There are many different reasons why your dog might look at you a certain way. Sometimes it’s just an expression of love.
Often times a wish can be hiding behind a look, or they are anticipating your guidance.
If the look is accompanied by a stiff body and sticky lips, this may be a sign of aggression.
Dogs often display all kinds of behaviors – howling when they hear certain sounds, tilting their heads when talking to them, or even staring at you while watching TV or reading a book.
Erin Askeland is a certified canine behavior counselor and animal health and behavior expert at Camp Bow Wow. She says there is always a specific reason why dogs behave in a very specific way. Staring, for example, can be a signal that your dog wants to tell you something.
Although more research is needed to fully explain the many aspects of canine behavior, there are some explanations for why your dog is watching you so closely. Here are six reasons your dog might be staring at you:
1. Your dog wants something from you
Askeland says dogs can turn their attention to their owners when they are looking for attention or food.
“A lot of this is due to conditioning, since it’s common to teach dogs to focus on you or look at you during training,” says Askeland. “Once dogs learn this, they are likely to take this interest on their own, hoping to get what they want or be rewarded in some way.”
2. Your dog is trying to understand you
Dogs can also stare at their owners to read and understand body language, which they consider to be a good indicator of their owner’s emotional state. For example, whether you are sad and need rest or whether you are happy and want to play. “Dogs use nonverbal communication not only to express themselves, but also to understand others,” says Askeland.
3. Your dog needs your guidance
Your dog may be overwhelmed by a situation and feel insecure. At such moments, they stare at their owners, looking for clues, Askerland says. For example, if you pick up your keys, your dog might assume you’re about to leave the house and watch you see what happens next.
Some dog breeds are also able to stare at their owners and understand much more cues than other dog breeds, says Liz Demmett, dog trainer at Dogtopia. For example, dogs that are specifically bred to be therapy dogs, such as Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds, are especially good at making eye contact and better understanding human body language.
Siberian huskies, on the other hand, are bred to pull sleds and follow verbal instructions — so they tend to be slower at picking up visual cues and stare less, Demett says.
4. Your dog is trying to express love
If you have a close relationship with your dog, Askerland explains that your dog may want to show his love for you through direct eye contact. “This type of contact is not very common among dogs, so if your dog looks you directly in the eye, he will feel extra comfortable around you.”
She added that the endearing look is usually accompanied by a gentle twitch, tail wagging, or physical closeness.
5. Your dog shows aggressive behavior
However, sometimes, a dog’s stare can indicate aggression. This is usually the case when they feel uncomfortable or threatened in a situation or need to be careful, Askelland said. Or when they want to protect something of value – like their food, their sleeping place or their toys. In that case, Demet said, your dog will stare at you without blinking. They may look like they are about to attack you or ambush a target. Other signs of aggression are:
- curved head
- stiff posture
- lip wrinkle
- Ears stretch forward
- Tail moves with difficulty
If you see such signs along with a stare, it could mean your dog is feeling threatened or needs space to themselves, says Askeland.
6. Your dog is growing up
As dogs age, their mental capacity declines, so they often feel disoriented and disoriented later in life, says Askeland. Such a meaningless stare with no other signs could be a sign of mental decline. Diseases such as cognitive dysfunction syndrome can also be a cause of such behaviour.
The disease is often compared to Alzheimer’s disease in humans and affects:
- About 22.5 percent of dogs over the age of nine
- About 28 percent of dogs are between the ages of 11 and 12
- About 68 percent of dogs are between the ages of 15 and 16
Other symptoms of cognitive dysfunction syndrome in dogs can include:
- wandering aimlessly
- Confused with the simplest instructions
- Obvious confusion in the familiar environment
- Accidents at home
Askeland said if your dog keeps staring into space for no reason, it’s a good idea to visit the vet. There is currently no cure for this disease, but there are ways to slow its progression and make the dog’s life as comfortable as possible. A strict routine and a stress-free environment often help here.
Your dog may stare at you for a variety of reasons, such as to get attention or food, express love, or interpret your body language and visual cues. A dog may also stare as a sign of aggression, especially when feeling threatened or guarding something valuable.
On the other hand, if you notice your dog staring with blank eyes and glassy eyes, it could be a sign of mental decline or illness. If your dog’s staring is associated with disorientation, disorientation, or other strange behaviors, such as sudden accidents around the house, your dog should be examined by a veterinarian.
This article has been translated from English by Meltem Sertatas. You can find the original text here.