Have you ever felt like your dog has an eye on you? Maybe your dog stares at you while enjoying a toy or chewing bone. Or, perhaps you enjoy sitting with your dog and looking into each other’s eyes. If you’re wondering “why does my dog stare at me” you’re not alone. Here are some reasons.
Why Does My Dog Stare At Me? Top 8 Reasons
While we can’t know exactly what’s going on in a dog’s mind, there are some signs that can help us answer questions about their intense stare.
1. They love us
Just as we humans look into the eyes of those we love, dogs also “borrow” this to communicate with their owners. New research shows that staring at each other between us and our pets releases the same hormonal response present during mother-infant bonding between humans.
If you spot your dog looking at you with longing eyes for no apparent reason, it could be a sign that they love you. However, don’t tempt your dog to stare lovingly by holding its head. Dogs can interpret it as a threat and react accordingly.
2. They’re confused
A gentle look, a tilted head, and perky ears – your dog probably wants to let you know that they’re not sure what’s going on and are waiting for clarification. Usually, the answer to the question “why does my dog stare at me” is that they are confused. If you’ve just given them a command only to be met with a visual response, you should review some dog training tips to make sure your dog knows what to expect from them.
3. They’d like some more attention
Sometimes your furry friend starts staring at you as a way to get attention. Dogs aren’t afraid to throw stares at their owners if they feel a bit ignored. Even if you shower your pet with affection every day, dogs may still ask for your extra attention if they’re bored or aren’t getting enough exercise.
4. They want something
Often, dog owners feel compelled to act when the dogs won’t give up on staring at them. The reason why dogs stare at us when they want something is that we have unwittingly taught them this behavior.
Whether it’s reaching for snacks, walking them, or cuddling them, dogs will quickly learn the ’cause and effect’ rule regarding their ability to keep eye contact with their owners. If you reward them with gifts and attention every time they sit and stare at you, they will continue to do it to get what they are.
5. They’re showing aggressiveness
It’s important to keep in mind that a dog’s eyes are not the only sight in the canine vocabulary. If your dog is very stiff and still, it’s best to avoid maintaining eye contact with them and to give them space to settle down.
Aggressive stares often appear when interacting with unfamiliar dogs, not with owners. But it’s best to keep an eye on body language and ensure to stay away if the signs indicate a dog is scared or anxious.
6. They want food
Dogs love you and they want to share food with their owners. Whether you’re having dinner or snacking in front of the TV, if you feel your dog staring at you, it could be because they want to enjoy what you have. Be careful giving up and feeding your dog during those times as it can turn into a hard habit to break.
7. They’re experiencing cognitive dysfunction
If you see your older dog constantly staring at you for no apparent reason, this could be a sign of a condition known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in dogs.
Forgetting basic commands, wandering around aimlessly and looking disoriented in familiar surroundings are other signs that your dog may be experiencing cognitive decline. Be sure you check with the vet if you notice any unusual signs associated with your dog’s habit of staring at you.
8. They’re reading our body language
Since we don’t speak the same language, dogs and humans have learned to pick up nonverbal cues to figure out each other’s intentions. It’s not just us trying to understand a dog’s body language.
Dogs also keep an eye on trying to synthesize information about what we’re doing or what’s about to happen. This is why owners will often notice their dogs staring at them when they open a cupboard or put on their shoes. The dogs look at us expecting the next step: to enjoy or to go outside.
Should I be worried that my dog stares at me?
Now you know ‘why does my dog stare at me?’. Usually, this stare is nothing to worry about and is completely normal behavior for a dog trying to communicate with you. However, you are the one who knows your dog best, so if you have any concerns about your dog or their behavior, always make sure you talk to your local vet or dog behaviorist.
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