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Why Does My Dog Stare At Me

A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Published on
Tuesday 10 January 2023
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
Why Does My Dog Stare At Me
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Aside from being intelligent, dogs are also emotional creatures. Well, they tend to show that side to their owners through eye contact. Yet, too many staring sessions are somehow uncomfortable. That leads us to wonder, why does my dog stare at me? Read this article to find out the purpose behind those doggy stares.

Why Do Dogs Stare At You?

Dogs can’t speak, so they can’t tell us what they feel. In that case, they will most likely show their feelings by staring. This article listed some of the reasons why dogs stare at you. Check them out below.  

Trying to Understand Us

Like humans, dogs utilize eye contact to create meaningful connections. They also need to understand certain situations. So, when you’re sitting on the couch crying, don’t be surprised to see your dog staring at you. That only means he’s trying to figure out what’s going on.

Dogs are intelligent animals. You may not realize it, but your dog could be analyzing your every move. Research in 2020 stated that dogs have the skills to understand human emotions and commands. Well, that eye contact with matching head tilts signals that a dog is trying to understand the command you gave him.

They Need Something

The purpose why dogs stare at you is that they want something. You may have heard of puppy dog eyes. Canines have a special ability to manipulate humans with just a look in their eyes. As an owner, you may not be able to resist saying no to those eyes.

Another study in 2019 explained that, due to domestication, dogs mastered transforming their facial muscles. As a result, they could copy a human’s sad expression and mirror it on their face. That expression is called puppy dog eyes. Hence, they get whatever they want by using that look.

Showing Affection

Another reason why dogs stare is that they want some affection or vice versa. According to scientists, dog-to-human eye contact releases a love hormone called oxytocin. They form affection and an even stronger bond between dogs and their owners when that happens.

Dogs experience affection as well. They show it by looking at their owners’ eyes. Plus, when you smile and pet them, the more oxytocin they will release. As a result, canines will feel more love for their humans.  Plus, some experts stated that a mutual stare between dogs and humans is similar to the bond between mothers and babies.

They Are Confused

One reason why dogs stare at you could also be their confusion. Dogs can get confused too when they’re given commands without prior clarifications. As a result, they will stare at you as they wait for further instructions.

The proper way to prevent confusion is to be clear. For instance, using “up” interchangeably with “stand” confuses your dog about which commands to follow. No matter how engaging a task is, dogs will look at you if they need help. When that happens, don’t be mad but rather apply a more hands-on approach instead.

They Want Attention

You may be asking yourself, why does my dog stare at me? One probable answer to that is he wants attention. You could be so busy that you forget to notice your dog. So, your canine stares at you just in case you forget that he’s right there next to you.

Dogs feel emotions ranging from envy, happiness, and sadness. When you haven’t been there for your canine, most likely, they will seek ways to catch your presence. A dog-to-owner relationship needs to be worked on. Dogs like constant attention, such as petting, playing and rubbing their bellies.

Showing Aggressiveness

Not all canine staring sessions mean love and affection. Other times, a dog constantly stares at you could suffer from aggression. One thing in common about aggressive dogs is that they will stare without even blinking. When that situation happens, it only means that a dog is about to attack.

Aggression staring happens when you’re near their favorite toy or food. Dogs are naturally territorial animals, so when they’re untrained, that behavior intensifies. Experts call that resource guarding. Hence, the proper way to fix that behavior is to approach them slowly when eating or playing. 

There’s Something Wrong

Aside from adoration, another reason why my dog keeps staring at me is due to illness. Take note that canines are domesticated wolves that depend on humans. They have grown attached to people, so when they’re sick, they ask for help from their owners.

Meanwhile, when you notice your dog staring at nothing, then that’s a disorder called star gazing behavior. Canines with this illness suffer from the abnormality of looking at imaginary objects on the ceiling. Further, the gastrointestinal disease is the main cause of this disorder.  

Cognitive Dysfunction

When your dog stares at you, it doesn’t mean that they need anything. Sometimes, they just do that for no particular reason. That behavior is prone to senior dogs, and experts call that Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. This is an age-related mental decline that’s also called dementia.

As dogs grow old, their bodies become less active. A study in 2019 stated that 18% of senior dogs aged 14 and above suffer from mental decline. That mental dysfunction includes fatigue, disorientation, and gradual loss of senses. Also, dogs with this disorder show physical signs of bad posture, gait, and vision decline.

How to Understand a Dog’s Stare

When the dog stares at you, pay attention to how it makes eye contact. For instance, dogs may exhibit the whale eye. That’s a term that describes an eye that shows lots of white parts or sclera. This condition means that a dog is anxious or tense.

A calm dog will give a soft and relaxing stare. It means contentment if a canine looks at you with those eyes. A dog’s intense stare shows warning or aggression. So, if you notice a dog’s hard gaze on you, don’t run away. Running will make them chase you, instead, walk slowly.

Dilated pupils could mean fear. Also, sad droopy eyes mean dogs are begging for something. Yet, not all doggy stares mean something. For instance, a Basset Hound already has sad eyes. Even though it doesn’t ask for attention or affection, its normal eyes always look droopy.

Dog Staring At Their Owners: FAQs

As a pet owner, it indeed gets uncomfortable when my dog stares at me. Staring means a lot of things. Hence, this article listed the frequently asked questions people think about when their dogs stare at them. Let’s find out below.  

Should I stare back at my dog?

If it’s your dog, yes, you may. Staring back at your dog creates a loving atmosphere. It releases oxytocin, which strengthens your bond. Also, research from the Eötvös Loránd University stated that brachycephalic dogs are the most responsive regarding eye contact. 

Should you stare a dog in the eyes?

Yes, only if that dog belongs to you. Staring into your dog’s eye indicates affection. On the contrary, if it’s some random dog, maintain 1 to 2 seconds of eye contact. Any longer than that is considered rude and canines may see it as a threat.

What does it mean when some dog stares at you without blinking?

Dogs, like their wolf ancestors, are born with alpha genes. Other times they will stare at you without blinking to assert that dominance. That hard stare is a warning. When that happens, humans need to back off.

Why does my dog keep on staring and following me everywhere?

Your dog stares at you because he wants something. Also, when it starts to follow you, it means that a dog loves you. Meanwhile, it could also be a sign of stress and anxiety.

Why does a dog stare at me with his head down?

When your dog stares at you with his head like that, it indicates submission. It turns out that dogs bow their heads to show others that they’re not a threat. This is only normal and doesn’t pose an issue.  

Why does my dog stare at me for a long time?

Another important reason your dog stares at you is his wants. Take note of his eyes. He may ask for food or playtime if he gives you the longing eyes. Also, if it’s accompanied by head tilts, then he’s confused. 

Dogs, the same as people, like to stare at someone they love. Yet, not all eye contacts are a sign of affection. Take note that dogs are complex creatures. The only way to know their body language is by thorough observation. 

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