No barking from age 2 to age 7, now just started alert barking - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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No barking from age 2 to age 7, now just started alert barking

I imported a dog 5 years ago from a reputable breeder in Slovakia. It is a small kennel and the dogs receive a good deal of attention from the breeder and his family. They also do some foundational schutzhund work so the are obedient and have great starting bite work. My guy (Wolfgang) has been a gem since day one. Very stable around kids and other dogs. All he cares about is being close to me and my family and the ever important ball. He has always barked during any protection work and will bark on command but for the past 5 years he has never once barked outside of those conditions. Not at the door bell, the mailman, other dogs barking at him, not a peep. I was at first disappointed as part of having a GSD is the security of that nice loud and deep bark when someone comes on to your property. After a few years I got use to the fact he would not bark even at a stranger entering the house. He would stop them with an intense stare that meant business, but not a single woof. A few months ago, now into his 5th year with us and all environmental conditions being the same, he started "alarm" barking. If someone is near or on the property when we are in the house. He doesn't go crazy, he lets loose a short cycle of some very authoritative barks and stops when I tell him. Over the past months this has been consistent. Not barking to much but just enough to alert us and others he is protecting. I have to say I like the change. I have no idea why it came about but it came on in the perfect dose. I feel for those who have barkers that are excessive. I have hope for those with a non barker that even an old dog can teach himself a new trick. BTW he is quite pleased with himself about the situation and once he short volley is over he turns to me and give that " I did good look".
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 02:09 PM
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I wonder if at his original home he was taught not to bark or scolded when he alert barked.

My recently rescued gsd mix did not bark when she first came home with me. Quiet as a mouse. Except she learned

to bark at my horses thinking she was helping or herding them.

The first few times she barked at something else I praised her and taught her to bark when I say "What's that?"

Now she barks on command when I hear or see something that should alert her. She has since taken it upon herself

to do a protective alert bark and I'm glad since we have Black Bears, Bobcats and maybe Panthers around my farm.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 03:09 PM
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Interesting.... I've had some young dogs not from ideal backgrounds take a while to be comfortable in their "new" home....form a bond and then they would bark..I have to believe in your case though... that he was trained to only bark on command and not to "alert" bark as Orphan Heidi suggested......did you ever try contacting the breeder and asking them if that's true ?....I'm guessing there's folks here that wish their dog didn't bark as much as they do.,,lol.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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No, was not discouraged from barking while with the kennel or in trainging for 2 years before being imported to the US
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 04:13 PM
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There is massive anecdotal evidence that between ages 7-9 many dogs display behaviors not previously seen. Fear of storms, startling at loud noises and alarm barking seem to be a trend. I thought there was a thread on this somewhere but I can't find it.
I believe the common belief is that it has something to do with the aging process.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 04:25 PM
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There is massive anecdotal evidence that between ages 7-9 many dogs display behaviors not previously seen. Fear of storms, startling at loud noises and alarm barking seem to be a trend. I thought there was a thread on this somewhere but I can't find it.
I believe the common belief is that it has something to do with the aging process.
I have had two girls that have been rock solid with loud noises who have suddenly become fearful around that timeline. I guess as you get older you are more aware of what can happen and don't have the same relaxed approach to life.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 06:07 PM
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Interesting! I heard that one way to quiet barking dogs was to teach them to bark on command..maybe that had something to do with it?

My dog went the other way...for the first half of his time here, he was barking at every visitor, at people coming up behind us on sidewalk, at my husband mowing the lawn. Now he rarely barks! He is much more choosy about it...for instance, when husband got locked out and was rattling the doorknob...now that got him up and barking. I think he decided that most everyday visitors are ďsafeĒ. I guess itís a good thing?? Donít want him to get too relaxed, though!

Rumo ~ rescue shepherd/husky mix
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2019, 08:03 AM
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There is massive anecdotal evidence that between ages 7-9 many dogs display behaviors not previously seen. Fear of storms, startling at loud noises and alarm barking seem to be a trend. I thought there was a thread on this somewhere but I can't find it.
I believe the common belief is that it has something to do with the aging process.
This times a 1000. I have a dog that was rock solid with fireworks and storms until he turned 8. I came home to torn up carpet on the 4th of July as he was digging to get in my bedroom because I left the door closed. He starting going in my closet when storms/fireworks started. This dog didnít have one iota of fear prior to that.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2019, 10:20 AM
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This times a 1000. I have a dog that was rock solid with fireworks and storms until he turned 8. I came home to torn up carpet on the 4th of July as he was digging to get in my bedroom because I left the door closed. He starting going in my closet when storms/fireworks started. This dog didnít have one iota of fear prior to that.
Sabi was utterly fearless for most of her life. Somewhere around age 8 she broke a door in her panic to gain entry to my roomies bedroom during a severe thunderstorm. He was sleeping and I was out running errands. Oddly, she continued to be fine in the patrol truck so we always chalked it up to anxiety over being left behind since it started around the time we tried to retire her the first time. It continued to get worse until her death and that was when I started hearing stories about other dogs doing the same.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2019, 04:48 PM
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I agree. I hear the same stories all the time. And stuff like this happens in humans as they age, too. As people get older, they become more fearful...fear of traveling, fear of driving at night, fearful of change, etc. Why canít the same be said of dogs? Their eye sight goes, their hearing goes...

Iíve had people say itís a temperament/genetic issue. However, wouldnít that have manifested before 8? There is too much anecdotal evidence of this happening in old age dogs for me to dismiss it. Especially in previously rock solid dogs.
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