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Training German Shepherd Dogs – Stop Dog Barking

Updated on August 13, 2010

Dog barking is an issue for many people. If you’ve decided it’s time to stop your German Shepherd dog from barking in your home, you will likely already know that there are only so many things you can do about the problem. After all, dogs are born to bark. Regardless of breeding and refinement over the last several millennia, they still have that urgent desire to vocalize their feelings and needs. In fact, there is only one breed of dog – the Basenji – that does not bark at all.

So, before you can stop dog barking in your German Shepherd dog, you need to understand why they bark and what forms of barking you can control.

Training German Shepherd Dogs - the Causes of Dog Barking

German Shepherd dogs bark for any number of reasons. They bark when they are angry. They bark when they feel anxiety. They bark when they need to protect. They bark when they are excited. They even bark when they are scared. Here is a rundown of when you might expect dog barking to start:

Territorial Barking
Alarm Barking
Attention Seeking Barking
Greeting Barking
Frustration Barking
Compulsive Barking
Injury or Illness Related Barking

As you can see, dog barking is a major part of who they are. It’s impossible to stop dog barking completely. They’re going to want to express themselves at times, regardless of what you do to inhibit their behaviors.

Training German Shepherd Dogs – How to stop Dog Barking

When dog barking in your German Shepherd dog becomes an issue, first determine if the behaviour is warranted. Nine times out of ten, it’s excessive and can be controlled. If you decide that your dog’s barking can and should be controlled, ask yourself these questions.

When does my dog bark?
What is my dog barking at?
Does my dog have a specific trigger?

If you determine that dog barking in your dog is because it wants to protect its territory or is simply alarmed by something, you cannot simply yell at your dog to stop. In fact, negative reinforcement for territorial barking can often lead to biting or aggression in other forms. Your German Shepherd dog doesn’t understand what you’re trying to tell them. They stop the barking, but the territorial issues are still there.

Instead, you need to create a situation in which your dog will not feel that territorial urge to defend itself. This starts by taking control of your household. Be the alpha leader of the pack and show your dog that you are the one in charge of protecting that space. Doggy Dan, a successful dog trainer, says in his training program that if your dog doesn’t feel the pressure of protecting the territory against danger because he knows that’s your job – or, he sees you confronting the threat and you turn your back from that threat, then he knows there was no threat at all. By the way, he also says to make sure when you do this that you don’t look at your dog at all. Just be calm and go on doing what you were doing. This gives your dog a signal that everything is fine.

Secondly, you can simply reduce your dog’s ability to see those incursive threats to its territory. Draw your blinds so he cannot see the mailman, get an opaque fence so they cannot see outside the yard, and make sure they don’t have open access to the windows at any time.

Stop Dog Barking on Dogs with Anxiety

If your German Shepherd dog has anxiety issues, the barking is likely a symptom of something much greater. They want to reach you and will continuously bark until you return. Most of the time, this is because you have rewarded them for this behaviour in the past. When you return home and they are excited, you immediately give them attention. This only reinforces their anxiety. Rather than rewarding them in this instance, you should ignore your dog for as long as 10-15 minutes, or as long as it takes until your dog is completely relax, so they stop associating your return with attention. You still need to give them attention, but not until they are laying down or are very, very relax. At this time, it’s okay to call them to you. DO NOT GO TO THEM! Let them come to you. This is very important because this establishes who the Alpha dog is.

Finally, to stop dog barking, you should teach your German Shepherd dog how to speak and be quiet. By creating a command that allows you to control the behaviour, your dog will learn to control the barking when it is not necessary. A benefit of this is that, if there is an intruder or something you want your dog to bark at, they will still alert you.

German Shepherd dog barking, which is very loud, does not have to be the bane of your community that it has become. Learn to control dog barking early and you’ll never need to worry about the neighbors banging down your door every day when you get home.

Go to and learn more about this beautiful breed.


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    • profile image

      proud owner 4 years ago

      Our neighbor has known our GS since we brought her home (she's now almost 8 yrs). We used to get together nearly every weekend. Now, it's not his fault, but it contributes to the problem, I think--he quit drinking and smoking after he had a heart attack, and doesn't come around anymore. We meet him on the road when I'm walking my dog, and he's taking his daily walk for exercise. He walks with his head down, barely acknowledges us, so Ledah barks at him and I can't get her to stop. We've had numerous arguments over this, and despite my pleading with him to merely acknowledge her and use her name, he won't do it--he says he "hates" her. I'm at wits end; I just don't know what to do anymore to try to keep the peace. I don't want to use a bark collar. Any suggestions out there?

    • profile image

      Maria 5 years ago

      My dog keeps on barking no matter what, and I can't stop it... he looks scared and I don't know what to do. Please help!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      Sweet one 6 years ago

      My dog never barks. I would like to know why?

    • profile image

      Dog Barking 7 years ago

      There was a time when my dog barks excessively. I know he's not hungry, sick, there was no stranger, and we were near him so I couldn't say he needs attention. My friend suggested a no-bark collar. Is that good for dogs? I'm afraid my dog might get hurt with the collar. Please help. Thanks for the nice article.

    • johncastle profile image

      johncastle 7 years ago from Northern California

      I'll have to agree, but it just means I'll have to have more than one dog ;>) So, we have a Schnauzer too.

    • tbryce1966 profile image

      tbryce1966 7 years ago

      Very interesting Hub! I've had three German Shepherds before and they are great dogs...would never try a different breed.

      Once we installed a wireless fence, our dog didn't bark as much since he could run around and use up some energy lol. I really like ours, it is the radial fence from Havahart Wireless.

      If Ace ever goes beyond the fence it tells us which is helpful until I have to go running after him :)

      I'd recommend German Shepherds to anybody...barking and all!

    • johncastle profile image

      johncastle 7 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks, Aneesh3... There is a lot more to stopping them from barking, but most of it can be stopped by you becoming the Alpha Dog. I've done it with my German Shepherd and Schnauzer and it really works. It's fun to see.

    • Aneesh3 profile image

      Aneesh3 7 years ago from India

      Helpful hub.