Do you ever catch yourself in a staring contest with your pup? If this happens often, you might start to wonder if he’s trying to tell you something or if he’s just expressing his affection. Fido looking you right in the eye can be a funny feeling.
Staring is a common canine behavior and they do it for a wide range of reasons. They are likely trying to communicate with us or waiting for us to communicate to them. The more you observe your dog, the more you will likely be able to tell why he’s staring.
Here are five common reasons you might catch your pup staring at you.
Why Does My Dog Stare at Me? 5 Potential Reasons
They’re expressing their affection
Plain and simple, sometimes your dog is staring at you because they admire you. In fact, research shows that when dogs and humans stare into each other’s eyes, it activates the same hormonal response that occurs when we bond with infants. The study may help explain why dogs became such loyal and sought-after companions for humans in the first place.
They’re trying to read you
Since dogs and humans can’t communicate verbally, dogs look for nonverbal cues to help interpret human behavior. They can sense mood changes and often keep a close watch on you for signs that you’re about to take action. For example, if your pup sees you going to put your shoes on, he might think that it indicates that you’re about to take him for a walk and stare at you expectantly. Dogs tend to do this when they think you’re about to do something that will impact them, like car rides, play sessions, and mealtime.
They want something
Whether it’s attention, food, or playtime, dogs will often stare at their owners when they want something. If you fall into the habit of giving your dog what he wants when he stares at you, this will likely only make your pup do it more. It may even cause him to start barking at you to get what he wants if the stare isn’t cutting it anymore. It’s important to remember that you train your dog, not the other way around!
They’re showing aggression
Have you ever seen your dog stare at another dog right before he pounces? If your pup has a fixed glance and a very stiff, still posture, this could mean he is feeling aggressive. This happens more often when dogs encounter people or animals they aren’t familiar with, but it’s important to step away and break eye contact if you suspect this is the case.
Although less common, occasionally, dogs will stare at you blankly when they’re disoriented. More typical in older dogs, this could be a sign of a cognitive issue - common especially in older dogs. Signs might be that they fail to follow basic commands, stare off into space, or wander aimlessly. If you notice any of these signs and you have a senior dog, talk with your vet about the best course of action. We also recommend giving your senior dog a daily 10-for-1 Multivitamin formulated specifically for older pups. One treat a day provides your dog with a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, omegas, and probiotics to support mobility, the immune system, energy levels, and more.
Whether your pooch is staring at you because he wants a treat or he’s trying to interpret your actions, as dog owners, it’s important that we familiarize ourselves with our pup’s behavior as much as we can so we can understand what he’s trying to tell us.