Why does my dog stare at me? Understanding your dogs stare

Why Does My Dog Stare at Me & The Reasons Behind It

Your minding your own business and then the next minute you have that feeling that something is just staring at you, you look at your dog and they’re from the other side of the room and theyre staring at you? You’re looking around just to make sure it’s not you, an insect on the wall or maybe they can see the supernatural…? You look around again, you’ve guessed it they’re definitely staring at you! Ever wondered why they do this? Here Pretty Pup get to the bottom of why dogs stare at you and the reasons behind it.

why does my dog stare at me?

There are actually a lot of reasons why dogs stare, here is a list of the reasons why your dog could be staring at you:

  • Desire
  • Wanting direction
  • Protection
  • Showing affection
  • Confusion
  • Aggression


Desire – Your dog is wanting you to notice them, this is classed as a desire because your four-legged friend is wanting you to do something for them, this could be anything from losing a toy under the sofa and wanting you to get it, to letting you know they want to go outside to the toilet. You just need to be careful when it comes to food, if you feed your dog every time, you’re making a meal then they are hoping for something to eat as well as for something to drop, this behaviour is learnt so they expect this reward every time.

Wanting direction- Dogs love to please their owners, and do everything they can to make them content, dogs will stare at you as they want some direction as to what they can do next to make you happy.

Protection – Dogs stare at you in time of protection, sometimes your dog could be feeling vulnerable and need you to look out for them, you’re walking your dog and another larger, scarier dog is coming down the road, ever noticed your dog looking at you? Or when they’re toileting they seem to look at you? All these are incidents of your dog looking for protection.

Showing affection – A dog’s love is unconditional, the bond between a human and dog is inseparable, (that’s how the term of mans best friend came about) A dog will sometimes stare to show you their affection toward their owner. Their expression will be soft and eyes squinty. There are some benefits of you and your dog staring at each other, by doing this it releases the hormone Oxytocin also known as the love hormone.

 Confusion – Dogs are very curious animals, they’re always wanting to know what we’re doing, the simplest things from talking to ourselves to taking the bin out, they’re always watching very closely, this is because as we know in direction, they want to please us so again they are waiting for the next movement from us on what to do next but also just so they don’t miss out on anything.

 Aggression- This is when you should be concerned when dogs starts behaving in this manner by becoming protective over certain items or foods,, if they look at you with a hard stare and growl step away and leave it, NEVER attempt to take it away from them, if this behaviour continues you need to consult with you veterinarian to go forward with the next steps.

Dog staring at wall

Again, there are many reasons to why your dog could be staring at a wall; health, age and for attention here we’ll look into more detail and the reasons why our four-legged friends behave in this manner.

Cognitive dysfunction syndrome/Age – This is similar to the Alzheimer disease, dogs age just like humans do, and is becoming more common in older dogs as more dogs are living longer. CDS causes a decline in the cognitive function in dogs. The diagnosis is difficult and is usually done by an elimination process also known as DISH

  • Disorientation
  • Interactions
  • Sleep
  • Housetraining

Most dogs only appear to get a few of these symptoms that’s why it makes it difficult to diagnose for CDS. But if your dog’s behaviour starts changing in this order or you start seeing them act differently such as just walking around restlessly, getting stuck in corners, house soiling or just staring at walls consistently its best to get them checked for a diagnosis with your veterinarian. There are many of medications to help keep your dog’s anxiety, sleep pattern and behaviour. Plus, it can be recommended that your dog needs mental stimulation such as play/exercise to keep them occupied, but you vet will determine what’s needed.

Seizures – seizures can sound scary, we normally associate seizures as, confusion, fitting, and foaming of the mouth but did you know not all fits are associated as this, partial seizures or also known as focal seizures, these types of seizures are quite hard to diagnose sue to not seeing and particular signs and symptoms but if you do however catch your dog repeatedly staring at a wall it is advisable to get them checked by your veterinarian. The cause of these can be anything from genetic abnormalities to cancer. Most of these seizures can be treated with medicated to help maintain the seizures.

Compulsive disorders – Some dogs are prone to developing compulsive disorders, this is where they repeat repetitive behaviours:

  • Repetitive licking
  • Repetitive chewing
  • Tail chasing
  • Dog Stare/looking at walls
  • Chasing shadows/light

Compulsive disorders normally occur when a dog is stressed, under-stimulated or can be highly strung. However normal dogs can still display this behaviour so don’t panic if your dog does this occasionally, however, if this a regular occurrence then we recommend you consult this with your veterinarian. Dogs can also behave in this manner for attention-seeking, for some dogs any attention of any kind is better than non-so if they get your attention by you talking to them, stroking them for comfort or telling them off, for them this kind of attention is desired.

Depression- a sign that your dog may be depressed is if they are constantly facing a wall or just staring at the wall. Just like humans’ dogs actually have very similar symptoms to those of a human. If you also notice any other symptoms such as a change in sleeping habits, eating pattern, chewing excessive licking and losing interest in previous activities they would normally be excited about. There can be numerous reasons why dogs develop depression such as:

  • Moving house
  • Loss of another pet
  • Spending less time with your dog
  • Loss of family member/owner

If you notice your dog having these symptoms then get in contact with your veterinarian as they may be suffering from depression. Depending on the diagnosis will depend on what you vet will offer for the next steps but There are medications such as antidepressants that can help your dog back to normal.