Ever have that feeling of someone watching you— whenever you’re cooking dinner or when you’re sitting on the couch?
Looking down, and there it is— a pair of laser-focused eyes staring directly at your face.
It was your lovable dog.
And although most people shrug it off, some dog owners spend a lot of time just wondering why?
I mean, if you have a Fido who’s eyes are always following you and watching your every move— as you laugh watching a funny movie or even following you to the bathroom just to look at you in the eyes, you probably can’t just ignore it anymore, huh?
Well, if there is one thing that almost all dogs do well, it is staring at their owners.
Why Does My Dog Stare at Me?
1. The Loving, Happy Gazes
Probably the simplest reason why your dog might be looking into your eyes is because he “woves” you and is showing his appreciation of being your lucky buddy through a soft, longing stare.
The sign that your dog stares at you because he’s showing appreciation and love is usually accompanied by sweeping or soft wagging tail, relaxed ears, a light pant and normal-sized pupils.
An article revealed that humans and dogs alike release oxytocin when looking into each other’s eyes. And many dogs like to give loving gazes to their owners early in the morning when their serotonin levels are the highest.
2. The Attentive Stares
Dogs, more than almost any other animal in the world, are in tune with us humans. They like to read our moods, following out pointing gestures and reading our every moves for information on what is going to happen next.
In short, dogs tend to stare at us in order to gain knowledge about their environment and what may happen next. Basically, your Fido is probably waiting for you to do something that will impact him.
For instance, dogs tend to learn that before a walk, their owners will look for and pick up their leash. Thus, they’ll watch for that certain signal that a walk outside is on its way. This holds true for play sessions, mealtimes, car rides and more.
In addition, dogs also wait for any deliberate cues from their owners. These cues to performing a particular behavior like down or sit are their chances to earn a delicious reward. And since doggos love games, getting a toy or a treat, they will warily keep an eye out of such chances.
This is especially true of dogs trained with positive reinforcement methods. These dogs learn to love their training and eagerly waiting for signs that it is time to play the training game and get rewarded.
3. The Longing Expression
While cooking dinner or sitting on the couch with food in your mouth, you probably caught your dog longingly staring into your soul. This is because you have something that he wants.
Most of the time, it is that aromatic food your cooking or that tasty food in your hand, but it can also be his toy in your hand as you clean your home or simply your hand that should be rubbing his tummy.
Not only that, but those long stares can also mean that your dog needs a potty break and asking you to let him out.
Dogs tend to learn that staring at their owners is the most okay way to ask for something. As a matter of fact, you probably trained him to this very behavior when your give your Fido something when he stares at you— absent-mindedly reaching out to your pet for belly rubs or hand-feeding dinner which cause begging.
In short, you trained him to stare by rewarding him for staring at you.
And although staring can be quite annoying or creepy, especially for guests on a staring competition with your dogs, you will probably agree that it is a much better way of asking for something that digging, barking or biting.
4. The Aggressive, Hard Glares
Although not common, this can also be a reason.
In their wolf ancestors, staring hard is considered rude and threatening and some dogs still retain such attitudes.
If your Fido gives you a hard, cold stare, with unblinking eyes and a stiff posture, he is exhibiting aggression. You should never stare down or hold dogs with such stare and slowly back away.
You might see this kind of behavior when the dog is guarding a bone or any other valued possession at stake which is called resource guarding.
In addition, a hard stare is a warning sign that a dog will bite. This sting-eye look tends to last for a split second or even go on for minutes. To make it more confusing, most dogs tend to also avert their look before biting.
When you see this in your furry buddy, you need to consult a professional behaviorist or trainer.
5. The Confused Look
Dogs staring at you when you are talking to him or during a training session, with that cute tilted head and alert ears, are probably just a bit confused.
Your pup doesn’t understand a bit of word you say and is only trying to figure out what you are actually saying or what you want him to do— much like how you are trying to figure out what he wants.
If you catch your furry buddy staring at you when talking to him or asking him to do something, then you probably need to think of something else that he would understand. It might also be the time to backtrack your training and find a way for you to communicate with him more clearly.
So, if you ask your dog to come to you and she just stares at you, you need to re-train the behavior. Remember, your dog is not disobedient to you, he is just confused.
So, try to be patient with him and don’t even yell at him for not understanding what you want.