There’s nothing worse than taking your dog for a walk, and in the back of your mind fearing your german shepherd barking at other dogs. If this sounds like you then don’t worry. There are lots of tips and tricks you can do to stop this happening.
In this article, you’re going to learn lots of different ways to stop your german shepherd barking at other dogs as well as why it happens in the first place. So keep reading!
Why Is Your German Shepherd Barking At Other Dogs?
Your german shepherd could be barking at other dogs for a number of different reasons. However, in most cases, it’s not coming from a place of pure aggression.
Knowing your german shepherd and what triggers barking and aggression in them can be a great way to stop it from happening in the future.
Here are the main reasons that your german shepherd may be barking.
They Can’t Get Away
As you know all animals have a fight or flight instinct. It’s the instinct they use to decide whether they’re going to get in a fight with another animal or whether they’re going to run away.
When you’re walking your dog on their lead you take away their flight response. All they have left to do is fight.
As they see another dog approaching they may begin to feel threatened. They don’t know who this other dog is or what their intentions are.
And because they can’t get away the only thing they have left to do is fight. This is often a big factor behind why your dog may be barking at other dogs.
They’re Desperate To Say Hello
Sometimes when your german shepherd is barking at another dog, it’s not being caused by negative emotions. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. They’re desperate to say hello!
If you notice your german shepherds barking is accompanied by tail wagging, spinning in circles and other signs of excited behavior then they’re just really excited.
You may think that this isn’t a problem, however, it’s still a good idea to stop the barking.
Other people and dogs may begin to get nervous around a dog that’s constantly barking, even if it’s for positive reasons.
As well as barking when they’re desperate to say hello, they’re also very likely to pull on their leash.
They’re Alerting You To Danger
Your dog sees you as part of their pack. When they sense that you are in danger they’re going to bark to get your attention and protect you.
Obviously, one of the most common indicators of danger to a dog is spotting another dog.
They have no idea where they’ve come from or what they want. So it’s in their best interest to bark and alert you, protect you and protect themselves.
They’re Protecting Their Own Territory
You may think that a german shepherd barking to protect their territory only happens in the house. But this simply isn’t true.
Your dog is going to see any routes they frequent as their territory as well. So if you end up walking them a lot down the same streets or in the same park, they’re eventually going to see this area as their territory.
This will be magnified even more if they don’t normally sense other dogs in these areas.
If your German shepherd is barking to protect their territory you might notice other tell-tale signs as well such as prolonged eye contact, steady body movements, and a still, rigid tail.
They’re Being Submissive
Your german shepherd may also be barking as a sign of submission. This isn’t as common, however, when it does occur it will normally occur because they are scared.
When they’re barking to be submissive you may notice some other tell-tale signs as well. These tell-tale signs include licking their lips, cowering, and bowing their heads.
They Haven’t Been Socialised Enough
This type of barking is particularly common in dogs that have grown up in isolation, in dog pounds, or when they’ve been left alone a lot.
Unsocialized barks happen when your dog just doesn’t know what to do. They’ve never learned how to greet or act around other dogs, so they end up barking.
Barks that are happening due to poor socialization are much more likely to occur when your dog is on their leash. On their leash, they’re a lot more likely to go into fight response mode
(barking) because they can’t run.
Believe it or not, the way you’ve been training your dog may also cause them to bark at other dogs.
If you’ve been scolding them or punishing them in any way when they bark at another dog, they may have learned that seeing a dog ends in punishment.
So of course, they’re going to bark, not knowing that the barking is what you’re trying to get them to stop.
This is one of the reasons it’s important to get a training program for your dog early on. One of the most highly recommended programs you can get is Brain Training For Dogs.
(Read an in-depth review of Brain Training For Dogs.)
Why Is It A Lot More Likely Your German Shepherd Barks At Other Dogs On Their Leash?
You may have noticed that your german shepherd barks a lot more at other dogs when he’s on his leash.
In fact, if they’re anything like my dog used to be, off their leash they’re the friendliest dog in the world. But the moment you leash them and they see another dog approaching they seem almost rabid!
Well, if you get into your dog’s mindset you’ll have a better understanding of what’s causing them to act like this.
Leashes Force Dogs To Act In A Way They Wouldn’t
When dogs greet each other off the leash for the first time, they normally approach each other’s sides in an arc motion. This is a lot less aggressive.
In fact, aggressive behavior to a dog is approaching head-on while maintaining eye contact. Which as you can guess, they’re forced to do many times on their leashes.
The Leash Itself Is Restrictive
So not only are they approaching each other in a more aggressive manner, but they’re also being restricted by a leash.
This restriction traps your dog into body language and a mindset that resembles fight mode. So of course, they’re going to do what they can to try and avoid a fight.
What’s one of the best ways they know of to do this?
Barking to scare off the threat.
You’re Feeding Your Dogs Negative Emotions Too
And you may not even be aware of it, but when you keep your dog on a tight leash you’re going to be feeding into their aggressive behavior.
Holding their leash taut and tight is going to show them that you’re not relaxed. In fact, you’re stressed and ready to act.
Why are you ready to act in their head?
Because there’s an imminent “threat” approaching both of you that needs to be dealt with.
When you look at it this way, it’s abundantly clear why your dog is barking at other dogs. So it’s up to you to help them see the leash, not as something restrictive and to see other dogs as friends, not threats.
How Do You Stop Your German Shepherd Barking At Other Dogs?
While it can be difficult to stop your german shepherd barking at other dogs, it’s definitely worth it.
Once you’ve put the time in, you won’t have to worry about any aggression from them and both you and your dog can finally enjoy your walk in peace!
Here are some great tips for making sure your german shepherd stays nice and calm on their walk!
Make Sure They Know You’re Calm
Remember how your german shepherd is going to pick up on any tension in your body and think there’s a threat?
Well, the first thing to do is to make sure you’re calm and not increasing the tension. It’s all too common for an owner to see another dog approaching and instinctively start pulling back on the leash.
When you do this you’re going to signal to your german shepherd that there’s a threat coming up, so get ready for conflict.
Next time you see a dog approaching, instead of tensing up stay relaxed and keep the leash loose.
Avoid Problematic Situations
If you see another dog approaching, sometimes it’s better to avoid the situation in the early days.
The problem with just letting them bark at other dogs without doing anything is that it reinforces the behavior. They’ll learn that barking works. So until you’re ready for training, avoiding other dogs may be your best bet.
Instead of trying to walk passed the dog, cross the road or turn in the other direction.
This method can actually work particularly well with german shepherds who are only barking as a greeting.
When this is the case, keep walking towards them until they bark. Once they bark turn and move somewhere else.
If they don’t bark let them approach and greet the new dog. By doing this you’re conditioning them to realize that barking results in not having fun.
To really reinforce their positive behavior, you can also give them a treat if they don’t bark during the interaction.
Try Using A Thundershirt
Thundershirts work great for dogs that are barking because they’re anxious. They work by wrapping around your dog and giving them a constrictive feeling that makes them feel swaddled and safe.
And while thunder shirts are ideal, you can also have a similar level of success using an old tee shirt as well.
If you want to pick up a Thundershirt you can get them off Amazon.
Learn The Signs That Cause Your Dog To Bark
When you’re on your walk begin looking for triggers that are going to cause your dog to bark. Oftentimes you’ll notice that your dog is barking at the same thing in particular. One of my rescue dogs, for example always used to bark at bald men.
Perhaps there’s a particular trait that your dog barks at. Common traits can be large dogs, dogs of a certain color or breed, and dogs acting a certain way. This can include dogs that are barking, pulling or making prolonged eye contact.
Make Sure They’re Not Too Stressed
As well as checking for certain signs in other dogs, you should also make sure your german shepherd isn’t becoming too stressed.
Just like you’re more likely to snap on days that you’re stressed, so is your german shepherd. Make sure you’re keeping their home environment nice and calm as well as tiring them out by playing games with them.
Counter conditioning can be one of the best ways to stop your german shepherd from barking at other dogs when done right.
It works, by teaching your german shepherd to associate other dogs with good things, rather than bad things.
Remember, when your german shepherd is barking at another dog, it’s often because they’re associating them with a negative experience. So now it’s time for them to associate them with a positive one.
For counter-conditioning to work effectively, you have to start slowly and take your time. In the beginning, the moment your german shepherd notices another dog, give them a treat before they have a chance to bark.
Once they never bark when they see a dog, step it up a little bit. As they’re walking passed a dog keep their eyes locked on a treat until they walk past. Once again, if they do so nicely give them a treat.
Keep doing this until they’re at a point where they love seeing other dogs!
Follow A Training Program
While advice on the internet can be extremely beneficial, there’s not much that’s going to beat a good training program.
Your german shepherd barking at other dogs is often a symptom of other problems that need to be sorted to.
If you want to follow a proven blue-print that’s going to get results for your german shepherd I couldn’t recommend Brain Training For Dogs enough!
It’s perfect for any owner who wants their training to be effective and long-lasting as it relies on positive reinforcement for good behavior rather than punishment for bad behavior.
Training based on positive reinforcement is a better way for your dog to learn (and it also has the added benefit of making you feel good too)
So if you haven’t already you should definitely learn more about Brain Training For Dogs!
(Read an in-depth review of Brain Training For Dogs.)
What Should You Avoid Doing?
To make sure your german shepherd learns in the best way they can, it’s also important to avoid doing certain things.
If you do any of them, you could end up making the problem worse and further increase the amount of time it takes for your dog to learn.
Here are some of the things you should avoid doing.
Never Hit Or Hurt Your German Shepherd
You should never hit or hurt your german shepherd in any way. It’s not going to do anything to help. In fact, it will most likely do more harm than good.
When you hurt them, while they may initially stop, they’re going to hold feelings of fear, anger, and anxiety. Over time, this fear can build up and build up until they snap and hurt someone.
Don’t Use A Shock Collar
A lot of people also recommend the use of shock collars. However, in a lot of cases, they don’t work and oftentimes your german shepherd may end up getting confused about what they’re getting shocked for.
The only time you should use a shock collar is when you’re under the supervision of a trained professional.
Stop Trying To Get Them To Do Tricks
Sometimes in an attempt to stop their german shepherd from barking people try to get them to sit or lay down. But that can often cause a lot of unneeded stress for your german shepherd.
When you do this, you’re forcing them to act unnaturally. By barking they’re showing they’re anxious, and by forcing them to sit, they’re not going to be able to vent their feelings.
So what can often end up happening is they suddenly lash out and bite.
After reading this article you should have a great understanding of why your german shepherd is barking at other dogs. And if you follow the tips you’ve learned, you’re going to be able to stop it happening quickly.
Here are some of the main things you’ll need to remember:
- Your german shepherd will often bark at other dogs when they can’t get away, they want to greet them, they’re alerting you to danger, they’re protecting their own territory, they’re being submissive, they haven’t been socialized and when they haven’t been trained properly.
- German shepherds are more likely to bark on their leash because they’re forced to act in a certain way, the leash is restrictive, and they’re picking up on your stress.
- You can stop your german shepherd from barking at other dogs by showing them you’re calm, avoiding problematic situations, using a thundershirt, being aware of what causes barking, making sure they’re not stressed, counter conditioning them, and providing solid training.
- The best training you can get your german shepherd is Brain Training For Dogs.
- You should never hurt your dog, avoid using shock collars, and never force them to do tricks in front of other dogs.
I hope you found this article helpful, and if you have any more questions leave them in the comments below! Otherwise, have a great day.