If your German Shepherd has been rubbing its head on you then you’re probably wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you why it does it and what you can do about it.
So, why does my German Shepherd rub its head on me? Possible reasons are so that it feels more secure, it has separation anxiety, it wants attention, to spread its scent or possibly that it is being dominant.
There are a number of things to consider when trying to figure out why your German Shepherd does it. There are also a number of things that you can do about it depending on the cause.
Why your German Shepherd rubs its head on you
Each of the different reasons that your German Shepherd rubs its head on you will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons that your German Shepherd might rub its head on you and the signs to look for.
German Shepherds were bred to work alongside their owners and in packs. With that being the case, it could be that your German Shepherd is doing it because touching you with its head makes it feel like it is safer since it is in a group.
Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you
One way that dogs would assert their dominance over each other in the wild would be to mount other dogs in the pack. If your German Shepherd is trying to assert its dominance over you then it might be doing this by rubbing its head on you and positioning itself to be in higher positions than you.
This is something that you’ll need to prevent from happening so that your German Shepherd continues to see you as its leader. This will help to make it easier to control.
The reason that it rubs its head on you could be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where your German Shepherd does not like being left alone and it gets anxious when it is alone.
This would be more likely to be the reason if your German Shepherd tends to get very anxious when you are going out. Signs of it being anxious could include pacing, crying or being destructive when you are gone.
If your German Shepherd does seem to have some separation anxiety then you can watch the video below to see a number of tips on what you can do about it.
It wants attention
The reason that it does it might be that it wants to get attention from you. This would be more likely to be the reason if it does it when you have not been giving it attention for a while. It would also be more likely if it does it when you would normally walk it or feed it.
To spread its scent
It might be that your German Shepherd is trying to spread its scent onto you so that other dogs can smell it. This is its way of saying that you belong to it so that other dogs will steer clear of you.
To prevent this you’ll need to spend time training it not to rub its head on you by ignoring it, getting it off you and rewarding it when it doesn’t do it on you.
Things to consider
Before trying to get your German Shepherd to stop rubbing its head on you it would help to have a good idea of why it is doing it. Below, I will mention two particularly helpful things to consider.
When it first started rubbing its head on you
When trying to understand why it rubs its head on you it would help to consider when it first started doing it.
If it didn’t always rub its head on you and it started doing it suddenly it would help to consider what else happened at around the time that it started rubbing its head on you.
Some things to consider would be:
- If you moved home
- If someone else moved away
- If its schedule changed
- If you started working different hours
When it does it
It would also help to consider the timing of when it rubs its head on you.
If it only seems to rub its head on you in certain situations and at certain times then it could be that there is an external cause for it.
Some things to consider would be if it only rubs its head on you when you would normally feed it or if it only rubs its head on you when you have not given it much attention.
How to get your German Shepherd to stop rubbing its head on you
If you want to, there are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to rub its head on you less that I will mention below.
If your German Shepherd seems to be rubbing its head on you because it is looking for attention then the best way to get it to stop is to leave and completely ignore it.
This means that you should get it off you, wait for it to calm down, tell it to sit somewhere else, reward it for behaving and not rubbing its head on you, then carry on with what you were doing. If it tries to do it again then repeat the process. You can then give it attention when it is being well behaved.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
If you tend to give it things that it wants when it rubs its head on you, it could be the case that you have encouraged it to do it more.
Instead of giving it things that it wants you could try training it to sit or lay down somewhere else and then to reward it for that instead.
I have written about how you can teach your German Shepherd “down” in the past here.
Give it attention
One way to get your German Shepherd to stop seeking attention from you is to give it attention when it’s acting the way that you want it to. By doing this it will not need to do things like rub its head on you to get your attention since it will be getting enough of it anyway.
You can give it more attention by walking it more, playing fetch with it or playing games such as tug of war with it.
Train it not to
You can also train your German Shepherd not to rub its head on you by teaching it to sit somewhere else. You can do this by teaching it to sit or to lay down somewhere and then by gradually teaching it to stay there over longer and longer time periods.
You can do this by applying the same techniques as in the video below:
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