Staring is oftentimes not a nice thing to do. When we stare at other people, we make them uncomfortable or suspicious of our gazes. They may begin to wonder what we have on our minds.
Like humans, dogs may sometimes be caught staring at other dogs. This might be awkward and sometimes embarrassing for pet owners. So why would my dog stare at other dogs?
Friend or fiend?
Your dog may stare at another dog with stiff and daunting body language or soft posture. In the first case, the dog may want to assert dominance over the new guy.
While in the latter, your dog may be giving off a welcome or friendly gesture. Come whatever gesture, the other dog may misunderstand staring as unfriendly or scary.
Your dog may stare at another dog, especially when they decide whether or not to play with them.
It may be a moment of second-guessing and reading the body language of the potential playmate for a chance at play.
Dogs do this, especially when trying to socialize with other dogs. If the other dog has a welcoming ambiance, your dog may decide to lick or circle them in play.
Big dog energy!
Your canid may stare down at another dog while the dog looks away because they are trying to be dominant over the new dog.
It may be a sort of eye-to-eye confrontation with the other dog, and oftentimes if the other dog stares back, it may lead to a fight.
When you notice your dog and another staring at each other for long, it is often good to defuse the tension by breaking their eye contact. Calling at your dog will do the trick.
Hello from the other side
Dogs like to greet their friends and neighbors when they meet them. They may sniff them or circle around them in a playful fashion.
However, when they are inopportune to be in close quarters with their pals, they may stare at them from a distance. Their owners shouldn’t see this as rude or unnice.
The dog may just be ferrying his friendly hello to a neighbor through the media of his eyes.
When you are walking your dog while on a leash, and he stares at another pooch, he may be exerting a certain kind of leash aggression.
Your doggy is probably telling you he is uncomfortable on his leash, especially if he isn’t used to it. So he takes it out on other dogs by staring at them in a fixed position.
It is important in these situations to find ways to make your dog more comfortable on his leash.
This is my house!
If you bring a new dog home and your dog begins to stare at the new guy, it is probably because he wants to establish dominance over the newcomer.
Therefore it wouldn’t be okay to foster or encourage this. Instead, gradually introducing your new pup to the old dog would be best. There could be a doggy meet and greet.
It would help if you understood that your dog might not want another dog in the house, perhaps because he wants all your attention to himself. Some breeds are like that. It isn’t unusual.
So he may be aggressive to the newcomer, which may show by his continuous staring.
You may put your old dog on a leash as the new family member tries to feel at home in your house so that he may feel safe, and you could easily quell any potential fight between them.
Then gradually let them socialize and become friendly. If, after a few weeks, this doesn’t happen, you should consider returning the new pup to his breeder.
It would help if you never chased your old dog away for the new one. Because he doesn’t accept him does not make him a bad dog.
All bark and no bite!
If your pup ever fixes his gaze at another dog barking, it shouldn’t be a cause for alarm.
Your dog is showing good manners as he isn’t distracted by the barking or aggression from the other dog.
If he stares and bends his body, he is probably extending an olive branch to the barker. He is secure and shows he is looking for a friend or playmate.
If his staring is paired with stiff body language, your dog doesn’t want to be intimidated by the barking dog and wants to show him who’s boss.
In his quiet way, he is also trying to assert dominance, that he is confident the worst comes to worst, and it is a fight, but he isn’t necessarily going to start one.
Your dog may provoke another dog to bark with a long, cold stare if they look at each other eye to eye and may continue staring while the other dog barks. The barking dog is probably anxious and does not understand the stare from your dog.
Mr. Shy guy
If your dog stares at another dog unblinkingly from afar, it may be because he is shy and is not so keen on meeting the other dog.
Perhaps the dog is being walked by a friend of yours, and your dog starts to stare from afar as both dog and friend approach you.
He may be showing timidity and uncomfortability towards them. And he may even do this until they have left you and walked off. Your pup is only shy about socializing, and you should get him to do that.
Gradually introduce him to new people and other dogs and let him play with them to reduce staring. You may also want to always get in the line of sight of your canid and the oncomers so that he stops staring.
Yo, what in the dog world is going on here?
When dogs stare at other dogs or people, it may be because those dogs or people piqued their interest.
Perhaps these people who have his attention are being weird in public; they may be kissing, arguing, or drunk. Or even disabled.
Perhaps, as well, the dogs at which your dog is staring may be unusual or dressed up or flamboyant.
These situations may push your dog to stare at them without blinking because he may be curious about what is happening.
A new bully in town
Your dog may stare at a smaller dog because he may want to intimidate or pick a fight to show he is the bigger dog. The smaller dog may start barking and growling to show anxiety, and your doggy may be unmoved.
This is bad dog manners and should be corrected as soon as possible. You can tell your dog to sit whenever there’s a smaller dog and let the latter pass before he moves.
If your four-legged friend is staring at his mate, it may be because he has been stalking him for a while. He has noticed the other dog and is eager to make friends with him.
Your doggy is only trying to solicit play from the other dog, and everything will depend on his reaction.
However, some dogs do not like to be stalked, which may spook the other dog into hiding or indifference.
Or he may like it, and it will make the two of them.
How do you Stop your Dog from Staring at another Dog?
One way to prevent your pooch from staring at other pooches is by using the “watch me” command, where you distract your pup with a treat or a toy and say to him, watch me!
You can also use your finger first as you say the words to draw attention from the dog to yourself, and then slowly bring the treat (or toy, as the case may be) to the fore.
Only release the treat to the dog if he has eyeballed you. This is a great way to distract your doggy if he is fixated on something or another dog.
Use your body
Another great way is to obstruct his line of sight to the other dog, the object of his gaze.
Get in his front and if he tries to move around you, get in his way again.
After a couple of times, your doggy will have been distracted enough to stop staring, or perhaps the other dog will have moved away.
Look at me! Look at that!
You could also try the “Look at me” or “Look at that” commands.
“Look at me” would get your dog’s gaze on you, and you should ensure he looks at you eye-to-eye long enough to distract him from his previous gaze.
“Look at that” could be used to get your dog’s attention on something like a moving train, a singing bird, or a squeaky toy.
The squeaky toy act works even better since you can tug at the toy and squeak long enough to distract your dog.
Sit this one out
If your dog stares too much at other dogs, you may ask him to sit, almost like telling him to sit this one out, as though the stare was a dare he could not do.
Train him to sit anytime he is caught staring at other dogs, and if possible, let him sit until they are no longer in his view or they have walked away.