According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the German Shepherd dog is the second most popular purebred dog breed (out of nearly 200 other breeds) in the United States.
But just because the German Shepherd dog is famous doesn’t mean this is the right dog breed for every person and family. One quick question to ask before adding a German Shepherd to your family is, “how often do German Shepherds bark?” The answer is, “often.”
The GSD, as enthusiasts call them, is known to be a vocal dog breed. While there are a lot of things you can do to control the noise level, it is important to understand that German Shepherds do typically bark frequently.
Do German Shepherds Bark a Lot?
German Shepherds do bark a lot. Some dog breeds are just more vocal than other dog breeds. Often, more vocal breeds are those bred and trained to serve as guard dogs, which definitely describes the German Shepherd!
Do German Shepherds Bark at Night?
Many dog owners wonder if it is okay to leave a German Shepherd dog outside all the time, including at night.
One reason German Shepherds tend to bark is when they are left alone or left only in the company of other dogs. German Shepherds are “people dogs.” They have been bred and trained to be companions to people for centuries.
Loneliness causes barking
A German Shepherd that is separated from their human family is likely to vocalize a lot. A GSD left alone or with other dogs outside at night is going to get lonely. And when a GSD gets lonely, you can expect a lot of barking.
However, if you keep your German Shepherd dog inside with you at night, you are far less likely to experience any problem behaviors from your dog, including nighttime barking.
Why is my German Shepherd So Vocal?
There are several reasons why German Shepherd dogs are particularly vocal as a breed. The number one reason is the reason we just mentioned earlier. In essence, German Shepherds have been bred specifically to be companions to people.
Boredom causes barking
Another reason German Shepherds will bark a lot is boredom.
As AKC explains, German Shepherd dogs are working dogs. They have a long and noble history of serving alongside people in the military, in the police force, as service dogs, and as family guard dogs.
This means German Shepherd dogs are used to having a job to do that keeps them busy and active all day long (and sometimes all night long). If you have a German Shepherd dog, you will have to find activities to keep your dog busy, or you will hear a lot of barking.
A need to communicate causes barking
Because German Shepherd dogs are a true working dog breed, they have also been trained to be more vocal. Barking may just sound like random noise to many people, but it is actually your dog’s way of “talking” to you.
A German Shepherd that is barking is trying to communicate something. The message might be that your dog has detected a possible threat. Or the message could be that your dog is hungry, bored, lonely, or not feeling well.
But when you listen to your dog barking, it is important to know there is a reason for that barking. When you find out what the reason is, that is also how you will start to learn how to stop your GSD from barking.
How to Train a German Shepherd to Be Quiet?
German Shepherds are brilliant dogs. A few years ago, a canine behaviorist conducted a research study into the intelligence of 199 purebred dog breeds. The German Shepherd came in third!
This is good news if you want to train your German Shepherd to be quiet. Because your dog is so smart, you know they will learn new skills quickly.
Here are the skills your dog needs to learn before the barking will stop:
1. Teach your dog the commands that mean “stop barking”
“No,” “stop,” and “quiet” are useful commands to use to train your dog to stop barking.
2. Teach your dog how to tell the difference between a friend and a potential threat
You may not always be able to stop your German Shepherd from barking at a squirrel or at another dog. But you can socialize your GSD to be able to stay calm when you have human visitors over.
You want to start the socialization process as earlier as possible. Expose your GSD to a wide range of situations and people, so your dog learns to tolerate the presence of unfamiliar people (and, ideally, pets).
3. Use only positive reinforcement and make sure you are consistent and clear
German Shepherds are strong, powerful, territorial dogs that can be dangerous if they get too aggressive.
It is vital to use only positive training methods (like treats, pats, rewards) to train a GSD. These dogs do not respond positively to punishment or shows of dominance!
You also want to make sure the training you give your dog is very consistent and clear. There may be times when you absolutely do want your German Shepherd to bark.
For example, if a burglar comes to your house and tries to break in, you definitely want your dog to bark!
But if your neighbor comes over to say hello, you don’t want your dog to bark. Now you need to make sure your training and socialization process teaches your dog the difference.
Now you know the answer to the question of “how often do German Shepherds bark?”
This knowledge will help you give your dog the kind of consistent, positively reinforcing obedience training. They will know when it is okay to bark and when to stay quiet.
Alternatively, you can also use tool like collar or ultrasonic bark control to help curbing your dog’s excessive barking behavior.
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