7 Reasons Why Your German Shepherd Doesn’t Like To Cuddle

German Shepherds are naturally very affectionate toward their owner and family that they have bonded with.

They are known for their strong attachment to those they love, and for their outstanding loyalty.

They will be very protective of their family and ensure no harm happens to come their way.

They will also guard their family’s property, their home, and children.

As they are affectionate and gentle with their family, German Shepherds will like to cuddle with them.

On the other hand, German Shepherd dogs are not so cuddly with strangers.

Instead, they are most usually aloof and practice extreme caution around those they do not know.

But what if you see that your German Shepherd also acts this way toward you?

Perhaps he avoids you and doesn’t enjoy your caresses or cuddling with you.

In this case, why does my German Shepherd not like to cuddle?


Why Does My German Shepherd Not Like To Cuddle?

Your German Shepherd could not like to cuddle for a number of reasons.

You may find that your German Shepherd never enjoyed cuddling, or that he used to like it, but no longer does.

Why could that be?

Individual Character

Most German Shepherds like to cuddle with their owner or family members. However, there are individuals that simply do not enjoy cuddling.

If your German Shepherd always avoided cuddling, they could have a character that is more independent, aloof, or withdrawn.

This is just a natural character that they were born with. This does not mean your German Shepherd does not love you or that he does not have affection for you.

He could simply not be the kind to openly show it.

They Do Not Like Cuddling

Just as some people might not like cuddling, some dogs do not like cuddling.

This, again, comes down to your German Shepherd’s individual character. He may simply not like cuddling.

However, just because your German Shepherd does not cuddle with you, it does not mean he doesn’t love you.

He could show his love in other ways, just not through cuddling.

Bad Previous Experiences

If your German Shepherd was adopted by you, he may have lived with another family before.

When living with his former owners, he may have had bad experiences with cuddling.

This could include that small children would squeeze him too tight or cuddle him all the day and not give him any rest.

Or, he may have went up to his owners to cuddle, and been scolded or told off.

Perhaps he was not treated right in his former home and so ended up being given away to a shelter or adoption facility.

This could put him off cuddling with people for life.

A lot of other times, your German Shepherd may simply need to learn how to trust you and realize you don’t want to hurt him.

He Is In Pain

If your German Shepherd used to like to cuddle but no longer enjoys it, there could be a serious reason behind this.

He could be in pain, have an underlying health condition, or an injury.

It might especially hurt him if you are cuddling him or pet him in a certain place.

Watch out for your German Shepherd whimpering or running away if you try to cuddle or pet him. If he does this, check his body for any visible injuries.

If you don’t notice anything apparent, you may need to take him to the vet to find out what’s wrong.

He Is Too Hot

You could be noticing that your German Shepherd likes to cuddle you some times, and other times not so much.

What could this mean?

Perhaps, he could be too hot if you see him avoiding cuddling you on warmer days.

German Shepherds have a warm double coat to protect them from the elements.

If you live in a hot climate, or it is a very warm summer, your German Shepherd may want to have its own space to cool down.

He will not want to cuddle you if he feels too hot. He might sense that he will overheat if someone has their arms around them or is in their personal space.

Ensure that on hot days your German Shepherd always has cool water and some shade to rest in.

Too Hyper And Restless

If your German Shepherd is naturally very hyper, frantic, and energetic, he may not like to cuddle as much.

He may act like he is always full of energy and restless, and will not calm down enough for you to cuddle him.

Any time you try to cuddle him, he may jump up, run away, or become very restless.

He may simply have too much energy and be too hyper to stay calm and peaceful as you cuddle him.

For instance, this is very often the case with German Shepherd puppies and younger dogs.

They are very hyper and energetic, so they may become restless and want to play if you try to cuddle with them.

However, it could also mean your German Shepherd needs to receive more physical activity.

He may be acting over excitable and extremely out of control if he is not getting enough exercise for his breed.

Every individual will prefer more or less physical activity during the day, depending on their character.

Nonetheless, German Shepherd need to receive at least 45 minutes to an hour of exercise each day.


Just as humans, dogs can get depression too. The cause for this most often includes major changes in the dog’s life that he is not used to.

Your German Shepherd may be depressed because of moving house, a death of a family member, or a newly born baby.

As a result, he might find it hard to get accustomed to these new circumstances. Due to this, he may not want to cuddle.

If you notice your German Shepherd acting sad, morose, or withdrawn, it may indicate depression.

This would mean he may need to receive medication to treat this condition.

How Do I Get My German Shepherd To Cuddle?

Ensure You Cuddle Him Correctly

Your German Shepherd may not be comfortable with cuddling you because you are squeezing him too tight.

Dogs do not usually like when a person grabs them around the neck and hugs them tightly.

Most dogs tolerate this, but will not necessarily enjoy it.

If you want your German Shepherd to want to cuddle you, do it gently. Be careful not to grab them by neck and do not squeeze tightly.

German Shepherds will prefer if they can snuggle into you and you have one arm around them instead of both.

Give Him Attention And Show Him Love

This is especially necessary for a German Shepherd you may have adopted from a shelter or rescue center.

He could shy away from cuddling you because of his former owners or bad experiences.

He could have been treated badly or neglected, and as result may find it hard to trust or love someone again.

In this case, you will need to be patient with your dog. Ensure you pet him a lot, feed him properly, and spend plenty of time with him.

Remember to exercise with him every day and engage in physical activity.

This will ensure that your German Shepherd does not become overly hyper or have excess energy which makes him restless.

Play with your German Shepherd a lot and let him form a friendship with you.

After a while, your German Shepherd should learn to trust you and want to cuddle and show affection to you more.

Reward Him For Behavior You Want Him To Display

It is important that your German Shepherd knows what you want of him.

When he realizes that you want him to cuddle you, he will most likely want to continue this behavior to please you.

German Shepherds like to please their owner as it gives them a sense of pride and satisfaction.

Begin by asking or encouraging your German Shepherd to come to you. When he does this, praise him and give him [amazon link=”B076M9VLQ1″ title=”a treat” link_icon=”amazon” /].

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Next, gently cuddle him. If he stays calm and peaceful during this, reward him.

If he avoids you or runs away, call him back to you again, and when he does this, reward him.

Attempt to cuddle him again, and remember to praise and reward the behavior you want to see.

This positive reinforcement form of training will help your German Shepherd learn what you like.

He will most likely like to cuddle you more now, especially when he sees it makes you happy and he gets a reward in return.

He may even want to come to you on his own to cuddle. Ensure he gets rewarded if he shows the initiative to cuddle without you asking or encouraging him.

Do German Shepherds Bond With One Person?

Yes, German Shepherds are a breed of dog that form a strong bond particularly with one person.

If you have a family, your German Shepherd will love and protect every member, including children.

However, most often he will be bonded especially to one person he chooses from your family. It may be you, or someone else.

This special person that a German Shepherd bonds most with in a family will be viewed as their caregiver, leader, or best friend.

This person may be the first one they met, the one that plays with them the most, or spends most time with them.

German Shepherd will be the most loyal and loving to the one person they have bonded with. Of course, he will love his other family members as well.

But this one special person will be the one he follows the lead of and listens to instead of others.


So, why does my German Shepherd not like to cuddle?

Your German Shepherd may not like to cuddle because he simply doesn’t enjoy it.

It could be due to individual character. He could be in pain or too hot, restless, or be depressed.

Or, he may have had bad experiences with cuddling in the past. This could either be with his previous owners, or with children cuddling him too tight or too harshly.

In this case, how do I get my German Shepherd to cuddle?

Spend more time with him and bond with him, especially if you had just adopted him. Also, reward him for showing any signs of affection and for coming to you.

When he does cuddle with you, always praise him and give him a treat to show him that you encourage this behavior.

Authored By

Madeline Wright

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