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Thread: 5 year old German Shepard That Barks

  1. #1

    Default 5 year old German Shepard That Barks

    Hello everyone

    My dog is a barker and has been all her life, I am going to admit that we as dog owners have not put the time and effort into this dog to stamp out this annoying behaviour. We have how ever taken her to a german shepard training school, when she was young but didn't stick it out. We walk her 2 to 3 times a week, we play with her in the back yard, we have tried citronella collars, we had a behaviourist come around only to prescribe her drugs, apart from the cost it stole her personality so we weened her off them.We tend to not take her places because she barks at certain people, which scare them and us. Soooo! Thats why I'm here, we know that its going to take many hours of training to improve her, but for them moment its the barking we would like to get on top of, we went down the Barkbusters route, but don't have $450 at the moment.Can anyone offer some actionable tips that we can do to start to train her to stop barking, as we are at wits end with her?Thanks in advance Mark.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Where are you (nearest large city)? Maybe we can recommend someone in your area that is better than bark busters.

    I would start with a daily walk - at least 30 minutes on lead.

    And some NILIF
    NILIF, Nothing in Life is Free! | Steve Courtney Dog Training

    You could go back to german shepherd school - or look up trick training and shaping dog tricks on youtube and facebook - and engage your dog's brain.

    When I'm not home, my dog stays in my house - so if she does bark - it's muffled and not annoying to neighbours. A tin garage does not substitute for inside a house - as that is like putting your barking dog in an amplifier - freaks the dog out and the neighbours for much further than if you didn't lock the dog in a shed.

    I'd also make sure the dog has plenty to do when you're not home... like chew toys, maybe a sand pit, kongs with food frozen in - you'd need the biggest black one...

    But if the dog has had enough mental and physical activity before you leave it, and something good to chew on when you do leave, that should help.

    Failing that - if it is a separation anxiety as a result of "weak nerves" or "bad breeding" ie it's wired in and can't be trained out, you could get the dog "debarked" if you've tried everything else - but a lot of dog people will look at you like you are a criminal, or you can crate train your dog, and if you have to leave the dog, then in the crate.

    Barking at things when you go for a walk - is a matter of management of your dog's stress/excitement thresholds - which a behaviourist could best help with.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia


    I have a GSD. They have something to say about everything. And always insist on the last word.
    In a 5 yr habit, in a dog that is known for being vocal.
    I rate your chances as slim to none.

    Preventing my dog seeing the fence he likes to gob off at works. ie. manage the environment, not the dog.
    teaching him to speak has helped, as he now has many vocalisations to use, other than the booming GSD shout.
    I also when we moved, stood with my dog, as high traffic past times, and counter conditioned, so treats for mouth remaining shut.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Geelong, Vic


    Don't bother with Bark Busters they're a franchise. You need someone who has experience with GSDs as it's a common problem. Is it barking at people out in the street or is she a nusience barker at home?

    And as for the medication, don't get me started ... an undertrained and underexercised dog medicated *mad face*

    If its at home then an electronic collar will stop her. More exercise and work on YOUR behalf is always going to be required to help the dog. A tired dog is a quiet dog, there's plenty of obedience and trick videos on youtube you can copy to keep her brain stimulated in those times you can't walk her. As for the barking at people that too can be stopped IF you get the right trainer. What area are you in, if you're close to Geelong (VIC) pop down and see me we can sort the barking at people in one session, the nusience barking at home is something you will have to work on in the long term. Otherwise tell us where you are and I'll recommend someone really good at a price much better then Bark Busters.

  5. #5


    We have a mini foxie that we have a similar problem with. The three other dogs don't bark much, but this little foxie can be a real pain in the butt. I have tried toys, walks, training, you name it but she just seems wired to go mental at the littlest thing. I don't think that it's anxiety so much as she is happy to be away from me when I am home. Anyway the things that have given us some relief are:
    - Anxiety wraps - you might need to replace it a couple of times a year as they stretch out but it's heaps cheaper and safer than medication: I bought mine here Dog Pup Puppia Thundershirt Harness Leash Collar Angel Eyes items - Get great deals on items on eBay Stores!
    - Nina ottoson puzzle toys - I fill these with different types of food and leave them out in the day - not good if your dog eats plastic though
    - Allergy medication - ok, so this dog DOES have a bit of a grass allergy. I have some meds for this and make sure I give her a dose if I'm going out for a long time. It makes her drowsy and quieter.
    - Leaving through a different door - this fooled her for a while - I went out through the laundry instead of the front door and she was really good for a couple of weeks.
    - Varying food - I tried yoghurt/ tinned food/ cheese in rotation in the nina ottoson toys which helped to keep her interest. I am of the opinion that she is not really that anxious, she just gets super bored and maybe gets a little stressed as she is top dog.
    - Working at home - not feasible for everyone, but maybe you or the person you live with (you said we) could negotiate to work from home at least some of the time? Fortunately (for the dogs that is) I am disabled so my employers will usually allow me to work from home at least some of the time.
    Keeping her inside - our neighbours are home a lot and often out making a racket in their yard.

    Stuff I tried that didn't work
    - DAP spray. Sprayed on a coat/ bandanna around her neck and did nothing
    - Radio/ TV - didn't seem to change their behaviour much although the others may have enjoyed it
    - Training - tried the desensitisation training of leaving and returning a few minutes later and that seemed to have a very short term effect
    - Rawhides/ chews - she ignored these.
    - Bones - they did work to keep interest, but ultimately too dangerous with multiple dogs. If you only have 1 dog this could work provided the bone is big enough not to be choked on.
    - Bark collar - I got one off ebay and it just went off at random times. The battery pack also got really hot and I was too afraid to leave it on her in case she caught fire!

    I find with our little barker, success comes and goes. She is well behaved for a little while, then I come home one day to find out she has turned into a little shite again all of a sudden for no apparent reason. The more attention and games I give her, the more she laps it up but it doesn't necessarily translate to better behaviour when I am out. Incidentally we have a german shepherd near us that barks alot when the owner is out 10 hours per day (as a dog owner I don't really mind but I feel bad for the dog). I think it is a common problem but not necessarily the owner's fault - but the owner has to do what they can to try and solve the problem. I personally don't think there is a problem with meds if your dog has plenty of exercise, stimulation and training. If humans need medication for emotional/ behavioural disorders in extreme cases, then surely some dogs must too.

  6. #6


    Hey Everyone

    Thanks for the help, if there is trainers that you know of near, Newcastle NSW that would be a great help. Cheers Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Geelong, Vic


    Get a hold of Pet Resorts Australia at Bowral and see who they recommend up there for you, if you can speak to Glenn Cooke that's a bonus.

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