Why Does My Dog Stare at Me?
Many dog owners have already experienced their dog staring at them full of devotion and might have already wondered what their beloved sweethearts could be thinking.
Because of this and the fact that canine and feline personalities are inherently different, I've decided to compose this blog post for you to satisfy your curiosity.
If you're interested in why your dog is licking you all the time, read "Why Does My Dog Lick Me?".
Different Reasons For Dog Staring
Often your dog might simply stare at you because you are the center of his universe and his looks are a sign of affection.
Although dogs do love their owners a lot, it happens more frequently them simply wanting something from their best friend such as treats or to play games.
Besides that, the reason for the staring could be anything else a canine might get only from his human.
Dog staring is usually a good thing and trainers even embolden dogs to stare at their owners to catch potential cues that would otherwise be missed.
Your Dog Tries to Understand You
Your furry friend could be trying to read your facial expressions and gesture to know what could happen next.
Dogs pick up human behavioral patterns rather quickly because of how long they have been the "human's best friend" for already.
They know that if you go and pick up the leash, it's time for a walk or if you tell them to sit or be quiet (more about how to achieve this can be read in our blog post "Why Do Dogs Howl?") they can expect a treat.
This is especially true for dogs that have been trained with the help of positive reinforcement methods.
Because of this, a dog staring at his owner can be understood as a dog keeping an eye out for potential tasty treats or fun experiences.
Your Dog Wants Direction
Your pup might want you to give him direction on what to do next and this has not necessarily to be associated with confusion.
Most of the times a dog that stares for attention is in the middle of a training or some other methodic sequence of actions and wants to know what to do next specifically.
He Craves Your Attention
If your dog is staring intensively at you, it might be due to him wanting you to do something for him such as rubbing his belly or playing with him.
It doesn't need to be this specific, though.
Your canine probably will be fine with any kind of love and attention you give him.
The Canine Is Telling You to Back Away
Wolves are close ancestors of dogs and because of this, they share many common behaviors.
Sadly, this also includes staring being an attempt to challenging a dog.
Therefore, you should never stare into the eyes of strange dogs, because you can't know how well they are trained.
If a dog stares into your eyes with his posture being stiff he most probably shows aggression in forms of resource guarding and you should definitely back away and break eye contact to deescalate the situation.
If it is your own pup showing this kind of behavior you should consult with a professional dog behaviorist or trainer.
Because of this, bilateral staring is only advantageous and desirable if the relationship between the dog and the human is healthy and free of aggressive or abnormal behaviors.
Dog staring may have many different reasons and it isn't always completely clear to the owner what the canine is trying to communicate.
In most of the cases, your furry darling simply either tries to read your gesture and facial expression or wants you to give him attention in any form.
Reading you and therefore staring is especially beneficial for your dog if you train him with positive reinforcement methods by giving him treats after your canine has completed any desired action.
This staring is a necessity if you and your dog are in the midst of training.
It helps him catching every cue you might give so he does right and therefore gets more tasty treats.
Although staring is positive behavior and should be encouraged in most cases, it is possible that it is a sign of aggression.
If a dog's posture is stiff while he gives you a hard stare without blinking, you should back away and break the eye contact.
So be sure to never stare into a strange dog's eyes.
This kind of behavior is aggressive and often happens with a dog guarding his food - the so-called "resource guarding".
If it is your own dog that shows this behavior you should consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.
Have you already experienced your dog staring directly into your eyes?
When does it happen most often?
Do you maybe have trained your dog undesirable behavior?
Let me know in the comment section below.