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9 Reasons Why Your German Shepherd Won’t Cuddle + 5 Tips

Why Won’t My German Shepherd Cuddle

Cats or dogs?

You like cuddles, so you prefer dogs.

Just thinking of hugging your warm and furry pooch could make your day.  

But wait…  there’s a problem. 

Your German Shepherd doesn’t want cuddles. 

There’s no doubt that they love you. They’d protect you anytime.

But why won’t your German Shepherd cuddle?

In this article you’ll discover:

  • The meaning of ‘three dog night’.
  • 9 reasons why your German Shepherd won’t cuddle.
  • Different ways your dog could show their affection instead.
  • 5 tips on how you can get your German Shepherd to cuddle.
  • And much more…

Why won’t my German Shepherd cuddle?

Your German Shepherd won’t cuddle due to reasons such as their personality, mood, past experiences, feeling of fear or pain, the temperature of the surroundings, the possibility of you cuddling them wrong, or the fact that they show affection in other ways. 

9 reasons why your German Shepherd won’t cuddle

#1: It’s their personality

German Shepherds are known for being loyal and intelligent dogs. 

But since they are also independent, many of them don’t want to cuddle.

Some wouldn’t melt in your arms when you carry them. And if they are not used to being hugged, they will squirm away and whine until you release them.

That’s perfectly normal.

It’s just like us humans. Not all of us want to cuddle, right?

So if you’re wondering the reasons why your German Shepherd gets away from you when you initiate a hug – don’t sweat it. 

It’s just how they are.

Check out also: 11 Reasons Why Your German Shepherd Whines So Much + 7 Tips

#2: They are not ready 

Think of it this way. You’ve just met someone. Then all of a sudden they lift you up and start to cuddle you.

You might be thinking, “What a weirdo!” 

You’ll try to get away from that someone asap. Your personal space is at risk!

Now, look at your dog. 

You could be thinking, “Wow, I did the exact same thing to them.”

Similar to you, your German Shepherd also has boundaries you should respect. Let them take their time warming up to you. Be patient.

#3: They are not in the mood

Have you also experienced something like this?

Your dog would be all cuddly one day. Then they will avoid coming near you the next.

You wonder if you did something wrong.

But try not to think about it too much. Maybe they are just not in the mood. 

Your German Shepherd will come to you on their own terms. Just enjoy every moment of it and reward them if they do. 

Note: Belly rubs and cookies are very much accepted. 🙂

#4: It’s too hot

Since the beginning of time, dogs and humans love being close to each other.  

Ever heard of the ‘three dog night’

When heaters were not yet invented years ago, nights were as cold as ice water running down your throat after chewing mint gum.

So in order for the aboriginal people to keep warm at night, they would cuddle with two dogs. And when it is freezing, they would cuddle with three.

During winters, you may notice that your German Shepherd would cuddle with you to keep you warm. 

What a delight!

But when it’s summer – they avoid you like you’re the plague. So what gives?

Is it because you’re sweaty and sticky? Could be.

German Shepherds have a LOT of fur. They have double coatings of those that keep them warm even in cold temperatures.

Not only that, but they also have high body temperature. Feel them. They are slightly warmer than your body, isn’t it?

So when it gets too hot, your dog may prefer to stay away from cuddling as much as possible. They just need some space to breathe. 

#5: Their past experiences

German Shepherd Won't Cuddle Due To Past Experiences

Did your German Shepherd come from a shelter? Or did they have a previous owner before you? 

Is your answer to both questions, ‘Yes’? 

If so, then the reason why they won’t cuddle with you could be more complicated than what you think. 

It could be that their previous owners neglected them. Or they were mistreated as puppies. 

Either way, this means that you have to put some effort into gaining your dog’s trust. 

This is by giving them lots of attention. Also, you must learn the right way to show your affection towards your dog.

Because of their previous experiences, they may be wary of physical touches. 

It could be cuddling for you. But in your German Shepherd’s perspective, that could feel like you are restraining them. 

#6: They fear something

The reasons above don’t suit your dog. You are their first family. And they definitely love to cuddle.

But all of a sudden, it stopped. 

They avoid you. And they squirm away from your hugs. 


You’re devastated. How could this happen? 

So you think hard. 

“Why won’t they cuddle with me anymore? Is it because of the new dog?”, you ask yourself.

It’s possible. A sudden change in your dog’s behavior could be because of fear for someone or something that happened. Also, if there is a change in their home and environment. 

Observe your dog. Look for the signs that indicate if they are scared. 

According to VCA Hospitals, here are some of them:

  • Pacing.
  • Cowering and hiding.
  • Shaking  and trembling.
  • Tail in between their legs.
  • Change in behavior and bodily functions.
  • Ears pinned back at the back of the head.

If you have noticed that your dog shows the signs mentioned above, you can try ‘counter-conditioning on them. This will change their perspective on how to look at things. 

#7: They could be in pain

Your dog will start feeling different kinds of pain as it ages. 

Their back will start to ache. And they will also start getting rheumatism and arthritis. Now, can you imagine yourself getting crushed by a hug while you’re in pain? 

Surely, you don’t want that. And neither does your dog. 

Another factor you could consider is their emotional state. If your German Shepherd is depressed or anxious, they would keep away from you. 

#8: You cuddle them the wrong way

Your German Shepherd absolutely adores your husband. Whenever you’re watching a movie together, your dog goes immediately straight to his lap for cuddles. 

“How about me?”, you whined.

Your dog just gave you a low gruff. 

You’re sure that if your dog will choose between the two of you – you or your husband – it’ll be your husband. 

But why is that? You love your pet the same as he does.

Well, there could be a possibility that your German Shepherd doesn’t like the way you cuddle. You could be too rough, while your husband is gentle. 

Try to take a video of how you play. Then take note of the differences in how you and your husband approach your pet. 

Do you hug your dog too much? There are dogs who don’t like it.

Dogs are built to run and explore. Hugging them is like controlling their actions or confining them.

#9: You are not their favorite

Brace yourself. This could hurt. 

To put it simply, your German Shepherd is just not that into you. 

You’ve tried doing everything by the book. You showered them with attention. And you’ve kept your distance when you think your dog needs space. 

But nothing works. They don’t want to cuddle. And now you’re ready to wave the white flag. 

You’ve decided that you will just keep loving your dog from a distance.

Bonus: Your German Shepherd uses another love language

German Shepherd Uses Different Love Language Meme

But wait. It seems like all your efforts are not lost in vain. 

Your dog won’t cuddle, but have you ever thought that your beloved pet shows their affection for you in another way? 

Do they bring you their toys? Or maybe keep their eye on you all the time? 

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Here are some other ways your dog can show their love for you: 

  • By following you around.
  • By responding to your voice.
  • Constant wagging of their tail.
  • Carrying your socks or shoes around.
  • Coming quickly whenever you call them.
  • Staying close to you or somewhere they can see you.

See? Your dog may not prefer physical contact, but they surely love you. Observe and try to understand their love language.

Reading tip: Do German Shepherds Like To Cuddle? 11 Surprising Facts

5 tips to get your German Shepherd to cuddle

#1: Learn the art of pet massage

Have you ever wondered the reason why humans and dogs get along?

We connect to others through touch. And dogs want to be touched. 

When we pet our dogs, our feelings of depression and grief decrease. Not only do we reduce our dog’s stress levels, but we also relieve them of their body pain. 

According to research, the Tellington Touch is one of the most effective techniques to build a connection and change your dog’s behavior. 

This is done by massaging your pet in circular motions all over their body. 

Massaging your pet can be a good bonding activity between you and your German Shepherd. 

It is also a good way to train your dog to get used to being held.

Note: When you’re doing the massage, observe how your German Shepherd reacts to the spots you’re touching. If they wince if you touch a certain part of the body, that part could be sore. 

Take them to the vet immediately for a check-up.

#2: Proper training

Forcing your dog to cuddle with you will only push them further away. But with the correct way of training, you could encourage them to cuddle with you. 

Do not give them treats to make them come back after they leave you. This will give them the impression that they will be rewarded if they go away. 

Instead, reward them when they initiate a cuddle. Or while you are still holding them. 

Encourage physical touch. Instead of giving them a cookie for their good behavior, reward them with belly rubs.

You can also make your pet more comfortable with your touch by feeding them with your hand. Be careful, though. If your German shepherd is not used to this, they could accidentally bite your hand. 

#3: Keep them healthy

Your dog would avoid cuddles if they feel pain or their body is sore. 

For your peace of mind and your pet’s well-being, you could take them to the veterinarian for a check-up. 

If your dog is sick, the vet could provide medications and therapies to relieve them of any pain. 

Also, be careful with what you’re feeding to your German Shepherd. Some foods can cause inflammation that could give bad effects on your dog. 

Here are some of them:

  • Grains.
  • Soy and peanuts.
  • Vegetables such as eggplants, potatoes, and tomatoes.

Here’s what you can feed them instead, according to PetMD:

  • Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel.
  • Antioxidant fruits like apples, papayas, and mangos.
  • Anti-inflammatory vegetables like kale, celery, and ginger.

#4: Develop a deeper connection with your dog

Your German Shepherd is a very intuitive dog. They sense how you are as a person – your emotions and thoughts. 

Isn’t it amazing how you can be feeling sad one day, and your pet comes to you for a cuddle? 

When you need emotional support, they offer you their shoulder to lean on. And their paw to hold on to.

By forming a deeper connection with your pet, they will be more comfortable in spending time and getting close to you. 

To do this, find meaningful activities you both enjoy. An example is the Tellington Touch mentioned above. You can also take your time in understanding their needs and personalities. 

#5: Happiness equals cuddles

If you think about it, it isn’t too hard to keep your dog happy. 

Share your ice cream with them. Give them belly rubs when you get home from work. Shower them with attention. Play with them.

You should know that German Shepherds are active dogs. They like to keep moving. And when they’ve spent all their energy running, digging, and rolling – they will be grateful to you. 

Who knows? They can bring you their favorite toy as a ‘thank you’. 

Or even better, they would give you your most awaited thing in the world. 

A cuddle!