Have you ever experienced this strange feeling of being controlled by your dog? You are not alone! Dogs spend hours looking at their owners and searching for eye contact. The reasons for this may be varied, but, generally speaking, most of them usually fall into one of the following categories: either your dog wants to communicate with you or is waiting for you to communicate with them. There is great news for all dog parents! With a little patience and observation of your dog’s body language, you can easily grasp this difference and learn what your canine friend’s intention is.
Reasons why your dog stares at you
It is no secret that dogs love their owners and spending time with them. No matter if you own a male or a female, an adult or a puppy, a golden retriever or a chihuahua, your pet probably supervises you on a regular basis. Although at first glance it may seem that they are giving you a look of admiration or affection, the truth is actually much more complex.
They want something
The most common reason why your dog might look at you is that they want something, usually to get a tasty treat or a bite of what you’re eating. A dog may instantly get up in the middle of the day, sit close to you and gaze into your eyes, just to receive what they want. They can use the same type of look when they want to go out or encourage you to play with them. Sometimes this kind of gaze can involve your little friend shifting attention between your face and the thing that they have on their mind, e.g., a leash, a toy lying on the floor or in the snack cabinet.
They want to understand you
Another cause explaining why dogs tend to stare at us is that they want to better understand our behaviors. It is said that dogs are born with an innate ability to decipher our conduct and intentions. The more they look at their owner, the better they get at reading them. What is more, a dog can be staring at you in search for some signals which tell them what you are likely to do in a moment. It explains why your dog’s eyes are almost always pointed at you when you put on your shoes or nervously look for something in your room.
They are confused
However, dogs can also stare at their owners when they feel puzzled and don’t understand what they are expected to do. Imagine a situation in which you ask your dog to perform a certain command. Then you observe that instead of doing it, they keep looking at you with a tilted head and pricking up their ears. This means that your buddy has probably no clue about what is going on. In such a case, it is good to change the way you address them and give your dog some additional hints on how to behave. This way, you will be able to teach your dog how to respond to your cue.
They feel something is wrong
Dogs are able to hear and smell much more than humans do. If your pet suddenly gets close to you, stares at your face and whines, there is a possibility that something is bothering them and is not letting them sleep in peace. This can be, e.g., a stranger standing on a staircase or another dog walking close to your fence. Depending on your pet’s character, such situations can be stressful for them or make them show their defiance.
They give you an aggressive stare
What you should remember is that your dog doesn’t always feel comfortable. The fact that they stare at you can be related to some negative behavioral issues they experience like, e.g., aggression. Hard eye contact may be a sign that your dog wants to assert their dominance over you. So be careful when your little friend gives you such a rough stare, as this can mean that they expect you to back off. This is why you should carefully watch your dog when they approach and gaze at a stranger. In such a case, hard visual contact may be a symptom of your dog feeling insecure. As a result, they can become impulsive and act unpredictably. Do everything in your power to avoid a situation in which your dog bites or barks at someone.
They suffer from cognitive dysfunction
If your dog constantly sits and stares at you for no apparent reason, this may reveal some cognitive impairment. This problem touches mostly our senior companions, who can behave in a very strange way. Does your older dog, instead of falling asleep and spending time relaxing, wander across the room aimlessly or stand and gaze at you like they were in need of assistance? You certainly shouldn’t get angry with them as they may actually need your help. If you suspect this issue concerns your pet, check this with your vet.
Understand your pet’s body language: focus on eye contact
Understanding your dog’s behavior requires a bit of will and careful observations. As you already know, in most cases, your pet stares to communicate something or understand your actions. However, there are still many dog owners who don’t take a stab at understanding what the source of their glare is. This is a pity, as staring back at your dog’s eyes can really tell what they feel and desire.
If you want to know why your dog is watching you, you need to learn what their body reveals when it comes to their emotions. Of course, your dog can observe you with no particular intention, but in many cases, their suggestive stare can be followed by other body movements. These include a wagging tail or a crying sound. For instance, if you see that your companion is visibly happy, a bit excited and points their eyes to a cupboard, you may try to give your dog a treat to make them calm down for a moment.
What can a dog trainer tell you about your dog’s look?
Visiting a dog trainer can help you find the answer to the question: “why does my dog stare at me?“ If you have trouble interpreting your companion’s intentions, there is no better option to choose. Dogs and humans can get a lot out of professional training. One of the most important benefits is that they can learn what their partner’s eyes are trying to communicate. Have you ever seen a dog and their owner staring into each other’s eyes on the street? They were probably establishing an understanding between each other.
If your dog’s penetrating glare makes you feel nervous or embarrassed, don’t put the blame on them. They do it because they love you and want to communicate with you. Note that establishing a positive bond between you two can be beneficial for your health. Maintaining eye contact with your dog may exhibit a surge in oxytocin, a love hormone, which accounts for a positive psychological condition. This proves that spending time with your little friend, even if you just glance at each other from time to time, can make you feel better.
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