It is normal that we love our dogs so much that we want to hug and pet them, as we would do with any child, even friends or family.
This is a habit and a desire for us may not be as enjoyable for them as you might think.
While for us it is a gesture of love and appreciation, for some dogs it can generate other types of emotions.
German Shepherds Feel Comfortable Being Hugged?
Yes, most German shepherds like to be hugged. The type of hug and how long it lasts depends a lot on the personality of each dog, not on their breed in general. But definitely, German Shepherds like to feel loved.
Although they are one of the best breeds for service dogs because of their strength, intelligence, discipline and training; German Shepherds are family dogs too.
These dogs can be very gentle with their family, especially if they are socialized early. As puppies, they are always willing to cuddle with others, including children and other pets.
Even so, this breed is not as loving as others. They probably don’t ask to be in your arms at every opportunity, this is due to their origins, but they will still appreciate feeling loved.
Different Ways to Give Your Dog Affection.
Each dog has its own personality, so the affection may vary and be more or less than a hug, but the feeling is the same.
There are many ways in which the German Shepherd can create a physical bond with its owners as it could simply cuddle up to you and feel reassured that you are close enough to it.
Some dogs, when they have the permission of their owners, decide to spend time in bed next to them, simply sharing the same space.
Another way they could hug each other is by resting their head, put a paw on their owner, or loved one. This is a subtle but very important form of affection for the dog.
Some dogs, when they feel very confident, allow their owners to rub their bellies, and usually “kiss” them too.
Also, you can scratch behind your dog’s ears, scratch under its nose towards its neck. For them, that is pure love.
Why Do Some German Shepherds Not Like To Be Hugged Or Petted?
The main reason why a German shepherd might not like to hug is because of its origin as a guard dog they have a more serious personality and must always be alert. They take their duties as a service dog very seriously.
These dogs are hardworking, they are used to being very disciplined and fulfilling their assignments, such as guarding, protecting, helping their owners, serving the community, etc.
Also, some studies reveal that hugging dogs may be a gesture that they will not interpret in the same way that we do.
There are dogs that can feel very uncomfortable when their owners hug them too much, this can have different reasons:
- They may not tolerate the sensation of the hug well, as they may feel “trapped”.
- They may not like hugs because of unpleasant experiences in the past with this expression.
- For some dogs, hugs are considered an act of domination by their owner.
- Dogs have different modes of defense, one of which is the ability to flee from a dangerous situation, so when they are hugged they can feel trapped, cornered, or blocked.
- They don’t have that ability to escape if something happens. So, if their first reaction is to run and they can’t do it, it’s normal for them to try to free themselves immediately.
Signs That Your Dog Is Not Comfortable Being Cuddled
The signs that your dog is not comfortable with hugs are very obvious on some occasions, but here are some signs that you can interpret.
When they do any of these things, they are telling you, in their own way, that they don’t like you to hug them:
- Lower its ears.
- Turn its face.
- Avoid your gaze.
- Tries to turn around.
- Turn its body.
- Shows its teeth.
- Gives a small warning bite, which is usually harmless.
- If the dog shakes its coat as if it had just taken a bath, it is showing you that it did not particularly enjoy the hug.
- Your dog may not accept any kind of “squeeze” if it is injured, you must be aware of this kind of “rejection” to give it the help it needs.
How You Can Hug Your German Shepherd?
In case your dog is not very used to hugs, some kind of affection, or simply is a dog with a more serious personality, you can try to approach it step by step.
Learning to read your dog’s body language can help you determine whether or not your dog wants to be cuddled at any given time.
You should do it in a way that is not overwhelming or stressful such as the following:
- Approach it calmly and make slow movements so that it does not become alert.
- Allow your dog to sniff your hand, with open palms.
- Gently, pass your arm over its back and stroke it. You can also scratch it calmly, without squeezing it.
- Other ways to show it affection is by brushing its coat or playing with it.
- Practice a sport/game with it, this way you create a bond with your dog.
- You can slowly caress different parts of its body, always in a progressive way, and giving it rewards with prizes if necessary so that it associates its hands with something positive.
- If you have a puppy, early socialization will be a significant factor in your dog’s ability to normalize the signs of affection and enjoy them.
Benefits of hugging your German shepherd
If you manage to make your German shepherd accept this show of affection, you will receive not only its affection but also other benefits that hugging a dog has.
The act of hugging your pet is very relaxing, for the mind and body, reduce your stress and anxiety level thanks to the hormones that are released.
Also, the heart rate is reduced and the brain releases oxytocin. This happens in humans and dogs has a very significant impact on the body.
German Shepherds can be as loving as other dogs; they just need more stimulation than others in some cases.
They tend to be a strong, serious, and disciplined breed ready to work, but at the same time they are very familiar dogs, so don’t be afraid to show or teach your best friend the physical affection it surely deserves.