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Why do dogs stare?

Updated on June 13, 2009

Dogs have different personalities, different breeds exhibit different characteristics. However, a dog’s body language has more or less the same meanings. A responsible pet owner should take time to understand the body language of the pet as by doing so the moods and the feelings of the pet can be detected. The pet’s actions and reactions will be anticipated before they occur. The head, the ears, tail as well as the eyes indicates the mood of the dog. They are used as well to interact with humans and with other dogs. Dogs are often seen staring blankly, staring at people and staring at other dogs. What can be the reason for this rather odd behavior?

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Begging for food

A dog may stare because it is begging for food. Dogs in the wild would stare at eating dominant dogs. Weaker dogs have to wait until the alpha dog and the other dogs higher in rank would have their fill before they can have their turn to eat the prey.

Domesticated dogs would also stare at humans to beg for food. A dog that was left at home all day would stare at the master not only because of the fact that the master is home but also because the dog is anticipating a doggie bowl filled with food. The dog also stares at eating people to ask for scraps of food from the table.

Staring as a sign of dominance

Dominant dogs would stare at other dogs to remind the weaker ones that he is the alpha dog and the rest should do his bidding. Another dog may challenge the dominant dog by staring. This can be a violent situation as in most cases it would result to dog fights.

Staring to plead

A dog wanting to be taken out for a walk would whine and stare. A dog would also stare at the family preparing to go out. This action means that the dog wants to be with the family and to be a part of the activities. Owners should not ignore this behavior of the dog. A dog that is left alone will be bored and can suffer separation anxiety. For sure owners would not want this to happen as a bored dog turns into a destructive dog. If it is not possible to take the dog, leave some toys. Taking the dog for a long walk is another good idea.

Staring due to a medical condition

A dog may stare because it is sick. If the normally active dog suddenly become lethargic and stares blankly medical attention should be given to the dog as soon as possible as the behavior can be due to rabies, poisoning and distemper. A head injury would cause a dog to stare. These medical conditions should be given prompt attention.

Staring Contest...


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      hayden 6 years ago

      Question :

      Why do cats and dogs keep staring at me ?

      " In my country people don't like to raise pets that much so it's rarely to find them outside "

      The first time happened when i was 18/17 of age ,, now m 24 years old ' male "

      i was walking with ma friend ., from a distance and saw a person with his dog walking toward us,

      suddenly the dog stopped and started looking at my eyes and my face ' it's like someone knows me since ages and saw from it's eyes as it's going to cry "

      it's owner was surprised a little bit ., after about 4 min the owner took his dog and left

      but the weird thing that when the dog was walking with it's owner it turned it's head & kept staring at me for about 3 minutes more then i left

      other weird thing happened to me when i was in china ., 2 big white dogs left their owner and ran toward me ., they jumped onto me and started licking me and playing with me

      " I was not the only one in that area .., there were many people "

      every time this happen to me when i see a dog/s or a cat/s ., if they are walking or running they stop and start looking at me * sometimes when playing or eating *

      ** it happen with dogs more ' it's about %80 with dogs and 60% with cats **


      All the animals i met were pets

      I've never raised a pet b4

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      nina 6 years ago

      My Jackuaua, Fredo, stares at all the time. Most of the time I know what he wants, but he stares when I have company here also. Maybe he is looking for more attention? he does bring out his toys.

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      JOE 6 years ago


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      Mike 6 years ago

      My ray terrier stares at me too he absolutely loves my family

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      Olivia Jachim 6 years ago

      My Rat Terrier is always staring at me! all the time. but when I look into his eyes all I see is love. So i don't think its a problem mine just loves me. I saved his life a couple times.

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      Li-Or 7 years ago

      Interesting :) I came to this after searching about why humans stare. I wonder if some cross-references may be able to be made between understanding dogs and humans! :D

    • Michael Shane profile image

      Michael Shane 8 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

      Great topic! Nice Hub! Thanks........

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      bekki 8 years ago

      my dog seems to always stair in front or around me when i am alone in a room but when she stops staring i feel cold, this may seem way out of the question but can dogs see spirits, because this has only been happening since my brother died.

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      Stacey E 8 years ago

      I wonder why the possibility of your dog trusting you is why some of them stare. I've had two dogs of my own that feel completely free to stare me right in the eye, and there's no looking for food or attention, and there's no dominance issues being displayed. They just both seem to trust me. My parent's border collie on the other hand, will not keep eye contact for a long period of time.