German Shepherd Barking Problems and Solutions

photo by dcourier

Your German Shepherd is always barking loudly whenever he sees someone passing by. Your neighbors are complaining so you want to know how to control your German Shepherd from barking a lot. Read this article to learn about what causes this behavior, find out how to solve this problem and more information about barking.

Barking Basic Information

We will start with basic information about German Shepherd barking. After that, we will learn about the causes of barking and the solutions to these problems.

When does a German Shepherd puppy start barking?

At 2 to 4 weeks old, you might notice your German shepherd puppy trying to vocalize by grunting or whining. Then he’ll start yipping at around 2 months. When he reaches 4 months old, a German Shepherd puppy usually starts barking properly. Some GSDs may start barking earlier or later than 4 months due to temperament differences. 

How loud can a German Shepherd bark? 

The German Shepherds’ bark is intense and massive so they’re often used as police dogs. Their bark is even effective in stopping a criminal dead on his tracks. The loudest bark by a GSD measured 108 decibels. It exceeded the sound considered safe to human ears which is up to 85 decibels only.

Do German Shepherds bark a lot?

Yes; it’s their instinct. German Shepherds bark a lot to express their feelings and emotions. They may bark due to excitement but they will also bark due to boredom. However, GSDs are intelligent and highly trainable creatures. You can train them to control their barking. Owners who usually ignore their GSDs needs tend to bark a lot.

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Barking Causes

Before we can solve the barking problem, let’s identify the reasons why GSDs bark. The following are the common causes:

  • Guarding instinct/ Territorial

If a stranger enters your house, your German Shepherd will bark at the stranger. He barks to alert you and to ward off a danger because he sees him as a threat.

GSDs require enough physical and mental exercise so they can release their piled-up energy. It’s not enough to give them physical exercise only. They also need mental stimulation. If you don’t challenge their minds, they’ll feel bored. 

  • Aggression

Some GSDs don’t get along well with other dogs so they bark as a way of telling the other dogs to ‘back off’! A German Shepherd’s aggressive barking is low, quiet and prolonged. GSDs who usually do this lack socialization and training.

German Shepherd Barking Training

How do I get my German Shepherd to stop barking?

If you feel irritated because your GSD’s barking is out of control, you want to make it stop. You can do it by first identifying the reason. Once you identified the reason, you can address the root of the problem. 

Here are the possible solutions:

  • Guard GSD/Territorial GSD

If your GSD barks at your visitor, assure him that the visitor is not a threat. When you open the door and let your visitor come in, show you’re friendly with the visitor. If your GSD stops barking, give him a treat. Repeat this until he learns to control his barking. 

If it’s not effective, teach him to be quiet on command. When your dog starts to bark, ignore him. When he stops, you say ‘quiet’ then give him a treat. Repeat this process several times so your GSD can learn to become calm with strangers.

  • Bored/Alone GSD
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Aside from going outdoors for a daily run or walk, have regular training such as obedience training and agility training. Don’t forget stimulating his mind by playing puzzle toys and mind games such as finding the treats around the room.

  • Aggressive GSD

Start training your GSD at a young age. Put your GSD on a leash and go to public places like parks. Expose him to the company of other dogs. If he remains calm, reward him with a treat. If he becomes aggressive, stop praising him and ignore him. Repeat this several times until your GSD creates the connection and learns to stay calm whenever he’s around with other dogs.

Here are mistakes to avoid:

  • It’s best to avoid using a bark collar for your German Shepherd. Bark collars are not guaranteed to be effective. These things will promote aggression because they’re painful and uncomfortable.
  • Don’t use a muzzle every time. A dog muzzle is used to prevent your GSD from opening his mouth. It will also prevent him from panting which is helpful for temperature regulation. You may use a muzzle only if it’s necessary.
  • Don’t yell or punish your GSD because it will only reinforce his barking. Your GSD will think you are barking just like him when you yell at him. He will be excited and he’ll bark even more.
  • Don’t resort to debarking or the surgical removal of the larynx. It is expensive and painful. Though it will decrease the sound of barking, it won’t solve the reason why your GSD is always barking.
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How do I teach a German Shepherd to bark on command?

Teaching your GSD to bark on command is a good way to ward off any people or animals looking for trouble. Start by observing the situations that trigger the bark. For example, you notice that he barks whenever you give him a toy. To start training him, put a barrier between you and your GSD then offer him the toy playfully.  He will attempt to get the toy but he can’t get it because of the barrier. He will naturally bark when that happens. As soon as he barks, give him a treat and say ‘speak’. Keep repeating this process until he associates his bark with your ‘speak’ command. Once she understands the meaning of ‘speak’, offer a toy without a barrier.  When he barks, give him a treat and say ‘speak’. GSDs are intelligent beings so your GSD will figure it out fast.

Training your GSD to stop barking or to bark on command is essential for GSDs especially those with barking issues. Follow the tips above and soon you can control your GSD’s barking. Not only you, but also your neighbors will be happy.

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