 week old german shepherd. His name is Valor. Thank you for your advice. I have been using it on my 9 year old Corgi. You are great thank you.



    My 4 year old female GSD barks when we are home and won't let her in the house. It's usually around when it starts getting dark. She has done it for years so we let her inside when it gets dark and let her sleep inside. It's never been a huge problem, but recently she picked up fleas off the cat and has infested the house which has resulted in everyone getting flea bites. The bark is not aggressive, it's a high pitch bark that is short and only every few seconds. We have a laundry that is very big that I have tried to keep her in over night but she scratches at the door to the point where its very damaged. She is very stubborn and we have tried spray collars, muzzles and certain training methods but nothing seems to work. I need to be able to keep her outside over night without her annoying the neighbours and us. She just wants to be around us which is very lovely and she has a beautiful temperament but sometimes it’s not possible or convenient to let


    Too bad other people perceive a GSD barking as an aggressive act! This is an intelligent breed who is both protective and interactive. Thanks for this article, learned a lot!

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