Why do German Shepherds Cry? 6 Possible Reasons!

It is heart-wrenching for any owner when their dog cries or whines because often, there is no way to know what your dog is going through or how to help.

A German Shepherd may feel uncomfortable for many reasons, including separation anxiety, pain, or hunger.

The only way they know how to let you know something is wrong is to cry.

Why do German Shepherds Cry – Possible Reasons

German Shepherds are known as brave, strong, and protective dogs, but they can also tend to be a bit whiny.

If this sounds like your dog, you may be wondering why they are crying.

Below are some of the reasons that your dog may be finding life a little difficult at times and feel the need to cry:

  • Separation anxiety
  • Pain
  • Stress
  • Hungry
  • Nervous near other dogs
  • Telling you something important

Separation Anxiety

Like many dogs, German Shepherds do not like to be left alone for extended periods.

Your German Shepherd may cry as you leave the house or when you put them in the crate for the night. Separation anxiety isn’t because they are naughty, but rather because they love you and will miss you.

Should you give in to the crying and comfort them before you leave?

It is difficult not to run to your dog when they are upset. Going to them when they are crying will let them know that you pay more attention when they are whining.

It is best to put them in their crate or pat them on the head and leave, even if they cry, as hard as it is.

Giving in to them will only make matters worse for your dog and anyone in your area that may hear the desperate crying.

How can you Help with Your German Shepherd’s Separation Anxiety?

When overcoming your German Shepherd’s separation anxiety, it is important not to overreact to the situation.

It is better not to acknowledge the crying and to go about your day as you ordinarily would.

With time and patience, it is possible to help them be more comfortable with being alone. If your dog is having difficulty being without you, try leaving your house for shorter periods (about 10-15 minutes).

Then return, showing them that you will be back. Breaking your dog of separation anxiety won’t happen overnight, but perseverance will make a difference and become easier on both of you.

Spend time with your dog to make sure they feel loved. Dogs have many emotions, and one of them is feeling sad when their family is away.

Ensure that you carve out a good chunk of time, several times a day, to show your puppy that they are loved.


Whining and whimpering is a sure sign that your dog may have an injury.

Dogs are faithful and kind but are not known for being good with pain. Thus, you may want to pay close attention to your pup if they are crying.

If you notice your dog crying and licking or biting at a particular part of their body, they may have a rash or an itch; worse yet, a hot spot. If you notice your dog whining while eating, they may have a sore tooth.

After they eat or do their business, they may have stomach or bowel issues.

Watch your dog make sure they aren’t limping or favoring one paw over the rest.

If they do, it could mean they have a sliver, a cut, or have injured their paw or leg in some other way.

How You Can Help Your Dog in Pain

If you think your dog is in pain because of an injury, whether in their mouth or paw, or something internal, contact your vet immediately to have them checked out.

If the pain is coming from a rash, call your vet to see if they might recommend a topical ointment or allergy medication.

This might help ease the discomfort before you can get your German Shepherd into the vet.

If you notice your dog is uncomfortable because of a sliver, try to remove it and call the vet to see if some type of topical pain reliever may be appropriate, such as Benadryl or Polysporin.

If you see that your dog has fleas causing the discomfort, there are remedies at local pet stores.

Call your vet to get the final okay on what you should use.

Feeling Stressed

It is quite possible and not unlikely that your dog cries because they are stressed.

The reasons that your dog may feel stress are many, including:

  • Feel unsafe
  • Feel that you are unsafe
  • In an unfamiliar place
  • Feeling overwhelmed with a large gathering of people
  • Frightened by loud noises
  • Sensing there is danger

You may notice that your dog is more timed in the first months or years of their life until they realize that everything is okay.

How You Can Help Your German Shepherd with Stress

If your dog is crying because they feel anxious, for any reason, you need to let them know that you are there and that they are okay.

While you don’t want to pay much attention to a dog that cries because of separation anxiety, being nervous of other dogs, new places, and people, or sensing something dangerous should not be ignored.

It is essential when your dog is fearful not to ignore them. Instead of ignoring your dog, go and give them the psychological guidance they need.

When your dog is anxious, they can become stuck in a pattern of anxiety because they do not know what else they are supposed to do.

If your dog is anxious because of noise or a thunderstorm, try playing one of their favorite games with them to keep their mind occupied.

Do whatever you can to help your dogs stress.


One reason your dog may be crying is that they are hungry. Fortunately, there is an easy solution; feed them.

You may want to keep track of your dog’s feeding schedule if you are not doing so right now.

Feeding a dog at the same time each morning and evening will help set a clock that they and their bellies rely upon.

If you have followed a schedule and your German Shepherd is still crying at their food bowl, perhaps they are growing and need a larger portion.

Or maybe their food needs to be adjusted for another reason.

Before adding a substantial amount of food to your dog’s diet, contact their vet. But do keep in mind that most puppies, especially German Shepherd’s, will need three meals a day until they are about a year old.

Nervous Near Other Dogs

If your dog tends to cry near other dogs or ones they are not familiar with, it might mean they are uncomfortable. It is not uncommon for a dog, even a strong breed like the German Shepherd, to be intimidated by other dogs or at least feel a bit uneasy.

How You Can Help Ease Your German Shepherd’s Nerves

It is important not to expect your dog to be comfortable with new animals right away.

Introduce them to other dogs gradually, whether on a walk or at a dog park.

Stay close to your dog while they get used to a new dog. When possible, try to introduce new animals to your home if they will see them often.

A German Shepherd may also experience unease when meeting new people since they tend to be a protective breed.

Make sure whoever is meeting your dog will be respectful of their space, allow your dog to go to them, and not try to force a relationship too fast.

Telling You Something Important

German Shepherds are used as police and search dogs for a reason.

They are great at sniffing things out and sensing when something is not right.

If your dog is crying when they come up to you, follow them. They may be showing you something important – at least what they feel is significant.

How to Listen When Your Dog Tell You Something

Most of the time, your dog needs to know that you will listen when they feel you need to see something.

Maybe your dog wants to show you a squirrel or feel the cat is unsafe, or a candle unattended makes your dog nervous.

Follow your dog and react calmly, but pat them and take their mind off whatever worries them. Just like you would if your German Shepherd was nervous, play fetch or tug-of-war to keep your dog busy.

If they have spotted something dangerous, make sure you pat them.

Final Word

Despite German Shepherds being one of the most protective and notoriously common police dogs, they can also suffer from anxieties, worries, and hurt, just like any other breed.

It is essential not to allow your dog to wallow in self-pity or despair.

It is equally important to make sure you spend quality time with them and show them that you will protect them when need be.

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