Why Does My Dog Stare at Me?

A brown and tan dog looking at the camera

Dogs love their owners, and it's not hard to see why they might spend hours staring at their owner and best friend. Some dogs take their staring to the next level, though. They might follow you around the house, all the while not taking their eyes off of you and half expecting a treat to drop from your fingers. So, what's going on here? If you've ever wondered "Why does my dog stare at me?" read on for some insight into this curious dog behaviour.

Your Dog Wants Something From You

Dogs often stare at their owners out of desire, as if they're silently asking for something. It could be anything from "Hey, please feed me, I'm hungry" and "Toss me the ball. I want to chase something!" to "Let's go for a walk." Stares are their way of silently communicating their need for exercise, food or play time.

And if they're gaping at you while sitting by the door, they might need to be let out for a potty break.


Most dogs love attention, and as a dog owner, you probably give your fur baby lots of it. Sometimes, your dog stares at you because they want you to pay attention them. This can be tied to desire, but it might not be as specific as wanting a belly rub or some kibble. They may also just want to bond with their owner and show their love, and staring at you with a paw in your lap is one way to do it.

Some research has found that mutual staring between an owner and pup releases oxytocin in the brain, otherwise known as the love hormone. This chemical can help boost feelings of love and trust between a dog and his owner.


According to Jean-François Savard, Purina pet behaviour scientist, dogs may also stare and tilt their heads because they're trying to figure out what we want from them. This might especially be true for puppies still learning proper behaviour and how to be house trained. After all, they don't want to miss out on the opportunity for a tasty snack, such as Beggin’ Strips, for being a good boy!

Looking for Direction

Your pup may also be staring because he wants you to tell him what to do. Remember that your dog has learned over time to obey your commands, listen when you call him and respect your house rules, so sometimes they might stare because they're waiting for a verbal cue and for you to tell them to do something. Staring is an attempt for them to figure out what's going on and what they should do next. This may be especially true if they're in the middle of training or learning a new skill.

Dogs Pick Up on Your Cues

Dogs may also be attentive and staring because they're trying to pay attention to what you're doing. Over time, your pup has learned that when you pick up the leash, a walk is not far behind, and if you pick up your car keys and start heading for the door, a car ride might be in his future. They certainly don't want to miss a fun opportunity, so staring is their way of watching and picking up on what you might do next.

The next time your dog stares at you, pay attention to the context to try to figure out what they want. And if you're not sure your dog is staring at you, they could just want some extra love and attention, so give them a scratch on the head or a nuzzle to satisfy their desire for affection.

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