Dogs use staring as a form of communication. So what exactly are they trying to tell you? Well it all depends on when and how they’re doing the staring. I’m Anai Fonte, owner of Miami’s most loved dog hotel and I am here to give you some insight on the puppy stare down.
In the article, “Why Does My Dog Stare at Me” by Stephanie Gibeault, MSc, CPDT she explains “More than almost any other animal on earth, dogs are in tune with humans. They sense our moods, follow our pointing gestures, and read us for information about what’s going to happen next. That means they stare at us a lot to gain knowledge about their environment. Essentially, they are waiting for us to do something that will impact them.” She further explains that’s it important to look at what other hints the dog is providing. Is your dog sitting by the door and staring at you? Likely this means they want to go out. Or sitting by the water bowl? They’re probably thirsty. My dog, Emme stares at me in the morning and at night wherever I am and starts licking her mouth. I didn’t know at first but I quickly realized that she was telling me it’s chow time.
What about when it’s not that obvious? Or is it ever a threat? JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM in her article “Why Does My Dog Stare at Me?”, another clever title, she writes “When a dog and pet parent have developed a close and emotional bond, the dog will sometimes use his stare to demonstrate affection.” So the staring that has you confused can just be your pups way of saying how much they love you! However, if the stare is accompanied by growls, low-head posture and snarling this is a sign to back away. Your dog might do this when they’re resource guarding, like over their food bowl. Again, they’re using the stare to communicate to you to get back. This behavior is not normal in a well-balanced dog and should you experience this you should speak to a dog behaviorist.
Reasons dogs stare…
- They are trying to communicate something to you. Look for other clues that can help you hone in on what exactly it is.
- They’re just telling you they love you.
- They’re using the stare as a warning that they don’t like something you’re doing.
With a little work you can figure out your dog’s unique way of communicating through stares. If your dog is super laser focused on you, you can even use this to teach them some great tricks!