“Do german shepherds howl?” It’s a question that a lot of people ask. If you have your german shepherd and they haven’t howled yet, don’t worry too much. Keep reading to find out whether german shepherds howl as well as more useful information!
Do German Shepherds Howl?
While all german shepherds can howl, not all of them do. It really depends on the dog. However, if you’re german shepherd can howl fortunately you can also teach them how to stop. And likewise, if your German shepherd doesn’t howl yet, you can still teach them!
So keep reading to find out how.
Why Do German Shepherds Howl?
There are lots of different reasons your german shepherd may be howling, and to know how to stop it effectively, you should quickly learn all the different reasons.
By learning different reasons you’re going to know the best way to stop it. And if you want a german shepherd to howl, they can also give you some insight on how to make it happen.
Here are some of the main reasons your german shepherd may be howling.
Howling Is Built In
All dogs have descended from wolves, and one of the trademark characteristics of wolves is obviously their howl. One common reason for howling is that it’s already built into your german shepherd.
They just instinctively choose to do it. So remember, it’s not bad behavior, they’re just doing what comes naturally to them.
Unlike some dogs, german shepherds are extremely active. If they’re not getting enough exercise or their mind isn’t challenged enough they may start howling.
As well as howling, you may also notice other signs of boredom such as chewing things and becoming naughtier in general.
German shepherds are naturally loyal dogs. When they’re away from their pack (Family) they may begin to suffer from separation anxiety.
As well as howling you may also hear barking, crying, notice chewing, turning in circles and remaining restless.
If your german shepherd is suffering from separation anxiety you should seek the help of a professional to help them stay happy when you’re not around.
When They Hear You Coming
Some dogs instinctively howl when they know you’re approaching if you’ve been away from home. They begin to howl to let you know this is where your home is. Because they don’t want you to get lost.
This is also what wolves do to help guide their pack mates back to their territory when they’ve been hunting and scouting for food etc.
A Warning To Intruders
Just like they may bark when they see intruders near their territory german shepherds may also howl.
When they howl to get rid of intruders they’re essentially saying “this is our territory and you’re not welcome.”
This kind of howling can be beneficial to you as it keeps your house safer. However, it does need to be kept in check to make sure they don’t bark at anyone that comes close to your house.
Because They Want Your Attention
What better way to get your attention than by howling at you! In fact, if you respond to their howling then they’re going to learn to do it more.
They’ll normally pick this up when they’re puppies. After all, there’s nothing cuter than when a puppy howls, and it can be hard not to give them the attention that they want.
They’re In Pain
This type of howling should never be ignored. When your german shepherd is hurt, they may howl in pain for your assistance and help.
If you think that this is what’s happening then you should check them out and take them to the vets.
Of course, sometimes the pain can be worse than the injury itself so don’t worry too much straight away.
As well as howling, oftentimes whining can also be a symptom of pain.
When They’re Happy
Perhaps your german shepherd is howling because they’re happy. This most often occurs when they’ve found something like a toy or food.
It can also happen when they’ve found something in a “hunt”. For example, perhaps they’ve found a spider or stick in the garden that wasn’t there before.
In a lot of cases, german shepherds could howl to alert everyone to their discovery. Once again, this goes back to the wolf inside them.
Why Is Your German Shepherd Howling At Sirens?
We’ve all seen the YouTube videos of german shepherds howling at sirens, but has yours started doing it as well?
The reason they do this is that to them the siren sounds extremely similar to a dog howling. So they’re letting them know where they are in return.
It may not sound like it to you, but a german shepherds sense of hearing is a lot better than yours, so they’re going to pick up frequencies that you can’t hear.
Why Is Your German Shepherd Howling At Night
The number one reason that your german shepherd is howling at night is to get your attention. However, the reason they want your attention could vary.
They may be telling you that they need to be let out, or that there’s an intruder nearby, or in a lot of cases, that they’re bored.
If your German shepherd is howling at night, then the solutions you’re going to find out about can work extremely well in stopping it from happening!
How Do You Stop Your German Shepherd Howling?
There are lots of different ways that you can stop your german shepherd from howling. And you should tailor your choice based on the reasons the howling is occurring.
Fortunately, howling isn’t a dangerous behavior or an indicator of an aggressive german shepherd most of the time. So you can take your time with your training to really make sure you get it right.
Here are some of the best ways to stop your german shepherd from howling.
If your german shepherd is howling for attention, one of the best methods to stop them is to ignore them completely.
You may think that scolding them or telling them to stop will work, and it will. In the short term. However, you’re still teaching them that every time they howl they’re going to get attention from you.
To some dogs, even negative attention is better than no attention.
So, next time they howl, don’t give them any attention whatsoever. Don’t look at them, don’t make eye contact with them no attention at all.
If they continue to howl no matter how much you ignore them. Get up tell them to leave the room as coldly and robotically as you can. Close the door behind them and wait for them to stop howling.
Once they’ve stopped howling and they’ve been quiet for a few minutes allow them back in the room.
Make sure that once they’ve settled down and stopped howling that you give them lots of attention and treats. This will help reinforce in their head that howling doesn’t get attention but sitting quietly does.
Make Sure You’re Spending Time With Them
If your german shepherd is howling for attention then ask yourself if they’re spending most of their time on their own.
German shepherds are extremely loyal and loving dogs that need to spend lots of time around their family.
When they’re howling because they’re lonely it’s a sign that they want to spend more time with you, which is perfectly natural.
So make sure you take a good chunk of your day out to spend time with them, show them lots of love and affection, and make sure they know they’re not alone.
Counterconditioning works best when your german shepherd is howling because they’re scared.
The trick is to change the way they feel about what they’re howling at. For example, if your german shepherd howls every time a person walks past the house, then the moment they spot the person you should give them a treat. Before they start howling.
However, once they howl stop giving them treats. Eventually, they’ll begin to associate the new person with a reward and should stop howling.
If you plan on counterconditioning your dog, it’s normally best to seek professional help or use a reputable training program.
Teaching Them Quiet
If your german shepherd knows how to howl already then this method can often be effective. (If they don’t then keep reading to find out.)
Get your german shepherd to howl for you on command. Once they have, say ‘quiet’ and when they stop howling for a couple of seconds give them a treat.
Keep doing this, but increase the amount of time before giving them a treat. Once you’ve got to about 20 seconds, you should be able to stop giving them treats and they’ll be quiet every time you ask.
Use A Training Course
The best way you can stop all of your german shepherd’s undesirable behavior is with some solid training. If you haven’t taken them to puppy school yet, then now’s the prime time to go through a training course.
Training courses are great because you can spend as much time as you want using them without worrying about falling behind.
I personally love Brain Training For Dogs. It’s based on positive reinforcement rather than punishment so you’ll never have to worry about being mean to your dog!
(Read an in-depth review of Brain Training For Dogs.)
How Do You Teach Your German Shepherd To Howl?
Perhaps instead of trying to stop your german shepherd from howling, you want to teach them how! Fortunately, there are a couple of ways you can do it.
And in fact, it can actually be beneficial as a way of getting them to stop. After all, howling on command will become a trick you can control.
There are two main ways that you’re going to get your german shepherd to start howling.
Imitation & Repetition
If your german shepherd doesn’t howl at all, the first step is to coax them into it. You can do this by finding YouTube videos of dogs howling. If dogs howling doesn’t work then try using sirens or other sounds that are similar to howling.
It may take you several attempts to get your german shepherd to howl.
The moment your german shepherd howls, give them a treat. Then play the sound again. With every consecutive howl give them a treat again. And remember, each time they howl make sure you say ‘howl’ so he associates the word with the trick.
Once you’ve got them howling every time he hears the noise, the next step is to give them less treats. Now the next step is to give him a treat with every fifth howl.
Now that they’re well and truly used to howling it’s time to take the noise away. Simply say howl and they should howl. When they do give them a treat and try again.
Once they’re used to getting a treat every time, begin giving them a treat when they howl every 5 times, then every 10 times before not giving them treats at all.
After this, your german shepherd will howl on command.
Catching Them Mid Howl
If your german shepherd already howls then this is going to be the method for you.
Keep treats on you at all times, and wait for your german shepherd to howl. Once they howl, go over to them and say howl and give them one of your treats. At first, they may not get it.
However, keep doing this every time they howl, while making sure you give them a treat each time.
Once you’ve done this for 3-4 weeks. Try saying ‘howl’ to them. If they howl after the command give them the treat. If not, keep giving them treats every time they do howl and try again later on.
However, if they do howl the first time, then try to get them to howl again, and give them a treat.
Keep doing this and giving them a treat until they’re successfully howling. Then only give them a treat every 5 times they howl, then every 10 times. Until you stop giving them treats altogether!
So now you know that german shepherds do howl, and it’s actually fairly common in the breed. Thankfully though, it’s also possible to train your german shepherd not to howl!
Here are the main things to remember:
- German shepherds may howl because they’re bored, they’ve got separation anxiety, they hear you, they’re warning intruders, they want your attention, they’re in pain, they’re happy and because it’s built-in.
- They may also howl at sirens because they think a dog is howling and howl at night to get your attention too.
- You can stop you german shepherd howling by ignoring them, spending time with them, counterconditioning them, teaching them ‘quiet’. and using effective training courses such as Brain Training For Dogs.
- You can also teach your german shepherd howl by imitation and repetition or catching them mid howl.
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