Are you’re wondering if your German Shepherd loves you? Then this article is an absolute must-read.
Here you’ll discover:
- How to decode the body language of dogs.
- What your German Shepherd’s sigh actually means.
- 5 tail positions that show how your German Shepherd feels.
- 23 real signs that your pooch loves you (especially #10 is a big one).
- A weird fact about your German Shepherd‘s eyebrows (and how this shows that your pooch loves you).
- And more…
Table of contents
- Does my German Shepherd love me?
- 23 ways German Shepherd show that they love you (signs of affection)
- #1: They wag their tails
- #2: They follow your command
- #3: They protect you and your family
- #4: They nose you
- #5: They make eye contact
- #6: They put themselves in vulnerable positions
- #7: They lick you
- #8: They give you a big welcome when you come home
- #9: They lean on you
- #10: They let you rub their belly
- #11: They don’t hide from you
- #12: They bring you things
- #13: They follow you around
- #14: They sleep near you
- #15: They smile at you
- #16: They show empathy
- #17: They move their eyebrows a certain way
- #18: They display a relaxed body language/posture
- #19: They check up on you
- #20: They come when you call them
- #21: They want you to pet them
- #22: They sigh
- #23: They’re calm
- Bonus: They love those snuggles!
Does my German Shepherd love me?
Your German Shepherd loves you and shows it by protecting you and your family. They will not hesitate to put their life on the line for you. Even if it harms them. They also show their affection by wagging their tails, making eye contact, and being in vulnerable positions.
23 ways German Shepherd show that they love you (signs of affection)
#1: They wag their tails
Your dog’s tail can say a lot about what they’re feeling. If they love you, they’ll wag their tail to let you know.
But did you know that dogs, in general, wag their tails not only because they’re happy? They can show an array of emotions by their tail wagging.
What tail wagging means
Tail wagging to the left indicates negative emotions. Tail wagging to the right indicates positive emotions.
A 2007 research studied dogs’ tail wagging in response to stimulus. The stimuli were: the dog’s owner, an unknown person, an unfamiliar dominant dog and a cat.
The results showed that:
- The tails wagged to the left when shown the unfamiliar dominant dog.
- The tails wagged to the right when shown the owner, the unfamiliar person and the cat.
Not only that.
The dogs showed a high amplitude of tail wagging to the right when shown their owner. They showed a high amplitude of tail wagging to the left when shown the unfamiliar dominant dog.
But is it the same among dogs? Can they recognize what it means when a dog wags to the left? Or the right?
To answer it, the same researchers conducted another study. Here they had the dogs watch videos of dogs wagging their tails.
The results proved that right-tail wagging relaxes other dogs. But left-wagging makes other dogs anxious and stressed.
Aside from tail wagging, the position of your dog’s tail is a sign of what they’re feeling:
|Tail in a natural position||relaxed|
|Tail under body||scared|
|Tail in vertical position||aggression|
|Tail lower than natural position||nervous/submissive|
|Tail high and stiff||aroused by something/curious|
#2: They follow your command
It’s true that this is more a result of training. But this is also a way that your German Shepherd shows their affection.
Because if they don’t follow you, it only means that they don’t trust you.
Remember that training takes time. And the more time you spend with your dog, the more it strengthens your relationship.
Also, training allows you to get to know each other. You’ll see how German Shepherds love to please their owners. You’ll also get to know their temperament and their big personalities.
In the same way, your dog gets to know you. They’ll know how happy it makes you when they follow commands.
#3: They protect you and your family
This is one of the reasons that had endeared German Shepherds to families.
They can, and will, protect everyone in the family. Even to the point of giving their lives.
Just like this German Shepherd, Rex. Rex showed his love through his heroic act.
Without hesitation, he protected his 16-year-old owner against thieves. As a result, the thieves shot Rex in the neck, leg and knee.
He was also beaten badly.
Fortunately for his family, Rex survived his injuries.
#4: They nose you
‘Nosing’ is when they use their nose to smell you. And get you to pet them while they’re at it.
This is just a simple way of letting you know that they love you. They can’t talk to ask you how you feel. But nosing you is their way of asking just that:
‘How are you, Mom/Dad?’
Your German Shepherd wants to know if you’re okay.
#5: They make eye contact
Have you looked at the eyes of your dog and felt like your heart was going to burst?
That’s the work of oxytocin.
Past studies proved that mutual gazing between mothers and their babies releases oxytocin. Interestingly, the same happens when owners and their dogs gaze at each other.
In fact, this research proved that. It showed that both owner and dog had elevated levels of oxytocin after mutual gazing.
The next time your German Shepherd looks at you, know that they love you.
#6: They put themselves in vulnerable positions
You wouldn’t do things if you’re not comfortable with the people around you.
It’s the same with German Shepherds.
If they put themselves in vulnerable positions, it’s a sign that they love you. And they trust you.
They could be silly around you because they feel safe.
That’s why they can rest and lie with their backs on you. Or they lie on their backs when they ask for belly rubs.
But the most vulnerable would be when they pee or poop in front of you.
Note: Any dog wouldn’t do those things if they know they’re in danger.
#7: They lick you
Licks are the equivalent of kisses in dogs. And this is a sign of their love for you.
A mother dog shows her love for her litter by grooming them. And she does that by licking.
On the other hand, licking is a puppy’s way of showing politeness and respect. Then the mother dog responds accordingly by showing care.
Even between adult dogs, they show respect by licking.
So if your German Shepherd licks you when you come home from work…
… they want you to know that they miss you.
And if they lick you while you’re playing with them, they could be showing affection.
#8: They give you a big welcome when you come home
Have you noticed how it’s like there’s a party when you come home?
Your pooch gives you a big welcome every time you come through the door.
And that’s even when you are gone for only 10 minutes. What more if they haven’t seen you in days? Or months?
The reunions are always heartwarming.
Here is Freya seeing her owner again after several months:
This is your German Shepherd’s way of showing their happiness in seeing you.
They’re also happy to see that you’re okay, and that you’re back home.
#9: They lean on you
Physical contact is a universal sign of affection.
And dogs are not exempted when it comes to engaging in physical contact. This is a sign that you have a great relationship with your dog.
Be it through nudges, nosing, pawing, licking and even leaning on their owner.
Have you noticed how your German Shepherd leans on you? They just come up beside you and sit next to you.
Sometimes they slump their shoulder against your leg. Or they lie down beside you and some part of their body is touching you.
This is because dogs often look at you as their leader. When you share a strong bond, your dog often engages in physical contact.
My friend’s dog, Oreo, does this a lot.
When her owners watch TV, she leans against their leg. Sometimes she taps her owner’s arm to give her some head scratches.
#10: They let you rub their belly
Dogs love getting belly rubs from their humans.
They can comfortably lie on their backs to sleep or get belly rubs from you.
This is a very vulnerable position for German Shepherds. But they do that because they love you and they trust you.
#11: They don’t hide from you
A dog hides from their owner for a lot of reasons. It could be that they’re scared or distrusting.
If you’ve noticed abused dogs, they scurry away from their owners. They feel threatened and endangered.
But your German Shepherd doesn’t have to hide if they love you. If you treat your dog well, they will be happy in your presence.
They know they can trust you with their life.
#12: They bring you things
Did you notice your German Shepherd bringing you things? Their toys, things around the house, and even a stick they found outside?
It’s not uncommon for dogs to do this. Perhaps they’re asking you to play with them.
And you know, dogs are kind of possessive when it comes to their things. Sharing is not a trait they possess.
So when they give you their favorite toy, it means that they love you. They care about you and want you to get the same enjoyment they get from playing.
#13: They follow you around
German Shepherds are capable of developing strong bonds with their owners.
Even to the point of being glued to their side.
That’s because they want to be around you. They see you as a member of the pack. And so they go where the pack goes.
While your dog following you is okay, make sure everyone is safe. You could trip on your dog and hurt yourself or them.
If you don’t want them following you, ask them to do something else. Such as sit or stay.
Caution: Make sure this isn’t a case of separation anxiety or being clingy. If it is, talk to a vet or a dog behaviorist professional.
#14: They sleep near you
In the wild, dogs sleep close to their pack. It’s for safety and protection.
If your German Shepherd wants to sleep near you, it’s because they love you. They see you as a pack and they want to protect you.
#15: They smile at you
Ohh… that smile.
Doesn’t it make your heart grow twice its size? Because you feel that’s how much love you have for your pooch.
Don’t worry, though, because smiling is a sign that they love you, too! Happy dogs smile a lot.
They have their tongue out while giving you a soulful stare. Their tail could be in a natural position to show they are relaxed.
Or they could be wagging their tail vigorously as a sign of excitement.
Give your pooch their much-deserved attention and affection. Some belly rubs and head scratches perhaps?
#16: They show empathy
Dogs are better at showing empathy more than some people.
That’s one of the things that solidified their ‘man’s best friend’ status. Because they empathize when you are happy or sad.
There is truth to dogs recognizing human emotions. Studies have proven that dogs can recognize emotions through:
- Body language.
- Facial expressions.
Depending on the emotion you show, your dog responds accordingly.
When your German Shepherd sees you happy, it elicits a happy response. They smile a lot and wag their tail vigorously.
When you are scared or sad, they try to lick you or wrap their paws around you.
They just want you to know that it’s going to be okay.
#17: They move their eyebrows a certain way
I could almost see all the question marks above your head.
But it’s true and it’s backed by a study in Japan. The study wanted to find out if dogs show laterality when shown a stimulus (their owner).
Do note that laterality refers to preference for one side of the body. For instance, you use your right hand more.
The results showed that dogs showed facial laterality when they see their owners. Specifically, the dogs moved their left eyebrow more.
The researchers believed that this reflected the dog’s attachment to the owner.
The next time you gaze at your German Shepherd, check out the movements of their eyebrows.
#18: They display a relaxed body language/posture
Just as German Shepherds can read your body language, you can also read theirs.
You know they love you when they are relaxed around you. It only shows how comfortable they are.
And how strong your bond is.
These signs will help you know if your dog is relaxed around you:
- Blinking eyes.
- Does a play bow.
- Tail wagging vigorously.
- A relaxed facial expression.
- Rolls over to get some belly rubs.
- An open mouth with their tongue on the side.
There are many other ways to see whether they are relaxed. And some of them I have already discussed.
Such as being in vulnerable positions. Or being able to sleep beside you. Even lounging around and sitting casually.
All of these show the level of trust they have for you. And how much they love you.
Note: Any dog wouldn’t be able to relax in the presence of someone they don’t trust.
#19: They check up on you
When you and your German Shepherd are outside, you’ll notice how they keep looking at you.
Just like what this pooch did while on a walk:
This pooch deserves a medal for a lot of things.
For one, he shows good behavior. He walks calmly even without a leash.
Second, he does not run away, considering they’re walking by the road. And lastly, he is not easily distracted.
You’ll also notice how he ‘checks’ on his owner from time to time. He must have died a little inside when he does not see his owner behind him.
German Shepherds do this because they want to ensure you are there and safe. These dogs are famous for their protective instinct.
So it’s no wonder they want to make sure you’re alright.
This happens inside the home, too. One moment you’re alone in the kitchen. The next your German Shepherd is right there.
And then they go somewhere else after dropping by.
#20: They come when you call them
There could be a lot of other more interesting things your dog wants to explore.
But instead of digging that pile of dirt, they choose to respond to you.
Responding to you is a huge sign that you two have a strong bond. More so when they follow your command.
Note: This is why basic obedience training is important. It could be a starting point toward creating a strong bond with your pooch.
So when your dog comes to you after a recall, make sure you reward them.
#21: They want you to pet them
It’s true that dogs hate tight hugs. But it doesn’t mean they hate other forms of physical affection.
Being petted is an example of that. They would get any chance for their owners to give them belly rubs. They also love getting ear scratches.
Sometimes they would let you know they want to be petted. They do that by putting their paws on your arm or legs.
In addition to that, some German Shepherds love snuggles. There are German Shepherds that appreciate loose hugs.
Note: Give your pooch gentle pets. Don’t put them in situations where they feel they are smothered or can’t escape.
#22: They sigh
Humans sigh because they’re bored.
When it comes to German Shepherds, or dogs in general, sighing gets a new meaning.
Can you believe that sighing means they’re content? Most of the time it comes with yawning and stretching.
So the next time your German Shepherd does this, don’t get offended. Be happy knowing that being with you is enough for your pooch.
#23: They’re calm
Your German Shepherd being calm is a sign of their affection.
An acquaintance says that her dog, Lucky, shows affection by being calm. She noticed that there were only a handful people he reacted this way for.
And those were people who had spent some time with him.
She added that most of the time, Lucky would ask to sit with them on the sofa. Or he would chill by their feet at the porch.
She is happy with how calm her dog is. In turn, Lucky is happy to get all the reward (attention) for being a calm dog.
Bonus: They love those snuggles!
Many German Shepherd owners love how their dogs allow snuggling.
They’re these huge babies who don’t mind having a human all over them. And this is just one way they show their love for you.
Not all German Shepherds are suckers for snuggles, though.
But it doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. It’s just that they prefer other ways of showing their affection.