A german shepherd barking at night is extremely frustrating. No matter what you do, you can’t seem to get them to be quiet! And what makes matters worse is now your neighbors are beginning to complain and you’ve just about had enough of it.
Luckily, you’re about to find out why german shepherds bark at night, and what you can do to stop them!
Why Is Your German Shepherd Barking At Night?
Before we can get into all the solutions to stop your german shepherd from barking at night, first you need to know all the causes. Because there are different solutions for different causes.
However, it is important to know that German Shepherds have been bred to bark. After all, they’re brave and courageous which makes them excellent guard dogs. In fact, the act of barking makes them happy. But that doesn’t mean you have to listen to it all night!
And with that, here are the most common causes of barking at night:
They Can Hear Something
When your dog is barking at night, a lot of the time it’s because they can hear something. German Shepherds are excellent guard dogs, however, when guarding your house it’s not uncommon for them to bark.
If you notice the barking getting more and more intense, then that often means the perceived threat is moving closer and closer.
While you may see this as a nuisance and annoying, it’s also nice to know that they’re only trying to protect you! The most common noises that will cause them to go into a frenzy are animal noises.
While they aren’t as common in towns (Although foxes and other dogs can often set them off) it’s much more common in the country and suburban areas that wildlife will agitate your german shepherd. Deer, foxes, raccoons, squirrels, and birds can all set them off!
And remember, wherever you are, cats and other dogs can also cause your german shepherd to bark!
(If you notice your German shepherds barks at other dogs day and night, check out these 7 tips to help stop them from barking.)
Your German Shepherd Is Trying To Get Your Attention
If your German shepherd is barking in the middle of the night then they may be trying to get your attention. They could be indicating to you that they need to go to the toilet, that they’re in pain, or that they need more water.
This can often be the case with younger dogs or german shepherds with water infections.
(Learn more about what to do when a german shepherd puppy is barking and crying at night.)
Bored & Lonely
Dogs are pack animals and they can often become bored and lonely when they’re left on their own all night. This is especially true if you haven’t spent much time in the day with them either.
While they normally howl when they’re lonely and bored it’s not uncommon that they’ll bark. They’ll normally bark at anything just to entertain their minds, and this barking will only increase if they hear another dog barking. At this point, they’ll both be entertaining each other.
Separation anxiety is another reason your german shepherd may be barking at night. However, if separation anxiety is causing it, then barking won’t just happen at night. Your German shepherd will start barking, running in circles, pacing, chewing and destroying things every time you leave them alone.
(Remember chewing and destroying things can be a sign of teething in puppies.)
Their Sleeping Arrangement Has Changed
This is another extremely common cause behind german shepherds barking at night. So many times people have let their dog sleep in the same bed as them, or give them a crate to sleep in, However, once the circumstances change, they miss the comfort they’re used to.
This can often cause German Shepherds to start barking. And in a lot of cases, simply going back to the way things were is the easiest solution (however, not always possible).
Sadly, as dogs get older, they’re minds and their body begins to regress. Sometimes this results in dementia. When this happens there’ll be no reason for your dog to bark, however, they will keep doing it throughout the night.
When this is the case you may also notice that your german shepherd is panting at night as well.
How Do You Stop Your German Shepherd Barking At Night?
If your German shepherd is barking at night there are a few different techniques you can try to get them to stop. But here are some of the most important things to remember.
Don’t Give Your German Shepherd Attention
If your german shepherd is constantly barking through the night, the worst thing you can do is respond to them. If your dog is barking, then they’re looking for attention. By interacting with them you’re showing them that if they bark they receive your attention, which will only reinforce the behavior.
Look For Any Disturbances
If noises are disturbing your German Shepherd then you need to find out what’s causing the noises, and stop them.
For example, if you think that animal noises outside are causing your german shepherd to start barking at all times of the night then you could try moving your german shepherd to a quieter room. If that’s not possible, you could play some white noise to help steady their nerves and make it harder to hear things.
Likewise, if they’re able to look out of the window and see any disturbances then it’s a good idea to place them in a room where they can’t see outside at night. After all, night time is for sleeping, not watching the world go by.
Remember sometimes night time barking is actually beneficial to you as it will alert you to a problem. Maybe there are mice scurrying around your house, or animals outside keep getting into your trash. Now you’re alerted to the problem.
Make Sure There’s Nothing Wrong
If your dog has recently started barking in the middle of the night then it could be a sign that something is wrong.
As previously mentioned, dementia affects older dogs and they often begin barking in the middle of the night. As well as dementia they may also be suffering from water infections and other illnesses.
It’s important that you make sure your german shepherd is in top shape before proceeding with everything else on this list.
Exercise Your German Shepherd
One of the best ways you can stop your german shepherd from barking throughout the night is to make sure you’re exercising them enough.
If possible, you should let them off the lead every day for an hour, however, for a lot of people this isn’t possible. When you can’t get them off the lead make sure you’re still giving them a good long walk.
Walking is not only good for their body but also good for their mind. If you’ve ever stayed inside all day, you know how frustrating it can become and it’s no different for your german shepherd!
As well as walking them, it can also be a good idea to play with them throughout the day and give them puzzle toys to keep them entertained.
Give Your Dog A Routine
Lastly, a lot of people think it helps if they give their dog a set routine. When they have a routine they’ll realize exactly when it’s bedtime and that it’s time to sleep, not stay up all night barking.
A good routine that I like to use, is to sit downstairs for a couple of hours before I go to sleep, making sure not to play with them. Then let them out for 5 minutes so they can go to the bathroom. Afterward, I make them sit in their bed and give them a biscuit, before turning the light off.
German Shepherd Puppy Barking At Night
The only special case to these rules is when you have a german shepherd puppy (especially if you’ve just got them).
When you have a new puppy you can expect some barking through the night, and there’s a couple of reasons for that.
The first reason is that they have just lost the comfort of their brothers and sisters. They’ve gone from spending every night tucked up with their litter in an environment they know well, to a new environment where they’re now on their own.
On top of this, new puppies need to be let outside at some point in the night. Their little bladders aren’t strong enough, and if they aren’t let out then they often wet the bed. In a lot of cases, new puppies will bark when they want to go to the toilet. (However, you shouldn’t rely on this.)
How To Stop A German Shepherd Puppy Barking At Night
As previously mentioned, the two main reasons a puppy barks at night is because they’re lonely or because they need to go outside. Here are the best ways to fix this:
Pre-emptively Let Your Puppy Out
If your new puppy is barking at night due to needing to go outside, then the solution is quite easy. The best thing you can do is set an alarm and wake up a few minutes before your puppy normally starts barking to go out.
Then head downstairs and let them out, this should stop them from getting in the habit of barking which means consistent barking at night is less likely to become a problem.
However, if your puppy is lonely and homesick there are a couple of different methods you can try.
Leave Them Alone
If there’s nothing wrong with your puppy, and they’re only crying and barking because they’re homesick and lonely, you can leave them to get on with it.
While this may sound harsh, it’s the most common method people use, and normally, as they get more used to your home and being alone they’ll stop barking.
This normally takes a couple of weeks. Just remember, to give them extra love in the day time so they feel safe and happy in the house.
Let Them Sleep With You
The second option is to let them sleep with you (however, not for too long). In the beginning, it can be extremely hard for your puppy to sleep by themselves. So if you don’t want to hear them cry through the night, bring them into your room and let them sleep in their crate or bed.
Once they’ve slept in your room for the first couple of nights, you can slowly begin moving them further and further away.
For example, the first two nights you can let them sleep by your bed. The third night move them next to the door, the fourth night move them halfway down the hall, the fifth night move them close to the room they should be sleeping in.
Keep doing this until your German shepherd is sleeping exactly where they should be!
What Should You Avoid Doing?
While these methods are great for stopping your German shepherd barking at night, there are also a few things you should definitely avoid doing. They’re not good for your dog’s wellbeing and could end up causing a lot more harm than good.
NEVER Hit Your Dog
You should never under any circumstances cause physical harm to your dog. Hitting, slapping or kicking are cruel methods, and they can also cause aggression and violence in otherwise peaceful dogs.
Even the act of raising your hand as if to strike them can fill them with fear and mistrust.
Don’t Shout At Your Dog
When you shout at your dog you may feel like that’s the perfect solution to get them to be quiet. However, quite the opposite is going to happen. When you shout at your dog, all you’re going to do is get them even more excited and rowdy.
When your German shepherd sees you shouting they think you’re just joining in with their barking, so the chances are they’re going to bark even louder and for longer.
Avoid Shock Collars
A lot of people turn to shock collars to scare their dogs out of barking. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of evidence to suggest this works. In fact, the shock collar may only end up making your dog mistrust you or hate something else in their environment which is unrelated.
Remember, Punishment Isn’t The Answer
The truth is you shouldn’t be punishing your dog. When they’re barking, they’re not doing anything wrong, rather just following their natural instinct.
What you should be doing is teaching your dog how to act appropriately. This doesn’t involve harsh punishments, but rather putting the time in and showing them the right way to behave. Not only is this a lot kinder for your german shepherd but it also yields much better results.
And not only is punishment cruel, but it can also result in increased aggression, violence and an inability to learn in the future.
The Best Way To Stop Your German Shepherd Barking At Night
If you want to know the best way to stop your german shepherd barking at night, then you should definitely look into Brain Training For Dogs.
This is the best way I know to not just stop behavioral problems, but get to the root cause of problems and solve them on a deeper level.
And not only that, but it’s also going to bring you closer to your dog, and your dog a lot closer to you!
Now you should have a solid understanding of why your german shepherd is barking at night and what you can do to stop it! But because there’s so much information to take in, here are the main points again:
- There are many reasons your dog may be barking when you’re trying to sleep. Such as trying to get attention, they can hear something outside, they’re bored or lonely, they have separation anxiety, you’ve changed their sleeping arrangement, or dementia.
- When your dog is barking through the night make sure you look for any disturbances, that there’s nothing wrong, that you’re giving them enough exercise, that they have a bedtime routine and that you’re not pandering to them.
- If you have a german shepherd puppy, then they may be barking at night because they need the toilet or because they are lonely.
- Some great solutions are to pre-emptively let them out before they start barking and letting them sleep with you for a couple of nights until they’re used to their new home.
- You should never hit a dog, shout at them or use shock collars.
- For the most effective long term success you should begin Brain Training For Dogs.
If you liked this article or you have any more questions, make sure you leave a comment below and check out the rest of the website! Otherwise, have a great day!