Does Your Doberman Love You? 25 Ways They Show Affection

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Girl tightly hugs her Doberman Pinscher.

Have you ever wondered if your Doberman really loves you? Dobermans are one of those breeds that are so in tune with human emotions that it can be scary at times. In fact, they’re also capable of experiencing similar emotions to humans including love. So, after reaching out to thousands of Doberman owners, I’ve compiled this list of the most common ways that Dobermans show their love for their owners.

How do you tell if your Doberman loves you? Dobermans will usually express tight bonds and even love for their owners by sleeping on or near them, making eye contact, leaning into them, and using them for a sense of security when in a new environment. 

That’s the very short answer, but there are certainly many other ways Dobermans show love. After talking to other Doberman owners, I have compiled a list of very specific actions that Doberman Pinschers use to show that they love their owners. Your dog may not do all of these, but if you’ve experienced a majority of them then you can rest assured that your Doberman loves you.

What Dobermans do to show love…

1. Look Into Your Eyes with Nose Forward and Ears Back

Eye contact can be a dominance thing with Dobermans, but more often, if the ears are back slightly and they’re extending their neck to get their nose close to you, it’s a sign of love. Think of them trying to point at you with their nose while maintaining all-too-awkward eye contact. The more awkward this gets, the more love there is. 

2. Run Behind Your Legs When Scared

If your Doberman uses you for a sense of security when something frightening is happening then he’s definitely bonded tightly with you. This happens with a Dobie more often when they’re younger since their naturally fearless nature tends to take over a bit as an adult.

But, as a younger dog, if your Dobie gets really frightened and runs through, or behind, your legs for safety then it means that they not only trust you but more than likely they love you too. That’s because trust at that level goes hand and hand with love for Dobermans. As an example, my boy did this one night when he was a puppy and two dogs came sprinting up to him in the dark.

3. Let You Annoy Them

Ok, I obviously don’t encourage annoying or pestering your dog. But, when a Dobie lets you do somewhat annoying things to him and remains relaxed—that’s love.

This would be like if you’re sitting and watching television with him and he’s letting you play with his paws, tug his ears, or play with his nose or lips. Only a Dobie who fully trusts you and holds a level of affection for you would let you do some of these things to him while remaining relaxed.

4. Try to Be Close to (Or on Top Of) You While You’re Sleeping

This is probably the most common way that they show love for their owners. If your Doberman loves to be right next to you while you (or he) is sleeping, then he has definitely bonded with you. Yes, sometimes this looks like him sleeping on top of you too.

Ever have your dog fall asleep next to you while you’re watching television on the couch, and get up to move to another seat? Does he get up soon after, come over next to you, and go back to sleep? That’s true Dobie-love right there! Some people even say that their sleeping position says a lot about them.

My Doberman sleeping on my wife.
My Doberman Cooper insists on sleeping directly on top of my wife any chance he gets.

5. Sleep in Your Room Watching the Door

If your Dobermans sleeps with you in your room and seems to always want to be facing the door to your room, then he’s got a tight bond with you. This means that he is in a protective mode of you and Dobermans only do this to those they have that close bond with.

This will be especially noticeable if you take your dog to a new house, or another new environment (camping for example), and you have him sleep with you. If his love is going to show for you in this way, that’s when it’ll happen. However, some Dobermans will feel too secure in their own homes and won’t do this.

Did you know that your Doberman goes through cycles of deep sleep and restful alertness about every 15 minutes or so? This is another instinct to help keep you safe. Learn more about Doberman sleeping habits here.

6. Randomly Lean Into Your Legs

This will happen at the worst of times—like then you’re in the kitchen running around and cooking dinner. But if he sits down right behind your legs and presses into them, that’s a sign that he loves you. Resist the urge to kick him away or send his off running right away. After all, he’s just telling you how much he cares for you. Just don’t trip!

7. Body Slam You While You’re Sleeping

It’s 2 a.m. and you’re sound asleep on your bed with your Doberman. He’s already crowded you to the edge of your kind sized mattress giving you mere inches to sleep. But then, when you are totally asleep and comfortable, he gets up, does a turn or two, and quickly drops all his weight straight down onto your side. It feels like you got body-slammed by a wrestler.

Well actually, your dog got up and realized he wanted to be even close to you, so this was the result. As painful and startling as it can be, it really is just love. This was my Dobie’s favorite move. I was somewhat relieved when other Doberman owners said that their dog did this to them also.

8. Wake You Up by Poking You in the Face with Their Nose

You’re asleep in the middle of the night, or maybe early morning (say, around 5 a.m.) and your Doberman is tired of being alone and away from the one they love. So that’s when you get a cold wet nose jammed in your cheek. 

It’s frustrating when you’re trying to sleep in, but trust me, if your dog didn’t love you he’d go off in a corner somewhere and not want anything to do with you, and certainly wouldn’t care to wake you—almost sounds better sometimes doesn’t it?

9. Cry When There’s Any Distance Between You in a New Environment

This is such a tell-tale sign of love and the existence of a tight bond. If you are in a new environment with your Doberman and he seemingly freaks out much more than normal when you walk away, that means not only does he likely love you, but he’s being protective of you too.

Dobermans were bred to be personal protection dogs that have tight bonds with their owners. There’s no time where this is more apparent than in a new and strange environment when the owner walks away. When I would go on hiking trips with my Doberman Cooper and walk away from him for a minute or two, he would start crying, pacing, and trying to get to me. He didn’t do anything like that at home, only when out in a strange new place. That’s love right there!

My Doberman right by my side while camping.
My Doberman Cooper always sticks close to my side, but on this camping trip, he wouldn’t even let me go get water from the stream 20 feet away without insisting on coming with me.

10. Try Climbing Into Your Lap at the Worst Times

When you’re skyping with your boss, having a serious conversation with your neighbor in your living room, taking a selfie, or trying to look sexy on that skype call with your boyfriend—your Doberman jumps up into your lap. All 90 pounds of him, making you grunt like a trucker.

Yeah, Dobies love being in the laps of the ones they love and if they see you sitting down with an easy means of climbing up onto you, regardless of what you’re doing, they’ll do it. The good news is they only do this with those they love—lucky you!

11. Randomly Lick Your Face

You know those random kisses when you’re watching television and not expecting them? That’s love. You don’t always need to ask for them, but if you’re Doberman sees an opportunity and goes in for one, that’s a good sign. Yeah, it may be right on the lips, or eyes, or nose, but love knows no bounds.

12. Won’t Leave Your Side—Even in the Bathroom

I’ve heard it said before that if there are many breeds of dogs out there considered “velcro” dogs simply because they stick to your side, then Dobermans must be “superglue” dogs. They always want to be at the side of the ones they love, like all-the-time.

So that means you don’t get any time alone, even in the bathroom. If your Dobie loves you, get ready for a head poking into the bathroom door when you’re on the toilet. The old saying is “Get a Doberman and never go to the bathroom alone again!”

13. Breathe Deeply While Their Nose is Pressed Against You

For dogs, scent is everything. When your Dobie is head-over-heels for you he might just want to jam his nose into your neck, cheek, or any other place and start breathing as deeply as possible. Doberman owners often say this is another treat that happens in the middle of the night. A little creepy? Sure it is, but hey, it’s love.

Unfortunately, they also like to do this right after they just had a big drink of water from their water bowl and their mouth is dripping with water. If that’s the only time yours does it, maybe he is actually just trying to annoy you! Nah, it’s probably just love.

Did You Know?

Dobermans are amazing family dogs who are great with kids. To learn more about what behaivor changes you’re likely to see when they start living with kids in the house, see my article Are Dobermans Good with Kids? What You Need to Know.

14. Nuzzle Their Head Under Your Arm

If your Doberman jams his head under your arm while you’re writing an article about Doberman affection for your website, then he probably loves you. Ok, there are other times he might do this, but this is what I usually experience.

This is also often just a bid for attention, but Dobies will only seek that attention from those in the family they’ve bonded with. So consider yourself lucky! I know I do.

15. Yawn When You Yawn

A Doberman only cares to become highly intuned with the actions and emotions of an owner who they feel love and affection for. So if your Dobie is so in tune with you that he yawns around the time you yawn, then he probably loves you.

But it doesn’t stop just at yawning. If he gets up and stretches when you do, takes in a deep breath when you do, or does other mimicking actions then you have a dog who is truly in tune with you. That means they’ve bonded tightly with you as their owner and certainly have some level of love for you.

16. Put Their Slobbery-Wet Toy Right on Your Lap

In the dog world, giving up your favorite toy or bone isn’t just done for anyone. In fact, their natural instincts are to be possessive of those things. But if you’re lucky enough to have your dog come over and give you their favorite toy by setting it in your lap, then you are on part of that dog’s circle of trust!

This is especially true if they just finished reaping the benefits from something you’ve provided for them like a filling meal or cold water on a hot day. That’s why you’re lucky enough to get a slobbery wet toy in your lap after he just finished drinking a bunch of water. Oh, love is great isn’t it?

17. Frequently Check-in While in New Environments

In a new environment, your Doberman will look to you for reassurance and as part of his protective instincts. So if you notice that your dog continually stops what they are doing and makes eye contact with you for a few seconds before going back to it, that’s an expression of the bond they feel with you. This can be very apparent in a dog park setting, for example.

18. Use Your Shoulder or Neck as a Headrest

This is sort of a combination of some of the other signs of love listed here. Many Dobermans owners feel their dogs rest their heads on their shoulders or neck for a few reasons. One is to smell your scent, and the other is to be as close as possible to you. Either reason would mean that it’s an expression of love from your dog.

My Doberman insists on sleeping right on top of me to show his love.
Cooper often insists on not just sleeping on top of me, but also putting his nose in my neck. A real sign of love!

19. Steal Your Socks When You’re Gone

This goes along with the scent thing for Dobermans. If they’re stealing your socks, underwear, or other small items that have your scent all over them then don’t get mad—it’s just love! Remember that scent is everything in the dog world and if they can’t be near you right now, having something nearby with your scent on it is the next best thing.

20. Sad While You’re Getting Ready to Leave

When you start to get ready to leave the house for the day by grabbing your keys or packing up a bag, a Doberman who loves you will start to feel an increase in anxiety. They might start pacing, crying, or whimpering. They may also start sticking closer to your side than normal (if that’s possible).

However, it can also be a sign of separation anxiety, which is very likely in a Dobie that feels an extra tight bond with you. So if your dog is destroying things, barking non-stop, or trying to escape while you’re gone, make sure you look into ways to help curb separation anxiety. You don’t want your dog suffering all day while you’re away.

21. Over-the-Top Excited When You Return

Almost all Doberman owners report experiencing this, but there’s a difference between your dog being excited because someone who might play with them is home and excited because the one they love is home. You might have to see how your dog acts with others, but a Doberman who loves their owner will get noticeably more excited when their owner gets home.

They’ll be jumping in circles, getting their favorite toy, whining, and you’ll see that little stub on their rear end going a million miles an hour. Ask others who come to your house when you aren’t around to describe, in detail, how your Doberman acts. I’ll bet they’re happy to see them, but not like they are when you get home. 

22. Roll Onto Their Back With Legs Up in the Air with You

This position isn’t natural for a dog. You might think it is, but that’s just because you have a Dobie who’s crazy in love with you. Trust me, dogs would never do this in the wild. A dog who gets onto their back with their feet up in the air and stays there is staying in a submissive position. It’s also a dangerous position if they were in the wild, so that’s why it’s so unnatural for them.

But if your dog is comfortable enough to do that for you, it means his love for you is overriding those instincts. He also fully trusts you and has bonded with you to the point that he can stay, fully relaxed, in a submissive position with you. Nice job—your Doberman loves you!

23. Always Make Eye Contact with You

Dobermans are known for making lots of eye contact. Yes, they may also do this for dominance reasons or when they’re suspicious of someone and on alert. But they also do it when they love someone. It’s difficult to describe here but it’s a different look when they make eye contact out of love.

First off, readily making eye contact with you all the time is a sign they have a desire to be connected to you and are trying to understand you. But more than that, the way they look at you makes a difference. Doberman owners will describe the “love look” as looking deep into their eyes to the point that it’s almost awkward. Often with their ears back and sometimes going in to lick their face soon after. Awkward? Maybe. True love? Yes!

24. Act Eager to Listen When You Talk

If your Doberman loves you, he’ll be highly focused on you and seemingly always “trying to figure you out.” That means that you’ll have no problem keeping their attention while you’re talking to them. Every time you talk to your dog you’re building your emotional connection. If your Doberman loves you, he’ll be eager for that connection and love focusing on you while you talk.

25. Randomly Entice You to Rough House

Puppies always love to do this, and yes, they’ll do this to strangers also. But you will see that you’re your dog’s number one play partner. Dogs in the wild, especially littermates, will play wrestle and play fight quite often as a way of building tighter bonds.

If your Doberman is focused on you as their main playmate and loves enticing you to rough house with him at a moment’s notice then that loving family-type bond is strong and they’re wanting to make it stronger.

Final Thoughts

The humane-canine bond has been around for somewhere between 15,000 to 30,000 years (source) and it certainly seems to be especially strong in Dobies. With a little effort, you can build that bond with your Doberman even deeper and stronger. Check out my advice on building a deep bond with your Doberman here.

After reaching out to many Doberman owners while researching this article, these were the twenty-five most common ways they reported that Dobermans show their love. But, of course, there are many other ways and if you know your dog well, you’ll be able to sense exactly when they’re saying “I love you”.

If you feel your Doberman is overly needy, which can happen, take a look at my article How to Handle a Needy Doberman: A Simple Guide for help.

Dobermans are a truly amazing breed. They’re so incredibly intuned with human emotions that sometimes it seems like they can almost feel what you’re feeling. If you stumbled on this page looking for signs of love from your Doberman, then I’m confident you know exactly what I’m talking about. Now go give your pup some love!

John Walter and Cooper, his Doberman Pinscher.

About the author

John Walter is a Family Doberman Specialist, holds a CPD certification in Canine Communication, and is an active dog trainer specializing in the Doberman Pinscher breed. He's been quoted in Doberman Network Magazine, Bark Magazine, Doberman Dispatch, and he's the founder of Doberman Planet. Learn More

6 thoughts on “Does Your Doberman Love You? 25 Ways They Show Affection”

  1. Memories came flooding back as I remember Elroy who departed last November 2019. As he passed me in the hallway he would give my hand a little lick, he also would throw himself onto me in the middle of the night. There are too many to mention, I feel the tears welling up now , I miss him so much. They are the best breed ever.

  2. This article described my beautiful boy Jake exactly. Unfortunately he died two months ago and I think of him everyday. I’m now crying remembering the times he did these things.

  3. Your article describes my Ceaser exactly ….he’s 48 kgs of muscle and is as soft as silk …hard work as a puppy but we’ll worth it ..a true loving friendly dog and excellent with my grand kids

  4. My Husband and I just laughed as this describes our girl Scarlett Rose. Yup she a red girl with all the fire and love of a ginger girl.


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