My dog, Lucy Lunchbox, is notorious for staring. She stares at me, she stares at houseguests, she stares at strangers on the street, and the closer, the better.
Lucy’s pretty easy to figure out, she likes to beg for treats all the time. There are a lot of different things a dog might be trying to communicate to you with their stare Here’s where we break ’em down for you right now.
1. I’m ready for dinner.
“Hel-LO, the bowl behind me is obviously empty.”
If your best buddy is staring at you intently, check your watch. Are you late? Dogs have a powerful internal clock and often realize mealtime is approaching long before you do.
2. I’d like to go for a walk.
“I can’t believe you outsourced my walks to the cat. This is humiliating.”
Has it been a while since your dog’s last walk or pee break? Both sleep and play can trigger the urge to get outside for a bathroom break.
3. I could sure use a belly rub.
“You may commence scratches at any time.”
Your dog probably knows how to get your attention…but they may beg and stare at you, hoping for some butt scratches or a belly rub.
4. Let’s go for a car ride!
“I don’t know how to make this any clearer for you.”
As with staring in the hopes of a belly rub, your dog can have other fun ideas in mind. Dogs that love car rides may stare and wait for you to get up and grab the keys.
5. How about a light game of fetch?
“Meet me halfway, all right? I bring the ball to you, you throw it for me.”
Is your pup overdue for some exercise? If a ball or favorite toy has been deposited close by, chances are good that your staring dog is trying to entice you to join in on some fun.
6. Nigh nigh time.
“Would you mind getting the light?”
There goes that internal clock again! Are you staying up later than usual? Dogs are naturally curious, and your pup may be wondering why you aren’t starting the usual routine of teeth brushing and pajama-donning.
7. You look stressed, human.
“Here, I rolled out your yoga mat. Try a few downward dogs and you’ll feel a lot better.”
Dogs have evolved to be skilled at reading our facial expressions and body language. A staring dog may be trying to decode your mood. Are you happy and likely to play? Sad and in need of comfort? Your pup wants to know and wants to help.
8. I don’t feel so good.
“Partied a little too hard last night. Let’s call in sick.”
If they aren’t feeling well, they may come to you and stare, knowing you’re the one who makes them feel better.
9. You smell delicious/weird/bad.
“Did you have onions for lunch? Foul, bro.”
Dogs gather a wealth of information through their nose and they may prefer to come up close and sniff your face, but know that’s not always welcome. So they do the next best thing: sit close by, and sniff all they can from a respectful distance.
10. I love you.
“I shall call you Squishy, and you shall be mine, and you shall be my Squishy.”
Dogs are loyal creatures, and they love unconditionally. An adoring gaze is exactly that — an expression of your dog’s love and devotion.
A final note on eye contact: the conventional wisdom has been that a dog making eye contact is challenging your dominance. Experts today say that this varies by dog and situation. It’s likely that your dog sees you as head of the pack and isn’t trying to challenge you with a stare. Many trainers, in fact, encourage eye contact between dogs and pet parents to foster trust.
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