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German Shepherd Signs of Affection That Will Melt Your Heart

german shepherd signs of affection

Have you ever wondered if your German Shepherd loves you? Understanding the signs of affection that they display can help answer that question.

From offering their belly for rubs to wagging their tail when they see you, several signs indicate your furry friend’s love for you.

So in today’s article, we will discuss 25 German Shepherd signs of affection so that you can better understand your furry friend and strengthen your relationship.

German Shepherd Signs of Affection

German Shepherds, like many other dogs, show affection through various behaviors and body language. Here are some common signs of affection that German Shepherds might display:

  • Leaning on you and touching you.
  • Snuggling in your lap.
  • Following you around everywhere.
  • Vocalizations (Soft Whining, Grunting, etc.).
  • Making eye contact with you.
  • Nudging you with their snout.
  • Tail wagging (Excessively).
  • Licking and grooming you.
  • Bringing you their toys as gifts.
  • Showing excitement upon your return.
  • Resting their head in your lap.
  • Rolling over and exposing their belly.
  • Following your instructions.
  • Checking up on you.
  • Chewing items with your scent.
  • Snuggling or cuddling.
  • Putting their paw on you.
  • Protective behavior towards you & your family.
  • Smiling at you.
  • Lying on your feet.
  • Being tuned into your emotions.

Now let’s discuss each of these German Shepherd signs of affection in a bit more detail.

1. They lean against you and touch you.

If you have a German Shepherd, you may have noticed that they often lean against you. This behavior is a sign that your furry friend trusts and feels affectionate towards you.

German shepherd signs of affection

In the wild, dogs rely on their pack for safety and security, and leaning against someone is a way to show trust and dependence.

Leaning can also be a way for your German Shepherd to show that they are seeking attention or affection from you.

They may also nudge your hand with their nose or paw at you until you give them some love.

2. They try to snuggle in your lap.

German Shepherds are known for being loyal companions, and snuggling into your lap is one way they show their love.

This behavior is especially common in puppies who are learning how to interact with humans.

Snuggling into your lap can be a sign that your German Shepherd wants to be close to you and feel safe in your presence.

If your German Shepherd snuggles up next to you, take advantage of the moment by giving them some pets or scratches behind the ears.

3. They follow you around (everywhere).

In the wild, wolves follow their alpha as they hunt or move around their territory.

Similarly, German Shepherds often follow their owners around as a sign of loyalty and obedience.

german shepherd signs of affection

Whether you’re cooking, working, going to the toilet, or simply moving around the house, they want to be a part of your world.

They see you as their leader and companion, and their instinctual behavior compels them to stay near you for security and companionship.

When a German Shepherd follows you, it shows that they trust and rely on you for guidance and protection.

They find comfort and reassurance in your presence, and they want to be involved in your daily activities.

RELATED: Why Are German Shepherds So Clingy?

4. Vocalizations (soft whining, grunting, etc.)

German Shepherds use various vocalizations to express affection.

They may emit soft whining sounds when excited or seeking attention, and grunts or groans when they are content and relaxed.

Some German Shepherds engage in a unique “talking” behavior, making grumbles, mumbles, and growls to communicate their emotions and engage in conversation.

Soft barks can also be a friendly way for them to express happiness.

Additionally, howling is another form of communication that German Shepherds may use to display affection and connect with their owners.

5. They make eye contact with you.

When your German Shepherd maintains eye contact with you, it’s a sign that they are paying attention to you and want to connect with you on a deeper level.

This behavior is also an indication of trust, as the dog feels comfortable enough around you to let down its guard.

Eye contact can be especially important when training your German Shepherd.

By maintaining eye contact during training sessions, you can build trust and establish yourself as a leader in your dog’s eyes.

This will make it easier for your dog to learn new commands and behaviors.

6. They nudge you with their snout.

This gentle gesture is a way for your dog to communicate that they want attention or interaction from you.

Nudging can be seen as an invitation to play or cuddle, so if your German Shepherd starts nudging you with their snout, it might be time for some quality bonding time!

You can respond by petting or playing with them, which will reinforce the bond between you two.

7. They wag their tail (excessively).

Perhaps the most well-known sign of affection in dogs is tail wagging, and German Shepherds are no exception.

If your dog wags their tail constantly when they see you or interacts with you, it’s a clear sign that they are happy and excited. (Source)

The wagging motion of the tail releases pheromones that convey positive emotions, signaling the dog’s desire for interaction and connection.

Additionally, the speed and position of the wag can provide further insight into the dog’s feelings.

A loose, relaxed wag suggests contentment and affection, while a stiff or rapid wag may indicate agitation or overstimulation.

8. They lick and groom you.

When your furry friend licks you, it’s a sign that they trust and love you. It’s also their way of grooming you, which is another way they show affection.

Grooming is a behavior that comes naturally to dogs.

It’s their way of keeping themselves clean and healthy, but it’s also a social behavior that helps them bond with others.

When your German Shepherd grooms you, they’re not only showing their love and care for you but also strengthening the bond between you two.

9. They bring their toys as gifts for you.

Another way German Shepherds show affection is by bringing their toys as gifts for you.

german shepherd signs of affection

This behavior stems from their natural instincts as pack animals.

In the wild, dogs bring back food to share with their pack members, so when your furry friend brings back a toy to share with you, it’s like they’re saying “I love you” in dog language.

When your German Shepherd brings back a toy, accept it graciously and play with them.

It will make them happy and strengthen the bond between both of you.

It’s important to note that sometimes dogs may bring back other things besides toys like shoes or clothes.

Don’t get angry at them; instead, redirect their attention towards something else like playing fetch or going for a walk.

RELATED: German Shepherd Behavior: Their Strange Quirks Explained

10. They are always excited when you get home.

German Shepherds are known for being loyal companions who always have their owner’s back.

One way they show this loyalty is by being excited when their owners come home.

When your furry friend jumps and wags their tail when you get home, it’s a clear sign of their affection towards you.

They’ve missed you, and they’re happy to see you again.

It’s important to return the love by giving them attention and affection as soon as you get home. Spend some time playing with them or taking them for a walk.

Unlock the secret to a loving and calm canine companion with this amazing ‘Brain Training For Dogs Course.’ Discover the science behind fostering affection and tranquility in your furry friend, creating a bond that lasts a lifetime.

11. They rest their head in your lap.

This behavior is a clear indication that your furry friend trusts you and feels safe around you.

When a German Shepherd rests its head on your lap, it shows that it wants to be close to you and seeks physical touch.

It’s an opportunity for them to bond with you, and they enjoy this kind of intimacy.

You can take advantage of this moment to pet them or cuddle with them, which strengthens the bond between you two.

RELATED: Why Does My German Shepherd Circle Me?

12. They want to play with you.

By actively seeking continued playtime, they demonstrate their enjoyment of your company and their desire to spend time with you.

Their enthusiasm and eagerness to engage in play reflect the trust and comfort they feel in your presence.

Through play, German Shepherds communicate their affection, invite interaction, and seek physical contact, further deepening the connection between you both.

Embrace their playful nature and cherish these moments as a beautiful expression of the affection you share.

RELATED: German Shepherd Behavior Stages By Age

13. They sleep close to you or with you.

German Shepherds are pack animals and have strong instincts to protect their family members.

When they sleep close to you, it’s a way for them to show their love and loyalty while feeling safe under your protection.

It’s a moment of intimacy where they can feel your presence and vice versa, which strengthens the emotional connection between you two.

You can choose to have them sleep in their bed or crate in the same room as you, ensuring that they are close enough to feel your presence.

RELATED: German Shepherd Sleeping With Owner: Is It Safe For You?

14. They jump on you.

One of the most common ways that German Shepherds show their affection towards their owners is by jumping on them.

This behavior is often seen as a greeting, and it’s a way for your furry friend to get closer to you.

While some people may find this behavior annoying or even intimidating, it’s important to understand that your dog is simply trying to express their love for you.

15. They climb into your lap.

When your German Shepherd climbs into your lap, it’s a heartwarming display of affection and trust.

Despite their size, these dogs often crave physical closeness with their owners and seek out opportunities to snuggle and bond.

Climbing into your lap allows them to be as close to you as possible, providing them with comfort and security.

This behavior is a clear indication of their desire for companionship and their deep attachment to you as their trusted caregiver.

16. Rolling over and exposing their belly.

Rolling over and exposing their belly is another submissive behavior that shows trust and affection towards their owner.

german shepherd signs of affection

When dogs roll over, they’re exposing vulnerable parts of their body like their stomach and throat.

This behavior signals that they feel comfortable around you and don’t see you as a threat.

If your German Shepherd rolls over when they see you, it’s important not to take advantage of this vulnerability.

Instead, give them gentle belly rubs or scratches behind the ears as a sign of affection.

17. Following your instructions

When a German Shepherd diligently follows your instructions, it is a meaningful demonstration of affection.

By obeying your commands, they are displaying their trust and respect for you as their leader and caretaker.

This behavior signifies the strong bond and attachment they have towards you.

German Shepherds are known for their loyalty and desire to please their owners, and following your instructions is a way for them to express their devotion and love.

They genuinely want to make you happy and earn your approval, which is why they listen attentively and carry out your requests.

18. They come to check on you.

When your GSD comes to check on you, it means they care about you and want to make sure that you are okay.

This behavior is often seen when a GSD senses that something is wrong with their owner.

For instance, if you are feeling sad or unwell, your GSD will come and sit next to you, trying to comfort you.

If they sense any danger around, they may also come to check on you and protect you.

19. Chewing items with your scent.

This behavior may seem destructive at first glance, but it is actually a sign of comfort and affection.

When your GSD chews an item like your sock or shirt, it brings them closer to you even when you are not around.

The scent reminds them of your presence and makes them feel more secure.

It can be comforting for dogs who suffer from separation anxiety or those who miss their owners when they are away.

If your GSD has this habit, try leaving some old clothes or blankets with your scent in their sleeping area.

This will help them feel more comfortable and relaxed when they sleep alone.

20. They snuggle or cuddle with you.

Snuggling or cuddling with your German Shepherd is a beautiful expression of their affection and love towards you.

When your dog leans against you, nuzzles into your chest, or curls up beside you, it’s a clear indication of their desire for physical closeness and emotional connection.

This behavior not only provides them with warmth and comfort but also strengthens the bond between you.

Snuggling releases oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone,” in both you and your dog, fostering feelings of trust and security.

RELATED: Do German Shepherds Like To Cuddle?

21. Putting their paw on you

When a German Shepherd places its paw on you, it’s a tender gesture that signifies affection and a desire for connection.

This action is akin to holding hands or giving a gentle touch in human interactions.

By placing their paw on you, your dog is seeking physical contact and closeness, indicating their trust and comfort in your presence. It’s a way for them to express their love and bond with you on an emotional level.

22. Your GSD is protective of you and your family.

The German Shepherd’s instinctive protectiveness towards you and your family is a profound expression of their affection and loyalty.

This breed has a natural inclination to guard and defend their loved ones, stemming from their origins as working dogs tasked with protecting herds and property.

When a German Shepherd exhibits protective behaviors, such as standing between you and perceived threats, barking at unfamiliar visitors, or maintaining vigilance during walks, it’s a clear demonstration of their deep bond with you.

23. They smile at you!

When we think about dogs smiling, we often picture them panting with an open mouth.

However, German Shepherds have a unique way of smiling that involves pulling back the corners of their mouths while keeping them closed.

If your GSD smiles at you in this way, it’s a clear indication that they are feeling happy and content in your presence.

This behavior is often accompanied by wagging tails or relaxed body language which further reinforces the bond between dog and owner.

24. They lie on your feet.

By positioning themselves close to you near your feet, they are seeking physical contact and connection.

Lying on your feet allows them to feel your presence, warmth, and security.

By offering their own body as a cushion, they are expressing their desire to be near you and their willingness to provide comfort and support.

This act also signifies their trust and dependency on you as their trusted companion. It is their way of demonstrating loyalty and a strong emotional bond.

25. They are tuned into your emotions.

These remarkable dogs have a remarkable ability to sense and understand human emotions, allowing them to respond in a compassionate and supportive manner.

They can pick up on subtle cues like body language and vocal tone, allowing them to gauge your emotional state accurately.

When they recognize that you’re feeling down or upset, they demonstrate their affection by offering comfort and companionship.

They may lean against you, rest their head on your lap, or simply be present by your side.

Their sensitivity to your emotions shows their deep bond with you and their genuine care for your well-being.

german shepherd signs of affection

Why is My German Shepherd Not Affectionate?

There are several potential reasons why your German Shepherd may not be displaying affection in the way you expect.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that every dog is an individual with its own personality and preferences. Some German Shepherds may naturally be more reserved or independent, preferring to express affection in subtle ways that may not be immediately apparent to their owners.

Additionally, factors such as inadequate socialization during their formative stages, previous negative experiences, health issues, or even changes in their environment or routine could impact their behavior.

Dogs can also experience stress or anxiety, which may manifest as a reluctance to engage in affectionate behaviors.

It’s crucial to observe your German Shepherd’s behavior closely and consider consulting with a veterinarian or professional dog behaviorist to rule out any underlying health concerns or behavioral issues.

What Creates the Bond Between German Shepherd and Owner?

The bond between a German Shepherd and its owner is forged through a combination of shared experiences, mutual trust, and emotional connection.

From the early stages of socialization and training, where the foundation of trust is laid, to the consistent and loving care provided throughout their lives, every interaction contributes to the deepening of this special relationship.

One key component is the release of oxytocin, often referred to as the “bonding hormone.”

This study suggests that when a German Shepherd interacts with its owner, oxytocin is released in both parties, fostering feelings of connection and attachment.

Physical touch, such as grooming and cuddling, fosters closeness and affection, while engaging in activities together strengthens the bond through shared moments of joy and companionship.

Male vs Female German Shepherds: Who is More Affectionate?

Gender does not determine affection levels.

Both male and female German Shepherds are capable of displaying affection towards their owners and families. However, there may be some general differences in behavior between the sexes.

Male German Shepherds are often described as being more protective and territorial, traits that can sometimes be misconstrued as aloofness.

However, once they bond with their owners, male German Shepherds can be incredibly loyal and affectionate companions.

On the other hand, female German Shepherds are often said to be more nurturing and attentive, particularly towards children and other pets in the household.

They may exhibit maternal instincts, which can manifest as increased gentleness and affection towards their human family members.


In conclusion, German Shepherds are incredibly affectionate dogs that thrive on human interaction. They show their love in many ways, from snuggling up close to bringing you toys as gifts. If you want an affectionate pet dog that will become a loyal companion for life, then a German Shepherd may be the perfect choice for you.

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