19 German Shepherd Signs of Affection

Categorized as Training and Behavior
German shepherd signs of affection

If you’ve ever wondered whether or not your German Shepherd is happy to see you, there are a few subtle signs that can help answer that question. In this article, we’ll cover 25 German Shepherd signs of affection that will help both new and experienced GSD owners better understand their pets!

1. They Like To Lick You

It hasn’t been proven, but licking is often believed to be a sign of affection among dogs. They might learn this behavior from their mother, who licks them as a pup to clean them.

Perhaps they are simply doing some “tasting” on you just to see what you taste like, but if your German Shepherd likes to lick you all over your face, it’s likely because they love the way you taste!

2. They Like To Follow You Around

You may notice that your German Shepherd likes to follow you wherever you go, whether it’s into the kitchen, your bedroom, or even your bathroom! This instinctual behavior in dogs is often related to instinctual pack mentality behavior.

There are multiple reasons why your German Shepherd wants to follow you around, including wanting to stay with their pack, trying to keep an eye on you so that nothing terrible happens, or simply basking in your presence!

No matter what the reason is, this is a sign of affection.

4. They Cuddle With You

What better way to take a nap from a cold, hard world than having your furry friend by your side?

Cuddling is one of the most obvious signs of affection in dogs, and German Shepherds are no different. If your GSD likes to cuddle with you, then they love and trust you enough to let their guard down and remain vulnerable during the time they spend snuggling or cuddling with you.

This is even truer if your shepherd doesn’t like to cuddle with everyone, but rather only you!

4. They Lean on You

Making physical contact, such as leaning against you, is another form of affection. Dogs aren’t so different from humans when it comes to showing affection; they may lean on you or rest their heads on your lap.

If you’re doing such a good job in bonding with your shepherd, don’t be surprised if your large muscular dog can’t hold the urge to pull on you with their front paws while resting on your side.

5. They Like Getting Hugs From You

Believe me when I say it is not easy for dogs to tolerate getting hugs from their humans.

As shown by one study, hugging is viewed as a sign of affection from the human’s perspective while it’s actually considered an act of aggression from the dog’s perspective because they are unprotected in that position.

However, when your German Shepherd allows you to hug or even wrap them with your arms while resting on their back, pat yourself on the back because this is a clear sign that they trust you!

6. They Often Roll Over and Ask for Belly Rubs

You’ll find that part of your job as a German shepherd owner is giving your dog belly rubs!

When your dog rolls over and exposes their belly to you, they are saying that they trust you enough not to be defensive while exposing this vulnerable part of their body.

Usually, there are some preliminary signs that your dog likes to have their belly rubbed before they roll over and expose it to you, such as wiggling their body, rubbing against you, or barking as a sign that they want you to scratch their belly.

A great way to return the favor is by giving them a good scratch on the belly which they will appreciate. Another way to return the favor is by giving a good rub on the back, which they also love!

7. They’re Always Happy To See You

German shepherds, by nature, are aloof, so it’s very obvious that if your dog is always excited to see you, it’s because they enjoy your company!

To show their happiness, they may wag their tails, bark excitedly, lick you, jump up and down in joy, or try to play with you.

Whether the reason behind their excitement is whether they are indeed happy to see you or because all of their favorite treats are with you, this is still a sign of affection.

8. They Raise Their Eyebrows

Sometimes dogs show their emotions with a subtle facial movement. One of these unique facial expressions is called eyebrow-raising, which is an involuntary reaction done by dogs when something interesting happens to them.

This phenomenon was further confirmed by a study done by Japanese researchers at the Azuba university, which explained that dogs tend to raise their eyebrows, especially the left one, when they’re happy.

So if your German Shepherd raises its eyebrows at you when you are in the same room with them, chances are they love you and are overjoyed that you are there.

9. They’re Lovingly Look You in the Eyes

When you look in the eyes of your German Shepherd, what do you see? They may seem like they’re sizing you up because they are curious about who is invading their personal space.

However, if there are times when their eyes have this loving, warm appearance while looking at you, then this is a sign that they trust you enough to remain vulnerable in that position.

As corroborated by a study made by the same Japanese researchers from Azuba University, when dogs are engaged in eye contact with the humans they love, the oxytocin in their brains increases.

Oxytocin is a chemical responsible for making them feel love and affection. Hence, it’s no surprise that when their oxytocin levels increase, they have the urge to express their love by looking at you lovingly.

10. They Jump On You

When your dog jumps on you, they’re not trying to attack. Rather, they are expressing their happiness and showing that they playfully want to be with you!

Although the behavior of jumping up may sometimes be problematic for some people because German shepherds can easily knock people down when they jump up high (because of their height), you shouldn’t get mad at your dog when they do this.

After all, if your dog jumps on you while wagging their tail and barking excitedly, then chances are they love you!

11. They Wag Their Tails When They See You

Tail wagging is another clear sign of affection that German shepherds make.

Normally, when dogs wag their tails, they communicate with other members in the pack to show that they are happy and safe. However, in your case, they may also wag their tail when they see humans they love because of the association between seeing you and feeling good.

So next time your German Shepherd wags their tail when they see you, it’s a time to give them a pat and a hug because they love you!

12. They’re Happy When You Get Home

One of the times you’ll find that your German Shepherd is truly happy to see you are when you come home.

Some dogs will bark excitedly, jump up and down in happiness, or lick your face when you get home to show their excitement and make sure that you feel welcomed as well.

So if your dog tends to do those behaviors every time you come home from work or from an extended period away from your dog, then this is a solid indication that they love you.

13. They’ll Bring You Their Favorite Stuff and Toys

Similar to the way people bring their loved ones something as a sign of appreciation, German Shepherds will often present their favorite toys and items to the humans they love.

So if you find that your German Shepherd always brings their favorite ball or toy to you, then this is their way of saying they love you and want to play with you.

When your dog is doing this, make sure to respond by petting them or playing with them to show that you appreciate the gesture.

14. They Listen Attentively to You

When dogs love their owners, they’ll become the owners’ most attentive listeners. You can try telling them that about your day at work and see their reactions.

If your German Shepherd gives you their utmost attention and doesn’t just try to walk away when you’re talking even though they might not understand what you’re saying to them, then this is their loving way of telling you that they want you to feel heard and understood.

You can also see how are their reactions when you talk to someone else. Do they tend to look in your direction when you’re speaking? Or do they tend to ignore you when you try talking to other people?

15. They Like To Sleep Next to You

One of the times when your German Shepherd will feel comfortable enough to sleep next to you is if they love and trust you. Because dogs may be protective of their personal space, they’ll only let someone in if they can trust them and see that person as safe.

When your dog is doing this, it’s time to turn off the lights and get into bed with them!

16. They’ll Make Noises at You

Some vocal dogs, such as Huskies, may show their affections in vocal ways, such as howling at you or barking excitedly. German shepherds are also one of those dogs who use vocal sounds to show their affection towards their owners.

If your German Shepherd is already a barker, then you may begin to notice them making cute barking sounds your way as a sign of affection.

17. They Put Their Paw on Your Chest

If your German Shepherd has been lying by you and all of a sudden they get up and put their paw on your chest, then this is because they want to be closer to you.

I remember when my German Shepherd did this for the first time, and I found it quite endearing. It’s like they’re telling you that they love you and want to be closer to you.

18. They Love Smelling You

Dogs learn and explore the world around them through their noses because of their heightened sense of smell.

So once your German Shepherd begins to get to know you and gets familiar with your scent, then they’ll want to wear that scent everywhere they go.

19. They Often Check on You

Have you ever noticed that your German Shepherd tends to check on you periodically, especially when you are sick or aren’t feeling well?

This is their way of showing affection for you. They want to know if they can come over and give you some kisses, or if they can sit by you so they can just watch over you.

When they do this, make sure to really give them the affection and love that they deserve and let them know that everything will be okay.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful and useful as you raise and train your German Shepherd.

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By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website TrainYourGSD.com - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.