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Why Do German Shepherds Turn Their Heads

German Shepherds Respond To Their Owners

Best German Shepherd Head Tilt -Ever!

If you think your German Shepherds head tilt is too adorable for words and you stop whatever you are doing to shower them with treats and affection, they will learn this behavioral pattern.

Then, if they ever want a cuddle or a bite of food, or if they think youve been working too long, they will come and tilt their head by you to elicit the response they have learned to expect.

Essentially, your German Shepherd has trained you!

Why Do German Shepherds Pee When Excited

Excitement urination in dogs is especially associated with puppies, and its expected that they will grow out of this behavior with age.

When you scratch your GSDs belly, arrive home from work, or a visitor greets them, all these can cause them extreme excitement, and your puppy may pee small amounts of urine. Of course, this is a problem if your pup is on the carpet or lying on your new couch!

According to UCDavis Veterinary Medicine, excitement urination in dogs may also be triggered by a few other causes:

  • Accidental reinforcement this means that you sympathize with and excuse your German Shepherds inability to always hold their urine, and they begin to use it as a way to find sympathy from you.
  • Bladder sphincter this is a bladder dysfunction that comes with decreased bladder control.
  • Genetic predisposition your dogs parents were predisposed or had the condition.

Excitement urination should be differentiated from urine-marking which is a behavior problem. Dogs will spray to mark their territory or communicate their belonging to you. You can learn how to deal with German Shepherd spraying here.

Why The Big Ears

Adult German Shepherds have iconic ears that naturally stand straight up. Like most dogs, German Shepherds are not born with perky ears. German Shepherd puppies are born with floppy ears that generally perk up somewhere between 4 7 months. Puppies will sometimes have their perky ears droop during the teething state because the calcium in their body is being directed to their developing bones and teeth. Normally, once the cartilage is fully formed, the ears will permanently stay pointed and upright. So what are those big satellite dish ears for? They enable German Shepherds to have maximized hearing capabilities because of their tall and curved shape. This is why youll often notice German Shepherds perking and flexing their ears when they detect a sudden noise. Besides being genetic tools for survival and efficiency, they add to the breeds regal appearance.

The tall curved shape of the ears enable German Shepherds to have more efficient hearing.

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Dogs Tilt Their Heads Because Of Positive Reinforcement

When a dog tilts its head, it may appear spontaneous at first, but dogs may be conditioned into repeating this behavior due to positive reinforcement from their owners.

When we smile or laugh at our dogs head tilts, they know they have caused a happy emotion. Many owners reward this cute behavior with more attention in the form of verbal praise, food, play, or physical affection.

As a result, a dog becomes conditioned to repeat its head tilting behavior to delight its owners and get more positive attention.

*If you have a dog that doesnt typically tilt its head but starts the behavior out of the blue, it could be a symptom of an inner ear disorder or an ear infection.

Regardless of why your dog tilts its head, theres no denying a cute or silly tilt of the head can brighten up a bad day.

Why Do German Shepherds Nibble

Why Do German Shepherds Turn Their Heads?

Nibbling is the gentle bite your dog will make on your body, especially on your toes! This German Shepherd behavior is generally considered an instinctual behavior characterizing puppies of all breeds, especially during teething.

When young puppies play, you will have noticed that they will display behavior consisting of gently biting each other as part of the game. Your doggo can transfer this nibbling behavior to you or your furniture if no other puppies or pets are around, which is why teething toys such as the KONG Puppy Toy from Amazon are essential. You can even stuff it with treats or peanut butter to keep your GSD entertained.

But German Shepherd Dogs tend to bring this growing up behavior into their adult life. Naturally, newborn German Shepherd puppies will explore their world with their mouths before using their sight and smell. And it appears that this instinct is maintained throughout life for important reasons, as shown by some studies.

A study investigating the meaning and emotion associated with nibbling in dogs concluded that the behavior is not related to negative personality traits. Instead, nibbling has two functions:

  • It manifests the highly positive emotions of one dog towards humans or other animals.
  • It is a special form of communication used to create and strengthen emotional bonds between animals, irrespective of their social status.
  • Despite these facts, nibbling behavior in German Shepherds can also be triggered by several other factors:

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    Why Does My German Shepherd Tilt Its Head

    If your German Shepherd has been tilting its head you might be wondering why.

    This will show you a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might tilt its head.

    So, why does my German Shepherd tilt its head? Possible reasons are that it is curious, youre being emotional, to improve its hearing, to see better or that you positively reinforced the behavior it might also be due to dizziness or injury.

    There are a number of different reasons why it might do it and there are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure it out.

    Other Methods In Making Your Dogs Ear Stand Up

    Although many German Shepherd owners use taping to correct their dogs ears, there are many less invasive, but highly effective methods that you should try first. Lets take a look:

    Chew Toys

    Chewing on safe puppy chew toys is the easiest way you can help your dogs ears to stand up. Not only will chewing help with teething, but it will also help your dog to exercise his jaw, head, and neck muscles, thus making them strong enough to hold the weight of his ears.


    Many owners believe that supplementing their German Shepherds diet with calcium will help their ears to stand up. However, your dogs ears are made from cartilage, not bone, and calcium doesnt have any effect on the development of the cartilage.

    If you want to supplement your pups diet, its much safer to supplement it with Glucosamine which lubricates the joints and supports healthy cartilage. As always, you should first talk with your vet to see if your German Shepherd puppy can benefit from using supplements.


    Feeding your puppy with high-quality dog food is essential for his overall well-being and proper development. Make sure that you are feeding your pup with the highest quality food you can afford, and steer clear from brands that use fillers such as wheat, corn, or soy.

    Check For Parasites

    So, do routine fecal tests and keep up with deworming treatments to keep intestinal parasites at bay. Furthermore, get your dog tested for heartworms and talk with your vet about a preventative care plan.

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    Do German Shepherds Pick A Favorite Person

    The other littermates are on the same level as them, so they will consider them equal, family, and bond with them differently. The littermates are no less loving or affectionate, just different. It must be noted that German Shepherds do tend to select which person in a family or household they bond the closest.

    If Your Dog Could Talk

    German Shepherd Head Tilt

    then wed never have to guess how he or she is feeling. But body language is still a great substitute. By understanding how dogs use their face, tail, and body to express themselves you can always have a general idea of how a dog even an unfamiliar one is feeling. When you apply that general knowledge to a dog whose personality you know well, you can gain an even greater understanding of that dog.

    Understanding your German Shepherd dogs use of body language helps with bonding, training and even identification of medical issues. So just because your dog cant talk doesnt mean he or she has nothing to say. You just have to know how to listen. Heres to excellent communication between you and your four-legged friend.

    For more info on dog body language, visit us at Also on and

    Guest Author: Andrew James

    Recommended Reading: How To Train A German Shepherd To Attack On Command

    Correcting My German Shepherds Ears

    Many German Shepherd owners jump the gun and start thinking about correcting their dogs ears while they are only three or four months old. Please note, theres no need to correct your puppys ears in any way until he has finished teething.

    Depending on a dog, the teething can last 16 to 20 weeks, and by that time the cartilage in the ear will become strong enough to hold an erect ear.

    You should get interested in your German Shepherds ears if five months have passed and they havent perked up yet. This could be a sign that your pup is lacking some essential nutrients and isnt developing properly.

    So before you opt to correct your German Shepherds ears, take him to the vet for a full check-up. And if everything turns out fine, your pup has most likely inherited the floppy ears from one or both of his parents.

    In this case, you should ask yourself whether a correction is really necessary and whats in it for your dog. On the other hand, if you find your German Shepherds floppy ears funny and cute, you dont have to stress if they are going to perk up at all.

    But if you decide to correct your pups ears, do it after he has finished teething and do it right. Its unnecessary and cruel to put your dog through pain and discomfort just for the sake of beauty.

    Better View Of Your Face

    German Shepherds may also tilt their head when you speak to them so they can see your face more clearly as you talk. Many German Shepherds have long snouts, making it more difficult for them to see things from certain angles. Tilting their head may help them see your face and read your emotions and expression better.

    German Shepherds arent the only dogs that tilt their heads when you speak to them, but it is much more familiar with dogs with long snouts.

    Read Also: When Do German Shepherd Puppies Lose Their Baby Teeth

    The Long Coated German Shepherd Dog

    The coat is considerably longer than that of the long-smooth-coat. It is generally very soft and forms a parting along the back. The undercoat will be found in the region of the loins or will not be present at all. A long coat is greatly diminished in weatherproofing and utility and therefore is undesirable.

    Do Dog Owners Encourage This Head Tilt Behavior

    Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads? Do You Love German Shepherd ...

    Although there are several factors behind this head tilt, it looks cute regardless of its cause. Being human is in our instinct to respond to cuteness. When dogs bow their heads, we often speak in a good tone, pat them, and smile. So, in a sense, we give them positive reinforcement and encourage this head-tilt behavior.

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    Does The Head Tilt Help With Communication In Any Other Ways

    Dogs also understand us by assessing not only what we say, but how we say it. They assess our facial expressions, eye movements, tone of voice, body language, and inflection to translate human communications. To understand us, dogs must clearly see our faces and tilting their heads may help in this process.

    Head and face shape may interfere with what a dog can see. To grasp how a long snout interferes with vision, hold a fist to your nose and look around. You have to turn your head to see an object directly in front of you. Dogs do the same thing. They tilt their heads to work around their interfering muzzles and improve their visual perspective. That cute head tilt actually broadens the range of vision and allows a dog to more clearly see a persons face. Seeing our facial expressions improves communication.

    It stands to reason that dogs with flatter faces like Bulldogs and Boston Terriers may tilt their heads less since their short noses do not get in the way as much as long muzzles. That cute head tilt may therefore be a result of physical conformation .

    German Shepherds Will Explore Everything With Their Noses

    Youll find evidence of their very thorough sniffing everywhere walls, doors, windows, and more. All dogs have a better sense of smell than humans 10,000 to 100,000 times better in fact thanks to having millions more scent receptors. But compared to other breeds, the GSD ranks near the top in scenting ability. Its no wonder they make such great police and detection dogs. Among many other jobs, GSDs are known for their bomb and drug sniffing work, tracking, and search and rescue.

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    Territorial Aggression When Other Dogs Are Around

    If your German Shepherd attacked your other dog then your other dog may have gotten too close to a prized possession.

    Some highly valued possessions that cause your German Shepherd aggression towards other dogs may be:

    • you
    • potential mates
    • or toys, such as bones, treat chews and any other prised toys around

    Your German Shepherd may feel the need to protect these resources and become confrontational or attack your other dog.

    Be aware of adding in a new puppy to your home and allowing it to invade your older dogs food dishes, beds, toys, or space, which can upset the older dog and cause a dog attack.

    And, a female German Shepherd could become territorial and dog aggressive when shes given birth to puppies in order to protect her litter.

    Why Isnt My German Shepherd Cuddly

    German Shepherds Doing Adorable Head Tilts | Two German Shepherds Pull Off The Cutest Head Tilt

    The reason that your German Shepherd doesnt 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.

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    Amazing Facts About German Shepherds

    Lynn is a writer and long-time Learning & Development Manager at a large PNW retailer. She’s also mom to 3 dogs & 2 cats!

    Theres no wonder the noble German Shepherd is the AKCs second most popular dog. This breeds intelligence, bravery, and loyalty have made them excel as police and military dogs, service dogs, and protective family pets. Its clear we love them and for so many reasons.

    Here are some amazing facts about the German Shepherd breed you may not know.

    1. German Shepherds are natural herders

    Originally, German Shepherds were tasked with watching over flocks of sheep and herding them from field to field. That job required lightning-fast reflexes and an ability to run at top speed when needed. This breed proved perfect for the job.

    German Shepherds can reach speeds of up to 32 miles per hour at full sprint. However, when herding, they trot rather than run, clocking in at around 20 miles per hour. They became the go-to-dog for herding sheep but there was so much more this breed would come to excel at.

    At some point, a German Cavalry officer noticed this impressive work dog and its wolflike appearance. He purchased a dog for himself and the official history of this breed began.

    2. The father of the German Shepherd breed

    In 1895, Max Von Shlephanitz purchased the first Shepherd Dog at a dog show, naming him Horand Von Grafath. Horand was the genetic basis for the German Shepherd breed.

    They Like Staying Close To You

    German Shepherds have protective instincts, so dont be surprised when they follow you everywhere!

    When youre bonded with a German Shepherd, theyre most comfortable when theyre around to protect you and feel like theyre doing their job. Additionally, they associate your presence with good feelings, so theyd prefer to follow you around and keep an eye on you.

    Read Also: Is A Pitbull Stronger Than A German Shepherd

    Why Do German Shepherds Turn Their Heads

    Since German shepherds have large mouths, they tilt their heads in order to get a better view of what theyre looking at. They are especially attracted to you, their owner, and thats why you may often see them tilting their heads while looking at you.

    Why does my German Shepherd tilt his head? Just like all dogs, your German Shepherds middle ear muscles are controlled by the same part of his brain that controls his facial expressions and head movement. So if your German Shepherd tilts his head when you talk to him, he is doing two things: And hes telling you that he is listening.

    Can German Shepherds hear? German Shepherds have very good hearing and it is not necessary for them to tilt their heads in order to hear things. However, tilting their head may help them to single out phrases that are important to them such as when you are telling it to come for food .

    Why do German Shepherds bond? Bonding. German Shepherds bond very tightly to their owners, usually to the extent that frequent rehoming can cause behavioral problems brought on by insecurity. If you are considering obtaining a GSD but dont know what will happen to the dog when you move/get a new job/get married/have children/etc., please dont get a German Shepherd.


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