Can Your German Shepherd Read Your Mind?

Can Your German Shepherd Read Your Mind?

German shepherds are very smart and intuitive. If you’ve ever lived with one, then you know that they have a seemingly uncanny ability to read your mind.

You may have noticed that they are experts at predicting what’s going to happen next. They can pick up on the smallest of nuances and changes in their environment. Has it ever seemed as if your dog knew what you were going to do almost before you did?

You’ve probably experienced this if your dog seemed to know a particular car ride was going to the vet’s office, it was bath time before you even began filling the tub, or that a tasty treat was packed with a pill.


Is Your Dog Psychic?

So, do German shepherds have psychic abilities or is something else going on?

The truth is that German shepherds are highly tuned in to their owners. They are very perceptive and experts are reading body language. And, they can pick up on the smallest of clues from their owner’s behavior.

You may think you’re an expert at reading your dog’s body language. But trust us, your dog is equally or even more skilled at reading yours. They can read your intentions, have empathy, are aware of how they want to please you, and can perform certain behaviors to get what they want.

Researchers have been studying this ability and call it “theory of mind.” Which “implies self-awareness and the ability to understand that other individuals may possess information and agendas.” In other words, your dog has empathy, can respond to you socially, is influenced by your opinion, and experiences emotions.


Dogs Are Body Language Experts

Your dog is paying close attention to the clues you reveal to them, even if they are subconscious on your part. They then base their decision-making behavior on what they perceive your actions will be. In other words, they attempt to figure out what you’re thinking or planning at any given moment and respond accordingly.

That may mean doing a happy dance next to their leash in anticipation of a walk, drooling in the drive through while they wait for their Puppuccino, hiding from bath time, or even offering comfort after a difficult phone call.

All of their seemingly spontaneous actions are a result of their insight into you and anticipating what you’re going to do or what will happen next. University of Florida, studies indicate that dogs will try to figure out what you’re thinking so that they can communicate with you, please you, get what they want, and generally make life better for themselves and you. Interestingly, they are much better at this than wolves raised with humans.

But how they accomplish this is not through mental telepathy. Rather, they read your body language and pick up the cues in your behavior, emotions, and mood. Scientists also refer to this as “social cognition.” They have been studying it in canines for years.



Research suggests that during the process of domestication, dogs have been selected for a set of social-cognitive abilities that enables them to communicate with humans in unique ways. Apparently, living with humans has influenced their behavior.

How Dogs Communicate

If you’ve even been worried and suddenly your dog seems worried, or gotten mad and noticed your German shepherd is now on alert, or even been scared and your dog has gotten nervous, you’ve seen social cognition in action.

It doesn’t only pertain to negative actions or emotions. The same holds true when you get excited, happy, praise your dog, and when you’re preparing to do something while your dog sits back figuring out what it is.


In an effort to understand you, your dog will read your body language as well as listen to your words. They will watch and observe your physical clues to determine what you want them to do, or not to do.

Pay special attention to your dog and notice that they will tune in to facial expressions, posture, body movements, and watch your hand movements. They’ll listen to the tone of your voice while they watch your body language to help them determine your intent.

Because of their amazing ability to read body language, it does seem like they can read your mind. You can easily harness this skill and train them with hand signals, which is not only impressive, but becomes a great skill to have as they age or if they ever lose their hearing.


So, next time you feel like your dog is psychic, pay attention to what happened just before your dog offered a behavior. Was it your body language, voice, or even a change in your routine that enticed them to action?

It’s always interesting to watch a dog’s body language. But, to know they are studying you is fascinating insight into their mind. They are always watching and learning and want to please you or avoid the uncomfortable.

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