Do German Shepherds Bark A Lot? (& How To Stop It)

German shepherds are loyal companions and one kind breed of dogs that rarely let their owners down. These intelligent dogs are easy to train which is one of the many reasons dog lovers are so fond of them. While you may be thinking about getting one of these dogs, there are some questions you should ask first. Do german shepherds bark a lot?

Although this may not be one of the first things on your mind when it comes to choosing a dog, it is an important issue to consider. If you have a home in a rural area then a barking dog likely won’t be an issue. However, if you’re currently living in an apartment or townhouse then a loud dog could cause problems for you.

Do German Shepherds Bark A Lot? 

German shepherds may be loveable, but they are one of the most vocal dog breeds. This is especially true if the dog hasn’t experienced proper socialization. Even the best trained German shepherds are known to bark more than other dogs.

Why Do German Shepherds Bark?

When we say German shepherds are intelligent, we mean it! These dogs were bred specifically for herding and protection, but since they are no longer needed to protect livestock they are now mostly trained as guard dogs. Even as house pets, these dogs can be incredibly protective over their family.

They have a loud bark, which is effective at scaring predators (or criminals) away. Yes, these dogs are loveable but they have a ferocious bark that can frighten even the toughest criminal. They bark because it’s in their nature to protect you.

How To Stop Your German Shepherd Barking

It’s nice to have a dog that has your family’s safety in mind, but excessive barking can be too much for any family to deal with. If your German shepherd is more vocal than you imagined, there are a few things you can do to curb that behavior. Try any of the following things to keep your dog’s barking to a minimum:

Bark on Command

A lot of times dog owners will teach their dogs to bark on command as one of their tricks. Teaching them a cue to bark on command can also be effective when it comes to getting them to bark less. This is because you can also teach them a “quiet” cue. Make sure you reward the dog for barking on command so they don’t continue to bark. 

Use Hand Signals

German shepherds can be trained to understand hand signals. If you want to use hand signals as a way to train them to bark less, then start by getting them excited so they bark. Once they begin barking, hold your hand up as though you were about to make a shadow puppet of a quacking duck.

Try to get the dog to focus on the movement of your hand. When they begin to bark, you can open and close your hand. This may take a lot of practice, but they should eventually learn to speak on command when you open your hand in this position. When you want them to bark, make sure you say the word “speak” along with the hand movement.

Once they learn the “speak” command, make sure you reward them. However, only reward them for speaking with one bark at a time so you don’t encourage excessive barking. Now that they understand “speak”, you can teach them the “quiet” command.

This is essentially the same steps as before. Get the dog excited so they begin to bark, but once they get barking hold your open hand in front of them and say “quiet” firmly as you close your hand. You’ll have to be very quick to make this trick effective, so reward them with a treat the very second they stop barking. 

Turn the Situation Around

There are going to be certain situations that will trigger your German shepherd to bark, but luckily you can turn their perspective around. Many dogs hate the mailman, so let’s use him as an example. When the mailman comes around it’s perfectly normal for your dog to start barking because they’re a threat.

This is when you can turn something they view as “bad” into a good situation. Think of a treat they enjoy, but one that is slightly better than their usual treats. Maybe a piece of cheese instead of a milk-bone. Have this treat nearby around the time frame the mailman normally shows up.

Allow your dog to have the mail truck in view, but don’t allow them to get too close. Pay attention to their body language as well because it will tell you when you’ll need to pull out that treat. As soon as they begin to bark, call them over and distract them with the treat.

This is a great method of curbing a German shepherd’s excessive barking because they will begin to associate the mailman with their treat and no longer view them as a threat. 

Eliminate Barking Temptation

It’s in their nature to bark, so once a German shepherd starts to bark they don’t want to stop. However, there are things you can do to help cut down on their barking. Start with your own home, since there’s probably a lot going on outside that the dog wants to bark at. Keep those windows covered up with either curtains or blinds so they won’t see anyone going by.

Curtains won’t be enough though since German shepherds have impeccable hearing. Leave the radio or TV on quietly for them, as it will help to drown out the noises outdoors. If anyone does approach the door, these distractions will help limit their barking.

Spray Bottle

Sometimes when training a pet, nothing is as effective as squirting some water at them. It’s harmless but at the same time, it’s so bloody annoying that it works. Then the German shepherd starts barking then give them a squirt while sternly saying “no”. It won’t take long until they associate excessive barking with something negative.

It’s Natural, But Know When To Stop

When you bring home a German shepherd for the first time, you will soon realize they are much more vocal than any other breed you may have owned. Of course, it’s in their nature to bark a lot but that doesn’t mean you should give in. Not only do they bark to warn you of people arriving, but they also bark when they want attention.

As hard as it may be for you to ignore your furry friend, it’s the best thing you can do to curb them from barking for attention. If you give in then they will think it’s okay to bark whenever they want. 

Remember, these dogs have a lot of energy and could be barking because they need to blow off steam. If you think that this is the case then you should give in and take them for a run or throw the ball around. This will help them release some energy, which will keep them happy and they will be less likely to bark.  

Want To Train Your German Shepherd With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your German Shepherd properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your German Shepherd completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT. 

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior, or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here, to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)

What Should You Avoid Doing To Stop Your German Shepherd Barking?

If you are consistent with your training practices, then you should be able to curb your German shepherd’s barking habit. However, there are some things you should avoid doing if you want to stop them from barking too much.

Negative Reinforcement

Never use negative reinforcement when training your dog. Avoid punishments because your German shepherd doesn’t view barking as a negative thing, so they will likely react to punishment with aggression. When it comes to training a German shepherd, it’s easier to work on barking issues than aggressive behavior. 

Bark Collars

Don’t use bark collars as a method to prevent German shepherds from barking too much. These collars will frighten them and cause them to become aggressive. Bark collars don’t work effectively, and they are also very uncomfortable (and sometimes even painful) for the dog to wear.

Muzzles

Only use a muzzle when it’s absolutely necessary, and never use them as a method to prevent barking. A muzzle prevents the dog from opening its mouth, which means it won’t be able to pant (for temperature regulation). 

When Do German Shepherd Puppies Start Barking?

A German shepherd puppy will start attempting to make some noises around 2 to 4 weeks. It will mostly sound like whining or grunting noises. Once they reach 2 months it’s likely that they’ll start making tipping sounds. It’s not until they reach 4 months old that they begin to bark. However, some dogs may bark earlier or later than 4 months depending on their temperament. 

What Are The Signs Of A German Shepherd Barking Aggressively?

Your German shepherd is likely to show different types of barks. There’s a big difference between their bark to say “Hello” when you get home vs their bark when an unknown stranger aggressively knocks on the door. These are some signs to watch for to signal that a German shepherd is barking aggressively:

Mean Sounds

If your German shepherd is making mean sounds, like growling or snarling, then they are becoming aggressive. The thing about these sounds is that they are also very similar to the noises they make when they’re playing, so it’s best to read the situation before acting. An aggressive growl is deeper and more prolonged than a playful growl.

Snapping

A sign that your German shepherd is barking aggressively is when it looks as though they are biting at the air. If they begin lunging or snapping as though they may bite, then you should take this sign very seriously. They also do this when they are playing aggressively.

Stiff as a Boar

When a German shepherd’s posture is dead still as they bark, this sign can guarantee you that they are in an aggressive mood. They may also show their teeth and make some of those mean noises. Even though they’re dead still, it will look as though they could lunge at you if you move the wrong way. 

Time Provoked

A lot of times aggressive behavior while barking only occurs during certain situations. You may notice they only act this way around a certain toy or if certain people come around. Once you find out the root of what causes the aggression, it’s easier to determine a solution.

FAQ

Do German Shepherds Bark At Night?

Some German shepherds do bark at night. There are many reasons why they may have picked up this habit. One thing you may have done to cause this was rewarded them for the behavior. If they have ever barked at night for attention and you gave them the attention they were seeking, they are likely to continue. These are some other reasons they may bark at night:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Fear
  • Loud noises
  • Separation anxiety
  • Poor diet
  • Need to pee
  • Poor sleeping environment

Do German Shepherds Bark At Other Dogs?

Most German shepherds can get along with other dogs, but they will bark at them to protect their territory. This is a natural habit of theirs, especially around dogs that are new to them. They are more likely to bark a lot if they are kept on a leash because they feel more threatened. 

Another reason they bark at other dogs is that they are excited and vocalizing that they want to play. However, in some cases, they may bark because they are not well trained or socialized. 

Do German Shepherds Bark At Strangers?

When a German shepherd is in a familiar zone, such as their front yard or home, they are going to bark when they see a stranger. This is because it’s in their nature to alert their owners of a potential threat. They will let out a ferocious bark to scare the stranger away, just in case they had bad intentions.

At What Age Do Dogs Start Barking At Strangers?

A German shepherd puppy should start barking at strangers once they find their voice. Barking isn’t a taught trait, and it’s their instinct to bark when they see someone unfamiliar. This is how they alert you of possible threats. You may notice your German shepherd barking at knocks on the doors around 8 weeks old. 

How Loud is a German Shepherd’s Bark?

German shepherds are one of the loudest breeds of dogs. When their barks are measured, they range anywhere from 86 to 106 decibels. If you’re not sure what that means, it’s basically louder than a moving truck. This bark is very effective for scaring off anyone who could be a threat. 

Can You Leave a German Shepherd Home All Day?

If you don’t want your German shepherd to bark a lot then it’s a good idea not to leave them alone for more than 4 hours at a time. When they are alone for long periods of time they become distressed and suffer from separation anxiety issues. This could lead them to bark more frequently.

It may be a good idea to hire a dog walker or ask a friend to check in with your dog if you have to work long hours. In order to keep your dog from barking too much you will need to be consistent with training, and having someone check in on them will prevent them from feeling distressed.

How Often Do German Shepherds Bark?

Every German shepherd is different from one another and there are many factors that determine how often they will bark. The amount of training they have received is the biggest factor. German shepherds are highly intelligent and can even bark on command if trained properly. 

However, other factors such as how much exercise they get and if they’ve been socialized play a part in how often German shepherds bark.

What Else Can Make A German Shepherd Bark A Lot?

Since German shepherds are intelligent they require plenty of physical and mental activity to keep them stimulated. If they don’t get at least 2 hours of activity each day then they are likely to start barking a lot. German shepherds are also very friendly but they need to be socialized so they don’t bark fiercely at new people. Don’t allow these dogs to become isolated.

Not all barking is perceived as a bad thing. German shepherds are more vocal than other breeds so they not only bark when they’re threatened but also when they’re happy. If someone they like just showed up then it’s likely they’ll bark a lot to show how excited they are. It’s their way of saying hello.

Why Is My German Shepherd Not Barking?

A quiet German shepherd is rare, but it’s not something to be concerned about. Just like humans, some dogs have a more timid personality and may seem a bit shyer. If they came from another home they could have had a previous training experience that was negative and prevented them from barking.

In odd cases, the lack of barking could be traced to an illness. However, it’s also common for an aging German shepherd to bark less because their hearing is starting to weaken.

How Do You Get a German Shepherd to Trust You?

If your German shepherd is barking too much it could be because they don’t trust you (or someone else in the house) yet. Give the dog some time and space to become familiar and comfortable with their surroundings and everyone in it. Try to avoid looking them directly in the eyes before they are comfortable. 

Make sure you stick to a routine so it becomes easier for them to familiarize themselves with you. Pay attention to their body language so you can predict their behavior. To make them a little more comfortable don’t be why when it comes to throwing out rewards for good behavior. 

What is the Best Age to Start Training a German Shepherd?

Good training is key to preventing a German shepherd from barking too much. Since these dogs are incredibly smart you can start their training the day you bring them home. By the time these dogs reach 6 months in age, they are usually able to understand basic commands. The earlier you begin the training process, the easier it will be for both you and the dog. 

 Is it Hard to Train a German Shepherd to Stop Barking?

Since German shepherd dogs are so smart it usually isn’t difficult to train them not to bark so much. Part of their training includes socialization, so if the dog doesn’t get properly socialized then you may have a more difficult time getting them to stop. The good news is German shepherds are one of the easiest breeds of dogs to train.

In most cases, teaching the dog basic hand signals to command them to stop barking at an early age will be effective. In most cases German shepherds are friendly, they just want to make sure their territory and owners are well protected. 

Final Thoughts: Do German Shepherds Bark A Lot?

German shepherd dogs bark a lot more than any other type of dogs. They may be vocal, but they only have good intentions. It’s their instinct to keep the ones they care for protected, so they will bark when they feel like there is a threat approaching. When a stranger knocks on the door, your trusted German shepherd will likely give them a good scare before you can say “Hello”.

Even though these dogs may bark a lot, if you train them well enough it’s easy to get them to stop. German shepherds are very good at listening to their owner’s commands, and rarely let them down. These obedient dogs make excellent students, so if you’re a patient teacher they’re likely to impress you.

Curbing the behavior of a barking German shepherd isn’t difficult, but you must remember to only use positive reinforcement. If you react negatively then your dog could become aggressive, which is more difficult to deal with.