Isolated Barking problem with my GSD

Posted by fetzhola
May 6, 2011

I have a 4.5 month-old female German Shepherd puppy. She barks a lot only when she senses the other dog while she is inside her crate. I have to keep her inside the crate for safety purposes during night while the older dog(8yr old Lab) roam freely. This barking creates a major problem since people are sleeping.

There seems to be a root cause of this behavior...(I do not know how to correct) please read description below:

A description on her over-all behavior with other dogs:
Her behavior to other dogs is the root issue when she barks inside her crate when sensing a dog nearby, and when she is outside the crate she wants to go near every dog she meets and seemingly just want to play(not a problem) but this becomes a problem when she shows obsessive tendencies(very very eager sort of a tantrum) just to go near dogs and lick them, lunges her paws and crawl under the other dog's bellies. She do this to all dogs and most dogs she encountered(including bigger dogs which can probably hurt her) seem not to like it and finds it irritating(growls aggressively).

I exercise(walk inside our property and not outside since she's just 4 months) and play(fetch) with her everyday and do basic obedience training(Sit and down ATM).

What is this behavior? How can I correct this? Please advice.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
May 6, 2011
Hi fetzhola,

Your puppy's barking is most likely seeking attention. While it is annoying, the best thing you can do is to ignore her during the night.

When did you get her? Did she have plenty of time playing with her litter mates before you got her?

Does your 8 yr old dog play with her using her mouth and kind of like wrestling? Does she have play mate(s)? If not, you might want to provide such opportunities for her. Older dogs don't like to play with puppies, since they have a lot of energy and they are actually too much for them most of the time. My own dogs try to avoid getting close to puppies

As for the crating at night, is there anyway you can keep your older dog away from her crate, for example, put her crate in one room and keep the door of the room closed and have your older dog in your bedroom, etc.

I totally understand how your puppy doesn't want to be isolated from the rest of the family. When I foster puppies, I usually crate him/her in our utility room and have my own dogs loaming the rest of the house when I cannot watch him/her and he/she hates it. My foster dog barks and tries to chew the crate, etc. However, he/she is just fine in the crate during the night since my dogs also sleep in the utility room, right outside of his/her crate.

So my suggestions are:

1. Find her a playmate if your dog doesn't play with her.
2. Separate the two dogs as much as possible during the night.

Hope this will help
Posted by fetzhola
May 9, 2011
Thank you very much for your helpful and informative reply. I got her at 2 months from the breeder(Different region) and had her shipped so unfortunately I was not able to look at the litter to observe them, but based on the breeder's description she is a "naughty" one and very friendly with the airport's cargo staff.

So far this one is the most playful/hyper-active pup Ive experienced in terms with relation to other dogs(Not so much with humans only bad habit is jumping on people).

At first she barks a lot and just could not resist other dogs(All dogs she meet about 6 different dogs already), my friend and I thought she was aggressive.. but once I let go of the leash. What she does all the time is running towards the other dog once she sees them then lick them on the face, jumps on them and hits their heads with her paws, crawls under the chest or performs a "down/lay" position, run in circles around the dog and chases them if they go away and she will never stop. I would not see it as wrestling like what puppies do to each other and she does not attempt to bite the older dogs.

As a result, the two older dogs we have would not like to play with her they growl at her. She is very, very playful and to a point I consider naughty and just would not stop with disturbing the older dogs jumping all over them, which led me to inquire in this forum how to correct this behavior in regards with her relation to other dogs and most problematic "barking", from your reply it seems like it is normal for puppies. Hopefully would disappear as she grows older right? As I would like to let her learn how to ignore other dogs, that would be the good.

Unfortunately I am her only playmate, my friend's dogs also would not play with her and my time is limited since I got to work 9-10hrs a day.

Anyways I appreciate much with what you suggested and I will try it.
So I think I agree with everything and now see it as "Too playful" issue, hoping it would not escalate further into something bad.

Perhaps someone also has this issue and could share information?
Posted by KOPCaroline
May 9, 2011
Hey fetzhola,

Do you only crate your puppy at night? Have you tried crating her during the day and seeing what she does as your older dog walks past, so that you can correct her?

If you try it, you can give a "no" command at first, but this may only excite her more. If verbal correctiong doesnt help tone down her barking, take yourself and the other dog out of the area, and dont come back until the pup calms down. Keep this up until she starts to calm down.

I think until you can work on correcting her in her crate you should make efforts to keep your lab away from the crate at night, so that you can sleep.

I do think the over excitability in your pup is age related, my own dog used to be horrible at the park when we came up on other dogs, and showed a lot of the same behaviours - wiggling, licking faces, tearing around...he's grown out of most of it, and as he's gotten older he's learned to listen to commands more and more. So be patient, and know that a lot of these troubles will probably settle down with time! Puppies just get excited! Start working on basic commands like "heel" and "come" soon, and use them every time you go out. The more you work on it, the better it'll go!

Hope this helps, keep us posted!