13 Ways German Shepherds Show Love

If you have a German Shepherd, you probably assume that your dog loves you in some measure, but you wonder if he or she actually demonstrates that affection for you.

German Shepherds are highly gifted and intelligent dogs and exceptionally loyal and devoted to their owners.

There can be no doubt of this because believe it or not, your Shepherd does show love in a number of various ways.

How Do German Shepherds Show Love

How a German Shepherd Demonstrates Love and Affection

There are several common ways that your German Shepherd will communicate its feelings for you and its attachment to you. Here are some of the most common signs to look for.

1. Exhibiting Excitement When You Return Home

As soon as your dog hears the car approach or your footsteps outside the door, its excitement builds.

Your German Shepherd is demonstrating its happiness that you have returned to the pack. Your dog may jump on you, bark, and do a type of happy dance as you walk in the door.

It is common in dog packs that when a member returns, the other dogs engage in a welcoming ritual when the member returns home and gather all kinds of information as to where the member has been and about its condition when re-entering.

As a member of your dog’s pack, your German Shepherd will show you that it’s glad you’re home.

2. Dog Kisses

Your German Shepherd licks you…a lot. Dogs participate in mutual grooming. They also will exhibit infantile behavior to demonstrate submissiveness to dogs within the pack.

As a respected member of your German Shepherd’s pack, it may groom you, but it’s more probable that they are demonstrating submissiveness and respect to its pack leader.

3. Nosing

A German Shepherd will “nose” you either to gather information by smelling you or to get your attention by poking you. Touching you with its nose, the dog exhibits its need for your attention.

It may want affection, to play, or something specific like a toy, a treat, food, or water. This is a basic form of communication for your pooch and it’s choosing you to communicate with.

4. Gazing Into Your Eyes

German Shepherd hazes at you making eye contact

Research has shown that when your favorite canine gazes into your eyes, your BFF releases the hormone oxytocin and that when this happens it is a form of bonding. 

Mutual gazing increases the levels of this hormone, and canines use it as a communication tool, especially in times of need.

When your German Shepherd hazes at you making eye contact, it is one sign of affection, as it chooses to do so with you.

5. Lean On Me

Does your German Shepherd press up against you? This is unconditional love from your dog who wants to feel close to you. Dogs will lean on you seemingly without reason.

While this may seem odd, especially from larger dog breeds, it’s actually a request for attention and affection, even for comfort. Your German Shepherd is seeking your touch.

This type of closeness is typical when snuggling or cuddling, so your German Shepherd is most likely replicating the closeness by leaning on you. Dogs are pack animals, so when your dog leans on you, it’s almost as if it’s hugging you.

6. Following You

German Shepherd following you around

Your German Shepherd following you around the house or the yard is another sign expressing affection.

A dog will not follow around someone for no reason, nor will it follow someone with whom it has no relationship or trust. You make your dog feel safe and your dog enjoys being in your company. It loves you.

7. Expressing Vulnerability

If your German Shepherd places itself in a vulnerable position, this is a huge sign of trust.

Dogs will not place themselves in vulnerable positions with just anyone because safety is a subconscious instinctive concern in dogs.

Vulnerable positions include sleeping on its back, stretching out, sitting with its back to you, or sleeping on its side.

8. The Belly Rub

When a German Shepherd lays on its back to ask for a belly rub, this is an expression of true love. This is probably the most vulnerable position for your pooch.

A dog will not expose itself in such a way if it does not totally trust you and feel safe. A belly rub will stimulate hair follicles, so once again there is a reference to social grooming and can also express submission.

9. Answering Commands

One method for expressing affection is by answering and following your commands. By doing what you ask, it demonstrates that it respects you, trusts you, and recognizes and accepts your leadership.

10. Your German Shepherd Does Not Hide 

Because your German Shepherd does not run away from you and hide from you. Your Shepherd is reaffirming its trust in you and that it feels safe and contented in your company.

11. Walking Together

One way your German Shepherd demonstrates its affection and love for you is by walking next to you when you are out for a walk.

If it did not feel a connection with you, it would not walk with you but would be wandering on its own.

If on a leash, it may be fighting you all the way, pulling, tugging, and whatnot.  Your German Shepherd would feel no need to remain near you.

12. Bearing Gifts

It’s a lovely gesture when your German Shepherd brings you things. It may bring you a favorite toy, a ball, a bone or chew, a blanket, or perhaps even prey.

Your dog recognizes you as a member of its pack, and it may want to share a favorite game or activity with you.

13. Personal Protection

German Shepherds are known to be one of the preferred breeds for police, firefighters, and military personnel.

When your Shepherd protects your home, it is territorial behavior to protect the recognized space of its pack. It will defend its territory and the other members of the pack, meaning you and any other family members.

German Shepherds, like all canines, are social animals and they like being part of a group, family, or pack, and, naturally, their sense of belonging motivates them to protect members and territory.

No Demonstrated Signs of Affection?

Some German Shepherds may be less demonstrative than others. If your Shepherd is one such dog, it does not mean that it doesn’t love you.

This may just be characteristic of its personality or there may be something from its past that inhibits its behavior to some extent.

Another scenario to consider is if your dog did demonstrate affection and has stopped rather suddenly. This may be due to some type of trauma such as an injury or there may be an underlying health issue. If you are worried, consult your vet.

A Final Thought

If you want to grow your special relationship with your German Shepherd, dedicate time to your pooch. To reinforce your special bond make time for these special activities together:

      • Daily exercise together
      • Provide a great-tasting quality diet
      • Participate in a training course together
      • Get check-ups and dental care regularly

Finally, don’t punish your dog. Use positive reinforcement to substitute unwanted behavior with the desired behavior. Love your dog, and he or she will love you back full time and unconditionally.

Susan R Elliston

I have over 11 years of experience as a vet working with a wonderful variety of species of innocent and lovely animals. Whilst I still work two days a week for a local practice, I realized that I could help more people by sharing my knowledge and experience with my readers.

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