Why My Dog Won't Look at Me?
Have you witnessed your dog stealing looks from you? Or not making proper eye contact with you? That might get you wondering why my dog won’t look at me. There are several reasons behind your dog not looking at you properly.
Dogs are one of the beloved pets in the world. Within a few moments, they become a favorite part of your life. Their behavior and mannerism start to create a difference in your life.
Just like humans, dogs have personalities. Some dogs are shy dogs and don’t like to make an eye contact while others see eye contact as a sign of threat.
So, if you want your dog to look at you and make friendly eye contact, then explore this guide on why your dog might not be looking at you and what to do about it.
Why My Dog Won’t Give Me an Eye Contact?
In the human world, eye contact is seen as a way to connect and show interest in others. But for dogs, eye contacts mean different. Depending on the level of socialization of your dog, the eye contact frequency tends to differ.
In the canine world, extensive eye contacts that last for long are not often considered in friendly contexts. It is often viewed as a threat rather than a friendly gesture. Many dogs avoid making eye contact with their human companion that restricts their perks of making eye contact.
The question arises that why do dogs avoid eye contact? If your dog is also finding it hard to make eye contact with you or continuously stealing looks, then your canine friend might have his or her own reasons for doing so.
It is essential to understand here that not all dogs make eye contact, and their behavior when you try to make eye contact depicts a lot about their personality. The way your dog behaves in front of you reveals a lot about his or her personality, and he or she was raised.
Read on to discover why your dog avoids making eye contact.
Your Dog’s Definition of Eye Contact Is Different From Yours
As stated earlier, eye contact in the human world is a sign of courtesy, confidence, and communication, whereas, in the dog’s world, it can be perceived as a possible threat.
If you have noticed how one dog gazes at others, giving dreadful looks that often mean a warning signal. Maybe your dog doesn’t wish to provide you with the same threatening looks and provide a rude gesture.
Your dog loves you so much, and that’s maybe that’s why he/she has been not making eye contact that possibly means a threat in their world. They don’t want to seem dangerous to you and lose all your love.
Hence, they try to avoid possible eye contact with you. It depends on you to carve out the possible reasons behind their incapability to make eye contact and find the right way to teach the same.
Your Dog Has Not yet Learned to Make an Eye Contact
You have to agree to the fact that not everyone is comfortable with making eye contact, and the same applies to the dogs as well. You cannot expect your dog to make eye contact with you even if they are not comfortable with it.
Several dogs don’t find eye contact convenient. They don’t feel safe or sense of trust when they look into the eyes of a human. Their incapability to make eye contact can be a result of their shyness, some past traumatic experiences, or not even learning it in the first instance.
Yes, it can be true that your dog hasn’t learned to make proper eye contact yet. Eye contact gives away a sense of trust, and it might take a reasonable amount of time for your dog to build that trust and learn to make eye contact.
May Be Your Dog Has Lost Interest in You
Eye contact is the act of endearment among humans. When you make eye contact with a person, you are forming a close-knitted connection with that person. There are plenty of reasons why your dog is not making eye contact, losing all the love for you can be one of them.
We cannot predict the exact reasons why your dog cannot make eye contact, and there are only anticipations regarding it. Your excessive strictness and regular scolding can become one of the prominent reasons for your dog to steel looks from you and avoid eye contact as much as possible.
If you have been giving threatening looks to your dog to behave in a certain way, there might be chances that your dog is scared of you. Being scared can also lead to avoiding eye contact. You need to be friendly yet disciplinary towards your dog to create a loving relationship with them.
Among all the possible reasons for your avoiding eye contact, there’s one reason that remains the most prominent, i.e., guilty.
Is Guilt Making Your Dog Avoid Eye Contact?
Dogs are your naughty little companions who can get themselves into trouble now and then. There’s no way you can keep an eye on them 24 x 7 to monitor their mischievousness. Their mischief and naughty side can often bring troubles and develop a sense of guilt when they know they have done something wrong. It can make them fear the consequences of it.
If you have been struggling to find the answer to the question of why my dog won’t make eye contact, then you must probably think whether your dog has done something worth being guilty. When your dog has done something wrong, that he or she thinks might get them into trouble, they will start giving you guilty looks.
This guilty look is a mixture of avoiding eye contact and hunched behavior that might seem unconventional to you. A dog who is guilty of doing something is just responding to his/her owner’s disappointment or anger, and it is considered as their way of diffusing their tension.
Guilty can become one of the prominent reasons why your dog has been avoiding eye contact lately. Guilty dogs will steal looks from you and try to avoid coming in contact with you as possible.
Behaviorists have analyzed that dogs suffering from some guilty often avoid eye contact. Guilty can take a toll on anyone’s personality; dogs are no different. When they start feeling guilty about something, their behavior will change, making them avoid eye contact with their owners.
For instance, if your dog has damaged any of your belongings or you spot him chewing on the mats, your dog will instantly detach the eye contact out of guilt. It is not important to know the reason why my dog won’t look at me; it is essential to make sure that it isn’t troubling your dog to an extent it changes his or her personality altogether.
Should You Look at the Dog in the Eyes?
There are so many theories and opinions regarding dog eye contact that have formed different misconceptions among humans about dog’s eye contact. Eye contact is a part of normal body language that has different meanings to different people as well as animals.
Looking into your dog’s eyes can depict differently to them. Most of the dogs find it scary and threatening to stare into their eyes for long. There are several instances during the day when you would make eye contact with your dog.
Many dogs tend to make eye contact with their owners whenever they need their attention or to seek their presence. Similarly, many owners look into their dog’s eyes when they call out to them or feed them.
While your eye contact with your dog will not mean anything than an endearing gesture, it can mean something different to your dog. Hence, it is important to remain careful while you look into your dog’s eye.
Friendly eye contact lasts 1-2 seconds that is mingled with other friendly gestures. When you tend to continue the eye contact for more than 2 seconds, it can turn into staring that is considered rude by some dogs. When a person, be it owner or stranger, stares into a dog’s eye, it is perceived as a threat.
See it this way; if someone stares at you for so long, you will start presuming why he has been looking at me? Does he posse any anger to me? It is quite natural to have such threatening thoughts. Dogs are no different; they feel the same way; it’s just that they feel it too early.
When you look into your dog’s eyes for long, they will start sensing a threat, and they will try to disengage from that situation. They will try to:-
- Look away from you
- Yawn away the stare
- Hold their front paw up
- Shake off the fear (like they shake off water from their body)
- Slowly sink away from the feeling
If you witness any of the gestures mentioned above from your dog due to your staring, you must immediately turn sideways and not cause any more mental trouble to your dog. Intimidating your dog with looks will make him or her believe that you are unpredictable and scary.
It’s difficult to look up to the person who is often intimidating; it works similarly with the dogs as well. You must remember that staring is considered a gesture of threat in both the canine and the human world.
So, avoid making such intimidating eye contact with your dog and try to make friendly and endearing connections with your canine companion.
How to Teach Your Dog to Make an Eye Contact?
By now, you have learned that there are several different reasons behind why your dog won’t make eye contact with you. It can be either their guilty, shyness or even not being able to decipher the correct meaning of eye contact.
Irrespective of reasons, it is not good to force your dog to make eye contact when they don’t feel comfortable. There are certain friendly ways through which you can teach your dog that making eye contact with humans is fine.
Refer to the below tips to teach your dog to make friendly eye contact:-
Do Not Stare at Your Dog
It is important to be careful with your eye contact. When you meet your dog for the first time, try not to stare right into his/her eyes as it can give them threatening looks. Instead, slightly look away and make little eye contact.
Give your dog ample time to sink in the fact that the eye contacts that you have been trying to make are not at all threatening.
Make Short but Friendly Eye Contacts
There are chances that the new canine companion that you have brought into the family is always intimidated by eye contact. This makes the process of teaching friendly eye contacts even more difficult because you can barely make any friendly eye contact.
In such cases, you can direct your eye contact through positive associations with your dog that will make them believe you are not trying to intimidate with the eye contacts.
Use Treats to Get Canine Eye Contact
There are many rewarding ways through which you can make your dog love your eye contacts. One of the best ways is to treat them for eye contact.
For this, you need to find a treat for your dog and put that treat at your eye level. Make a smacking sound with your mouth to get your dog’s attention. If your dog looks at the treat and makes eye contact with you, instantly reward him or her with a treat.
This method is often considered beneficial to teach your dog, making eye contact in the most loving and friendly way. You can continue this method if your dog has been reciprocating positively.
Practice Making Eye Contact With Your Dog
If the above teaching method has been working and your dog has started making eye contact, you can make this exercise a regular practice by holding the treat for longer before rewarding. This way, your dog will make more prolonged eye contact and learn that it’s totally fine to make eye contact.
You need to remain patient to start realizing the effects of your training sessions. It might take longer for your dog to understand that eye contact can be friendly. Just remain constant with your methods and keep training your dog to make eye contact.
If, during your training sessions, your dog tends to showcase nervous or aggressive behavior, you must seek assistance from a professional before it tends to take a toll on your dog’s mental health.
Why Your Dog Stares Back at You When You Make an Eye Contact?
Just like avoiding eye contact, your dog staring back at you also have several reasons to comprehend. There are different reasons why your dog might be staring at you while you are brushing, cooking, or even sleeping. Below are some of those common reasons:-
Your Dog Wants Something
If your dog has been staring at you for so long without any particular reasons, the chances are that he/she wants something from you. From food to a toy, they can be asking you anything, and you need to comprehend what might that be to stop the stare.
Your Dog Is Confused
Like humans, dogs can feel confused at some time. When they are confused, they will make this cute titled head face and stare at you for an answer to their apprehensions.
You are their most loved human, and they look up to you for assistance, and their stare can mean that they have been seeking answers to their questions from you. You can also witness this confused stare when you ask them to do something.
Your Dog Is Stressed
When your dog has been giving you hard stares that last for a split second and go on for minutes, there might be chances that your dog is stressed about something. There might be something bothering your dog that he/she is not able to comprehend but indulge in stress and tension.
In such situations, they will stare back at their human companion to find a solution. If your dog is also giving you such stares, it becomes crucial as a responsible owner to see what’s causing your dog trouble.
Your Dog Just Loves You
There are plenty of ways your dog can showcase their love towards you. Staring back at you is one of them. When they want your attention and your unaltered love, they will start staring at you to catch your attention.
Generally, it’s a soft gaze that accompanies several other cute gestures. Your dog will begin wagging tail, relax the ears, and make the pupils normal-sized, etc., when he or she is staring with love at you.
Final Thoughts on Why Your Dog Is Avoiding Eye Contact
There’s no doubt in saying that you love the dog, and you want to shower all your love to him/her whenever possible. Along with showcasing your love, it is vital to understand the body language of your dog in order to treat them the right way.
Avoiding eye contact is one of the significant issues that owners often complain about their dogs. Your dog has several reasons for not making eye contact. From trust issues to threats, it can be anything. It depends on you as a good owner and beloved human companion to your canine to understand your dog’s troubles and find the right solution for the same.
Once you learn the appropriate reason behind their avoidance, you can conduct practice sessions to make them learn that eye contact can be friendly. After all, it’s all about establishing an endearing relationship with your dog at the end.
Daniel Bloom is the mind behind the Dog Pages blog. He created this blog for the love his dog, Augustine. He manages his team of contributors who love dogs as much as he does. When he is not blogging, he spends his time cooking and reading. He never misses his daily walks with his dog and loves to play Frisbee with Augustine whenever he gets a chance.