German Shepherds are loyal, energetic, and affectionate working dogs that have a lot going for them personality-wise. A common problem that German Shepherd owners are faced with is the amount of time this dog breed spends barking at seemingly harmless people or animals.
The truth is the German Shepherd is a protective dog breed and barking is a way of communicating that they think something is up. Before reprimanding them for this natural behavior, it is better to find positive ways to discourage unwanted barking.
This article will help you control your German Shepherd when it comes to barking and other similar behaviors.
Why Do German Shepherds Bark So Much?
German Shepherds have been bred for the sole purpose of protecting their owners and hunting other animals as prey. Even though they have been domesticated to fit into a suburban home, these dogs still carry their instinctive traits with them. Even though the neighbors may be complaining about the chaos they are causing by barking, it is important to understand the meaning behind this behavior before you take actions to control it.
You see, your dog does not know that barking is disturbing you and other people. Barking is one of the most prominent vocal ways they can communicate to their owner. Although barking cannot be translated for humans to understand, it is important to your dog.
Whether your dog is trying to tell you that they do not like the cat, or that they do not appreciate the stranger entering your home (even if it’s a welcomed guest), your German Shepherd will communicate this through barking, yapping, and even howling. They do not mean to cause harm or disturbances; in their eyes, it is part of their protective and loyal nature.
How to Stop German Shepherds from Barking at Strangers
Firstly, it is important to note that German Shepherds are natural guard dogs who love to protect their families. So, by an unfamiliar guest entering the house, your German Shepherd is bound to freak out. Barking is then used to take the stranger off guard and make them scared of your dog. Although this sometimes works, it can be annoying if your German Shepherd does not stop barking the entire time this stranger is in your house.
This uncontrolled barking is undesirable in certain circumstances, it is wanted in cases of burglary or to alert you of potential danger. This makes it essential to handle the situation in the right way because by discouraging and punishing your dog from barking in unfamiliar situations, you are risking yourself and your family if the case was serious. You want to opt for positive reinforcement and avoid locking them outside, in a room, hitting, or shouting at them in this situation.
How to Stop German Shepherds from Barking at Other Dogs
This is also a natural reaction for your German Shepherd to display. The only difference between other dogs and people is that dogs can understand what your dog is trying to convey by barking. Unfamiliar dogs will cause your German Shepherd to become protective over you. Larger or more dominant dogs can also cause your German Shepherd to bark out of fear.
What to Avoid in This Situation?
Allowing the stranger to give them treats
Do not allow visitors to give your dog treats or food. Burglars use this tactic to poison dogs upon entering the house. Teach your dog not to accept food from strangers, just like you would do with children.
This also applies to not giving them a treat when a visitor is in the house. This may encourage them to bark at people because they associate the treat with barking.
Removing their vocal cords
You should never have your dog’s vocal cords removed without a valid medical reason. This only confuses the dog further and is used solely for the owner’s benefit.
Negative reactions (pushing, shouting, hitting, fearing, time-out)
Do not punish your dog for barking. This can include having strangers push them away, hit them, run, or act in fear or even put them in time out. This only makes your dog confused and does not help the situation. It can make it worse.
Barking may be an unwanted habit in your German Shepherd but identifying and taking control of the situation as the owner is one of the most beneficial ways to stopping unwanted barking. If you are worried about your dog’s constant barking, you should consult a canine behaviorist to gather further information on what you can do.
Related German Shepherd Reads:
- 10 Reasons Why German Shepherds Howl (And How to Stop it!)
- 6 Reasons Why German Shepherds Whine
- Do German Shepherds Shed? A Shepherd Shedding Guide
Featured Image Credit: PDPics, Pixabay
- Why Do German Shepherds Bark So Much?
- How to Stop German Shepherds from Barking at Strangers
- How to Stop German Shepherds from Barking at Other Dogs
- What to Avoid in This Situation?