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If you’ve ever noticed your dog staring at you, you probably wondered why: What does it mean? What does he want? Take note of his body language. Are his eyes relaxed, with his face between his paws? Is it a look of anticipation or curiosity? Here are a few not-so-serious reasons why your dog may be staring at you:

  • Anticipation
  • Desire to go outside
  • Something’s missing in his routine


For the most part, your dog is probably staring at you because he’s anticipating your next move. In other words, is he staring at you while you’re cooking or preparing food, or while you put your shoes on? Maybe he’s waiting for you to drop some scraps or say, “OK, let’s go!” and get his leash to take him for a walk.

Your Dog Is Well Trained

border collie head tilt edit

Well-trained, attentive dogs will watch their owners — looking for a cue or hand signal so they can be ready to respond to a command and get a reward, such as a treat. If he’s staring at you while lying down, sitting, or whining near the door, he probably has to go out.

Something Is Missing From His Routine

Dogs also will easily develop a routine around yours. For example, if you feed him right at 8 a.m. every morning, he may stare at you if you’re a few minutes late giving him his food. Or, if you walk him every evening after dinner, he may stare at you wondering why you’re not getting ready to go, even if it’s raining outside. If you travel frequently,    he may stare at you while you pack your suitcase, knowing you will be leaving soon.

Sometimes a dog that is unfamiliar with you, such as one you pet sit or meet on a walk, may stare at you. You should remove your own dog from the situation if you’re on a walk, especially if both dogs remain completely still and stare at each other.

If you notice your own dog giving you a hard stare, try to see why before you interact with him. Does he have something of value clenched in his paws, such as a favorite toy or a delicious bone? If you’re playing with him and try to take a toy back, but get a side-eye stare and a growl, let him have it. Even the most playful, friendly dogs can get      a bit possessive sometimes. A growl is a warning and should never be corrected, as this can cause the dog to go straight to snapping or biting someone. Distract him with something else if he has something of yours, like a shoe, and praise him for giving it up.
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What’s he thinking?

Dogs exhibit all sorts of bewildering, funny, and sometimes worrisome, quirky behaviors. Ever wonder what he's thinking and where the behaviors come from? Download this e-book to find out.
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