If your German Shepherd doesn’t like to cuddle then this post will help you figure out why and what you can do about it.
So, why doesn’t my German Shepherd like to cuddle? Possible reasons are that previous owners neglected it, illness or injury, fear, it naturally doesn’t like to cuddle, it wants more exercise or possibly that it is depressed.
There are actually a number of things that you can consider when trying to understand why your German Shepherd doesn’t like to cuddle. Depending on the cause, there are also a number of things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd doesn’t like to cuddle
Each of the different reasons that your German Shepherd doesn’t like to cuddle will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons that it might be happening and the signs to look for.
The reason that your German Shepherd doesn’t like cuddling could be that it was not treated well by its previous owners.
This would be a lot more likely if you adopted your German Shepherd from a shelter. However, it could also be the case that the person you bought it from did not give it much attention as a puppy.
This would also be a lot more likely if your German Shepherd has always not wanted to cuddle. If it stopped letting you cuddle it suddenly then it could be the case that someone it lives with currently has been mistreating it.
However, there are some other possible causes of a sudden lack of wanting to cuddle that will be mentioned below.
Illness or injury
The reason that your German Shepherd has not been wanting to cuddle could be that it is ill or injured.
This would be more likely if it stopped letting you cuddle it suddenly or if something recently happened that might have caused it to be ill or injured.
In this case, if you think that illness or injury could be the cause then the best option for you would be to take it to a vet.
Fear can cause German Shepherds to be less likely to let you hug them.
There are many things that could cause a German Shepherd to be fearful but some examples could include:
- A certain person, that it does not like, being around
- Another dog, that it does not like, being around
- Fireworks, sirens or thunderstorms
- Being in a new location
- Having been mistreated by someone or something recently
If your German Shepherd used to let you cuddle it but it suddenly stopped then it could be the case that it is frightened of something. It would help to consider what happened recently that might cause it to feel that way.
It could also be the case that it finds it intimidating when you try to hug it. This would be more likely if it always didn’t let you hug it and it seems to get frightened when you try to hug it.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid?
It might just be the case that your German Shepherd does not like to be cuddled. This is not unusual and it doesn’t mean that your German Shepherd does not like you since they will often show affection in other ways.
It would be more likely that your German Shepherd naturally doesn’t like to cuddle if it has always avoided cuddling but it acts normally otherwise.
Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you
If your German Shepherd is a puppy then it will have a lot more energy and it will be more restless. This means that it will be much less likely to let you hug it for long and it is unlikely to stick around for extended periods. In this case, it would help to give as much exercise as it can get for its age.
It wants exercise
The reason that your German Shepherd doesn’t like to cuddle could be that it needs more exercise. This would be more likely if your German Shepherd tends to be quite restless.
Generally, it is recommended that German Shepherds get an hour of exercise per day. If your German Shepherd isn’t getting that much then it would help to make sure that it does.
Related post: Ways to exercise your German Shepherd.
Dogs can get depression, like humans do, and it could be the reason that your German Shepherd has not been letting you cuddle it.
This would be more likely if it used to let you cuddle it more. It would also be more likely if it suddenly stopped cuddling after something happened such as if it lost a friend, you moved home or a family member moved away.
Things to consider
Before trying to get your German Shepherd to let you cuddle it more it would help to have a good idea of why it won’t let you.
If it always avoided cuddling
It would help to consider whether or not your German Shepherd never liked being cuddled.
If it didn’t then it would make it more likely that it naturally doesn’t like doing it. However, it could also be the case that it was mistreated as a puppy or that it finds it intimidating when you try to cuddle it.
If it did cuddle in the past then it would help to consider what changed when it stopped cuddling.
Things that might have happened could include:
- Being mistreated by someone
- Being mistreated by another dog
- Being ill or injured
- Being depressed perhaps due to another dog or family member not being around anymore
- Being in a new location
When it doesn’t cuddle
It would also help to consider when it doesn’t like to cuddle. If it does let you cuddle it sometimes but at other times it does not then there is likely to be a reason for that.
One possible reason would be that it needs more exercise. This would be more likely if it doesn’t cuddle when it hasn’t exercised.
However, it would also help to consider what else is different when it won’t cuddle.
Not liking cuddling doesn’t mean that it doesn’t like you
One more thing to consider is that not wanting to cuddle doesn’t necessarily mean that it does not like you. Cuddling isn’t a natural thing that they do and they will show affection in other ways.
Examples of ways that your German Shepherd might be showing you affection would be if:
- It keeps the pace with you when out on a walk
- Comes to you when you call it
- It follows you around
- It noses you which is where it sniffs you with its nose a lot
- It doesn’t like it when you leave
- It licks you
- It jumps up at you
- It leans on you
How to get your German Shepherd to like cuddling more
Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to like being cuddled more.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
Positive reinforcement training
One option you have is to try positive reinforcement training. This is where you reward your German Shepherd for doing things that you want it to with attention or treats.
To use it to get your German Shepherd to cuddle you more you could do as follows:
- Tell your German Shepherd to come where you are sat. If you have not trained your German Shepherd to come on command then I have written about how you can do it here.
- Reward it for coming to you
- Then reward it just before you think that it will leave
- Repeat the above. Each time you do it wait a little longer before you reward it for staying with you until you can get it to stay with you without leaving.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
While positive reinforcement training can be very effective in getting it to display behaviors that you do want it can also work against you.
It could be the case that you have been inadvertently rewarding it when it doesn’t want to cuddle.
For example, it might be the case that you reward it with treats when it doesn’t cuddle you.
If you want to get your German Shepherd to cuddle you more then it would help to reward it specifically when it shows signs of being willing to cuddle.
Don’t punish it or get emotional around it
Punishing your German Shepherd can also cause it to be less likely to let you cuddle it and it can cause other behavioral problems as well such as distrust.
If your German Shepherd does not do something that you want it to then, often, a better option would be to ignore it and then reward it when it stops misbehaving and starts showing signs of doing what you want it to do.
Give it lots of exercise and attention
As mentioned above, German Shepherds are meant to be active dogs and they are meant to get a lot of exercise daily. If they do not get a lot of exercise then it can lead to behavioral issues.
If your German Shepherd is not getting an hour of exercise a day then it would help to make sure that it does. You can do this by walking it for an hour a day, teaching it to play fetch or having someone walk it for you if you can’t yourself.
Take it to a vet
If you are unsure of why your German Shepherd won’t let you cuddle it or you think that there might be a medical reason then the best option for you would be to take it to a vet.