Why Does My Dog Stare At Me?

Close-Up Portrait Of Dog
credit: Oriol Guri / EyeEm/EyeEm/GettyImages

Perhaps you come home after a long day at work and begin shuffling around your house, preparing for the evening. You look down and what do you see but two big, soulful eyes looking right up at you. Is your dog simply a loyal companion who hangs on your every move? Maybe! It's more likely, though, that your dog is attempting to communicate with you. What he's trying to say can be a variety of things, but the most common are pretty easy to decipher once you know what you're looking for.

Why does she stare?

It's impossible to know for sure exactly why your dog is staring at you. Because no two dogs are the same, one may use eye contact for a completely different reason than another. Some dogs may have learned that staring at their owners will result in a walk, while others use eye contact to set boundaries with those around them. A lot also depends on the circumstances — are you out on a walk? Enjoying a particularly savory-smelling meal? These details can all be hints as to why your dog may have you locked in her sight!

He’s seeking clues

If you're out on a walk and are about to cross paths with a stranger, chances are, your dog has looked up at you at some point. It's a subtle behavior that you can easily miss, especially if you're focused on what's ahead. Oftentimes, however, your dog checks in with you to make sure everything's OK. Is this cool? Am I gonna get in trouble if I run up to that person? Is that person even a safe person to say hi to? These are all essentially the types of questions your dog is seeking answers to, and the only way he knows how to ask is to fasten his eyes on you.

She loves you

Could it be that your dog is simply gazing into your eyes because you're the object of her affections? Modern Dog Magazine says that she just might be! Some dogs may even squint their eyes a bit when you return their gaze, which is a sign of submissive behavior. While the thought of your dog staring longingly into the eyes of her beloved human companion is certainly sweet, it's more likely a sign that she's seeking approval. If you tend to shower your dog with attention and petting when you catch her looking at you, she may have learned that when she just sits there and stares at you, nice things happen to her! She may also need consoling. Or, hey, maybe she just wants to cuddle — no shame in that.

He needs your attention

Ever find yourself engaged in a TV show only to look over and find your dog sitting close by and trying to make eye contact? It may be time to check your clock! Has it been a while since his last bathroom break? Does he usually eat dinner around this time? According to Cesar's Way, staring in these situations may be his attempt to grab your attention to get what he wants, be that a meal, exercise, or just some loving.

She’s being aggressive

This doesn't necessarily mean that your dog is about to lunge and attack you. Still, if your dog won't break eye contact and is exhibiting certain characteristics, she could be telling you to back off. The American Kennel Club suggests surveying what's going on to determine if your dog is giving you a warning. A side-eyed glare, growling, and her possession of high-value items, like food or toys, paired with intense eye contact can all be signs that your dog is telling you to stay clear. If you need to get whatever your dog has, try distracting her and taking it when she's not looking. If the problem feels dangerous, consult a behaviorist for a long-term solution to the issue.