How Do German Shepherds Show Affection? (18 Signs Of Love)

How do german shepherds show affection? Are you wondering whether your german shepherd actually loves you, or do they just want to bed fed?

In this article, you’re going to find out 19 different ways that your german shepherd shows affection, and why they do it!

So keep reading to find out more!

Short On Time?

If you’re short on time here’s a list of the different signs of affection.

  • Tail wagging.
  • Eye contact.
  • Jumping.
  • Leaning.
  • Following.
  • Licking.
  • Bringing toys.
  • Nudging.
  • Sighing.
  • Rolling over.
  • They like to sleep near you.
  • Happy when you get home.
  • Checking up on you.
  • Smiling at you.
  • Chewing.
  • Showing empathy.
  • Peeing in front of you.
  • Roughhousing.

The Top 19 Ways German Shepherds Show Affection

Now you know how german shepherds show affection, let’s go into a little bit more detail. After all, some of the body language you see can often mean two things. So you need to make sure you’re reading the signs correctly.

Tail Wagging

Obviously, we all know that tail wagging is one of the biggest signs of affection. When a german shepherd is stood in front of you wagging their tail, it often means they’re happy to see you.

This is especially true if the behavior is followed by clambering to get closer to you and other signs of excitement.

However, if you notice your german shepherd approaching you slowly with their head bowed when they’re wagging their tail, then this may not be affection.

Instead, they’re approaching you with apprehension. If this is the case, then you should consider the way you treat them. Remember, you should always be using positive reinforcement instead of punishment with your pup!

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Strong Eye Contact

Strong eye contact is another sign of affection from your german shepherd. If you notice that every time you hold their gaze, they hold yours as well, then they’re signaling deep levels of trust.

Remember, you should only be doing this with dogs you’re familiar with. If you’re not familiar with a dog, then strong eye contact is a sign of confrontation and you’re going to scare them or trigger aggression.

But if you notice your german shepherd holds eye contact with your for more than 3 seconds, then the chances are they trust you and have a deep affection for you!

There’s even evidence to suggest that when your german shepherd maintains eye contact with you, they release the love hormone oxytocin.

Jumping Up

Jumping up is another extremely common sign that your german shepherd loves you. Dogs don’t have the same personal space boundaries that we do.

One of the ways they’re going to show their affection is jumping on you and trying to get as close as possible. While sometimes it’s necessary to train it out of them (especially with german shepherds), you should still be flattered that they love you so much.

This sort of jumping often includes whining, and ecstatic tail wagging as well.

(Find out what to do if your german shepherd is jumping up and biting.)

Leaning On Your

Do you notice that sometimes when you sit down your german shepherd will lean on you? They could slump their shoulder against your leg or lay their head on your lap.

Whatever, the leaning is, it’s a clear sign they have deep levels of affection towards you.

A simple way to think about it is anytime your german shepherd chooses to make contact with you, when they don’t want too is a pretty good sign that they really love you.

Leaning can also be a sign that your german shepherd is nervous, scared and looking for reassurance. For example, if fireworks are going off or there are a lot of loud noises, they may be more likely to lean on you.

Following You Around

Another sign of affection is when your german shepherd follows you wherever you go. In fact, they may follow you so much that they essentially become a little shadow.

The reason they’re following you around is that they see you as part of their pack, and they want to go wherever the pack goes.

However, you do need to be careful, constantly following you around and being by your side all the time could be a sign of separation anxiety.

If you think your german shepherd is suffering from separation anxiety then your best bet is to talk to a professional.

Licking You

When your dog can’t stop licking you, it’s often a sign of affection. When they lick you it’s similar to giving you little kisses.

This is even truer when they lick your face and around your mouth. While sometimes this is because they can smell food, in a lot of cases, it’s a sign of affection and to get attention from you.

If you notice your german shepherd is always trying to lick your face then that’s a clear sign that they see you as their pack leader.

(Find out all the reasons your german shepherd might lick.)

Bringing Your Their Toys

Sometimes your german shepherd loves you so much they want to bring you their toys.

One of my old dogs used to bring her blanket to me every time I came home, and I always knew this was her ultimate sign of love.

When they do this, it’s not always because they want to play. They’re giving you their favorite toy because they want you to have as much fun with it as they do.

Nudging You

If your german shepherd nudges you with their head or nose, OR even buries their head into you, then this is a definite sign of affection on their part.

They normally do this because they want your attention or because they want you to help them feel more secure. And they’re only going to get this security from the person they love the most.

So when your german shepherd is nudging you to make sure you give them lots of love to return the affection.


In humans, sighing is often a sign of boredom, but this isn’t the case with german shepherds (or any dog).

Have you ever been sat with your german shepherd and when they’re resting they let out a long sigh? This sigh is a sign of contentment and it can often come with stretching as well.

If you notice your german shepherd doing this then rest assured, it’s because they feel content being around you. You’ve given them the feeling that they have everything they need.

They may also sigh or grunt like this when they’re getting stroked.

(Want to know if your german shepherd enjoys swimming.)

Rolling Over

When your german shepherd is showing you affection they may roll over onto their back and let you stroke their belly.

Doing this is a huge sign of trust as they’re literally exposing their sensitive underside to you.

So next time your german shepherd does this, it’s because they feel completely relaxed and unguarded, a sure sign of affection.

They Like To Sleep Near You

Once again, german shepherds show affection by staying close to their pack. If your german shepherd wants to sleep near you, then it’s because they love you.

They trust you and want to protect you while you sleep (and vice versa). When you choose to let your german shepherd sleep with you, you should provide them a comfortable bed, but not your own.

If you give them your own bed they can often get confused with who’s in charge and they may try to be the pack leader. As far as dogs go, german shepherds have very strong personalities.

They’re Happy When You Get Home

One of the times you’ll notice how much your german shepherd loves you is when you come home. Especially if you haven’t seen them for a while.

When you do come home, you may notice a combination of the signs of affection in this article. They’ll be jumping up on you, whining, and wagging their tail. They may also try to bring you their favorite toy and just follow you around.

This is a great sign that they love you and they’re trying to show you affection.

They Check On You

Not all dogs want to spend time with you, but this doesn’t mean they don’t love you. For more independent dogs a clear sign that they love you is if they check up on you.

If they spend most of their time in another room, they may come to see you for a few minutes. When they’re on a walk you may notice them coming back to you or looking to see where you are.

Whatever it is, if they’re making sure you’re still there and you’re still okay then that’s a sign of affection.

You Notice Them Smile

When your german shepherd exposes their teeth, it’s not always because they’re snarling, sometimes it’s because they’re smiling!

You’ll most often see this smile when they’re lying on their back and they’re happy. However, they can show it at any point.

If you notice them showing their teeth while they’re wagging their tail excitedly then it’s in a happy way, not an aggressive way!

Make sure you talk to them in a happy voice and give them lots of attention. But if you do think it’s in an aggressive manner, you may need to consult a professional. (You’ll be able to tell the difference.)


As annoying as chewing is, it can be a sign of affection. Especially in puppies. German shepherds will often chew on things that smell like you because they like the smell of your scent.

Fortunately, you can train your german shepherd to stop chewing with enough patience.

They Show Empathy Towards You

Dogs really are man’s best friends. In fact, they’re so in tune with us they can pick up on our emotions and realize what we’re feeling.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re crying your german shepherd jumps up on you, tries to lick away your tears and sit in your lap?

In fact, sometimes you can even pretend you’re sad or hurt and your german shepherd will come rushing towards you.

This is another sign of affection and their way of showing you how much they care.

The reverse can also happen as well. When your dog notices you are happy or excited, they will end up getting really happy and excited as well.


Roughhousing and playing is one of the ways your german shepherd builds their connection with you. They may clamber on top of you and drop into you.

In some cases, they even bite you gently and bark. However, they’re doing it, it’s because they want to build a connection with you.

Just remember, that while it’s okay for your german shepherd to roughhouse with you, they are big dogs.

You need to set the rules with how rough the play can be and train them to know what’s suitable. (Find out more about training your dog!)

They May Pee When They See You

This is much more common in puppies. Sometimes when they see you, they may let out a little bit of wee. They do this because they’re showing you they see you as the pack leader.

And while it’s not an exact sign of affection, it’s definitely a sign of respect. And with dogs respect often leads to love!

Interested In Training Your German Shepherd The Right Way?

If you haven’t trained your German Shepherd properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your German Shepherd completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT. 

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior, or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here, to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)

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Now you know all the ways your german shepherd will show you they love you! Just remember, if you don’t see any of these signs of affection it doesn’t mean your pup doesn’t love you. Each dog shows love in their own way, so it’s important you figure out how your german shepherd is expressing their love to you.


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