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Why does my German Shepherd not want to lick me at all! 

Have you ever had to say this out loud? 

Well, as strange as it may sound, the truth is your GSD not licking you is not necessarily an uncommon or a bad thing. 

Even though licking in dogs is usually the way they express their affection and how they communicate – not all dogs have the same behavioral patterns. And, that’s totally fine, as no dog ever is the same.

But, are there any other reasons behind this untypical GSD behavior? Let’s find out!

#1 That’s Just Not Who He Is

man stroking a German shepherd on the head in natureman stroking a German shepherd on the head in nature

One thing is for sure – we definitely can’t put the German Shepherd breed in the club of the least affectionate dog breeds, as that’s just not who they are! 

While many first-time GSD owners would perceive their non-licking character as unaffectionate or cold – the truth is far from that. Some GSDs are simply not made that way and they rather prefer using other body language signs to express how they feel.

If your GSD is acting perfectly normal in other aspects of his pawtastic life – then you don’t need to worry about him not licking you. Apparently, he has his own unique ways of showing you that he loves you!

#2 You Have Disapproved This Behavior In The Past

german shepherd dog looks closely at the owners hand in the parkgerman shepherd dog looks closely at the owners hand in the park

Has your GSD stopped licking you for no apparent reason? But, he used to do it before? 

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One thing is for sure – there must be an explanation for this sudden change in behavior, as he definitely didn’t do it out of the blue.

First of all, try remembering whether you have disapproved of this behavior at some point in the past. German Shepherds are extremely intelligent dogs that read your body language perfectly.

If you have indicated that you don’t like him licking you – you’ve probably created an association in his mind that this sort of behavior is negative. 

#3 What’s That Perfume On Your Neck, Hooman?

a woman with a german shepherd sits on a stone by the lakea woman with a german shepherd sits on a stone by the lake

While some cosmetic products, such as face creams, lotions, and perfumes may be appealing to you, they probably won’t be as appealing to your dog.

According to a study in 20221, “strong scents may be very intense and not always pleasant” to your dog. 

If your GSD is normally licking other people, but he refuses to lick you for some reason – it’s probably because of the cosmetics that you’re using. 

#4 Depression Might Be The Answer

sad german shepherd lying on the floorsad german shepherd lying on the floor

Another study in 2022 indicates that over 70% percent of dogs in Britain showed depression and anxiety signs after the pandemic. 

The reason is grounded in the fact that dogs hardly adapt to being apart from their owners once they adapt to being constantly next to them.

For that exact reason, some GSDs might stop exhibiting normal behavior, such as licking their owners. 

Depressed canines are likely to lose interest in the things that they felt excited about before they become overly lethargic and it is much harder to motivate them.

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If you notice these behavioral patterns in your dog – the best that you can do is consult a dog behavioral therapist.

#5 Your GSD Is Ill

ill german shepherd dog lying on the floorill german shepherd dog lying on the floor

The reason why your GSD has stopped licking you all of a sudden may be due to some health issue, such as dry mouth. This can happen due to dehydration, fever, or some sort of medication.

Canines that deal with dry mouth generally have a dry tongue, which makes them uncomfortable licking you. Other symptoms can include extremely bad breath, difficulty chewing, or inflammation of the oral tissue.

This condition requires timely vet intervention, as it may lead to further complications.

#6 He’s Growing Older

old german shepherd dog lying on the ground and looking at owner's handold german shepherd dog lying on the ground and looking at owner's hand

If your GSD was an enthusiastic licker during the puppyhood stage and he significantly reduced this behavior after the period of adolescence – that just means that your puppy has officially become an adult.

The truth is that puppies do eventually calm down and their behavior becomes much more stable after the juvenile stage. 

They don’t have as many outbursts, they naturally become more inclined to a routine, and they’re not as enthusiastic about everything as they used to be as puppies.

#7 You’ve Trained Him Not To Lick You

owner and his german shepherd dog playing in the snowowner and his german shepherd dog playing in the snow

Did your German Shepherd stop licking you after you trained him to? Well, that means that you officially succeeded! 

After all… these doggos are extremely trainable and obedient by default and they are likely to do anything to please their owners.

There are numerous techniques of teaching your dog not to lick you, and if you’re not the biggest fan of this “communication tool” – all you need is consistency.

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3 Things To Consider

#1 At What Point Your GSD Stopped Licking You

Your dog acting weird all of a sudden is not a phenomenon that cannot be explained. Quite the contrary – they’re relatively easy to read, as their behavior exclusively derives from experiences they have.

If your dog has stopped licking you and you can’t figure out why – try to remember exactly when this happened. Maybe you unknowingly disapproved of his licking or had a harsh reaction to this sort of behavior. 

#2 Other Body Language

In order to determine what makes your GSD not lick you you need to look into other body language. Is he acting normally or is he displaying some behavioral outbursts? Is he traumatized? Is he exhibiting some specific fear aggression signs? Or, is he just lethargic?

These are the questions that might help you determine whether his non-licking character comes naturally or if it is a part of a much bigger problem!

#3 Does Your GSD Lick You Only On Certain Moments

Your GSD not licking you all the time does not necessarily mean that he’s still not one of the best family dogs in the world. 

Some GSDs simply don’t do this too often. They might only lick you on certain occasions, such as the time when you come home after work or when they are hungry. It’s just a part of their natural character.

Conclusion

Despite the fact that licking is one of the ultimate trademarks of all German Shepherd dogs, some of them simply don’t do it.

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However, determining why your GSD is not a natural licker is not always a walk in the park. Sometimes, this sort of behavior is rooted in a much bigger issue and it takes time to decode it.

If, however, your puppy is acting perfectly fine minus the licking – there’s nothing to worry about. You just need to accept him for who he is – the pawesome, non-licking German Shepherd!

References: 

  1. Kokocińska, A., Woszczyło, M., Sampino, S., Dzięcioł, M., Zybała, M., Szczuka, A., Korczyńska, J., Rozempolska-Rucińska, I. (2022). Canine Smell Preferences-Do Dogs Have Their Favorite Scents? Animals (Basel). DOI

By Andy Marcus

Hello, my name is Andy Marcus, and I am a passionate dog lover and enthusiast. For me, there is nothing quite like the joy and love that a furry friend can bring into our lives. I have spent years studying and learning about dogs, and have made it my mission to share my knowledge and expertise with others through my website. Through my website, I aim to provide comprehensive information and resources for dog owners and enthusiasts. Whether it's training tips, health and nutrition advice, or insights into dog behavior, I strive to create a platform that is accessible and useful to everyone who loves dogs.

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