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Do German Shepherds bark more than other dog breeds?

I adore my neighbor’s German Shepherd. He’s an intelligent, sweet boy, but he barks all day long, whereas my cattle dogs bark rarely throughout the day. It got me thinking, is it common for German Shepherds to bark more than other dogs?

German Shepherds have a tendency to bark more than other breeds. GSDs high energy, intelligence, and working dog breed history create a greater need for them to express their feelings by barking.

The first step in understanding your German Shepherd’s barking is to recognize why they are barking and then find reasons to manage it. Read on for why GSDs bark and some tips to help.

German Shepherd Barking
German Shepherd Barking

Why do German Shepherds bark so much?

Barking is a German Shepherds’ way of expressing a need. GSDs will be more likely to bark out of boredom, separation, herding instinct, protection, or excitement.

Boredom: GSDs need frequent physical or mental stimulation to keep content, so if they do not have a job to do or an energy outlet every day, they could be barking out of boredom.

Separation: If you have a busy schedule and a strong bond with your shepherd, they may become lonely and bark when home alone.

Herding: German Shepherd’s vocal expressions come from its genetics and lineage of working over the past hundred or so years. A GSDs desire to herd provides them with a strong prey drive which usually accompanies lots of barking.

Protection: The shepherd in their name derives from GSDs’ natural desire to herd and protect livestock which involves a lot of vocalization. A German Shepherd’s natural protective instinct extends to their pack as household protectors so they will bark at any potential threats.

Excitement: GSDs will bark when they want to play, go for a walk, or when their human comes home.

How to stop a German Shepherd from barking

It is important to note that dogs will bark from time to time, no matter the breed or training involved. For a German Shepherd though, it is extremely vital to their well-being and yours that you spend time training and socializing them from the time you bring them home. GSDs deep barks have made them a great breed for ranchers and law enforcement forces around the world because they genuinely enjoy using their voice. 

An important practice you can give your GSD is to show them that new people, places, and noises can be a positive experience where they get rewarded for polite behavior. Their instinct is to defend their home and family from unusual occurrences. Rewarding them with high-value treats and praise can curb that behavior and teach them to be observant rather than reactive. 

The first step is to teach your German Shepherd the “speak” and “quiet” commands. It may sound counterintuitive to teach your dog how to bark more, but doing so will teach your GSD boundaries for when it is appropriate to use their voice and when it is not. If you can teach your dog to focus on your direction and bark on command, then telling them “quiet” when they are reacting will teach them to relax and follow your lead. 

The second step is to take note of what your GSDs triggers are for barking. What makes your German Shepherd bark?

If your dog barks at strangers or other dogs, begin desensitizing them to new people and pets. Dedicate some time to simply observing from a distance instead of engaging in a walk or allowing them to meet the dog or person. Teach your German Shepherd that focusing on you and your high-value treats is more exciting than a new person or dog. This will increase their trust in you and strengthen your bond and help them become more relaxed during their outings.

Ensure training sessions are a positive experience for you and your German Shepherd. Raising your voice or creating a negative reaction from your GSD may create more emotion for your dog to react to instead of redirecting their energy constructively. It may help to work with a trainer who can give you individual tips and training ideas for your dog, as well as a bigger picture as to why they are barking.

Depending on your location, some cities provide classes for herding breeds to work with sheep or protective breeds to use their skills. If you can find your GSD a local class that expresses their natural interests, they might be able to burn off the mental and physical frustration they are feeling and properly use their bark.

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds are deeply loyal and deviated pets that will do anything to protect those they care about, sometimes leading to barking at any noise or person they encounter. Their eagerness to please their owners can result in over-protection and barking, but there are plenty of ways to redirect your shepherd’s voice.

Socializing your GSD to new people, dogs, sounds, and surroundings should begin from the time you bring them home and continue throughout their adult life. Keep in mind that GSDs were born to work and are constantly looking for ways to use their mind and body. Providing them with different energy outlets, training, and exciting high-reward moments will create a well-rounded German Shepherd that can regulate its voice.

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