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Why does my dog stare at me?
That’s probably one of your most burning questions, am I right?
If you own a dog, I’m sure you’re getting a whole lot of very intense looks from him. Because dogs love to stare!
Think about it: our furry friends don’t have a whole lot to do during their day. Other than going for walks, eating, getting pets from you and sleeping, there isn’t much else to do.
So, what could he do when he’s just lying there?
Exactly, stare at you. And stare some more. And some more…
The most common reason why dogs stare is that they want something from you. Either simply your attention or something particular, like food. Some other possible reasons for their staring are: they’re bored, they’re looking for direction or they simply want to express their love for you. If it’s a hard stare combined with still body language then it’s a sign of aggression.
Why Does My Dog Stare at Me?
Does your dog just sit and stare at you?
Staring can be unnerving, and having your dog stare at you without knowing why can feel uncomfortable.
But why is he staring?
It turns out there are many reasons why he’s just sitting and looking at you intently, and most of them are surprisingly sweet.
He Adores You
If your dog is staring at you and you’re not sure why, check for the whites of his eyes. If there’s little to no white showing, and he’s looking happy and relaxed, he’s just staring at you because he loves you. Aww!
So next time you catch your pup staring at you with soft, “puppy” eyes, know that it’s probably because he’s thinking about how much he adores you.
Staring Releases Oxytocin
Oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone” or the “cuddle hormone,” is a hormone your brain secretes when you bond socially. And, it turns out, your dog’s brain secretes the same hormone!
What’s more is that the release of oxytocin is mutual between you and your dog. When you both stare at each other, your brain and your dog’s brain release that love hormone. It strengthens the bond between you and your dog, plus it makes both of you feel good.
He Wants Your Attention
If your dog is staring at you longingly, then he probably wants your attention.
It’s actually possible that you’ve been rewarding and encouraging this behavior! If your dog has stared at you, and you’ve given him attention, then that teaches your dog staring gets what he wants.
That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Quiet staring is probably preferable to crying, barking or licking you. So as long as you can tolerate the staring, it’s really nothing to worry about.
It can in fact even be great and something that you want to train. Teaching your dog to look at you can be incredibly helpful in training.
He Wants Something, Like Food
Much like asking for attention by staring, your dog might be asking you for something specific when he stares at you.
Has it been a while since he was last let outside? Is he staring around the time he usually eats?
In these cases, he could very well be asking for food or to go out. Again, like staring for attention, it’s possible you’ve been encouraging this behavior. But as long as it isn’t something that bothers you, there’s no reason to feel like you need to put a stop to it.
Baloo does this a lot when he’s hungry. He just lies down in front of his bowl and looks at me.
I really like this behavior, though. It’s like he’s politely asking for his food (we don’t really have a feeding routine because he eats very little). So, I reward this behavior by feeding him instead of waiting for him to start crying.
He’s Trying to Understand What You Say
If you’re talking to your dog and he’s just staring at you, especially if his head is tilted, this could mean he’s trying to figure out what you’re saying to him.
Dogs don’t speak English, so when you talk to him and don’t use words he normally knows, he’ll probably just stare blankly at you.
He’s Looking for Direction
If your dog is in a situation he’s not sure about, then he might stare at you to get some direction.
For instance, if something strange is happening while you’re out for a walk, or your dog is confused during a training session, don’t be surprised to see him staring at you.
This is actually a really good behavior that you should appreciate! Instead of deciding what to do himself – which will often be something like barking, running towards the strange thing, jumping etc. – he trusts you to know what to do and therefore asks for direction.
Again, that’s an important part of Braintraining4dogs to get a super well-behaved dog!
Staring could also be an indicator that your dog is bored. If you haven’t been entertaining enough for your dog, and he’s looking for something to do, he might sit and stare at you to tell you he’s feeling bored.
Hard Stare and Stiff Body Are Signs of Aggression
While a lot of staring behavior has to do with either wanting something, or expressing fondness, that isn’t always the case. Watch for the rest of your dog’s body language if he’s staring.
If the eyes are hard, and his body is stiff, then that could be a sign of aggression. In this case, your dog is telling you to back off.
Why Does My Dog Stare at Me? –Specific Situations
Okay, so by now you should be able to understand your dog’s staring much better.
However, there are still a few situations where you have no idea why he’s looking at you so intently, right?
That’s what we’re going to look at now.
Why Does My Dog Stare at Me When He Poops?
For humans, staring while you ‘do your business’ is a little unsettling, to say the very least. But for dogs, it means something very different.
Dogs are pack animals, and look up to us as humans to be the pack leaders. One of the responsibilities of a pack leader is to provide the rest of the pack protection.
When your dog is ‘doing his business’, he’s in a vulnerable position. So while he’s pooping, he might look to you to make sure that you’ve got him covered!
Why Does My Dog Stare at Me When I Sleep?
Dogs don’t usually sleep all the way through the night. Instead, they have short cycles of sleep, followed by a period of wakefulness.
During his waking moments, he might stare at you because he loves you and is expressing his affection. He might also stare to make sure you’re okay, or possibly just because he wants something.
Why Does My Dog Stare at Me and Whine?
If your dog is staring at you and whining, there could be many reasons for this behavior. It could be that your dog just wants something, like food or your attention. Or it could be a sign that your dog is sick or injured and needs your help.
If your dog is constantly staring and whining, and you know that he’s been outside and fed, it might be worth taking a trip to your vet to rule out any medical issues.
In case you’re sure he just wants something from you, then better train him to stop it before it drives you nuts! Here’s a beginner guide on how to deal with puppy whining and crying.
If you want to take your training to the next level, then I highly recommend getting Braintraining4dogs, my all time favorite dog training program!
Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere?
Most of the time, if your dog is following you around all the time, it’s just a sign that he loves you. Dogs are pack animals, and want to stick with their pack!
But sometimes following you around can be a sign something is wrong, like separation anxiety. If you think this is the case, check for other signs of separation anxiety, and consider working with a behavioralist or professional trainer to help you.
What Should I Do If My Dog Stares at Me?
Now you know pretty much everything you need to know about dog staring.
But what should you do about it?
Most of the time, I think it’s actually a beneficial behavior that’s much more desirable than your dog becoming vocal. There are still a few things you can do, though.
Let’s look at this question next.
Figure Out What Kind of Stare It Is
This is the very first step to take when determining what to do about your dog’s staring.
If it’s an aggressive stare, you’re going to want to back off right away. If your dog is consistently showing signs of aggression, then this is a behavioral problem you’ll need to work with.
But if your dog isn’t staring out of aggression, then consider if he needs to go outside. Or perhaps he’s hungry. It could also be that he just wants to stare at your because he loves you!
Make Sure All His Needs Are Met
If you think your dog is staring because he wants or needs something, then you should make sure all his needs are met.
Has he been out to do his business? Is it close to his dinnertime? If he’s staring at you and it’s not in an aggressive way, make sure that there isn’t something else that your dog needs.
Provide Enough Mental Stimulation
In case your dog is staring out of boredom, then it’s time to add a little more enrichment to his day.
You can also provide mental stimulation by teaching your dog new tricks. Try working on the commands you’ve always wanted your dog to know!
Here are some other articles to get you inspired:
- How to mentally stimulate your dog
- 21 fun things to do with your dog at home
- Do dogs get tired? Complete guide for a relaxed dog
Mental stimulation can also be a wonderful training tool if used correctly. Check out Braintrainingfordogs to learn how to train your dog to be the best dog he can be by using mental stimulation! Or have a look at Dogpackr’s review first to see if it’s a fit for you and your dog!
Once You’ve Made Sure He’s Fine, Enjoy the Love!
If your dog isn’t staring out of aggression, all his needs are met, and you’re certain he’s getting enough mental stimulation, then you’ve done all you need to do!
At this point, if your dog is staring at you with soft eyes, you can safely say he’s staring out of affection. So don’t worry, and just take in the love.
There are lots of reasons why your dog might be staring at you.
Sometimes it’s a sign of aggression, in which case you need to be careful. And if your dog continues to show signs of aggression, you’ll likely need to start working with an expert dog behavioralist.
Occasionally your dog stares because he wants something, like food or your attention. And maybe you’ve encouraged this behavior by providing him with attention or feeding him or letting him outside when he stares.
But a lot of the time, your dog is staring because he loves you. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that! So, sit back, and enjoy that oxytocin with your best friend.