Why Do Dogs Bark
Before we dive into why your German Shepherd is barking, its important to understand the behavior of barking in general. A bark is one of your dogs main forms of communication, and is how they vocalize some of their many emotions.
Just as you and I have our words to express how we are currently feeling, our dogs have their bark. Whether your dog is trying to communicate with the dog across the street or greet you when you get home from work, a bark is a great way to do just that.;
They Have A Guarding Instinct
All German Shepherds will have a natural guarding instinct, and this typically includes both your property, you, and the other members of your family. As a result of these instincts you may find your German Shepherd doing some funny things like laying in doorways and walking the perimeter of your yard.
Your German Shepherd Has Ascites
Another similar condition is called ascites, which is fluid buildup inside the abdominal area that is abnormal.
As Care Animal Hospital explains, ascites can occur for several reasons, including failure of the liver, intestinal disease, tumors, kidney malfunction, or heart failure.
You should always rush your dog to the veterinarian if you suspect ascites.
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Try This To Solve #1 #3
For German Shepherds that have these three issues, its really a matter of getting them used to be alone.
Try to isolate them for short periods of time, even if its just in a separate room. Do this for longer and longer periods until your dog becomes more comfortable with separation.
This exercise will help them realize that theyre okay in isolation and that you and other family members always come back in one piece. It also helps in making them feel safe at home and confident enough to let their guard down and rest easy.
They Want Your Attention
Our German Shepherds love our attention, and sometimes their barking is just another way to ask for it. Spending time with their favorite humans is always at the top of your dogs list, causing them to bark or whine if they ever feel like they are not getting enough of our love.;
Though barking can be seen as a pushy behavior coming from your German Shepherd, its possible that they are unsure of another way to get your attention.
If you think this is the reason that your German Shepherd is barking, it may be time to set aside more time in your day for dedicated dog time!
A Brief History Of The German Shepherd Dog Breed
The German Shepherd got their start under the careful guidance of a German cavalry officer named Max von Stephanitz. Captain von Stephanitz set out to create what he termed the perfect working dog.
He started with a dog that many GSD breeders now believe was a wolf-dog hybrid.
As the German Shepherd Rescue Elite charity explains, the goal was to breed a dog with certain consistent traits that included loyalty and intelligence.
If in fact that original dog was a wolf-dog hybrid as so many GSD experts now suspect, then using vocalizations as a communication tool would be very much in alignment with how wild wolves talk to each other.
Why Your German Shepherd Barks Howls And Cries When You Leave
Each of the different reasons why your GSD does it will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I will explain why it might be doing it and what would make each of the possible causes more likely.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
The reason why it does it is likely to be because it has separation anxiety. This is where your German Shepherd does not like being left alone and the prospect of being left alone causes it to become anxious.
This would be more likely to be the reason if it shows signs of being anxious when you are about to leave by doing things such as pacing, becoming destructive, whining and barking, howling or crying.
It would also be more likely if it acts differently while you are away by doing things such as destroying things, howling or becoming very anxious.
You have inadvertently rewarded the behavior
It might be the case that you have inadvertently trained it to become noisy when you are about to leave. If you tend to give it things such as more attention, treats or toys when you are about to leave then it could have learned that being noisy will get it what it wants so it does it more.
Instead of giving it things that it wants, when you are leaving and its being noisy, try to reward it when it is being well behaved, to ignore it when it is not if possible and to follow the tips below.
It wants to pee or eat
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How Wild Wolves Use Sounds To Communicate
As the International Wolf Center explains, sounds are one of the three primary communication methods wolves use to stay in touch over long distances.
Wolves are famous for their haunting howls, of course, but they are equally as likely to whimper, growl, grunt, moan or cry or even bark to make their message clear.
Based on what the International Wolf Center shares about common sounds, the howl is probably the closest sound to the grunt that most German Shepherd dogs make. The howl can be used for both defensive and social purposes.
In the same way, as you saw in the two videos you watched here earlier, the German Shepherds appeared to be using their vocalizations for social and bonding purposes, and specifically to tell their people what they wanted.
Howling To Gather The Pack
While your dogs ancestors, wolves, would use howling as a way to signal a pack meeting, your dog has a pack also. However, as previously mentioned, your dogs pack doesnt consist of other dogs, or wolves for that matter. Your dogs pack consists of perhaps just you, or you and your family.
So if you return home from work and your dog is expressing himself by howling, he is simply showing you his excitement and joy that the pack has once again reunited. Even you being gone for a short time can seem like an eternity for your dog, so it is overjoyed every time the pack reunites.
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They Dont Want To Be Left Alone
Your German Shepherd whines every time they are alone.;
Even if its for just a little while, they cant help but be anxious. They could be thinking:
Are they coming back? Why did they leave me here all by myself?;
Dont wanna be here all by myself anymore
Dogs are social animals. They thrive in an environment where they can interact with humans and other dogs.;
If they whine whenever they are alone, it could be because of separation anxiety.;
Its a common thing for dogs who came from animal shelters. It could be that their previous owners abandoned them before.;
Or it could be that they were separated too early from their mother and other siblings.;
So when you leave, they fear you wont come back again.;
Heartbreaking, isnt it?
Your German Shepherd Is Experiencing Growing Pains
Panosteitis is often nicknamed growing pains, which makes it sound like it is just an awkward stage of life.
But in dogs, panosteitis is a very real health condition that causes pain as the bones grow quickly during puppyhood.
Panosteitis is much more common in large and giant breed dogs because the growth from puppyhood to adulthood is so rapid and extreme.
Unfortunately, there isnt a lot that can be done to treat it. It is important to limit physical exercise until your GSD has gone through the majority of its growth spurt to avoid damaging the bones and joints.
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Trying To Get Your Attention
Youre petting your pooch one lazy afternoon. Stroking their fur, caressing their head.;
Every time you stop, they whine as if they are being tortured. Well, you cant be petting them all day, can you?
Sometimes, German Shepherds can really be drama queens. Especially when they are used to being spoiled.
They use their whines as a way of talking to you.;
In their perspective, the more they whine, the more youll come rushing to give them what they want.;
Why Does My Puppy Keep Whining
The most obvious reason your dog may be whining is that he needs or wants something from you, like food, water, or a walk. Additionally, if your dog is whining for another walk after you just took him out, this could indicate a bladder problem or a digestive problem.
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Why Do German Shepherds Stink
There are many reasons why a German Shepherd may smell bad. He may have rolled into something stinky. Their double coat may also be wet or not perfectly dry. Being very thick, those can develop a bad smell if not cleaned regularly or let wet for a while.
Your German Shepherd may also have dental or skin issues, ear infection, or other health problems. You may want to go to your vet to get him checked.
Reasons Why Your German Shepherd Is Quiet
As already mentioned there are a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might be being quiet that I will mention below.
If you have had your German Shepherd for a while and it has always been quiet then it is likely that it has a quiet personality.
This isnt such a bad thing since it means that it wont cause you too much stress by constantly misbehaving. It also means that when it is loud you will know that it is something important and you will be more likely to help your German Shepherd when it really needs it.
If it does have a quiet personality then there are a number of training tips that you can use to change its behavior that I will mention in the section below.
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Its not comfortable
If you only had your German Shepherd for a short time period then it could just be that it hasnt gotten used to its new environment.
If this is the case then it might not feel comfortable being noisy since it doesnt know what will happen. This causes it to stay quieter. In this case, its likely that, with time, it will begin to be louder once it becomes more comfortable.
It could be that your German Shepherd has had previous experiences that have taught it to be quiet. If your German Shepherd is a rescue German Shepherd then this will be more likely.
If, in the past, it was made to be quiet when it was loud or it was punished then it will associate being loud with bad consequences.
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The 12 Most Talkative Dog Breeds
We asked 218 veterinary professionals which popular breeds they deemed most talkative, and these 12 were at the top of the list. Although it’s important to keep in mind that many dogs can be louder than average if allowed to become nuisance barkers, these dogs are known for being rather vocal. Did your favorite talkative dog make the list?
Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography
No. 12: Bloodhound
The Bloodhound is probably most recognizable as the baying dog hot on the heels of the dastardly criminal in the movies. But at her core, shes sweet and lovable, even if she does produce more drool than youll ever be able to mop up. Her man-trailing ability is so great that her testimony has even been accepted in select court cases. Like the other dogs who made this list, she needs to be well-trained and kept entertained in order to stop her from barking out of boredom.
Tetsu Yamakazi, Animal Photography
No. 11: Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkie might be classified as a Toy breed, but make no mistake: This is a Terrier, through and through. He is a big dog in a small body and makes for a determined watchdog, and even when properly trained, hell never be totally quiet.
Nick Ridley, Animal Photography
No. 10: German Shepherd
Nick Ridley, Animal Photography
No. 9: Basset Hound
No. 8: Miniature Schnauzer
German Shepherds Are Very Intelligent
The German Shepherd is an extremely intelligent dog, and this can be both a positive and a negative quirk. On the positive side of things, the German Shepherd responds very well to structured training, and they can be taught to do some pretty amazing things.
As a result of their high intelligence and trainability, many German Shepherds are used as working dogs such as police dogs and service dogs for disabled people.
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Your German Shepherd Is Anxious Or Afraid
A German Shepherd that feels anxious or afraid may act out in any number of ways, including by groaning.
The best way to figure out if this is why your dog is groaning is to look for other situational triggers.
Some things to look for may include a thunderstorm that is brewing, holiday fireworks going off, a strange person or dog in the vicinity, or something else that might be frightening your dog.
Why Is Your German Shepherd Whining
Remember, dogs cant communicate with us like we can to each other. But they do have different forms of communication . Here are the most common motives behind whining.
They Want Something
One of the most common reasons your german shepherd is going to whine is because they want something. It could be some attention, a walk, or food and water. Whatever it is theyre letting you know they want it.
Remember, sometimes you should listen to them . Other times, youll need to take the time to teach them that whining isnt a good way for them to get what they want. Like if they want attention or to play.
Lastly, whining that they want something could indicate a problem. For example, if you notice them whining for food after theyve eaten they may still be hungry .
Theyre Trying To Alert You
German shepherds are bred to be herders. Part of their built-in instinct is to whine when theres something that could be a threat.
The only issue is that what you see as a threat and what they see as a threat are completely different. For example, they may whine when they see a cat or person outside your house or when a car drives past.
And while this is good behavior in a sense, it still good to only train your german shepherd to whine at things you actually need to be alerted too. Or in most cases, not at all.
To Try And Get Your Attention
Similar to when they want something, sometimes a german shepherd whining can be because they want your attention.
Theyre Greeting You
Why Do German Shepherds Have So Many Health Issues
While the list you just read of possible German Shepherd health issues may seem overwhelming, many of the conditions on the list affect lots of different dog breeds, not just the GSD.
But there is also some evidence that the German Shepherd dog show breed lines have become more genetically limited due to breeding for a certain appearance.
Sometimes this can cause an increase in inheritable or genetic health issues that may get passed along with other more desirable traits, such as a sloping back or a certain coat color pattern.
For this reason, it is important to choose the breeder you buy your GSD puppy from carefully. Ethical and responsible German Shepherd breeders will make sure to test their parent dogs for genetic issues so the puppies will be healthier.
Why Do German Shepherds Sit On You
Most German Shepherds sit on their owners because they are bored and they want their owners attention. This is especially true if you have reinforced this behavior by giving your dog attention when he sits on you. In addition, sitting on you can also sometimes be a sign of separation anxiety if they do this all of the time.
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Why Do German Shepherds Tilt Their Heads
There is nothing cuter than a German Shepherd head-tilt and you will find tons of pictures and videos of dogs tilting their heads on all social media platforms. Many owners will make plenty of strange sounds just to see their pup perform an adorable head tilt. So, why do German Shepherds tilt their heads?
German Shepherds tilt their heads when they become interested in something different. They use the position of their head, and more specifically, their ears to learn the direction of the new sound. They also tilt their head when trying to understand what youre saying and to increase visual cues.
There are a lot of other behaviors that German Shepherd Dogs portray. You can read about problematic behaviors in this breed and their solutions from my article on German Shepherd Behavior Problems.