If you are thinking of getting a German Shepherd you might be wondering how affectionate they tend to be.
This post will show you how affectionate German Shepherds are, how you can get one to be more affectionate and what to do if it does not show you much affection.
So, how affectionate are German Shepherds? Some German Shepherds are very physically affectionate and will do things such as lay across your lap all day. Whereas, others will be more aloof and not show much overt affection. Generally, German Shepherds are affectionate dogs as well as extremely loyal.
There are actually a number of ways that a German Shepherd might show affection towards you and it might not always be so overt. However, if you want a German Shepherd that will cuddle with you a lot there are some things you can do to get it to do it more.
How affectionate German Shepherds tend to be
German Shepherds are a very intelligent and loyal breed. They will also often show a lot of affection towards their owners but they will usually be very cautious around new people and they can be very protective of their owners.
However, the amount of affection shown by the German Shepherd will depend a lot on its own personality. Some German Shepherds will show a lot of overt affection towards their owners by doing things such as laying on their owner’s laps all the time and hitting their owners with their paws.
Whereas, other German Shepherds will not show affection overtly and will show affection towards their owner’s in a more indirect way. They might show affection by doing things such as sleeping in a vulnerable position or making eye contact with their owner’s a lot.
Despite that, if you do get a German Shepherd and it does not show a lot of overt affection there are some things you can do to get it to be more affectionate which are mentioned below.
With that being said, if you are looking for a dog that is very physically affectionate, there are other large dog breeds that tend to be even more affectionate.
If the main thing you want is a very affectionate dog, it would also be worth considering other dog breeds such as Golden Retrievers and Labradors which are known for being very affectionate.
Ways that German Shepherds show affection
There are many ways that a German Shepherd might show affection to you and, if you do get one, it might be the case that it will show signs of affection to you without you realizing.
Below are some ways a German Shepherd might show affection towards you. I have written more in-depth about how your German Shepherd might show you affection in this post.
- Following your orders
- Following you around
- Putting its paw on you
- Making eye contact with you a lot
- Getting excited when you arrive home
- Protecting you and your home
- Putting its nose on you
- Putting itself into vulnerable positions around you
- Licking you a lot
- Leaning on you
- Getting you to rub its belly
- Laying on you
- Sleeping next to you
- Bringing things to you
- Jumping up at you
How to get a German Shepherd to be more affectionate
If you get a German Shepherd and it does not show much overt affection towards you and you want to get it to be more affectionate below are some things you can do.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage the behaviors you want to see by rewarding them when it shows signs of displaying them.
To use it to get it to be more affectionate, you could start by rewarding it when it sits near you and then gradually require it to sit closer to you and for a longer time in order to get the reward each time.
You can watch the video below for some tips on how you can use positive reinforcement training to get it to listen to you and to do what you want when you want it to.
It would also help to train it to come to you on command so that you can get it to come and sit with you when you want it to. I have written about how you can train it to come on command in this post.
Avoid negative reinforcement
Negative reinforcement training is where you inadvertently encourage behaviors that you do not want to see by giving the German Shepherd rewards when it does something that you do not want it to do.
It is important to make sure not to reward it when it behaves in a way that you do not want it to. Instead, it would help to use positive reinforcement training to change its behavior and to try to redirect its focus when it seems like it is about to start misbehaving.
Interact with it positively
Another thing to consider is that it might not know that you want it to be affectionate. This would be more likely if you do not show it much affection yourself. If you want to get your German Shepherd to be more affectionate then it would help to show be affectionate towards it yourself by doing things such as training it, exercising it and playing with it.
Avoid punishing it unnecessarily
Punishing your German Shepherd can also cause it to be less affectionate and it can cause other behavioral problems as well such as distrust. It might also not understand why it is being punished and it could cause it to misbehave more.
Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it does it, to try to redirect its focus when it seems like it is about to misbehave and to train it to stop using positive reinforcement.
Allow it to be a part of the family
German Shepherds do not do well when they are separated from the family. They can develop behavioral issues when they are separated from their family and they will be less likely to be affectionate.
Give it daily exercise
German Shepherds are a breed that is meant to get daily exercise. When they do not get enough exercise it can cause them to behave abnormally and to look for ways to stimulate themselves. It will also make them less likely to want to lay around with it.
Generally, it is recommended for German Shepherds to get at least an hour of exercise per day when they are healthy adults. Before getting a GSD, it is important that you ensure that you will be able to give it the daily exercise that it needs.
Deal with possible reasons why it is not showing you much affection
If your German Shepherd does not show you much affection there are a number of reasons why it might be the case such as:
- Previous owners mistreating it
- Illness or injury
- Needing to get more exercise
- An issue with its diet
- Something causing it to be fearful
- Getting depressed
If you do get a German Shepherd and it does not show much affection towards you I have written more about why that might happen and what to do about it in this post.
Make sure to stop unwanted affection
It is important to keep in mind that you must set boundaries early on so that your German Shepherd does not start showing affection in ways that you do not want it to.
For example, if it starts jumping up at you, it will be important to make sure that you curb the behavior by making it stop and making sure not to reward it. If it does start jumping up at you I have written about what you can do about it in this post.
Similar dog breeds and how affectionate they are compared to German Shepherds
If you are thinking of getting a German Shepherd because you want a dog that is affectionate there are some other dog breeds that you might want to consider as well.
However, it is important to keep in mind that dogs from the same breed can have very different personalities. So, even if a breed is known for being very affectionate, there will still be some dogs in that breed that are not so affectionate due to their own nature.
Golden Retrievers are generally considered as one of the most affectionate dog breeds. They are also normally affectionate towards strangers as well. If the main thing you want is a highly affectionate dog then a Golden Retriever would be the most recommended.
However, Golden Retrievers don’t tend to be as protective as German Shepherds are so, if you also want a protective dog, a GSD would likely be a better option.
Like Golden Retrievers, Labradors also tend to be very affectionate even towards strangers. But, they also do not tend to be as protective as German Shepherds.
Huskies can also be very affectionate. However, they also tend to have a lot of energy and they will often show affection by licking you and jumping up at you. If you want a dog that will lay down with you then a GSD would likely be a better option.
Rottweilers and German Shepherds tend to have similar levels of affection. Rottweilers also tend to be loyal and protective similarly to German Shepherds. You can read more about their differences and similarities here.
Dobermans also tend to have similar levels of affection, protectiveness and loyalty as German Shepherds. This post shows how they differ.