Our Dogs World 101

Why Does My Dog Stare At Me

Have you ever noticed your dog’s eyes following you in whatever direction you are taking, and thought to yourself, why does my dog stare at me?

Maybe while your dog is chewing a bone or a toy, you look across at your furry friend only to see them already staring at you.

Perhaps you are relaxing, watching your favorite movie on TV and as you look to your dog, guess what? They are staring at you.

Whatever the scenario is, your dogs or even stray dogs will most likely love staring at you.

Most dog owners usually don’t know why do dogs stare at people. There are various reasons why the dogs keep on staring at you, mostly for communication purposes.

Below, I will try to answer the 5 questions I often get asked which is, Why Does My Dog Stare At Me?

Dogs Read Into a Human’s Moods and Actions.

Dogs, are among the only animals that can read the moods of a human being.

You may be wondering why do dogs stare at people.

The main reason and probably the only studied reason is that dogs stare at you to read your moods, your gestures, thus predicting what can happen next.

Therefore, it is true to say that most of the dogs stare at us to gain more understanding of the surrounding environment.

Essentially gaining environmental information for the dogs will help them prepare for anything you want them to do, like throwing a ball for example. More so, dogs can sense that you are taking them out for play sessions.

Dogs like various games from the owners; the games may include deliberate cues like down and up commands.

This is another reason dogs stare at people; it is because they are waiting for such instruction. From the stare they will read around 75% of the verbal command you are going to give them.

However, for most dogs to have such mood and action reading, they need further reinforcement training.

They love training, and thus they will wait for any signifying the time for playing or training, by staring at you.

Dogs are Trying to Communicate With Us

It usually true that when most dogs want to seek your attention, they will stare at you.

Attention seeking is the main reason why the dogs stare at you. Furthermore, apart from seeking your attention, dogs will stare at you when they want to communicate or pass some information to you.

For example, if it is potty break time, the dog will sit by the door and stare at you. When you open the door, the dog will go to its place and wee.

In addition, when you are having a meal and the dog is hungry. It will stare at you because it wants some food or wishes to share with you the meal. This is something we should avoid and I have another article on this.

Dogs Stare At Their Owners To Get Things

When dogs want something from the owner, they may stare at the owner to manipulate them and get whatever it is they want from them, and this is usually food.

The best example is when your dogs stare at you at the dinner table until you give in.

You will provide it with some food because the stare will make you feel uncomfortable or guilty.

If you learn the dog’s behavior about staring, the dog will change its habits and look for a new way. However, preferably it would be good to teach your dog how you want it to behave.

Staring May Express The Dog’s Feelings

Dogs might stare at you to express how they feel. When the emotions are positive or negative, your little puppy might use eye contact to show it to you.

Like in the wolf family, dogs might stare at you to symbolize alpha ranking and threat. This feature makes it necessary to avoid staring at any dog that is not yours.

Under no circumstances should you ever stare at a dog that is not yours. Direct eye contact with animals outside of your family pack could seem like a threat to them. If you do come across a dog out on your walks and he is staring at you, avoid staring back, and move away slowly.

If your own family dog shows any of these characteristics you should seek advice from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

Now, on the other side of aggression is love, the best reason as to why a dog stares at you.

Scientists have discovered that when humans and dogs stare at each other a hormone called Oxytocin.

As defined in Wikipedia Oxytocin (Oxt) is a peptide hormone and neuropeptide. It is normally produced in the hypothalamus and released by the posterior pituitary.[3] It plays a role in social bonding, reproduction, childbirth, and the period after childbirth.[4] Oxytocin is released into the bloodstream as a hormone in response to love and in labor.[5][6] This helps with birth, bonding with the baby, and milk production.[6][7]

A Stare For Life

Your dog continues to stare at you for its entire life to ensure the bonding increases, and there is a feeling of love and trust. The same as what happens between a mother and a newborn baby. No wonder most dogs will stare at the people they love and adore.


Mutual Benefits Between Dogs and Humans From Staring

The stare can be of mutual benefit; you may benefit from the stare as well as the dog may benefit.

In most cases, it is a show of attention and affection. You might be fascinated by the dog by either how you treat it or feed it. To benefit most from understanding the dog, you need to be keen to learn about the signals t give to the dog. It is also important why the dog keeps staring at you at certain times of the day or when doing something. Apart from the dog expressing its feeling through the stare, it would help if you also learned a lot from the dog’s stare. It might be for fun, affection, or even symbolizing some danger.

Final Words

Most people have been wondering why dogs stare at people, either the owner or a stranger. Every dog stare has a message it is trying to convey. So when your dog stares at you, you should be able to identify what it needs.

In finishing, when dealing with strange dogs, make sure you never stare back at them.

May Your Home Be Filled With Love And Dog Hair.


Founder of Our Dogs World

6 thoughts on “Why Does My Dog Stare At Me”

  1. Canine behavioral experts agree that dogs’ staring behavior is associated with wanting something, like the five reasons you stated. What they do not agree upon, however, is what that something might be.

    Some say that the reason for a dog’s stare is to establish a social hierarchy between the two species, humans and dogs. The dog stares at the human to show him or her that he or she is higher in rank.

    Dog trainers explain this behavior as one of assertive body language. Staring shows the humans that they are being watched and also let them know how important they are to the dog. 

    Other behavioral experts attribute this staring behavior to a natural predatory instinct of dogs to stare at whatever it is they want…in this case, food. The idea here is that by staring at their owners for something as simple as a treat, the dog is establishing his dominant role over his owner. Just like he would do when staring down prey from atop a hill before attacking.

    Great article!

    • Some really great points you have outlined here.

      Thanks greatly for your input.

      May Your Home Be Filled With Love And Dog Hair.


  2. Thanks, Mark for answering this question. Our puppy will often stare at us if he wants to go outside and it can be annoying although we are getting better at working out what he wants. He will also stare at us if he wants to go for a walk or wants a treat. We love him dearly and making regular eye contact keeps us very bonded. It also makes him easy to train.

    I appreciated the reminder not to stare at an unknown dog as it could be seen as a challenge. You might be interested to know that this is also something you must be careful of with stallions too. It is definitely seen as a challenge.

    Terrific article, thanks.

    • Hey Lily,

      I love that word PUPPY! What kind of puppy do you have?

      Yes a puppy will often stare at you especially just before he wants to go to toilet, so that’s something to always be aware of.

      I was surprised in regards to your comment regarding stallions, you learn something new everyday!


  3. Thanks so much for sharing a great article to learn more about why does my dog stare at me, I have seen my dog staring at me so many times, and I have ask him why does he do that so often, my dog is a wonderful creature and he gives me different replies to my question, so I decided to look for an answer and I’m glad I found your blog, as it has helped me to understand better why does love to stare at people, what is life without a dog at home? Dogs are great company and friends!

    • Hi Alejandra,

      Yes our dogs sure are amazing animals aren’t they!

      So glad the article gave you a better understanding on the reasons dogs might stare at us.




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