Why is your dog staring at you? | Dogalize
Staring is a behaviour that puzzles and sometimes worries many pet parents. There are many good reasons why your dog is staring at you.
1. He is showing affection
Just as you gaze lovingly into your partner’s eyes, dogs look into our eyes to indicate they like us. You’ll see your dog has a soft expression, maybe with slightly squinty eyes.
Please note this gaze should be a voluntary behaviour. You should never hold a dog’s head still and stare into his eyes hoping for a mutual loving gaze. This can be a common mistake made by young children who often like to hold dogs still so they can look at them more closely. Your dog could take this action as a threat and may not react affectionately at all.
2. He’s looking for clues
You are the one in charge for setting the times of your dog’s day. You decide what he eats and when he eats. You decide when he goes outside and so on… So your dog is quite invested in figuring out what you’re up to as it directly affects his life.
Dogs are much better at reading our body language than we are at reading theirs. Their sense of smell and hearing are more acute than ours, and it also benefits them as a species to be super-observant. They can figure out when you’re about to leave for work—you may get your coat, pick up your keys or pick up a purse or a briefcase. They know when you pull out a suitcase you may be leaving them behind. When your dog stares at you he’s oftentimes monitoring your behaviour to find out what’s going on!
3. He needs something
Maybe he really needs to go outside to potty. Maybe he’s starving because you’re five minutes late feeding him dinner. Maybe he just lost his ball under the couch and you’re the only one who can save it. Dogs can’t talk to us to tell us what they want, but many dogs have wonderfully expressive eyes and use them to try and communicate with us!
4. You’re eating something
No explanation needed! You’re dog would be eating all the time and when he looks at you when you’re eating it’s just because he wants some! If it bothers you, you can train your dog to settle on his bed with a food-stuffed toy while you eat or simply put him in another room.
5. He is exhibiting aggression
This is not as common, but it does happen. If a dog gives you a hard stare, eyes unblinking, and has a stiff posture, this is aggression. You may see it if you reach for food or a toy that the dog is guarding, or if you approach a dog that doesn’t want you to come closer. If you ever encounter this, do not stare directly back into the dog’s eyes. Move slowly away from the dog.