You are just about to curl up on the couch with a blanket and your remote when suddenly…you sense it. The unmistakably eerie feeling that you’re being watched. You slowly turn your head and then you discover a set of longing canine eyes, peering at you. Why is your dog staring at you? Is she plotting world domination? Is she hungry? Does she know something you don’t know? Yes, this behavior can be quite odd and worrisome but fear not! There are many good reasons why your dog is staring at you.
Something Is Missing From Her Daily Routine
Dogs easily develop a routine around yours. For example, if you feed her right at 8 a.m. every morning, she may stare at you if you’re a few minutes late giving her her food. Or, if you walk her every evening after dinner, she may stare at you wondering why you’re not getting ready to go, even if it’s raining outside. If you travel frequently, she may stare at you while you pack your suitcase, knowing you will be leaving soon.
She Needs Something
She could be hungry. Maybe she hid her bone under the cushion you’re sitting on. She could really need to go outside and use the bathroom. Dogs can’t talk to us to tell us what they want, but many dogs have wonderfully expressive eyes and use them to try and communicate with us. So your dog could be staring at you because she needs you to help with something or she wants you to do something.
She’s Begging for Food
She probably knows the look on your face and eyes when you are about to indulge her and she wants to be ready. Our dogs definitely know that we represent resources for them and they are always on the alert for an opportunity to obtain them! Some pet parents worry that their dog is trying to dominate them if their dog stares at them while they are eating, but this could not be farther from the truth. You don’t have to eat something before your dog eats to prove you’re a leader. The answer is much simpler–your dog isn’t trying to elevate her position; your dog just wants you to share!
If you ever fed your dog while you were eating you taught her to stare at you; she now expects you to do it again. So you may have created a habit you now find annoying. Whether or not you taught the behaviour, if it bothers you, you can train your dog to settle on her bed with a food-stuffed toy while you eat or simply put her in another room.
She’s Trying to Figure You Out
When your dog stares at you she’s oftentimes monitoring your behaviour to find out what’s going on and how it will impact her. Don’t worry – it’s all normal! While you may sometimes feel your dog rules the roost, you are actually the one in charge. You decide what she eats and when she eats. You decide when she goes outside. You decide when to have playtime, when to take her for medical care, and where she sleeps. You are the head enchilada! So your dog is quite reasonably invested in figuring out what you’re up to as it directly affects her life.
She Loves You
Just as you gaze lovingly into your partner’s eyes, dogs look into our eyes to indicate they like us. You’ll see your dog has a soft expression, maybe with slightly squinty eyes. If your dog is staring at you all gooey-eyed, this is usually just what it looks like—a sign that she loves you!
(Please note: Never hold a dog’s head still and stare into his eyes hoping for a mutual loving gaze. Your dog could take this action as a threat and may not react affectionately at all.)