3 Reasons Your Dog Stares at You

A Husky and Cocker Spaniel standing in a dog park staring intently

Take a picture, it’ll last longer. Oh. Wait. I’m the one staring. Whatever, human. You’re pretty. And I love you. Shall we dive into the reasons your dog stares at you?

There are numerous reasons that could attribute to why your dog stares at you all the time. However, more often than not, your dog’s long gazes from across the way can be chalked up to their complete and utter admiration and love for you. This is yet another silent form of dog communication.

There are other reasons for why we could be staring at you.

Perhaps you have a booger.

Maybe some leftover spinach stuck in your teeth.

Maybe we don’t trust your current motives, or maybe we’re trying to get your attention so that you can save us from the tiny little human cousins that keep booping our nose.

This isn’t a one size fits all staring contest. Assess the current situation.

Disclaimer: The Can My Dog articles contain information based on the individual research and opinions of the author of the site – who just so happens to be a dog. How you utilize the information given is completely up to you. Proceed at your own risk.

Reason #1: Your Dog Stares at You Because They Want Your Food

I’ve hit on this before. Dogs have evolved over the years to learn to manipulate our humans with our big, sweet, lovable, sad eyes.

This is not an innate behavior – this is not a survival trait – this is us leveling up on domestication, learning how to live with humans and how to get our way.

Not our fault. You guys fall for it every time. If something works that consistently, best believe we’re going to keep it up.

We’ve briefly discussed this in blogs past, but we are constantly communicating with our humans.

Staring at you when you’re cooking or eating is just another form of this. Typically our food stares are accompanied by perfect sits and stays.

We’re showing you how good we can be.

Want to know why we think this is what you want to see? Because you make us do these ‘good boy’ things for treats all the time.

Why should the desire for your food on your plate require any alternative acts of submission?

Do you give us little bites when we stare all cute like this at you? If so, guess what? We’re going to keep doing it.

You’re essentially training us to stare at you for a bite of your takeout every single time you cave.


And this is a BIG BUTT. I need to be perfectly clear here. I love when you cave. Never quit caving. Quitters never win and winners never quit. That goes for all of you weak humans out there who succumb to our precious little starving puppy stares.

Keep this up. It’s part of our bonding / communication / love / your food smells delicious / blah / blah / whatever else time.

It’s an important thing for us. Don’t turn this into a situation.

We’re moving on now.

Reason #2: Your Dog Stares Because They’re Trying to Figure You Out

Are you acting weird?



Did you go down the rabbit hole of cleaning the baseboards with you leftover napkin from lunch and this is an unusual trait for you?

This could definitely warrant a few direct dog stares.

Why don’t you ask yourself that first before Googling phrases like, “Why is my dog staring at me from across the room?”

Your dog could be staring at you because you’re walking around the house like a drunk convict who fell out of line because they found hooch in a hole and is trying to figure out how to re-enter their cell undetected before they get accused of attempting to escape and thrown in the shoe.

Maybe that’s why you’re getting stared at.

Quit being a psycho and maybe your dog won’t have to watch you like a literal hawk.

Wentworth reference with the hooch and hole comparison up there. I binge watched an entire season this weekend.

I digress.

Anyway, like I’ve said a million times before, dogs are creatures of habit.

If you stray too far off the normal beaten path of routine, your dog will notice and stare at you just to figure out the next move and if they should be ready for something they’re not expecting.

Is it Just You?

You’re not the only person your dog stares at like this though.

Have you ever watched us when we see something or someone that we haven’t seen before?

Dogs need to make sure everything checks out and nothing is on it’s way to invade their space or coming to harm their humans.

We are reading the situation. We have incredible instinct and intuition. It’s one of our superpowers.

If it smells like a booger and sticks like a booger – it is a booger, and we’re not here for that.

Let me tell you a quick story.

My sister Callie is a broken husky. By broken, I mean, she never howls and never really barks. So, as far as being a vocal husky goes, she’s none of it.

We were in the park doing our usual potty break before bedtime the other evening, when a lady walked up to the fence. We had never seen her before.

Callie lets out this super intense man sized bark. My humans and I stopped in our tracks. We couldn’t believe what we had heard. Did that noise really just come out of Callie?

Impressive bark tone, sister.

Anyway, Callie didn’t like the feeling she got around this particular lady.

Never disregard these feelings your dog tells you about. Trust them. We literally have a nose for these types of situations.

I tell you this semi relevant story in attempts to better explain to you why we stare. And sometimes we bark for the first time in 2 years. We’re just trying to figure you out.

Reason #3: Your Dog Stares at You Because They Love You So Much

We love you, and also, we want you to rub us.

Attention and affection are the primary reasons we stare at our humans awkwardly throughout the day.

This works a little like the food trick. You humans just can’t resist our sweet boy or sweet girl looks.

Every single time I hit my humans with the handsome Jax stare, they come running in for the ear rubs. It’s absolutely delicious.

I’ve been trying to teach my sister how to do this, but she comes at them with the psychotic husky eyes. I think she looks too much like a wolf sometimes.

Studies actually suggest that huskies do in fact have a hard time with the domesticated and evolutionary trait that dogs have picked up over the years to manipulate their humans into feeding them.

This trait is the “puppy dog sad look” I referenced above.

Supposedly huskies are too innate and too close to a wolf’s lineage to tap into the sad eyes for food trick initially referenced up above in reason number one.

Nevertheless, her crazy puppy eyes still have the same lovable affect on our humans.

When you’ve lived with you dog long enough, you’ll start to pick up on their communication subtleties.

Bonus Reason #4: Your Dog Stares at You In Anticipation of What’s to Come

Let me explain.

You’ve set a solid schedule and your dog is on a consistent routine.

Well done, humans.

This, after all, is the first step in properly training your dog to do pretty much anything.

Routine and consistency.

If your dog knows it’s time for their morning walk because you always grab the harness and leash from the closet after your finish brushing your teeth, then they will undoubtedly be staring at you the minute the tooth brush is rinsed out and back in the holder.

They know what’s about to happen and couldn’t be more excited.

They’re also terrified they might miss it so the watch you with laser focus.

Because of this, they’re watching your every move. Waiting for the perfect moment to freak out in final realization that you’re going for the closet door and inevitably the harness and leash.

It’s go time.

Of course, this is just one example.

This stands true of any other consistent routine or schedule you keep with your dog every day.

I’ll give you another example of the anticipation stare.

My mom works from home. I love that she’s here with me all day everyday and I know her work schedule like the back of my paw pads.

Every single day around 4:00pm EST she starts wrapping up her work for the day.

The last thing she does before she gets me and my sister ready for our post work walk is she clicks this tiny little button on the back of her wireless mouse.

It makes the faintest little clicking noise.

I can hear that thing in my deepest darkest dreaming sleep phase.

Every. Single. Time.

Once she clicks the mouse off, I wake up and stare a hole through here until she puts my harness on.

I don’t want to miss a move. And I never do.

I call this one the stare of anticipatory excitement.


Staring at you is just another way for your dog to communicate with you.

There will always be variables and circumstances where our stares will mean something completely different than what I’ve outlined above.

I have confidence that you’ll be able to figure it out based on the current situation when that time comes.

Situational awareness, humans. Tune into that. What’s going on around you and why would we be staring at you in this moment at this particular time?

The more you spend time with us, the better you will get at deciphering our coded stares and behavioral adaptations.

Keep your eyes open. We’re always watching.

And as always, you inquisitive little humans, continue to Live, Love, Laugh, and Scratch our bellies often.

Love you guys,


P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.

Related Questions

How Do I Know If My Dog Loves Me?

Knowing whether or not your dog loves you is relatively simple and can easily be broken down into bulleted points you can look out for.

The list is as follows:

  1. Does your dog get extremely excited when you get home?
  2. Does your dog insist on laying directly on you all of the time?
  3. Do they follow you to the bathroom?
  4. Does your dog squint his eyes and attempt a hideous smile when they haven’t seen you for a few hours?
  5. Does your dog paw you and insist that you rub them when you’re laying on the couch watching tv?

If you answered yes to all or most of the 5 points above, then rest assured – your dog definitely loves you.

However, I need you humans to know that we’re not hard to please. Show us attention, take us on walks, and feed us good food.

We’ll love you very hard if you just take care of us!

Do Dogs Like When You Kiss Them?

I personally love kisses from my humans, although I think my husky sister, Callie loves them more.

She gives kisses back. I just tolerate and accept the kisses because I love my humans so much.

Sometimes if I’m in a really good mood I’ll reciprocate with a lick of my own on their lips.

This is the base case for all other dogs too. Some dogs love kisses, while other just tolerate the gesture.

Pay attention to your dog’s behavior, actions, and mannerisms when you kiss them.

If their tail is floppy and wagging back and forth uncontrollably, then they love it.

If their tail is stiff as a board, pointed straight out, and their ears are pinned back, they may be trying to politely (or not so politely in some cases) to back off with all those smooches.

This article has been reviewed by our Editorial Board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our Editorial Policies.

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