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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to this forum and this is my first post.

I am interested in owning a German Shepherd as my next dog, I have always had Bernese mountain dogs but have Decided I would like a change, so I have experience of big powerful dogs.

Everything I have read and seen ( I went to crufts this year) about the breed is perfect for except for one thing , barking.

I have read that they are a very vocal breed who bark at every little thing and you can't train them not too. But at crufts I was told that they only bark if they hear something or see something and that there is always a reason for them barking and you can train them with a cue to stop barking.

I want to ask which is true that they bark at everything and you can't train them or that they don't bark for no reason and training can keep barking in check?

I ask as my neighbors are not dog people and don't like dogs who bark all the time so I have to make sure that any dog I have is either pretty quiet or can be trained to stop barking on command.

My Bernese were quiet dogs they only bark if someone came to the door or if they saw something \heard something or if they got excited but a simple quiet command meant they were quiet when told.

I would be cery greatful for any advice.
 

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It really depends on the dog in my opinion. I have raised 7 different German Sheperds and can tell you they are incredibly smart and can be trained to not bark. However, I have had very vocal sheperds, and shepards that were almost silent. It's just thier I individual personality and also how well they are socialized.
 

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I fogot to mention when i say vocal i mean in the house, being vocal outside or in the car is not an issue , i mainly want to know how vocal they are in the house if they are a well bred GSD, Well socialized and well Trained?
 

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They can be very vocal but not necessarily barky? I had one that only really barked if he were tethered in the yard. In the house he was very quiet. My big-boy will bark in the yard if there is something going on. If he see something unusual when we are out and about he might bark a bit to test the anomaly but not for long, When we are play wrestling with us or he comes to give us kisses to get out attention he makes noises like a wooky. It is a deep and warm sound.

My gal-dog is more vocal. When we go out for the last walk of the night she barks at the dark. She may sit at the fence and "bip-bip-bip" to see if someone will come out and entertain her. If my big-boy barks she will bark to back him up. If we are out man-trailing she will bark when she finds someone and out on regular walks she will give a bark to say "I see you". When we are doing tricks she may talk to me as if discussing things.

I've taught my dogs to bark on command and to "tell me a secret". I taught one dog to count to five by barking.

If your real concern is annoying your neighbor with barking, you shouldn't have a problem if you choose a confident dog or any breed. The noisy ones tend to be the ones with separation anxiety. They bark when left alone for long periods of time.
 

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Still depends on the dog - inside or outside. My female makes all kinds of noises grunts, whines, groans, squeals, etc. She loves to talk. My male on the other hand, will sometimes make little whining noises to let me know he wants something or he'll make the "whale noise" when he jaw spars with my female. Aside from that, he's relatively silent. Both are "well bred/socialized/trained" I think (or as well trained two young dogs can be). My female's sire is a talker - so it could be genetic. My male's sire is a barker when excited (playing) and I do see that often, but not normally in the house.
 

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nobody has mentioned it yet, so i will.
the vocals include incredible noises made while yawning, or whining with a seemingly infinite combinations of tones and cresendos, from low basses to high notes approaching ultra sound... overtime you'll learn what some mean, but when gsd folk say they're vocal, they mean they talk, like a lot.

just sayin, vocals mean singing, howling, and oh yeah, barking!
 

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My first shepherd lived in an apartment building for the first few months I had her. She only barked if someone knocked on the door. She didn't bark when the hall was being vacuumed, or when the mail came flying in through the mail slot.

When I moved to a house, we had a neighbour who wouldn't let his German shepherd in the house. They were very wealthy, and I guess they didn't want the dog shedding on their furniture. The dog was confined to a shed in the back yard. I was pruning my apple tree for several hours one spring day. The dog never...stopped...barking...the WHOLE TIME I was outside!

No doubt he was lonely and bored. I wrote an anonymous letter to the owner, telling him what had happened and suggesting the dog wouldn't bark so much if he got more attention.

So, in short, as people have said, it depends on the dog and depends on the circumstances. I currently have an older female that barks a lot when she's outside. She wants to check out the neighbours' dogs: it's like 'Here I am, who else is out here?" In the house, she's quiet unless she hears noises nearby, but she just barks briefly then shuts up. For instance, two days ago, a neighbour had a Bobcat doing work on his driveway, and she barked at first to let me know Strange Noises were happening, then stopped after a minute or two. If they made a particularly loud noise, she might bark again for a bit, then stop. She's a great watchdog, and sleeps leaning against the door to the house most nights, and will kick up a terrible ruckus if anyone tries to come in.
 

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Luna is very vocal with the feral cats outside or anyone walks by our yard. The cats do taunt her as they roll around in the street getting some sun. She goes nuts. I call her in as not to torment anyone or fuzzy beast and she comes right away - max is the henchman if I sound angry and luna enjoys the Chase and attention from him. she really does likes to bark out in the yard -I think her eyeballs will pop out. Other then that she is not they vocal. Max is vocal with me if he wants to go out and very expressive.
 

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As many have said, the spectrum of barking in the GSD breed appears to be wide. In our case, we have been blessed to have a 15 months old, that has not bark once in 6-7 months. He is attentive and does not back down from a challenging situation (other dogs longing on their leach, strangers approaching our house, prey instincts etc.), and adopts a serious posture when an unknown person or situation comes to our door. Perhaps barking will ensue with more maturity in the future, but, as of now; if we have to choose between lots of barking and little to no noise, we are very happy with the latter.:wink2:
 

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How busy/active is the neighborhood around your house? I think barking can vary between dogs but also a noisy/active environment can stimulate a dog to bark , (for instance if lots of pedestrians/strangers walk by your yard or a window where the dog can see them). When we had our first GSD, we lived in a house with a fence that backed up to a road where there were lots of walkers, bike-riders, ect, and the dogs would rush the fence barking whenever anyone walked by, particularly if they had dogs. We always called them in, but I could see how that might annoy some people.

If your location is fairly private, or if you have a privacy fence, I think you'll have an easier time keeping your GSD quiet. We moved out to to the country with some space and privacy and the GSDs only bark when something out of the ordinary happens, like a car pulling up in the driveway (which I appreciate).
 

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Mine bark every time they see or think they hear anything and I live out in the country on acreage. They are, after all, watch dogs. However my male is much better about quieting down quickly once "the threat" is gone whereas my female will go on forever unless corrected. He's West German Lines and she's American Show Lines.
 

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We've had 3 shepherds over the years.



The first was a female who used to lounge on an old couch next to the french windows on the sun porch to watch the world go by. She would bark when someone came to the door, and particularly aggressively if it was the mailman and neighbors' dogs who had the nerve to urinate in front of the house. On walks, particularly at night, if she had her suspicions about an oncoming person, I could feel an inaudibly low growl vibration through her leash, but otherwise she didn't make a sound other than 'pay-attention-to-me' barks when at the park.



Our second was a male who was timid as a pup and compensated for that by being over protective as an adult. In the yard he would bark aggressively, showing his teeth, at any person or animal as long as they were within 25 feet of the fence. The same in the house if anyone was even close to the door. He would also howl to echo police, fire or ambulance sirens. But, if not in 'protect mode' or singing with the sirens he was quiet.



Our current one is also a male who barks at the sound of the doorbell and if 'on duty' parked by the french doors surveying the street, will bark at anyone approaching the door and other dogs being walked past the house (these last barks quickly turn into half-hearted woofs of "yeah, yeah, I'm here and I see you" that will last for maybe 1 minute). Around the house, he will stop if I say "enough." On the other hand, he will bark with enthusiasm the minute he sees me pick up a poop bag and head for his leash (and won't stop until I get it). There are also the occasional 'pay-attention-to-me' barks when he wants to play, particularly at the park. They stop when I say "no."



Of the 3, the 2nd was the noisiest and also the least confident (see post #4). Of the 3 both the first and current one were at the head of the puppy pack to see who we were when we visited the breeders to pick out our pups (always a good sign of confidence). The 2nd hung back.


All that said, as others have already said, shepherds are also very talkative (and in my limited experience, particularly the males). It's as if they figured out that human speech communicates what we want from them and they're going to try their hand at it with us. All 3 would come to us with "Timmy's in the well" imploring whines whenever they wanted something, not to mention whines of joy when we got home from work after leaving them alone during the day. And it's not just our dog(s). My wife and I went to a dog park membership meeting a couple of years back and about 30 minutes into it we hear this god-awful whining from the back of the room that sounded like someone was ripping the heart out of a dog. We looked at each other, smiled and she said "shepherd." Sure enough, we turned around and someone had brought a pair to the meeting and the male was letting everyone within earshot know he wanted something (I'm guessing to get out of the room).


Can't forget the most important part. All 3 were wonderful dogs. Shepherds are the best.
 

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I think it has a lot to do with the DNA. Mine barks when someone knocks on the door. That is about it. If I was on the other side of the door, there is no way I would walk through it. Exactly what I wanted. Overall she is very quiet.

Now, when it is play time, or getting close to food time, she talks. A LOT. Not barking, but, talking. loud..... It is easy to stop with the off command, so as long as it doesn't get out of hand, it is really funny to watch.

Check out mom before getting a pup. I have read that they get a lot of the personality from mom. If mom is a crazy barker, I would assume pup will be too.

When I picked up Shasta, I walked up to the gate with the breeder, I didn't hear a peep out of mom. The breeder asked if I would like to meet mom, and of course I said yes! She just opened the gate and mom came right up to me and got in my lap. Shasta is the same way. I think if I felt threatened though, she would react appropriately.
 

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Current dogs:


When we lived in the city, the older dog and her then companion let me sleep the night through with neighbors on my front lawn, the house across the road on fire, sirens, ammo going off in the fire. It wasn't a threat to us so no need to wake me up.


Here in the country, the same dog would wake me by physically laying on top of me if the wigged out neighbor would be screaming curses. No barks, just, hey, you need to know about this.


Same dog will bark at my horse who belongs on the property.



Younger dog will bark when someone drives up to the house (gravel crunches) or knocks on the door (both dogs on that one).



Older dog will bark up a tree or two on our walks, bark at the rock she has picked up, bark to tell everyone about the fine points of either the stick or the rock that she has right now. Let out at night, she will do a perimeter of the yard and bark as she goes around.


The two of them carry on like they are being slaughtered as I go to open the door to let them out.



I refer to them as the barker sisters. But overall, in the house, they are quiet. (except when being let out...)
 

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My dog isn’t a big barker. He’s definitely not a nuisance barker (barking out of boredom). He will bark if someone comes to the door. But...he is a whiner/talker. OMG!

I’ve found in my experience, they are more whiny/talkers than inappropriate barkers.

No matter what I do, I can’t get a hold of the whining - mostly in excitement (walks, leaving the house). I’ve tried ignoring until he settles. Nope. As soon as I get up after he settles, he starts the whining again. He spins and whines...but only when he knows he’s going outside or leaving the house.
 

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I'm new to this forum and this is my first post.

I am interested in owning a German Shepherd as my next dog, I have always had Bernese mountain dogs but have Decided I would like a change, so I have experience of big powerful dogs.

Everything I have read and seen ( I went to crufts this year) about the breed is perfect for except for one thing , barking.

I have read that they are a very vocal breed who bark at every little thing and you can't train them not too. But at crufts I was told that they only bark if they hear something or see something and that there is always a reason for them barking and you can train them with a cue to stop barking.

I want to ask which is true that they bark at everything and you can't train them or that they don't bark for no reason and training can keep barking in check?

I ask as my neighbors are not dog people and don't like dogs who bark all the time so I have to make sure that any dog I have is either pretty quiet or can be trained to stop barking on command.

My Bernese were quiet dogs they only bark if someone came to the door or if they saw something \heard something or if they got excited but a simple quiet command meant they were quiet when told.

I would be cery greatful for any advice.
You are talking about breeds that are polar opposites in all respects. A bored GSD will likely bark it's fool head off. Or one that is lonely. But whoever said they bark at every little thing did not know the breed. They will alert bark and a dog with weak nerves may be fairly noisy. Popular theory holds that dogs in yards bark because they are scared or lonely. It's pretty close to true.
Bud raised the dead if someone walked into the yard while he was in his run. He barked at the door but not excessively. Sabi barked because she liked watching people jump, she let them walk past her first or she barked if she felt a need to announce herself on a site. She barked if anyone approached the house while I was home but never when I was gone. Shadow barks at the TV, dogs and birds, she seldom barks at the door. She also barks at road signs. Lexi never barked and Hunter barked at men. Sasha seldom barked unless she was angry and Asta rarely barked at anything. Billy barked at people approaching me.
 

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Mine only bark if they sense danger or are saying hello. They cry sometimes but only with good reasons. I had another one that barked so much I eventually tried a bark collar. They vary but you can train them.
@Sunsilver Did the note work?
 

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My parents have a Bijon and a Pomeranian and those two bark way more than my 2 GSDs and you can't even make them stop.

When mine bark it's either because there is something outside or when they are playing.

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