Does your dog stare at you at a specific time every day? Does he turn his gaze upon you while you are at your dinner table? Does he keenly observe you while you are watching your favorite TV program?
Virtually all pets have the character of looking at peoples’ eyes at one point or another. However, dogs do this to a greater extent because they can maintain eye contact mutually for a prolonged period compared to other pets.
Many people have reached the point of asking ‘why does my dog stare at me constantly’ with the aim of trying to understand what kind of message could the dog be conveying.
The truth of the matter is that there are many reasons to explain why your dog is staring at you all the time and it is important to also mention that all dogs have this behavior as it is not specific to some.
Despite the above fact, you also need to understand your dog specifically since he conveys several messages by the action of staring at you. You need to be quick in decoding what your dog is trying to communicate in order to act rapidly and maintain the strong bond you have with your little friend.
Some dogs indeed stare at their owners more than other dogs. Sometimes it can be because of pathological reasons and you also need to understand this well enough.
As the old saying goes ‘dog is man’s best friend’ and indeed dogs spend a lot of their time trying to connect with us socially, physically, and emotionally.
Several veterinarians have put forward good reasons to answer the phenomenon in question. It is important to know that various canines stare at different people for different reasons. For example, in a family, you will find that there is a dog that stares more at the father than any other member of the family. Likewise, you will find another dog gazing upon the children more than the parents and other adult members of the family.
The benefits of a dog’s stare
Since there are limited ways of communicating with our pets, a simple stare goes a long way in trying to understand what the dogs are saying and for the dogs to understand what we are saying.
1. Dogs use body language to convey messages to us and it is upon us to understand them. Similarly, when you want to convey a message to a dog, you will use your eyes, mouth, and other body gestures to do so.
2. Another benefit of having a mutual gaze with dogs includes communicating both positive and negative emotions and feelings. You will also direct the dog to observe the movement of your lips when you are training them, for example when you want your dog to know the meaning of ‘sit down’, it will be best if the dog keeps a close eye-contact with your lip movement to learn the expected action.
3. You will easily notice that it is a very simple and enjoyable way to train a dog that keeps good eye contact with you. They are simply the best learners you can wish to have.
4. When you are engaging your dog in sports activity, you can make use of strong eye contact to keep your dog boosted on his performance mode.
From the benefits highlighted above, we can see that a dog is most likely to stare at you if you have been keen on developing a social attachment with him.
I will provide you with 8 explanations of why your dog keeps looking at you constantly.
1. It is a display of Love
Biology explains that whenever a dog identifies you as a friend and starts staring at you, his body releases the oxytocin hormone which is commonly known as the love hormone. This is the same hormone that is released when a mother breastfeeds her child and it is necessary for developing the bond between the mother and the child.
The same case applies to our canine friend, once the oxytocin hormone has been released in its body, he will identify you as a good friend and will express the social attachment through constant eye contact.
In addition, dogs show us affection by licking us. If your dog licks you a lot and you want to understand this behavior, check our article on “Why Does My Dog Lick Me So Much?”
2. They want your attention
Since we have seen that dogs have the ability to develop very strong social and emotional attachment towards human beings, it is therefore reasonable that they crave physical attachment.
A dog would not want to call for your attention by doing something outrageous like biting you hard. He does so by simply staring at us.
Dogs will literally want our attention throughout the day so long as they are awake and bored. It is therefore very important to engage your dog in some physical exercises and games that will quench his thirst for your attention. Read my article on how long can dogs be left alone.
3. They are aggressive
Dogs are not always aggressive to their owners and friends. This one will mostly apply to visitors’ in the house.
A dog will constantly stare at anybody who seems to pose a threat in the owner’s presence. They do this because of the love towards the owners and it acts as a sign of protection from possible threats from strangers.
The next time you see your friend’s dog staring at you constantly without rocking his body and wagging the tail, you can conclude that he is trying to tell you that he’s on the watch.
Similarly, if a strange dog is staring at you constantly with a stiff posture and without blinking his eye, it is better to back off and leave the place because he is expressing a negative emotion to you.
4. They want to eat or drink
Being an animal, your dog will not tell you that it’s dinner time. They use body language to express hunger and thirst towards their human friend.
Keeping eye contact with the owner is a common way that dogs use to remind us that it is food time for them. If you have trained your dog to feed on fixed times throughout the day, he will always approach you at the said time to remind you that it’s time to eat.
This not only applies to dogs’ food. Canines have the habit of desiring whatever their owners are partaking as food. If you are having your meal at the dinner table, you will probably see your dog hanging around you with his eyes fully fixed on you and the plate.
Dogs believe that whatever is good for you must also be good for them. So, if you are eating something that appeals to your dogs’ taste buds, he believes that he should get a share too.
5. Anticipatory look
New dog owners often ask ‘why does my dog stares at me all time’ , especially when the canine is new to him and they have not developed an attachment to a greater extent.
Your dog will stare at you in anticipation of what you are planning to do next. We can also call this curiosity, and it mostly applies when the dog is trying to learn your behaviors and character.
Anticipatory look also occurs when the dog is watching out for what you want to do next for him. Are you giving him a treat? Is it mealtime for him? Are you going out? These are the questions that linger in the dog’s brain and he will wait to see what you are up to as he fixes his eyes on you.
6. They are waiting for an order
Dogs show a lot of discipline, especially to their owners and friends. You will realize that whenever you are training or doing some exercises with your dog, he will keenly keep eye contact with you to wait for orders and further directions.
This applies even when the exercise is over, you will realize that your dog will turn a glaze to you whenever he wants a physical engagement with you in terms of communicating orders such as sitting and running.
We can also put it that the dog is exhibiting a state of slight confusion when he stares at you constantly in this manner. This stare is mostly accompanied by a tilted head and pricked ears; the dog does not show any aggressiveness in this state.
7. They are mastering your body language
This reason will answer the question ‘why does my dog keep staring at me’ especially when you are in the house doing your normal chores and routine. Your dog will keenly observe as you reach out for your mop to clean the house. He will pay close attention to try and understand what you are doing in the kitchen and so on.
Once a dog is acquainted with your body language and routine, it is easier for him to know when you are not available to play with him and when you can.
Remember your dog is like the human friends we have. We try to understand how they behave and they also strive to know that.
8. It can be a sign of sickness
Take keen note of how the dog behaves as he stares at you. If he is in a state of discomfort and keeps wagging his tail while moving up and down, it is a clear sign that there is something probably wrong somewhere and it can be on the dog’s health.
You might notice that your older dog is staring at you constantly with no apparent reason or any sign of urgent need. In this case, your dog might be suffering from cognitive dysfunction which is common for old dogs. However, this sign is not enough to conclude that your dog is having cognitive dysfunction syndrome, there are other signs to look for before you make the conclusion. I recommend seeking the service of a qualified vet to ascertain the exact problem with your beloved friend if you suspect any sign of sickness. If you own a Pomeranian, you can read my article on 10 common health problems in Pomeranians
It is my hope that you have seen some possible reasons that answer your question ‘why does my dog stare at me constantly’.
As you have seen, it is very important to try and understand the possible reason why your dog seeks your attention by staring at you constantly. The common one is because dogs express love to human beings through eye contact, but it can also be another sign of sickness for your beloved friend.
You can have a look at the video below by ‘veterinary secret’ that will show you another explained perspective of why your dog stares at you.
Does your dog keep staring at you all the time? How do you handle the situation? I hope you have not turned your dog off for maintaining eye contact with you. Please let me know your experience in the comment below.