• Why Does My Dog Stare At Me?

  • Dogs have several reasons for staring at their owners, like to communicate with and understand us.

  • Some dogs stare to manipulate owners, as in with begging for food or asking to be let outside.

  • Training and dog sports are good ways to turn focused staring behavior into a positive experience.

  • Dogs Are Reading Us

    More than almost any other animal on earth, dogs are in tune with humans. They sense our moods, follow our pointing gestures, and read us for information about what’s going to happen next. That means they stare at us a lot to gain knowledge about their environment. Essentially, they are waiting for us to do something that will impact them. For example, dogs quickly learn that their owners pick up the leash before taking them on a walk. Therefore, they will watch for that signal that a trip outside is on its way. The same is true for mealtimes, play sessions, car rides, and so much more.

  • Dogs Are Trying to Tell Us Something

    Staring also occurs when your dog is trying to get your attention or tell you something. For example, if it’s time for a potty break, your dog might sit by the door and gawk at you. Or, if your dog is hungry and you’re eating, staring can indicate a desire for you to share your food. It’s the canine equivalent of a tap on the shoulder.

    Dogs Are Telling Us How They Feel

    Your pup also uses eye contact to express emotions, both positive and negative. In their wolf ancestors, staring is considered threatening and rude. Some dogs still retain that attitude. That’s why you should never stare down strange dogs or hold dogs still to stare into their eyes. If a dog gives you a hard stare, with unblinking eyes and a stiff posture, back away and don’t make eye contact. You might see this in your own dog when there is a bone or other valued treat at stake. Resource guarding is often accompanied by a hard stare and other aggressive body language. If you see it in your dog, consult a professional trainer or behaviorist.