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  • Writer's pictureMarina Veronica

Private Eyes, they’re watching you

If you are a new owner or not familiar with dog speak, you might find it strange, uncomfortable, ego-boosting (because you are your dog's king or queen), or just plain silly.

Here are some reasons why dogs stare:

1. Longing Eyes- they want something from you, perhaps a toy, a treat or part of your dinner

2. Tilted head - “Say What?” Your dog is confused.

3. Direct stare or hard eyes: Your dog is tense. It can take some serious practice to tell the difference between what animal behaviorists call a “hard stare” and just a longing look for liver treats.Give your dog space if her stare is accompanied with a stiff tail (wagging or not), still body, closed mouth, dilated pupils (wide pupils), a lowered head, ears pinned forward or backward, and a strong body shifts forward or backward. You might not see all of these signs at once, but look out for any combinations.

4. Soft Eyes. Your dog loves you.

5. Herding and Hunting: Your dog is on the prowl. This behavior can be playful or serious but comes out often when you’re in the middle of a game or the forest. If you notice your dog suddenly slow down, lower her head, and stare into the distance (or at a moving object), she’s probably in hunting or herding mode! If you’re trying to figure out exactly why your dog is staring at you, context is important. You’ll have to pay attention to what’s going on around you as well as the rest of your dog’s body language.

Excerpts (the 5 reasons and italicized text) from article by Kayla Fratt

Updated 11/03/19

Gordon, eagerily awaiting his reward for posing while I took his Christmas portrait!

Photo by Marina Veronica,

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