Last Updated on May 17, 2023 by The Puppy Mag
We all want to know whether our dogs love us, but how exactly are we supposed to know? There are 11 reliable signs of affection that indicate your German Shepherd loves you just as much as you love them. Let’s run through them.
If you give your German shepherd plenty of your time and attention, and satisfy their basic daily needs, they will definitely love you. GSDs form close bonds with their owners easily as long the basics are covered.
Below I’ll cover 11 signs of canine affection that prove your German shepherd loves you.
11 Ways German Shepherds Show Love
Let’s run through 11 ways your German Shepherd is showing you his love.
Some ways are less obvious than others, and you may not have been aware of them!
- They lean up against you
- Ear and eyebrow movements
- They make good eye contact with you
- They always excited to see you
- They listen to you
- Relaxed body language around you
- They bring toys to you
- They follow you around
- They check where you are on walks
- They lick you!
- They love your smell!
1. He Leans Up Against You
One of the most universal signs of love and affection is basic physical contact. Even in the animal world.
If you notice that your German Shepherd voluntarily lays right next to you, or sits up against you so that some part of his body is touching yours, it’s a clear sign you have a great relationship.
2. Ear and Eyebrow Movements
You must be thinking, eyebrows!?
Yep, both ear and eyebrow movements often show dog’s true feelings and emotions, and if you know what to look for, you can read them like a book. All must be taken in context.
According to Japanese dog behaviorists, dogs of all breeds will shift their ears back and usually raise their left eyebrow slightly, when looking at someone they love or consider to be their leader.
Although this may be very hard to see, it’s certainly worth looking out for the next time you give your GSD a loving gaze.
3. He makes good eye contact with you
Eye contact is one of the most powerful non-verbal forms of communication. For both humans, canines, and in fact all animals, eye contact transmits a wide range of emotions.
When you meet a dog for the very first time, prolonged eye contact will practically always be taken as a threat or challenge (just like it would be for humans). But prolonged eye contact for our own dogs is very different.
As your GSD becomes more comfortable with you (which shouldn’t take long) eye contact should happen easily and frequently. This means being able to look at you at least for a few seconds before breaking the stare. Easy eye contact is what you want to see (excuse the pun) and it’s a great sign of a strong relationship.
Natural gaze breaking is normal and is a sign that your GSD sees you as the authoritative pack leader, which isn’t a bad thing.
But what you should look out for is if your GSD can’t look at you at all. If you look at your GSD, does he immediately look away and continue to look away? A dog that can never make eye contact with his owner likely indicates a certain level of fearfulness or anxiety.
4. He’s Always Excited To See You
Whether you leave the house or not, a wagging tail whenever you enter the room and look at him, or when you arrive home from work is of course a great sign.
German Shepherds by nature are very loving and family orientated, so the next time you come home from work, monitor how your GSD reacts to it. When you can through the door, does he get, wag his tile and “look” like he’s happy to see you. All of this will be obvious if he is, and just as obvious if he isn’t!
Unfortunately, science has not yet figured out whether dogs think we are leaving forever, even if we’re just nipping to the shop. So keep that in mind, the next time you leave the house, your GSD may actually believe you’ve left forever.
5. He’s Listens To You
A sign that your bond is strong is when your German Shepherd listens to you whenever you speak. Whether you’re speaking to him or to someone else, your GSD will be listening and paying attention to you.
A good way to test this is when he’s asleep, starts talking to someone else, and watch his ears perk up. This kind of ear behavior usually isn’t seen when people of less significance (to the dog) is speaking. Their attentiveness is reserved for their leaders and people they consider to be important to them.
Although your German shepherd will listen carefully to you when he loves you, obeying your commands is something completely different. That will require training, despite how wonderful the sound of your voice is!
6. Relaxed Body Language in Your Presence
Overall body language and his posture also reveal how comfortable he is when you’re around.
Although this technically isn’t a way of him actively showing you love, it does indicate that you’re relationship and bond is strong. And that can only happen when your dog loves you.
So what can you look out for? The biggest one will be putting himself in vulnerable positions, laying on his back and exposing his belly, either when playing or just resting. Dogs must feel extremely comfortable in their environment and who they are around in order to assume a position like this.
Casual sitting, laying, and lounging around all display a level of comfort, and that’s what you’re looking for.
7. He Brings Things to You
This is a big one, and it means that your German shepherd is choosing YOU to say “hey mom/dad, look what I brought you!”
What your GSD brings you doesn’t really matter, it’s the fact that he’s bringing it to you. Most of the time it will be one of his favorite toys and he’ll want you to play with him, again, an indication that you’re his favorite person.
German shepherds also love to fulfill roles and carry out tasks, and in some situations, it can be a way for them to show you that they’re “working” and being useful. Again, the fact they’re doing it with you means a lot.
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8. He’ll Follow You Around
German shepherds are very social dogs and love to have human company as well as canine company. They have a natural ability to develop strong bonds with their owners and as a result, can become glued to their side.
GSD’s do have a tendency to follow their owners around the house and this is usually a harmless way to stick by your side, make sure you are safe, and to have company.
But this should be monitored carefully as it’s also an early sign of separation anxiety, which is a serious condition that you’ll want to avoid.
If your German shepherd follows you around, it’s a clear sign of having a strong bond, just be sure it isn’t due to anxiety.
9. He Checks Where You Are On Walks
The next time you’re on a walk, you may notice your GSD stopping ahead of you and periodically “checking” up on your whereabouts.
Although this is partly due to good behavior, it’s also due to him making sure you are safe, and that he knows you are there. German shepherds have a strong protective trait in them and will always make sure the ones they love are safe.
This can also happen inside your home too. He may not necessarily follow you around like explained above, but every now and then he’ll come looking for you.
10. He Licks You!
Hate it or love it, when he wants to lick your face it’s a sign he loves you!
It hasn’t been proven, but it’s thought that licking (especially on the face) is a dog’s version of a kiss. And it makes sense, right?
Whenever this happens your German shepherd will always be in a super happy mood, tail wagging like there’s no tomorrow, and it’s going to make your feel loved!
If you’re someone who doesn’t like this behavior, that’s fine, but avoid reprimanding him for it. Use positive reinforcement to redirect unwanted behavior before rewarding him once his focus has changed.
11. He Has a Thing For Your Smell
If you notice that your German shepherd steals your socks, shoes, and clothes, it’s good to know that it’s not always because he wants to chew them.
Dogs can smell anywhere between 10,000 to 100,000 times better than we can! The sense of smell is extremely powerful for dogs, and your smell, as his owner, will be one of the most important scents to him.
If he loves you and looks up to you then the smell of you will keep him feeling calm, safe, and happy. He will actively seek out your clothes, socks, shoes, and things you touch to help comfort him.
Of course, there’s a blurry line between this and simply destructive behavior, but you’ll likely have a good idea depending on his obedience level and previous training.
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German Shepherd Puppies and Affection
If you’re worried that your German shepherd puppy doesn’t love you, or won’t stay still for your cuddles, you need to read this section.
Puppies are crazy little balls of energy, and whether or not they love you just isn’t on their mind during their first year.
Any attempt to cuddle a puppy is almost guaranteed to be seen as an act of play. So don’t worry when he pulls away from under your arms and runs away from you.
It can be hard to accept this because puppies are so adorable and when we get a new puppy, it’s natural for us to show them even more attention than we will as adults.
Focus on training, playing, and being a good leader for your German shepherd puppy and he’ll love you more than you can imagine. Don’t worry about looking for signs of affection during puppyhood.
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8 Ways To Improve Your Bond
Thankfully there are several ways to improve your bond with your German shepherd if it isn’t quite where you think it should be. All of these are equally important.
- Spend Quality Time Together: Bonding with your German Shepherd requires spending ample time together. This doesn’t always have to involve vigorous activities; even relaxing together can strengthen your bond.
- Training: Training is a key part of building a strong relationship with your German Shepherd. As these dogs are intelligent and energetic, they respond well to mental stimulation, such as obedience training, agility training, or even teaching them new tricks.
- Exercise: German Shepherds are active dogs that require regular exercise. Take your dog for daily walks, hikes, or play fetch. This not only helps to keep them physically healthy but also allows you to spend time together and strengthen your bond.
- Positive Reinforcement: Always use positive reinforcement methods when training or interacting with your German Shepherd. This includes praising them, giving them treats or rewards when they do something good. This will make them feel loved and appreciated.
- Communication: Learn to understand your German Shepherd’s body language. Dogs communicate mostly through their body language, and if you can interpret their signals, it will strengthen your bond as you will be able to respond to their needs more effectively.
- Regular Grooming: Brushing your German Shepherd not only keeps their coat healthy but also provides an opportunity for bonding. Most dogs enjoy being groomed, and this gives you a chance to physically connect with your pet.
- Consistency: Be consistent in your rules and routine. Dogs thrive on routine and knowing what to expect, so keeping a regular schedule for meals, walks, and bedtime can help your German Shepherd feel more secure.
- Love and Affection: Show your German Shepherd love and affection. Regular petting, cuddling, and talking to them in a soft voice can greatly help in building a strong, emotional bond.
Remember, bonding with your dog is a process that takes time, so be patient and enjoy the journey. The bond you form with your German Shepherd will provide a lifetime of companionship and loyalty.
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So there you have it!
11 Ways your German Shepherd shows you that he loves you. If you have any interesting tips to add about this topic please use the contact page to send us a message and we may update our article accordingly!