Skip to Content

9 Weird German Shepherd Behaviors That Will Make You Wonder

9 Weird German Shepherd Behaviors That Will Make You Wonder

Even though they are known to be extremely impeccable and well-behaved dogs, German Shepherd puppies can be quite confusing and mysterious at times. 

Weird German Shepherd behaviors derive from a plethora of reasons, including traumas, injuries, diseases, and stress.

In order to identify a weird behavior in your GSD, you need to go back to the root. Finding the cause of a certain behavioral pattern will help you better understand your dog. 

The purpose of this article is to explain nine different German Shepherd behaviors that you don’t come across every day. Some of them may already be a part of your dog’s everyday life, but some may be quite mysterious, even to experienced owners. 

The List Of Weird German Shepherd Behaviors

Are you wondering why your dog is acting weird at certain times? Well, maybe you may just need to deal with the fact that your GSD is set in weird ways. Or, maybe you need to find the cause of that specific behavior? 

Even though they are quite predictable, well-mannered, and laid back when properly trained, GS dogs sometimes have a tendency to behave strangely. The whole ‘’why’’ of a certain behavioral pattern is the first and last question you need to be finding the answer to.

If, however, you still cannot determine the cause, then the engagement of a professional dog behaviorist would be a good solution.

Here is the list of weird German Shepherd behaviors that you may deal with throughout your dog’s lifetime.

1. Constant Howling

German shepherd howls

Is your German Shepherd dog howling all the time? It’s simple. Howling is almost never a part of a GSD’s standard behavior – hence, finding the root is required.

GS dogs use howling as a communication tool

They howl when they are in need, when they want something, when they want your attention, or when they are in pain. In order to find the trigger of this particular behavior, you need to look into other accompanying symptoms.

If you don’t notice any accompanying symptoms that may be the sign of a certain health condition – you may want to revise your dog’s daily routine. 

GS dogs that howl all of a sudden may be telling you that you’re late with your meal or that it is time for their outdoor exercise.

2. Clinginess 

How about a clingy dog? Well, it may not be common for German Shepherds, but clinginess is quite a common behavior in family dogs. If your puppy is used to spending a dominant part of their day with you – it may become clingy very soon.

Even though this behavior may look cute at first, your GSD’s clinginess can become your worst nightmare in no time. Clingy GSDs are often a lot to take, especially given their high-energy temperament.

They may follow you around all the time, and doing anything around them could get almost impossible. 

3. Asserting Dominance

german shepherd barking

It is no surprise that these dogs belong to the club of the most aggressive breeds in the world. Consequently, some GSDs may preserve their dominant attitude, even around their closest ones. 

Asserting dominance is generally reflected in excessive barking or holding a straight, vigilant body posture. In order to avoid this weird German Shepherd behavior, you need to subject your puppy to a lot of socialization training.

Dogs that are not naturally sociable and friendly need to undergo a lot more socialization training than their friendly counterparts. That being said, you may want to start socializing your GSD as soon as you pick it up from the breeder.

4. Separation Anxiety

Even though we didn’t mention it right ahead, separation anxiety ranks pretty high on the list of weird German Shepherd behaviors. This is due to the fact that separation anxiety has a plethora of different manifestations.

No dog has the same response when dealing with solitude. 

Quite the contrary… some independent dog breeds love having the whole apartment or a back yard to themselves. On the other hand, dogs like GSDs often respond in a negative way as being separated is not their common habitus.

Both male and female GSDs are known to be highly affectionate dogs that love spending time with their owner. That said, you should adapt your dog to solitude gradually, step by step. 

Try with shorter intervals. See how your dog responds. After some time, you can start gradually extending those intervals. In the meantime, try occupying your dog with chew toys, TV dog shows, or interactive playgrounds.

5. Excessive Aggression

german shepherd acting aggressive

Yes, German Shepherds are a naturally aggressive breed. And, no… excessive aggression is not a common behavior in these dogs. Quite the opposite. Typically, aggression in dogs derives from lack of socialization. 

That being said, you should start socializing your GSD as soon as possible as socializing a dog in its adulthood is quite a demanding task.

However, there are times when these German beauties display excessive aggression despite their regular socialization training. Most of the time, the reason for highly aggressive behavior lies in improper parenting, stress, trauma, illness, or injury.

If your GSD is acting extremely aggressive – revisit these five things!

6. Hiding

If your dog has been sleeping under the bed since puppyhood, that’s probably an already-established, normal behavior that was picked up later on as a habit.

However, if you have just noticed that your dog is constantly hiding from you – that may be a reason to be concerned. GSDs are generally fearless, courageous, and open dogs that don’t have a problem being around anybody.

Hiding is a weird behavioral pattern that derives from some sort of trauma or bad experience. For that matter, you should revise your parenting methods, as well as your dog’s environment. 

Dogs hide either when they are afraid of something or when they want to escape. Find the root of the problem and remove it.

7. Digging Holes

german shepherd digging hole in a garden

Even though German Shepherd puppies are not exactly professional escape artists, there may be times when your dog will dig a hole in order to escape. Sound sassy and cute? 

Unfortunately, this type of behavior is rooted in deep anxiety.

GSDs that dig holes for the sake of escaping are generally suffering from some sort of trauma, anxiety, or fear.

On the other hand, digging a hole is quite normal behavior for some breeds. For instance, hunting dogs dig holes when hunting small game. Still, this behavior is not common for GSDs as they are not hunting dogs by default.

Furthermore, your GSD may be digging a hole to cool itself during the summer or to find a source of refreshment, such as water. 

8. Laying On You

Don’t misperceive your GSD companion for a lap dog as it is not one! Quite the opposite – these dogs show their affection by wagging their tail, staring at you, or smiling. 

Still, some GSDs may be too affectionate, which is why they will gladly crawl up into your lap and lay down.

On the other hand, some GSDs lay on you as they want to protect you. This is a naturally good watchdog breed, which is why your GSD will have a natural need to protect you from all kinds of stuff.

Laying on you is a parental instinct that female GSDs use to protect their litters

Other reasons as to why your GSD lays on you are fear, separation anxiety, attention seeking, or learned behavior.

9. Licking Its Paws

German Shepherd dog lying on the grass and licking his paw.

‘’Why do dogs lick their paws’’ is a pretty big question as there is no one answer to it. Dogs generally lick their paws when they are injured or when they are in pain. 

Health conditions, such as arthritis, can be extremely painful, which is why dogs instinctively lick their paws to relieve the pain. 

On the other hand, a GSD can lick its paws due to dermatitis or parasites. Dogs with dermatitis generally have itchy paws, which is why this behavioral pattern can be displayed.

Some dogs, though, can lick their paws either due to a habit or simple boredom


There are many weird German Shepherd behaviors that you cannot explain in a vacuum. They usually happen as a result of certain circumstances or set of events.

In order to identify why your dog is displaying particular behavior – you need to look into those circumstances.

Hopefully, these nine GSD behaviors explained have helped you understand your favorite puppy better or perhaps they have led you towards a solution.

Read more: Why Does My German Shepherd Put His Paw On Me? 8 Answers