Have you ever wondered: “Why does my dog stare at me?” Read our article to find out the answer to this question, as well as some other information about how your dog communicates with you.
Have you ever seen your dog staring at you while you’re sitting on the couch? Have you ever wondered, “Why does my dog stare at me?” Well, there could be a few reasons for that.
Dogs communicate with people in multiple ways. Ahead, we’ll take a look at some of the reasons your dog stares at you, as well as some of the other communications they make. Keep in mind that there might be multiple reasons your dog is doing something, and it isn’t always good.
Why Are They Staring?
Your dog could be staring at you for a variety of reasons. It’s not like they can tell us what they want, and we can’t get inside their head and find out.
While it’s not unusual - and not entirely untrue - to think your dog is just infatuated with you, there’s probably something else going on. In this section, we’ll get closer to speaking a dog's language by answering the question: “Why does my dog stare at me?”
They Want Something
Your dog’s stare is often the result of a request. Unfortunately, they cannot speak our human language and tell us what they want. Instead, they just stare at you until you give them what they want.
You probably noticed that your dog stares at you whenever you’re eating. You’re not asking “Why does my dog stare at me?” in these circumstances. They clearly want a bite of your food.
Their desires don’t end at food, though. They might want a belly rub, a walk, to go to the bathroom, or something else. Consider what your dog might want when he stares at you. It can be a good reminder that you haven’t fed him or taken him outside in a while.
Your dog will often stare at you while you’re talking on the phone, watching TV, or doing some work around the house. Some of the time, they’re confused and interested in what you’re doing.
This is especially true when you’re talking on the phone. They hear you talking, but don’t see anyone else in the room. You might be talking to them, but you aren’t looking at them, and it’s difficult to tell.
Your dog may be confused and interested in what exactly you’re doing. There’s not much you can help with here, so just pat them to let them know everything is okay.
They Want to Know What’s Next
Your dog also might be staring at you because they want some direction. This kind of stare often comes when you’re training your pooch. They’re attentive and looking at you to find out what’s next.
This is a fantastic sign if you’re training your dog. They know you’re the pack leader and want to know what their next role is. You should take this as a step of obedience when you’re in the middle of a training session.
They Want Attention
Has your dog ever stared at you while your watching TV, playing video games, or doing something else that doesn’t involve them? Well, they might want attention from you. Some dogs will even nuzzle their nose against you or put their paw on your arm to try to get you to pay attention to them.
This attention might not even be related to something they want. More often than not, they just want you to notice them and give them a belly rub.
The last kind of stare that comes from a dog is not a good one. There’s little chance your dog will be seething with rage when looking at you, but a friend’s dog or strange dog might not have the best intention with their stare.
You shouldn’t always assume that the dog is staring out of affection. They could be mad and are plotting their revenge. Well-trained dogs will often be friendly, but you shouldn’t take this for granted. Just because you train your dog well doesn’t mean others do.
Other Ways Your Dog Communicates
Staring isn't’ the only way dogs communicate with us. There are multiple ways a dog expresses themselves - you just have to know what to look for. You might attribute some of the communication signs to other behavioral traits, so it’s important to understand the difference.
Jumping on You or Guests
Is your dog jumping for joy every time you or a friend walks in the door? It seems like they’re affectionately trying to hug you. You’re probably excited to see your little buddy, and may even get down and let them tackle you. Unfortunately, this is not how dogs are thinking.
While your dog is likely happy to see you when you’re home from work, they won’t jump on your to show their affection. They might run around in excitement, but jumping on your means something different.
In fact, this is a sign of dominance when dogs jump on top of you. They’re establishing themselves as the pack leader. They are doing the same when any guests come into the house.
Your role as the pack leader means you shouldn’t tolerate this behavior, or reinforce it by showing affection to your dog every time you walk into the house.
Give your dog some space, and teach them that jumping on people will not be tolerated. When someone comes over, always tell them to sit and stay when the other person is entering the house.
Yawning doesn’t necessarily communicate anything in particular, but contagious yawning can. It’s a sign of empathy in humans, and dogs as well.
If you yawn and your dog sees you, they’re likely to yawn as well - if they love you that is. Dogs are one of the only other species that experience contagious yawning, and they do so when they love someone. It’s a pretty good test to tell how much your dog truly cares about you.
Wagging Their Tail
A dog’s tail wagging is one of the most recognizable communication signs out there, and it’s usually a good sign.
A dog’s tail tells a lot about their mood. When it’s tucked, they’re scared or aggressive. When it’s wagging, they’re relaxed and happy.
Sometimes, though, your dog could be stiff and still wag their tail. If this is the case, they might be aggravated. While it’s usually good to see your dog wagging their tail, this isn’t a universal truth.
Chewing is natural for dogs, especially when their teeth are coming in. It’s important to buy chew toys for your puppy to relieve their pain. Even adult dogs like to chew and bite when they play, and that’s not usually a bad sign.
Chewing becomes a problem when you come home to find the couch cushions spread across your living room. Your dog is probably giving you a guilty look as well, and your first instinct will likely be a punishment.
Chewing the furniture can be a sign that your dog has separation anxiety, though. You might also come home to find a wet spot on the carpet, which is another sign that they’re lost without you.
Believe it or not, your dog can tell you a lot by the look on their face. Particularly, their eyebrow movement can show recognition.
Dogs tend to move their eyebrows when they see their owner or another friendly human. This is just another way you can tell that your dog is truly your best friend.
Dogs bark for all kinds of reasons. They bark whenever they see or hear someone entering a house or apartment to let their humans know they have a guest or intruder. This is the most useful kind of bark, and the rest can be a bit irksome.
Your dog might bark because they’re bored, scared, or confused. A bored bark, or an overly vocal dog, is usually a sign of lack of discipline. Your dog should know that they can’t bark whenever they want, and you should reprimand them when they’re young to curb this behavior.
Your dog also might get scared easily, which can be a bit common in smaller dogs. Remedying fear can be difficult, but you have to let your dog know that they aren’t in danger. Encourage them to face their fears, and show them that there’s nothing to worry about.
Speaking Your Dog’s Language
Now that you know why your dog stares at you and a few other communication signals, you can better understand what they are saying and why they feel a certain way. Distinguishing these clues can lead to a happier, healthier relationship between you and your dog.
Keep in mind, though, that some of these communications might be signs of behavioral issues. It’s essential to keep dominance and control over your dog - always making sure they know who’s the boss. Take a look at some of our other articles to find out more about training and caring for your good boy or girl.