8 Rationales For Why German Shepherds Nudge You With Their Nose


Why does my German Shepherd nudge me with his nose? What’s the reason behind this behavior?

We, at PupVine, have done a fair share of articles on quirky dog behavior, but this one is different. Believe it or not, nudging isn’t something you should be worried about. It’s actually generally harmless, but still… Why risk anything?

I’m here to tell you why dogs nudge with their nose, and how to end this behavior if it gets too annoying.

Ready? Let’s give a little nudge, shall we?

So, Why Does My German Shepherd Nudge Me With His Nose?

German Shepherd waiting for trainerGerman Shepherd waiting for trainer

There are several reasons why your German Shepherd might exhibit this kind of behavior. In most cases, it’s nothing problematic… just a cry for attention and care. Sure, it can be a sign your dog is in pain and wants your attention, but you’ll notice that along with other symptoms.

It can be sweet that your German Shepherd nudges you with his nose. However, such behavior can be an issue if there are other behavioral problems like disobedience.

In order to help you understand your dog’s behavior, I’ve listed all the possible reasons why your GSD nudges you with his nose.

He Wants To Say “Hi”

Hi. Hello. Good day!

If your GSD nudges you with his nose as soon as you enter your home, he’s trying to greet you.

Dogs are social creatures, and they will notice when you’re not there, and miss you. When you come back home, your German Shepherd will be there waiting for you. The nose-nudging is a sign he’s missed you, and wants you to show him some attention.

Also, your German Shepherd will like to sniff you to see where you’ve been. Maybe you’ve met another dog? Maybe you’ve been to lunch somewhere where it smells delicious. Your dog will notice it. Trust me… if they could talk, they’d ask you where you’ve been.

He Wants Attention

When your dog nudges you, he wants you to pay attention to him.

German Shepherds are extremely loyal and connected with their owner. They are confident dogs, but they still want your attention. One of the most common reasons why your German Shepherd nudges you with his nose is the demand for affection and attention.

Believe it or not, German Shepherds can be big cuddlers. This form of communication occurs when he wants to feel some love. It can be cuddling on the sofa, or just him asking for some tummy rubs.

If your dog comes up to you asking for attention, stop everything you’re doing and show him some love. Chances are you have been unintentionally ignoring your dog’s needs, and that’s not something that should happen.

He Wants You To Pet Him

owner petting German Shepherdowner petting German Shepherd

German Shepherds enjoy being played with and being petted.

I remember my GSD was a huge sweetheart. My family had him while I was growing up, and everyone enjoyed giving cuddles to this good boy.

When a German Shepherd approaches you to nudge you with his nose, you can assume he wants you to pet him. Yes, even big and scary dogs like German Shepherds want to be petted. If they love their owner, they will demand the same in return.

This means lots of cuddles, praises, and rewards every time your dog is demanding your time.

It’s A Sign Of Affection

Your German Shepherd isn’t nudging you because he wants to hurt you or push you away. He’s nudging you to show you he loves you.

I mean, dogs don’t have hands, and they can’t tell you they love you. But, they can use their body language to show you that. When a dog nudges you, he’s also smelling you and getting your familiar scent.

It’s scientifically proven that dogs enjoy the scent of their family members. It activates happy hormones, and makes them calm. How many times have you sniffed someone you love just because of the feeling that it gives you?

Yeah, German Shepherds do it for the same reasons.

So, next time if your GSD comes nudging and sniffing you, allow him to do it. He really needs a fresh dose of his owner.

He’s Trying To Comfort You

German Shepherds are emphatic dogs, but only to people they love and respect. That is… only to their family members. A good GSD would never attack his owner.

I can’t tell you how many times my family dogs gave me and my siblings comfort when we were down. And, we were quite a GSD-lover family.

Your German Shepherd will always be there for you. They’re one of the most loyal dog breeds ever. You can always rely on your German Shepherd to be there for comfort. Even if all your GSD can do is cuddle up next to you, it’s still worth it.

If you ever refuse your German Shepherd when he tries to comfort you, he’ll see that as a rejection, and you two can lose the bond you have.

He’s Showing His Herding Behavior

German Shepherd walking by manGerman Shepherd walking by man

German Shepherd’s were once used as herding dogs, bred for protection. They served as protectors of livestock, making sure wolves, bears, and jackals didn’t get their prized possessions. And, they were quite good at it… not as good as Border Collies, but still pretty good.

Their herding behavior stuck around for centuries. German Shepherds are dogs with a strong prey drive. They must learn how to control it or they might become difficult to handle.

Nudging behavior because of their herding instincts is not something that should be encouraged. Let your dog know that’s unwanted by ignoring it. If you punish your dog for this kind of nudging, you might counteract.

They’re Talking To You

How many times do we have to repeat that dogs can’t talk? Even if we dog lovers secretly hope they can talk, it’s still not possible.

But, they can communicate with us by wagging their tail, putting their paws on us, nudging with their nose, and giving us tiny wet kisses. A dog’s body language is more descriptive than you think. For example, the tail between their legs shows they’re afraid and submissive.

But, a wagging tail and a happy face, and nudging you to pay attention means your dog wants to tell you something. Maybe he wants to play. Maybe he’s hungry, and he is showing you it’s time to feed him. You’ll figure out what your GSD wants quickly if you listen to him.

They’re Showing Dominance

Unfortunately, this is a nudging behavior that should not be encouraged.

Naturally, dominant dogs like German Shepherds should not assume the role of alpha. The dog owner should always be the alpha. If you let a GSD be in charge, he will do whatever he wants, even show signs of aggression if he’s feeling it.

Obedience training should be among the first few lessons when your GSD comes home. If you don’t socialize and train your GSD to obey you, you’ve got a potentially dangerous dog.

Trust me… you’ll notice the difference between a friendly nose nudge and a dominant one. In the case of the second one, you should act confident and show your stand. Ignore the nudging, and remind your dog of who’s really in charge.

How Do You Stop This Behavior?

owner training her German Shepherdowner training her German Shepherd

Your German Shepherd nudging you isn’t necessarily bad, but it also shouldn’t be encouraged. If you show your GSD you don’t mind him nudging you with his nose, this might become a bit annoying.

Your GSD might become a bit obsessive, and will bother you with the nudging even if you’re busy or you’re having company.

What you can do, other than ignore this behavior, is to make sure that all your dog’s needs are satisfied. This means he’s fed, not thirsty, he has been on a walk, and you’ve played and showed him some affection already.

I understand that this behavior can be because of pure boredom, so make sure fun toys and mental stimulation games are always there for your dog.

Is It Okay If My German Shepherd Nudges Other Dogs With His Nose?

German Shepherd playing with dogGerman Shepherd playing with dog

In most cases, your dog nudging other dogs is a sign of friendliness. This is how dogs communicate. It’s either nudging their nose, licking, or sniffing each other.

You should let your GSD meet other dogs, but only if he’s properly socialized and trained.

In case you notice awkward behavior or that your dog is acting a bit aggressive, you should stop the nudging before it gets too rough. The other dog owner will certainly not appreciate your GSD nudging his dog.

To Sum Up…

owner petting happy German Shepherdowner petting happy German Shepherd

The answer to the question, Why does my German Shepherd nudge me with his nose, is not a simple one. Luckily, the answers aren’t linked to any major problematic behavior.

A GSD will nudge you with his nose to show you some love and ask for love in return.

But, you shouldn’t encourage this behavior a lot. An occasional nudge is fine, but don’t let this become a habit that might bother you in your daily life.