The German Shepherd breed or Deutscher Schäferhund has its origins in Germany since 1899, initially bred for herding sheep. This fiercely intelligent and obedient breed has become one of the most cherished dog breeds in the world and the dog of choice for the military, police, and search and rescue. However, with their loyal, protective natures, they do tend to be rather vocal.
Yes, German Shepherd’s do bark a lot; they are on Stanely Coren’s list as the second most likely breed to bark as watchdogs. German Shepherds can be trained to prevent excessive barking and become vocal when bored or guarding their owners. They may also bark at other dogs if not socialized.
According to psychologist Stanley Coren, German Shepherds are ranked the third most intelligent breed in the world and are highly trainable and adaptive. The beautiful German Shepherd can be trained for their natural urge to alert and protect their owners through training and exercise.
Why do German Shepherd’s Bark a Lot?
all working dogs, Germans Shepherds were bred with a specific task in mind. German Shepherds are highly intelligent and are highly protective of their owners and homes. Their strongly developed guarding instinct may show itself in barking behavior to warn potential threats and alert owners to the presence of danger.
German Shepherds Are Easily Bored
German Shepherd’s rank second in overall dog intelligence, according to Prof. Stanley Coren, an expert on dog behavior and intelligence. Due to their high intelligence and genetic inheritance of being a working dog, German Shepherds may become bored and exhibit excessive barking.
Much like intelligent humans confined in an area with no stimulation would exhibit signs of anxiety and stress. German Shepherds need stimulation and plenty of interaction and exercise to be happy and healthy.
German Shepherds Have Strong Guarding Instincts
As a working breed, German Shepherds were trained to alert their owners to potential threats to the sheep herds and warn away potential threats. In our modern environments today, the Shepherd still has the instinct to protect their human family from threat and notify them of danger.
Unsocialized German Shepherds May Exhibit Aggression
Intelligent and protective breeds such as the German Shepherd need to have obedience training and socialization to be well adjusted. Early socialization and contact with other people and dogs will ensure that your German Shepherd will not exhibit aggressive behavior such as barking excessively.
How Do I Stop My German Shepherd Barking?
Train Your Shepherd From a Puppy
Training your Shepherd from a puppy to not indulge in barking behavior is essential. German Shepherds are one of the most trainable breeds in the world and are bright and eager to learn from their owners. Owners should give calm and consistent reminders that barking is not allowed with a kind but firm hand (and plenty of praise for good behavior.)
Give Your Shepherd Lots of Stimulation
German Shepherds thrive on mental stimulation, so exercise is not enough to make your German Shepherd calm and happy. The mental stimulation of games and puzzles such as hide and search or puzzles exercise your Shepherd’s mind and prevent them from becoming bored or destructive.
Exercise Your German Shepherd Daily
Many dog owners think that throwing a ball in the garden is enough to exercise their dogs. However, with intelligent and curious working breeds such as the German Shepherd, this is not enough. Shepherds need the stimulation of new smells and sights and make excellent companions for hikes and trails.
My Gabrielle, a German Shepherd, allows me to hike safely on my own as a woman, sometimes over several days on remote trails. She keeps her perimeter at all times and notifies me of any potential danger on the route.
If you don’t enjoy hikes, a walk to a dog park or even around your neighborhood with a weekly change of venue will suffice at a push. Those brilliant German Shepherd minds need to be engaged and challenged, or they may exhibit anxious behaviors such as barking, digging, or chewing.
Obedience Training Classes
Any owner of large breed dogs should train their dogs as a responsibility as an owner. Obedience training also develops the bond between dog and human, and even if it is only for the first year of your dog’s life, the training will remain throughout adulthood.
Training gives an owner a clear vocabulary to communicate with their dog and is an invaluable tool in an owner/dog relationship.
Although German Shepherds are genetically prone to barking behavior, it does not mean that it should be inevitable that your much loved Shepherd has to be a nuisance. The joy of a Shepherd is that they take to training exceptionally well, and these behaviors can easily be tempered with a firm and loving hand.