Why Does My Dog Stare At Me?
Dogs cannot speak like humans do, hence their main way to express emotion is through eye contact.
Your dog’s stare can be a sign about what they’re feeling and their attitude. If you have found yourself wondering ‘why does my dog stare at me?', you are not alone. What’s more, is that there could be multiple meanings behind dogs' eye contact. They could be communicating a list of things to you ranging from wanting attention to feeling tense or confused.
Fortunately, with a little background knowledge and a lot of observation, these staring patterns of your dog will start making sense to you. Thus, if you have been concerned about your dog staring, read on to find out what it could mean.
Reasons Your Dog Stares at You
We all want to believe that our pets stare at us out of affection. And most times they do, but many other times there could be multiple reasons behind those stares . Some of these reasons include:
One of the main reasons for your dog staring at you could be a sign of it seeking attention. Your canine companion wants you to pay attention to them and give them love and affection. Sometimes, this can even be tied up to your pup wanting to play, or wanting affection in the form of belly rubs.
Pay attention to break this dog stare and study your dog's body language to understand what your pet is trying to communicate in the first place. One characteristic could be your pup resting his head against a table or a sofa you're sitting at and gazing at you.
To Show Love
Dogs and humans share a special bond. They both love each other unconditionally, and the primary way our dogs show that affection is through their loving gaze. Just as dog owners gaze at their dogs out of love, the same way their own dog stares at them to express love and admiration.
Mutual staring between a dog and its owner releases oxytocin or the love hormone. This chemical is known to develop feelings of love and trust and is the same hormone that is released when mothers look at their newborn babies.
You should actively scan bodily characteristics of your dog's staring behavior to understand the reason for it. A few unique identifiers are a sign when your dog is staring at you out of love are:
- A soft expression on the dog's face
- Slightly squinted eyes
So the next time you are wondering “why is my dog staring at me”, just know that it could be because of its love for you.
Your dog could be staring at you out of the desire for something specific, like a tasty morsel of food from your dinner plate or just pet food during their own mealtime. This eye contact is different than most others and is often an attempt to manipulate the owners to give in to their demand.
This is the most common type of stare and is often characterized by a hard stare when the owners are at the dinner table. By giving a long and hard stare, your pet intends to make you uncomfortable and thus give in to his demand for food. But, by giving your dog food in such instances, you are promoting such behavior.
Sometimes, your dog might not be looking for food but a toy, a walk, or some playtime with you. It is good to engage in playful activities with your dog. But, if you constantly give in to these demands, and give your dog food or play with him upon staring, it could become a habit for your dog.
Eventually, staring in order to get everything will become part of his doggo behavior leaving you to feel uncomfortable and guilty often.
Other than wanting food or playtime, your dog could simply want a potty break which can be realized by noticing the body language of your pets.
In most cases, dogs stare at the owner while sitting by the door indicating they want to go out for a potty break. This is not an avoidable want, but owners could teach their dogs a better way to communicate. For instance, you could teach your dog to respond to a doggie bell when it is time for an outdoor potty break.
One reason why your dog is staring at you could be because it is confused as to what you want. This stare is often characterized by a tilted head, prickly ears, and a soft gaze.
Sometimes, when you are trying to make your pets learn new commands, they might stare at you in order to get a cue. In such cases, it is a good option to revisit your old dog training tricks and refresh them for your pup.
Other times, your dog could be trying to understand your actions and therefore, the stare is borne out of his curiosity.
Sometimes your dog may feel threatened by something, or they may be trying to protect something of theirs, like a bone or toy. In such cases, you will notice your dog giving aggressive stares with no blinking and keeping its head still.
This might even occur when your dog sees an unknown person at home. If you notice your dog getting stiff and still while staring at you, give him some time to relax and get back to normal.
When experiencing hard gazes from your dog's eyes, do not stare back at it. It might lead to the dog feeling even more threatened. Instead, let your dog calm down and come to you.
It is in the Dog's Nature
Staring could sometimes be a part of your dog's nature. They could just be doing it to observe your behavior or emotions. Dogs love their humans, and they want to make sure that their owners feel good always. Therefore, by staring at you, your dog could be trying to understand your facial expressions.
You may have noticed how your dog might cuddle up to you when you're sad. It isn't a coincidence, rather it is an outcome of the dog carefully speculating your emotions.
When Should Staring be a Cause for Concern?
While most of the above explanations can answer your concern of “my dog just stares at me”, sometimes the reason why dogs stare at you could be a cause for concern.
Long stares, associated with no particular desire or want, into a blank and random spot, is a symptom of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. Many dogs, especially as they age, often face CCD. A few other symptoms of it are:
- Failure to respond to names and commands
- Getting lost in familiar areas
- Wandering around aimlessly
- Frequent trembling
If you believe your older dog might have cognitive dysfunction, you should take it to the vet. While CCD isn't curable, the vet will be able to help your dog cope with it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it bad to stare a dog in the eyes?
It is bad to look a dog in the eyes as it can be interpreted as a threat and scare the dog away. If you're wondering why do dogs stare at you when you are going for a walk, it is because you are a stranger to them.
Why do dogs stare when they poop?
Dogs stare when they poop to feel protected. You might have noticed that your dog doesn't meet other's eyes but only yours when defecating for reassurance. Therefore, if you have found yourself wondering “my dog keeps staring at me when he poops”, you aren't alone.
Should I be worried if my dog stares at me?
You should not be worried if your dog is staring at you. But when your dog stares without reason, and at nothing specific, it could be a symptom of CCD.
CCD is a vision disorder that occurs among old dogs which impairs their ability to see clearly and perform important commands.
By now you should have hopefully understood that there can be multiple reasons behind a dog's stare. Therefore, the next time you're confused about getting longing stares from your dog, don't conclude that your dog is simply displaying his devotion.
Rather, study its body language and try to understand what he might be communicating with you. This will help in not only addressing the stares but even in developing a stronger bond with your canine buddy.