German Shepherds are amazing companions and loyal protectors. They also know how to get what they want by talking to you in their own unique language. They aren’t afraid to be vocal and will use their plethora of different sounds to alert you of their needs. From barking at the neighbor’s dog to whimpering for a treat, they are some of the most vocal canines out there. This article will dive into exactly what those noises mean and why they are so talkative.
Do German Shepherds Talk?
Technically German Shepherds don’t talk with words. But they do communicate by expressing themselves vocally. They will bark, groan, growl, moan, whimper and wine for various reasons. Some GSDs are much more vocal than others but all of them at some point will express how they feel using their own language. They will also express their wants and desires through body language.
How Do German Shepherds Speak?
German Shepherds will speak using body language and sounds to let you know their current state. We will be focusing on the noises they make in this article. What do they mean and why do they make all of those different sounds?
Most dogs have the ability to be vocal by the time they are 1 month old. What starts out as little whimpers and moans, eventually turns into barks and growls. Here is a list of the different noises they make and what each one means.
Barking is one of the top ways that GSDs communicate with us. But there are several different frequencies and ranges of pitch that can mean different things.
We are all familiar with the continuous rapid barking that usually means they are alerting you that something or someone is there. However, this doesn’t always mean there is a threat. But when the barking gets slower and the pitch lowers, the dog may be preparing to defend their territory.
Short barks can mean a few different things such as a greeting or they are ready to play. If the short bark is high pitched it can mean they are surprise or startled. If the bark gets louder and louder, it can mean that they are having a lot of fun.
Fun Fact: While a Golden Retriever named Charlie holds the record for the loudest bark in history at 113.1 decibels, the German Shepherd is second with a bark that can reach up to 106 decibels.
The growl of a GSD can be very intimidating and for good reason. They will use a soft growl to warn any possible threats to stay away.
Sometimes they will combine a growl with a bark which could mean they need help or they are threatening another animal or person. If the growl is higher pitched it means they are scared but will still defend themselves.
A rolling growl that transitions from medium to a higher pitch suggests that they are extremely frightened and that they will defend their well-being or simply run away from the threat. If it’s a loud growl and their teeth are not visible, it may mean that they are very focused when playing aggressively.
Howling goes back to their ancestry. Since dogs descended from wolves, they naturally inherited the instinct to howl. German Shepherds will be automatically triggered to join other dogs howling at night.
Besides their natural inclination, dogs will howl for a variety of other reasons. They will howl when they are just plain lonely and seeking companionship. This is especially the case if they have been isolated for too long with no one around.
They may also howl to mark their territory. They may also partake in what is known as baying. This is when they use a combination of barking and howling to alert hunters during tracking. They are simply letting you know: “hey follow me.”
4. Moaning or Groaning:
Moaning or groaning could mean a few different things. It could simply mean that they are excited and seeking some attention. It could also mean that they are experiencing some type of pain.
In the rare case that they are screaming with a high-pitched yelp that continues for long intervals, you probably want to contact the vet immediately for assistance.
This usually means that they are in severe pain most likely from an injury. The only other occasion that this might present itself is if they are calling out to their pack-mates.
You’ve probably heard those cute little sighs coming from a dog before. A lot of times they will sigh when settling down for a cozy little nap with their head on their front paws.
If their eyes are partially closed, it probably means that they are happy and content. If their eyes are all the way open, it may mean that they aren’t happy with something going on around them or someone. Maybe Frisky the cat got a little too close.
Last but not least, it may mean that they are fed up with asking you to come outside and play. At this point they have given up and accepted your rejection.
7. Whining and Whimpering:
Whining or whimpering usually isn’t a good sign. It probably means that either hurt or scared. They should be checked for injuries to make sure it isn’t anything significant.
It could also be a sign that they are experiencing separation anxiety usually due to their owner being away for long hours. Finally, they could simply be bored, craving attention or hungry.
Yelping usually isn’t a good sign either. This usually means that they are fearful and submitting to the current situation. If it is a single yelp, they are probably hurt or scared or experiencing a quick sharp pain.
If they continue to yelp several times, they are most likely in severe pain or discomfort. They may need to go the the veterinarian for emergency care immediately.
Remember body language also plays a big part in their communication. Sometimes their vocal sounds combined with certain movements can mean different things. For example, their ear positions can tell you a lot about their mood or emotions.
How To Train Your German Shepherd To Speak?
Some GSDs are a lot more vocal than others and will definitely let you know when a stranger is nearby. Others are quieter and more reserved when it comes to speaking their mind.
Either way, one of the best ways to control their bark is by teaching them when to speak and when not to speak. This should be taught early on if given the opportunity.
Teach them the “speak” command:
Teaching them to speak is pretty basic. You want to train them to relate the word “speak” with them barking on command. To do this, you will repetitively reward them with instant praise or a treat when they bark on your command.
Teach them the “quiet” command:
Similar to the previous command, you want to train them to stop barking whenever they hear the word “quiet.” You can do the same thing and reward them with instant praise or a treat when they stop barking on your command.
These commands are very useful for guard dog purposes. You can encourage your German Shepherd to let you know by barking that a stranger is approaching the house. Show him that you are investigating who is there.
Once the person is deemed safe, give your dog the quiet command and reward them for their effort. Just make sure that this stranger alert bark mainly stays in the house. They shouldn’t be barking at every stranger walking down the street.
Why Are German Shepherds So Vocal?
German Shepherd dogs can be very vocal but they can also be quite quiet. It all depends on their history and upbringing. For example, if a dog is abused early on in their life, they may be much more vocal than a dog who was raised in a calm and peaceful household environment.
Reasons they might be vocal:
- Hunger or thirst could definitely lead to some different sounds.
- A potty break could be the reason for a high-pitched harp.
- They may simply be seeking attention or want a nice belly rub.
- A passing siren may spark their vocal prowess.
- They may want to revisit a familiar place driving down the road.
- They could be feeling scared or threatened.
- An injury or pain can lead to some heartbreaking sounds.
On occasion, some GSDs will attempt to communicate with their owner. Some even say that they feel like their German Shepherd is having a conversation with them.
Do German Shepherds Talk Like Huskies?
German Shepherds can definitely chat it up. But when it comes to talking, Huskies take the cake. There are countless videos on YouTube of Siberian Huskies expressing themselves vocally.
Some of them even sound like they are mimicking the words that their owners are saying. Huskies seem to have a knack for speaking their minds.
While your German Shepherd won’t be winning a spelling bee anytime soon, they will definitely be speaking to you in their own form of communication. Although they can’t talk in the form of words, they are extremely smart animals who use body language along with their auditory sounds to let you know when they need something.
Pay attention the next time your furry friend is barking, grunting, groaning, moaning, whimpering, whining, muttering, squealing, harping, howling, wheezing, sighing, belching, snorting, grumbling, or sneezing. They just might be trying to tell you something!
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Do you own a German Shepherd? How does your GSD speak to you? Are there any specific noises it uses to communicate with you? Let us know! We would love to hear about your personal experience!