It’s cute while also being very confusing, and probably every person who has ever owned a dog has experienced it: you’re relaxing at home and rather than nap or play with a toy, you and you alone are captivating your dog’s attention.
What exactly is going on there? What are they trying to tell us? Are they being aggressive and trying to challenge us or are they just doing one of those weird things dogs do sometimes?
Unfortunately, dogs don’t come with a handbook but there are some very likely reasons that answer the question: “Why does my dog stare at me?” Keep reading, and we’ll cover everything you need to know and hopefully clear up the confusion!
Your Dog is Hungry
The first possible reason as to why your dog stares at you is probably also the first one that came to your mind: they’re simply just hungry. And of course, you being the almighty bringer of treats and meats is who they turn to when faced with that problem.
So should you indulge them and feed your dog whenever they stare at you? Not necessarily. Before giving your dog a treat, ask yourself how long it’s been since your dog has eaten. You may need to ask anyone else living in your household as well.
Most dogs are much more clever than we give them credit for and have learned that if the “give me a treat” look doesn’t work on one household member, it will on the next. So, first check with others, and then if it has been a while since they’ve eaten it’s okay to give them something small.
Better yet, use this an opportunity to work on training commands. If you’ve been working on teaching your dog to sit or other common commands, your dog will be ultra-motivated to learn at this time.
Check out our article on the best ways to use dog treats for training for some more helpful tips in that area.
Your Dog Wants Attention
The other obvious possible reason for why your dog stares at you is that they’re just looking for some attention. Perhaps your dog is feeling playful and wants to play fetch, or maybe even go for a walk.
Other times our dogs are just being curious and are having a good time watching us, and studying our behavior. Many dogs pay particular attention to our facial expressions, so your pup could just be trying to get a read on how you’re feeling.
Either way, there’s usually nothing to worry about if your dog has a staring issue. Having a dog that will happily sit and await your attention and commands is incredibly valuable when you’re working on teaching them.
Be cautious before getting into a staring contest as some dogs will take this as aggression. While they may not respond with aggressive behavior of their own, they make take it as a sign from you that they’re in trouble or that you’re angry with them.
Finally, this article would not be complete if we did not cover a few types of staring behaviors that could be the signs of a serious medical issue.
Dog Stares at Wall
If your dog stares at the wall, then your next step should likely be to the veterinarian. Older dogs may be beginning to show signs of canine cognitive dysfunction, which is essentially the dog version of Alzheimer’s disease.
The good news is that when caught early it’s progression can be slowed. Other signs that your dog may be suffering from this is that they stare off seemingly into space at other areas also, like the ceiling for example.
Alternatively, if you catch your dog staring off into space, seemingly trapped in a corner, or staring at the wall they could be suffering a focal seizure. Try distracting your dog, if you cannot they may be having a seizure. Take your dog to the vet after using your phone to record how they’re acting.
Dog Presses Head Against at Wall
If your dog is not just staring at the wall but actually pressing their head against it, it could be a sign of liver problems. A dysfunction in this area causes your dog’s ammonia levels to rise in their bloodstream which leads to intoxication in their brain.
Again, this is a situation where you should take your dog to the vet immediately where they can have their blood work done to see if your dog’s liver is functioning properly.
P.S. Help a friend with a dog that stares by pinning this!