Sam Shephard is an experienced German Shepherd owner and has learned
throughout the years how to optimize the breed’s health and wellness.

Does your dog bark a lot or at inappropriate times? Let's look at the causes
of barking.

Does your dog bark a lot or at inappropriate times? Let’s look at the causes
of barking.

German Shepherds, especially German Shepherds that are bored or territorial,
can get into a habit of barking. This can make them a nuisance, not just to
their owners, but to the people in their neighborhood.

No matter how much you love your dog and how friendly and responsible he is
when supervised, there may be circumstances in which he barks and barks and
barks and annoys both you and the people that live close to you. Barking can
be a serious problem, but there are a few ways that it can be corrected.

Why Do German Shepherds Bark?

German Shepherds are naturally protective. They love having a job, and many
GSDs take on the job of house defenders, even if they are not trained to do
so. This is one of the main reasons you may hear a German Shepherd barking,
and while you may not love that your GSD barks at every person who comes to
your door, this type of barking is usually not very disruptive. Why else might
a German Shepherd bark? Dogs will bark if they are:

  • Scared
  • Excited
  • Hungry
  • Needing to go to the bathroom
  • Bored and want your attention
  • Trying to alert you that there is danger in the area
  • In pain
  • Or expressing dominance

A well-trained dog will only bark if he senses danger in the area, as he knows
that this is a good time to bark.

Unlike humans, who have many different ways to express themselves, German
Shepherds have only one way: they can only bark. Do not automatically assume
that if your dog is barking he is misbehaving. He is trying to tell you
something. You need to teach him when it is alright to use barking to express
his feelings and when it is not.

How to Teach a German Shepherd Not to Bark

German Shepherds are extremely fast learners, and they are always excited to
please their owners. Teaching a GSD to bark, especially if you have already
taught your dog other commands and skills, will be very easy. Here are the
steps you should take:

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Identify Why Your Dog Is Barking

Knowing what is causing him to bark is an extremely important part of stopping
this behavior. Is he barking because he is bored? Having separation anxiety?
Is he threatened by dogs living in neighboring yards? Is he trying to alert
you to individuals that he thinks are intruders (but are probably just people
walking past your house)?

Do Not Yell at Your Dog to Stop Barking

Dog’s don’t speak your language. If he starts barking and you start yelling at
him to stop, he isn’t hearing “Hey dog, stop barking!” He’s hearing, “I’m
tense, too! Something is causing us both tension!” Yelling and screaming at
your dog will not help him stop his barking behavior.

Understand What Triggers Separation Anxiety

If your dog only barks when you are not home, this is likely due to separation
anxiety. Finding someone to leave your dog with, making sure he has the
exercise he wants and needs, and just in general, making sure he is completely
happy, is a great way to prevent separation anxiety.

Establish Yourself as the Pack Leader

You have probably already done this, but if your dog barks when he is hungry,
when he wants something, or as a way to exhibit dominance, it is unlikely that
he really views you as the alpha. When you establish yourself as the alpha,
this type of barking behavior will stop.

Invest in Obedience Training

If your dog does not stop barking when you tell him to (again, not when you
yell at him, but when you give him the command you chose to indicate it is
time to be quiet), it is time for more obedience training.

Dogs are going to bark; it’s what they do. They should be obedient enough,
however, to back off when given the command. If he doesn’t do that, he needs
to be taught a command that gets him to do that.

Acclimate Your Dog to the Stressor

If your dog barks at the neighbor dogs, at the postman, at children who walk
to school in front of your home, it is likely that he thinks these things are
threats. You can convince him that they are not threats by introducing him to
those people and dogs on neutral ground, like in the street out in front of
your home.

How you teach your German Shepherd to stop barking will depend entirely on
what he is barking out. In general, obedience training that instills him with
a command that, when said, immediately ceases his barking, is the best option.

© 2018 Sam Shepards