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Why Is My Dog Staring at Me?

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Why Is My Dog Staring at Me?

Have you ever felt like your dog's eyes are on you, like they're watching your every move? Maybe your dog stares at you while enjoying a chew toy or bone. Or maybe you enjoy sitting with your dog and staring into each other's eyes. Regardless of the situation, dogs spend a lot of time staring at humans. Many dog owners spend a lot of time wondering why.

Dogs have many reasons to turn their attention to us. But most of the time they are either communicating with us or waiting for us to communicate with them. With a little knowledge and observation, you can learn to tell the difference. You can also teach your dog to use other forms of communication that are less confusing than staring.

Dogs are reading us

Dogs have a better relationship with humans than almost any other animal on the planet. They sense our emotions, follow our pointing gestures, and read our messages to know what's coming next. This means they are constantly staring at us to learn about their environment. Essentially, they are waiting for us to do something that will have an impact on them. For example, dogs quickly learn that their owners will pick up the leash before taking them for a walk. Therefore, they watch for signals that a trip is about to take place. The same goes for meal time, play time, car ride time, etc.


Dogs are trying to tell us something

Staring can also occur when your dog is trying to get your attention or tell you something. For example, if it's bathroom time, your dog might sit in the doorway and stare at you blankly. Or, if your dog is hungry and you are eating, staring may indicate that you want to share your food. This is the canine equivalent of a pat on the shoulder.

Some dogs will stare at their owners to get what they want. This is a common scenario of begging at the dinner table. If the dog stares long enough, the owner will offer a morsel of food. In fact, you created that monster. At first, the dog just stares out of interest. If you ignore the gaze, your puppy may find something else to do. But the stare makes you feel uncomfortable or guilty, so you give in and block it out. So there you have it—dogs learn a new way to communicate.

Dogs tell us how they feel

Your puppy also uses eye contact to express positive and negative emotions. Among the wolf's ancestors, staring was considered threatening and rude. Some dogs still maintain this attitude. This is why you should never stare at an unfamiliar dog or allow a dog to stand still and stare into their eyes. If the dog stares at you sternly, has unblinking eyes, and has a stiff posture, step back and don't make eye contact. You may see this in your dog when a bone or other valuable food item is threatened.

Of course, many dogs' stares are indeed an expression of love. Just like humans gaze into the eyes of someone they love, dogs gaze into the eyes of their owners to express affection. In fact, the mutual gaze between humans and dogs releases oxytocin, known as the love hormone. This chemical plays an important role in connecting and enhancing feelings of love and trust.


Dogs and humans can benefit from staring

Most dog stares are a combination of affection and attention. While this may be uncomfortable for you, your dog is likely to be fascinated by you. So instead of blocking person-centered attention, make it work for both of you. First, pay attention to the signals you give your dog. For example, are you verbalizing "sit" but saying something completely different with your body language? Help your dog understand your intentions by being consistent and clear.

For a dog to better understand the commands you want, the dog needs to learn very specific and precise behaviors and then perform them without distraction. Dogs who stare intently at their humans learn faster and perform better.


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