German Shepherds are known for being highly intelligent, loving and loyal dogs. And although they can be somewhat aloof with strangers, there is no doubt that they have a huge heart for their owner and family. They can express their closeness and devotion to you through lots of different physical expressions. Here is a list of the top ten German Shepherd signs of affection.
1. They Wag Their Tail When They See You
This is the first and most obvious tail tell signs that your dog loves you. Most dogs show their owner affection by wagging their tail when they come home.
However, there are different tail wags. If your GSD is wagging its tail to the right, it means they are confident or happy. If they wag it to the left, they may be frightened or scared of something.
This is a great way to determine a friend from an enemy. If you invite friends over and your German Shepherd wags its tail to the left when it sees a particular person, it could spell trouble.
Amazingly, a dog is more relaxed if it sees another dog that is wagging its tail to the right instead of the left. When they see another dog wagging its tail to the left, they get much more anxious or nervous.
This symmetry is interesting and found in other parts of the animal kingdom. In fact, most animals have a line that divides them perfectly symmetrical including head and tail.
2. They Give You Kisses By Licking You
Most dog owners love getting kisses from their dog. This is one of the cutest German Shepherd signs of affection.
Who doesn’t love to come home only to be bombarded with tons of licks and kisses from their furry friend after a long hard day at work?
Fun Fact: Studies have shown that when your dog licks you, it releases endorphins in their brain which puts them in a more calm and relaxed state.
This instinctual sign of affection goes back to the mother giving birth. A new mom will lick her newborn puppies to jump start their breathing and clean them off. She will also use licking as a tool to communicate with them.
However, licking isn’t always a sign of affection. As puppies, dogs lick their mother to get them to regurgitate their food. If you’ve just eaten a nice foot long sub sandwich, your GSD might be licking you because they want your lunch.
There is also the chance that your skin just tastes good. A human’s skin tastes a little bit salty, especially after they exercise and sweat.
If they are obsessively licking other objects as well as you, they could be anxious, bored, or in pain from an underlying health issue.
3. They Gaze Into Your Eyes
Believe it or not, when your German Shepherd just gazes into your eyes, they are showing you a form of affection.
In fact, when a dog stares into their owner’s eyes, there is a chemical reaction that takes place and a “love hormone” is released.
This hormone called oxytocin, also referred to as the “hug hormone,” improves relationships in dogs and humans. It also helps people bond with animals.
This study performed on 55 dogs back in 2013, found a direct correlation between oxytocin levels and dog to human eye contact.
Dogs that gazed at their owner for two minutes or more compared to one minute had higher oxytocin levels.
This means that your German Shepherd literally becomes happier by gazing into your eyes. Keep this in mind the next time you and your furry friend lock eyes!
4. They Jump Up And Down
We’re all familiar with this loving sign of affection. If you’ve ever owned a dog than you’ve probably experienced them jumping up and down when they were excited to see you.
German Shepherds are no exception and will even jump over someone when overly excited. They can easily jump as high as 6 feet.
Give them some running room and they can even jump as high as 10 feet with the help of their owner’s back.
However, while this is a sign of affection, a lot of owners don’t condone it and will even discourage it. It is not a great experience to have guests over only to have them jumped on by your GSD.
5. They Lean On You
We all need somebody to lean on. And dogs are no exception. If your German Shepherd leans on you it probably means that he or she wants to be close to you.
It is hard for a big GSD to lay in your lap so the next best thing is for them to snuggle up close to you and lean on your body or legs.
Usually, this means they are looking for attention or affection from you. Like humans, dogs need to be comforted during times of anxiety, nervousness or stress.
In the past, there were claims that leaning meant the dog was attempting to show dominance. But these theories were proven incorrect by dog behavior experts.
While most of the time your dog is just looking for a little love, leaning can also mean that they are fearful or scared. It just depends on the situation and other factors.
If it is fear, you should notice other signs such as flattened ears, raised hair and their tail tucked between their legs.
6. They Roll On Their Back For A Belly Rub
Most dogs are a sucker for a nice belly rub. When a German Shepherd rolls over on its back, it is a clear sign of affection. Most of the time they know what they are getting and will attempt to entice you several times a day.
This is a good sign because it means that they are comfortable around you and they trust you. Exposing their belly, which is usually protected on the underside, means they feel safe even though they are being vulnerable.
Amazingly, dogs love getting their stomach scratched so much, that they would rather get a belly rub from their owner than a tasty treat.
This means you may want to reconsider how you reward your German Shepherd during training. A lot of times praise may have more of an impact or positive influence on how they learn compared to a dog treat.
7. They Nuzzle You With Their Nose
When a dog nudges or nuzzles you with their nose, they are showing you affection and love. This goes back to their puppyhood when they would nuzzle their mom for comfort.
It carries over into their adulthood. Dogs are in tune with our emotions and may use nosing as a way to bond or connect with you. If you are going through a tough time and stressed, your GSD may nuzzle you to let you know everything is OK.
Subsequently, if your dog is an alpha and runs the household, it can also mean they are marking their territory. Similar to cats, dogs have scent glands on their faces and will rub their face on you to let other dogs know to stay away.
Additionally, your German Shepherd could be itchy and simply looking to get scratched. It could also smell some leftover dinner on your face and want to help you wipe it off.
8. They Talk To You With A Groan Or Sigh
German Shepherds are especially vocal and will let you know exactly how they feel by talking to you. When your GSD is content, they may tell you with a groan or a sigh.
Keep in mind there are other reasons that your dog may sigh. But if their eyes are partially closed while they sigh, they are most likely happy and showing some affection.
However, a groan or a sigh can also be a sign of boredom. This could definitely be the case with a German Shepherd who needs to stay busy.
GSDs are a highly active breed and love to do jobs or tasks. A little groan or a sigh may be their way of telling you “hey boss give me something to do.”
8. They Guard And Protect You
German Shepherds are wonderful protectors of their pack or family. They are fiercely devoted and will stop at nothing to guard the ones they love.
This sign of affection is instinctual and a natural way that German Shepherds show that they care about their owner or family.
In fact, dogs are naturally wired to help and protect even if they haven’t had any formal training. So much so that they will choose saving their owner over a tasty treat.
In a recent study of 60 dogs, scientists ran a series of controlled tests to look at a dog’s priorities in the case of an emergency.
“In one control test, when the dog watched a researcher drop food into the box, only 19 of the 60 dogs opened the box to get the food. More dogs rescued their owners than retrieved food.”Metro Science Reporter – Dogs are instinctively wired to protect owners, research shows
This is one of the main reasons that German Shepherds are often utilized for guarding and protecting in the military and police.
9. They Won’t Leave Your Side Even If Something Bad Happens
One of the greatest signs of affection that a dog can give is to stand by your side in the direst of situations.
Throughout history, dogs have repeatedly shown their absolute devotion and loyalty to their owners even after death. The most famous example of this is “Hachiko,” who waited every day for his owner to return for nine years after his death.
There was also the amazing story of “Capitan,” a German Shepherd who stood by his owner’s grave for six years awaiting his return.
Just recently, an L.A. hiker was found dead in Griffith Park, CA. His loyal Golden Retriever dog named “King” was found by his side. He was malnourished and tired but still alive. He had never left his owner’s side.
10. They Love You Unconditionally
This is one of the greatest signs of affection and one that dogs are known for. There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog.
They are there for you through the good and the bad, the highs and the lows, and the thick and the thin. They will love you through most circumstances even if they are treated badly.
There may be a lesson to learn from our furry friends. We should all try to love unconditionally, be more selfless and forgive those that harm us.
There are several good quotes about the unconditional love of dogs.
“The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.”George Graham Vest
We should show our dogs the same unconditional love even when they mess up or do something wrong.
As you can see there are plenty of German Shepherd signs of affection if you know what to look for. Some may be more subtle while some should be painfully obvious. Getting to know your GSD better should help you better recognize when they are actually showing you affection.
Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!
Do you own a German Shepherd? Does it show you love and affection in any unique or unusual way that we didn’t list here? Let us know! We would love to hear about your personal story!