All dog owners know that dogs can be real creeps sometimes. They sniff your intimate areas, they interfere with your sex life, and perhaps most confusingly of all, they seem to enjoy watching you undress. We set out to get to the bottom of the undressing mystery.
To our surprise, Googling yielded no answers, just a litany of people asking the same question. So we asked Julie Hecht and Mia Cobb, two canine scientists who created the canine science community Do You Believe in Dog?, why our dogs watch us undress.
Dogs like to watch
Here's what Hecht told Cuteness: "Dogs often watch us! Period! Watching, or attending to us, is a major way dogs get information. Of course, the information they get isn't about our fashion sense; instead, a person getting dressed or undressed at a particular time could indicate what's coming next: a walk or play or food. You're where all the action is, so they watch you! They also might attend to any number of less interesting things we do, from talking on the phone to cleaning up."
She adds that dogs might also watch us because they want something from us, which should come as no surprise to any dog owner, and that "shared attention" is one way to get it.
Symbolism of clothing
Mia Cobb adds that "some clothing may cue things of significance to the dog too — you're getting ready to leave the house for work, or getting into your dog walking clothes, or pajamas for bedtime. Also, I imagine it's a great time for dogs to get a smell of us — without our clothing as a barrier and from their smell-oriented perspective of the world, that may well be something they don't want to miss!"
So while we may feel like we're being creeped on while we're undressing, it's likely that this particular scenario simply stands out to us because of what undressing means to us. The fact of the matter is that our dogs are watching us a lot. You decide if that's more or less creepy.