How Do German Shepherds Show Affection? (8-Signs)

Want to know how a German Shepherd shows affection?

Great! You’ve come to the right place!

If only dogs could speak, your German Shepherd will tell you he loves you and compliments you a gazillion times each day. 

Sadly, our canine companions cannot verbalize their feelings.

image of Boy and girl with German shepherd

In this guide, you will discover:

  • Signs that your German Shepherd loves you
  • Why GSD’s might act cold and unfriendly
  • The reason why the world calls the GSD a selfless, loyal breed

And more!

What's In This Guide?

      How Does A German Shepherd Show Affection?

      Tail wagging, licking, leaning on you, and in some cases pouncing are just a few ways this breed may show affection.

      Some dogs may come across as more excited, roughhouse you or lay their head on your lap. Other ways include nudging of with their head, climbing, fetching toys, and rolling over for a tummy rub.

      I have even noticed a friend’s GSD smelling material with an owner’s scent or lying in their parent’s commonplace of habitat too.

      All of these commonly found traits solidify this breed as “man’s best friend”.

      But for your German Shepherd to show affection, you must make sure you provide your pooch more than just his basic needs.

      The time and attention you devote to your pooch are just as important as a nutritious bowl of food and a cozy bed.

      What Should You Know About A German Shepherd’s Affection?

      German Shepherds will get attached to the person responsible for his training and care.

      German Shepherds do well in large families and they will display respect and protective tendencies toward each member.

      But even if there are multiple people involved in the care of the dog, a GSD may still pick the person that reciprocates his affection the most.

      What Are The Signs Of A German Shepherds Affection?

      Here are some of the most common ways a German Shepherd expresses his love.

      Sign 1: You And Your GSD Often Establish Eye Contact

      Making direct eye contact is often perceived as a threat by a dominant or unfamiliar canine.

      However, with your own trusted German Shepherd, making sustained eye contact is a fantastic way to bond and strengthen your relationship.

      Forming eye contact raises oxytocin levels in both humans and their canine companions; it is the same hormone that bonds mother and child.

      Dogs are sensitive to the direction of their caretaker’s gaze as it helps them decipher the message directed to them.

      Shepherd dogs are visually cooperative as they were bred to follow the direction of their owner’s hand during work.

      A German Shepherd that throws up an intense straight gaze at his parents is indicating the need for attention.

      Sign 2: Your GSD Willingly Expresses Vulnerability

      Did you know the underbelly is the most vulnerable part of a dog’s body?

      True, dogs live for belly rubs but they do not allow anyone to tickle them unless they feel comfortable with their environment and with the people around them.

      In the canine world, hierarchy is vital.

      A dog plopping upside down to expose his abdomen is a sign of submission to a higher-ranking member of the pack.

      If your German Shepherd rolls onto his back and exposes his belly, he is communicating that he has no intention of challenging your position as the Alpha Dog.

      Rather, he puts an enormous amount of trust and respect on you.

      Of course, your furry pal wants belly rubs in return! After all, the human touch is the greatest reward a loving loyal pooch can ever receive.

      Sign 3: Your GSD Loves Giving You Wet Kisses

      Has your German Shepherd ever come up to you and started licking your legs, arms, or even your face?

      People have mixed feelings about this canine gesture of love. Some dog owners love the slobbery kisses while others are unappreciative.

      Hate it or love it, but licking is a sign that your German Shepherd loves you.

      Sign 4: Your GSD Mirrors Your Emotions

      Dogs find it a cinch to decode our emotions.

      Have you been feeling down in the dumps before and doggo came over to lie beside you?

      Upon seeing you so low your GSD may also slump his shoulder against you or lay his head on your lap. Have you also had your puppy press up against the backs of your legs? That’s a doggie hug!

      These doggie deeds are a common experience for all dog owners, but it is even more so for breeds that are as intelligent and empathetic as the German Shepherd.

      If someone angers you or causes you to become livid with fear, your loyal pooch can feel that as well. Hence, you can always count on your GSD to be there for you when you need comfort and protection.

      Moreover, seeing you happy elicits a positive for your GSD. When you are in high spirits, your pooch will also feel cheery and content. His wagging tail could not hide how happy your doggo is.

      Sign 5: Your GSD Never Leaves Your Side

      Expect to hear paws right behind you because the German Shepherd is notoriously known as a “Velcro” breed. Your doggo will always follow you everywhere you go, even in the bathroom.

      This does not necessarily indicate your dog has separation anxiety but can happen when your dog is left alone for long periods of time.

      As a member of the pack, your GSD wants to keep tabs on what you are doing so he can protect you if need be or better yet, be a part of what you do.

      While this behavior does not appeal to some, it is a positive display of loyalty and affection.

      Sign 6: Your GSD Wants To Sleep Beside You

      Where should a German Shepherd sleep? In your room, preferably beside you!

      Dogs retreat in a place where they feel most comfortable. In the wild, canines sleep close to their pack for safety and protection.

      So, if your German Shepherd wants to spend the night with you, it is because he loves you. But you’ll need to be clear this is not down to bad training habits.

      If you do not allow your dog to sleep in your bed, you can buy him his own.

      Regardless, that does not mean you should not make time for cuddles. Your pooch will appreciate it if you snuggle up on the sofa or the floor.

      sign 7: Your GSD Steals Your Belongings

      Does your dog love to rip your socks or chew up your sneakers, especially when you are not around?

      No dog owner looks forward to coming home to see their pet wreaking havoc but believe it or not, your doggo may be doing this for an endearing reason.

      According to studies, chewing releases endorphins that promote relaxation in dogs during a stressful time of being alone.

      By getting a good whiff of something that smells just like you, your doggo would be comforted by having a form of connection with you, especially during your absence.

      Then again, this habit still falls under destructive behavior, and therefore, you will want to use positive reinforcement to put an end to this.

      Sign 8: Your GSD Gets Ecstatic Upon Your Return

      A fully-grown German Shepherd will have the emotional and mental capacity of a three-year-old child.

      That said, imagine a toddler being left alone for an extended period. A few hours would seem like an eternity.

      So upon your return, your doggo will jump on you or wag his tail higher than its natural position. Some dogs may even shower you with wet kisses galore.

      image of little girl in yellow dress with one hand resting on her german shepherd

      What Affects A German Shepherd’s Affection?

      Has your canine buddy become irritable for no apparent reason?

      Your beloved pooch might seem to have grown aloof, but it might also be due to pain.

      80% of mature German Shepherds suffer arthritis, a disease that involves inflammation and degeneration of the joints.

      Arthritis pain can feel like a sprain or a broken bone, but your GSD may keep it a secret until he could hide it no more.

      German Shepherds are known to have an incredibly high pain threshold.

      There are several ways to help mitigate joint pain but if your GSD is already suffering from joint problems, you can help alleviate the pain by providing your dog an orthopedic bed and glucosamine supplementation.

      How Does A GSD’s Affection Different From Other Dogs?

      Dogs are bred for various purposes.

      Some pooches can provide people emotional support and assistance, while others save human lives during disasters.

      There are canines that are best in herding and farm work, as well as breeds with unrivaled talent in catching and retrieving prey.

      But some dogs, like the German Shepherd, are bred to be ferocious guardians.

      A naturally protective breed, the German Shepherd will defend his territory and keep his beloved family safe from harm at all costs.

      While I am not saying other dogs are less capable of loving their human pack members, the German Shepherd relates to their caretakers better than most breeds.

      Any move against their family triggers a defensive counter-attack and during this mode, these courageous canines become oblivious to danger and pain.

      Final Thoughts On German Shepherd Affection

      Do German shepherds love their owners? Of course! Affection is the German Shepherd’s favorite currency.

      This doggo may not speak English, but his body language is his best tool for communication.

      While the GSD has many ways of showing his affection, the ultimate display of love and trust your dog can give you is when he makes himself vulnerable.

      Although the German Shepherd is well-equipped to fight given his physical attributes, he becomes a softie around his humans.

      Picture of Lara Writes

      Lara Writes

      Lara, a.k.a Alpha Mama, is a great dancer and belter singer, although the world tells her otherwise. However, her greatest pleasure is working with animals. If the Alpha Mama is not being delusional, she manages to create informative articles and clear-cut buying guides. She also likes to share her personal experiences that may ignite your soul or possibly change your life!

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