German Shepherd Barking at Other Dogs? How to Stop It!


When a dog walks by your house with his owner, you’ll know about it. When there’s a dog a quarter-mile off in the distance, you’ll also know! That’s because your German Shepherd has developed an unfavorable habit of barking at other dogs in many situations. This may cause you to wonder why your German Shepherd barks at other dogs?

German Shepherds bark at other dogs to protect you and their territory as it’s in their nature. Moreso if they are on a leash as they feel more nervous or threatened. They may also bark when excited and want to play with the other dog. Lack of training and socialization are other reasons.

Training your German Shepherd to leave this behavior behind should be your priority. In this article, we’re going to explore specific training methods to reduce this problem behavior.

Aggressive German Shepherd barking at another dog. Why Does My German Shepherd Bark At Other Dogs?

Welcome to the world of why your German Shepherd barks at other dogs and how to stop it.

Let’s get started.

How to Stop a German Shepherd from Barking at Other Dogs

So, now you know why your German Shepherd barks at other dogs, how do you stop it?

To stop your German Shepherd from barking at other dogs, distract him with treats BEFORE he starts to bark. Work on obedience training and positive reinforcement and encourage him to focus all his attention on YOU. He will quickly learn to stop barking before he has any contact with other dogs!

Training a dog isn’t something you only work on during puppyhood. In fact, you should work on training your German Shepherd for at least a few minutes every single day, even once he reaches adulthood.

When your German Shepherd gets a little too excited (or fearful) when he sees other dogs, he might impulsively bark at them. The best way to handle these situations is to distract your German Shepherd with food or treats, offer positive reinforcement, and enforce obedience training.

The best time to correct unwanted barking is BEFORE it occurs!

Distracting Your German Shepherd

There’s not much you can do about your German Shepherd’s excitement when he sees another dog that he wants to play with. But, there are ways that you can distract your German Shepherd and cause him to lose focus on the dog he’s barking at.

Here’s how you can work on distracting your German Shepherd when he’s barking at other dogs.

  • Feed him treats as soon as a dog comes around – get his attention on you! You must give him the treat before he starts barking at the dog. If you wait until he starts barking, he’ll begin to connect barking with getting treats, which might just encourage the barking behavior even more.
  • Continue to give him treats. Now, one treat won’t usually do it! The longer the dog stays in your German Shepherd’s view, the more he’s going to want to bark. Continue to give him treats as he stays quiet and doesn’t bark at the other dog.
  • Stop giving him treats when the dog leaves. Once the other dog leaves your dog’s view, immediately stop giving him treats. This will allow him to connect the dots a little better and understand that being quiet around this other dog is why he earned treats.

Keep in mind that your goal here is to distract your dog. You want your dog to focus on the treats rather than the other dog, which can limit the barking behavior.

You can feed your German Shepherd either very small (pea-sized) pieces of meat or cheese or even some healthy fruits or vegetables. If you prefer to purchase dog treats make sure you choose healthy ones for large breeds such as this selection on Amazon.

Check out this really helpful video from celebrity dog trainer Zak George who uses positive reinforcement to teach dogs to stop barking humanely, effectively, and naturally:

How to Teach Any Dog to Stop Barking

Praising Good Behavior

A lot of training a dog not to bark involves praising good behavior that your German Shepherd exhibits. The more you praise the good, the more likely he’s willing to continue this behavior in the future. Here are some of the best ways to praise good behavior:

  • Saying “good” after he does something good
  • Pet him
  • Offer him a treat or some food
  • Allow him to approach the dog

Most people understand that they should be teaching their dog what he shouldn’t be doing, but you also need to put in a lot of effort to show him what he should actually be doing. When he realizes he gets a reward when he does something good, he’ll want to keep doing it!

Working on Obedience Training

Controlling your German Shepherd’s excessive barking can be quite an ordeal. When your dog starts barking when he sees other dogs, he needs to get used to following commands before he’s allowed to see or approach the dog he wants to play with.

For example, if he starts barking like crazy when he sees a dog, you can train him “sit” and “quiet.” When he sits down and stops barking, you can then allow him around the dog that he’s so interested in.

This helps to show your dog that he doesn’t control whether he sees the dog or not. You do! He doesn’t get to play with the other dog when he’s demanding to play with them by barking; he’ll be allowed to see them when he sits and stops barking. 

Alternative Methods

I think it’s best for German Shepherd owners to actively try to limit their German Shepherd’s barking at other dogs. But, putting in the time and effort to train your dog might be a little overwhelming, maybe due to a “difficult” dog, although this is quite rare.

There are a few alternative methods of reducing or stopping your German Shepherd’s impulsive barking habits. Anti-bark collars might do the trick, however, these are controversial. You can also try simply ignoring the barking and seeing what happens.

Both have the potential to be effective, but it all depends on your ethical beliefs and your German Shepherd. Read on to find out more!

Anti-Bark Collars

Although somewhat controversial, anti-bark collars can be effective in reducing your German Shepherd’s barking behaviors.

However, none of them will address the root cause of excessive or unwanted barking!

There are many different types that you can experiment with to see which works best with your German Shepherd. However, I would only try this tactic if everything else has failed as these collars won’t teach your dog what the proper behavior is. Only you can do that with positive reinforcement training!

Anti-bark collars tend to get a bad reputation, but some dog owners will say that they can be useful for “difficult” dogs. When the collar senses that your dog is barking, it might spray an unsavory scent or air that your dog dislikes, offer a light electric shock, or emit a high-pitched sound that only your German Shepherd can hear.

I don’t agree with them at all. But that’s just my view. If you feel you have exhausted all other options you might want to initially try the type of collar that sprays either air or an unpleasant smell. Please be aware that anti-bark collars are unpleasant for your dog and they may cause your German Shepherd to act aggressively.

Eventually, your dog may learn that barking causes these undesirable consequences, which theoretically should encourage him to stop barking. However, your German Shepherd might begin to realize that the collar is the source of his punishment.

When you remove the collar, it’s pretty common for dogs to revert to their previous barking behavior.

Ignoring the Barking

Barking German Shepherd

There’s something to be said for the power of ignoring your dog. When it comes to ignoring your dog when he’s barking, it’s not exactly what you think it might be. Here’s how you can do it:

  • When your dog starts barking at another dog, stop the walk. Do not continue to approach the other dog. Do not yell at him. Do not react at all. Stand still in a statue-like fashion.
  • When your dog stops barking, continue the walk. Now that he’s performed the behavior that you want, continue toward the other dog and progress with the walk.

Your German Shepherd will eventually begin to connect his barking with his walk, stopping and not getting closer to the other dog.

Final Thoughts 

If your German Shepherd has developed a habit of barking at other dogs, don’t assume that there’s nothing that you can do about it. As long as you acknowledge the problem behavior and try to address it, you should see an improvement in no time! Here’s a summary of the best things you can do.

  • Distract your German Shepherd with food before he starts barking at other dogs.
  • Praise your German Shepherd when he doesn’t bark or stops barking!
  • Teach your German Shepherd that obeying your commands leads him to be able to meet or play with the dogs he’s barking at.
  • Devote lots of time, patience, and consistency training your dog.

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Sharon Waddington

I am the owner of World of Dogz. I have a 5-year-old female German Shepherd named "Willow" and I've worked with dogs for almost 30 years. I love spending time with my dog and I enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise of all things dogs on this site!

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