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Why Does My Dog Stare at Me? (4 Potential Reasons for This Behavior)

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Dogs are always interested in what their human companions are up to. Every dog owner experiences the occasional stare from their furry canine family members due to their loyalty and affection. However, sometimes dogs stare enough to make us feel uncomfortable or uneasy because we don’t understand why the staring is occurring. There are actually a few different reasons that your dog might be staring at you. So, if you are wondering, “why does my dog stare at me,” or, “why does my dog stare at me and whine,” you have come to the right place for answers!

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4 Reasons Your Dog Stares at You:

1. Dogs Stare for Attention

Estrella Mountain dog
Image Credit: Nik Ryabukhin, Shutterstock

If your dog does not feel like they are getting enough attention from you, they may try to get your attention by sitting or standing and staring at you. Your pooch will display a relaxed body disposition and stare as if they are asking for something. They will not display any signs of anxiety, discomfort, or fear if all they want is a little attention.

Staring back at your dog for a few seconds may be all the attention they need. If you have been busy working on a project, chances are that your dog simply needs a little playtime with you, so consider taking a break! Your dog will appreciate the attention, and you will appreciate a break from their stares, at least for a little while.

2. Dogs Stare to Get Something

Himalayan Dogs close up_S Nair_Shutterstock
Image Credit: S Nair, Shutterstock

One common reason that dogs stare at their human companions is to try to get something from them. This could be a toy, a treat, or a scratch on the head. Whatever it is that the dog wants, they think that if they sit and stare long enough, their owner will give in and give up the prize. If you are cooking in the kitchen and your dog is staring at you, chances are that they want a bite of whatever it is that you are making. Offering up a treat will likely get your dog to stop the stares and to focus on something else while you cook.

If you are folding socks or handling a shiny or noisy object, your dog may think that it is a toy and want to play with it, which is when the staring begins. Find a toy that your dog has not played with in some time and offer that instead. Chances are that your pooch will stop focusing on the object in your hands and put their staring energy into game time with the toy.

3. Dogs Stare to Communicate

Karakachan Mountain shepherd guardian dog
Image Credit: Julian Popov, Shutterstock

Staring is also something that dogs do when they want to communicate with the people around them. They cannot talk, so they try to use their eyes for communication instead of their mouths. Your dog might take a few minutes to stare at you just to communicate their affection for you — or they may be staring at you because you forgot to fill their water bowl.

Sometimes, dogs just stare to try to figure out what their human companion is doing or trying to communicate. If you are talking to your dog or doing something that you do not ordinarily do, chances are that your dog is starting to get a better idea of what’s going on. Your pooch might just be staring to try to determine whether you’re planning to feed them a meal or take them on a walk soon.

4. Dogs Stare Due to Discomfort

Unfortunately, while not common, staring can be a sign of discomfort. When a dog feels ill or is in pain, they may try to communicate the discomfort to you by staring. This type of staring is usually accompanied by other signs of distress, including a drooping tail and ears, sad-looking eyes, panting, lethargy, and drooling. If your dog stares at you and shows even the slightest sign of distress, it is time to contact your veterinarian to schedule a checkup as soon as possible.

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Final Comments

Dogs could be staring at you for a few different reasons. It is important to learn your dog’s body language and how they communicate when they are happy and healthy and when they are in distress of any kind. This will make it easier for you to determine why your dog stares at you.


Featured Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Rachael has been a freelance writer since 2000, in which time she has had an opportunity to research and write about many different topics while working to master the art of fusing high-quality content with effective content marketing strategies. She is an artist at heart and loves to read, paint, and make jewelry in her spare time. As a vegan, Rachael is obsessed with helping animals in need both in her community and anywhere in the world where she feels she can make a difference. Animals also happen to be her favorite topic to write about! She lives off the grid in Hawaii with her husband, her garden, and her rescue animals including 5 dogs, a cat, a goat, and dozens of chickens.