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Why Does My Dog Stare At Me?

Written by Nancy Boland

Why does my dog stare at me? Ever get that feeling somebody’s watching you? Most dogs stare at their beloved owners at some point. It’s a sign of loyal, loving behaviour. But what happens when it’s taken to the extreme? When your dog starts following you around glaring up at you incessantly or staring at you from across the room or at your feet while you mind your own business.

why does my dog stare at me

Dogs love their owners, but when they stare expectantly, it’s not usually because they’re so besotted they can’t take their eyes of you. More likely is that they think there is something at stake like a tasty treat or walk on the horizon.

But dogs can—and do—stare at their owners for plenty of non-food issues, too. Anything a dog might want that you  can provide could be the source of the staring behaviour, from a fun game with a toy  to a ride in the car or a long walk.

Then there’s the possibility that your dog is just simply wanting attention, or perhaps they’re merely waiting for praise or direction. Some breeds, like terriers for example need to be constantly stimulated and kept busy. Your dog may also be feeling needy and want some affection. Some dogs may just be trying to read an emotion in our human facial expressions.

In any case, staring is typically considered to be a good thing. In fact, most trainers encourage dogs to stare at their owners while awaiting their cues.

Before you stare back too long or pull a funny face back at your dog, be aware that staring directly into a dog’s eyes can be considered a direct challenge. That’s why mutual staring is an activity that’s only to be encouraged within the context of a healthy dog-human relationship without any aggressive behavioural tendencies.

How To React

As stated earlier, if body stance is relaxed, there is no reason to be concerned. Your dog is either looking to you to access the overall vibe or is wondering if you will engage him or her.  If all your dog’s needs are met, they’ve had their latest meal, they’ve had their walk and you’ve given them plenty of TLC, staring behaviour is nothing to be concerned about.

If you’re busy and your dog insists on staring at you, it might even be worth taking a cue from them and taking a short 10-15 minute break to burn some steam off and enjoy time with your dog too.

In rare cases, there may be staring with other signs. If you’re concerned your dog might be trying to tell you something is wrong by their consistent staring, it can’t hurt to go get a full check-up at the vets just to be on the safe side.

About the author

Nancy Boland

I'm Nancy, owner of a very spoiled, one eyed Jack Russell called Basil. I'm a trainee veterinarian with a love for all things dogs. I'm especially passionate about dog adoption and always advocate rescue and enjoy writing about canine health and nutrition, alongside overall well-being tips for happy dogs!