Many dog parents often ask themselves, “why does my dog stare at me?” Whether they’re sitting beside you or watching you from the other side of the room, dogs just can’t seem to take their eyes off their loved ones. At first, it can be charming and even quite adorable, but no one likes to be stared at for too long. So, why does your dog always stare at you and is it a normal behavior?
Why Does Your Dog Stare at You?
Every dog has their own reasons for their odd behaviors. But like most forms of dog body language, staring often means something. So, here are a few common reasons that dogs stare at their humans.
They’re Trying to Tell You Something
Dogs can’t speak using words, so they have to find other methods of communicating with humans. Sometimes, staring is the easiest way to do so. They might stare at you if they’re hungry, if they have to go to the bathroom, or if they want attention. If you don’t give them what they want, they might also paw at you and whine. It’s important to let your dog outside if they need to relieve themselves, but you don’t have to give into their needy requests.
Begging is the perfect example of a request that you don’t have to grant. Dogs will often stare at you while you eat, hoping you’ll give them a bite. Giving in to this type of staring will only reinforce bad behaviors. So, ignore them if they seem to be asking for something unhealthy or unreasonable, but listen to them if they’re asking for a basic need. The more you get to know your dog, the better you’ll understand their different types of stares.
They’re Reading Your Body Language
Alerting others of something isn’t the only form of communication. You also need to pay attention to the thoughts and feelings of others too. Believe it or not, even dogs communicate this way. Sometimes dogs stare at us to try to figure out how we’re feeling. They can often sense our moods and understand our gestures. So, staring is a way for them to focus on our body language to better understand us.
In some cases, your dog might be reading your body language to figure out what you want them to do. They might sense that you’re expecting something from them, but they don’t fully understand. Thus, they might stare at you while they wait for you to say a command or give a hand gesture. Training your dog from home more often can help them better understand your expectations.
They’re Feeling Aggressive
Some staring is seen as rude or threatening to dogs. Therefore, they have an instinct to stare when they’re unhappy or feeling aggressive. Their staring usually doesn’t mean something negative, but it’s possible that they’re staring at you because you’re doing something they dislike.
A common reason dogs stare is if they’re guarding something. Some dogs are very protective over their belongings, so they might stare at you if they’re worried you’ll take it from them. Dogs who are overly territorial should be trained out of these bad habits though because their behaviors could put someone in danger without them meaning to. If you can’t correct your dog’s territorial tendencies on your own, it’s a good idea to work with a dog trainer.
Dogs also tend to stare when they’re confused. If you say a command that they’re unfamiliar with, they might stare at you and even add in a head tilt. It’s an adorable action, but it means you might have to go easy on the training. Be more patient and repetitive to help them better understand. And always use positive reinforcements instead of punishments because it will form a closer sense of trust between you and your pup.
They Love You
It might sound cheesy, but some dogs just stare at you because they love you. After all, you probably stare at them adoringly all the time, so they’re just returning the favor! In fact, when humans and dogs gaze at each other lovingly, our bodies release oxytocin, which is the love hormone. Therefore, it’s scientifically proven that gazing at your adorable companion is beneficial for the both of you.
Dogs Staring is Normal!
Luckily, it’s normal for your dog to stare at you. In most cases, it’s just a way for your dog to express their love or to communicate with you. The more time you spend with your dog, the better you’ll understand their body language and the better you’ll be able to distinguish their different stares. Always reward positive stares and be sure to deter bad habits like begging and aggression. Staring is a key form of communicating with your dog, so embrace it!