If your dog barks when you stare at it you might be wondering why. This post will show you common reasons why they do it.
So, why does my dog bark when I stare at it? Dogs often consider staring as aggressive behavior and it could be why your dog barks when you stare at it. However, it might also think you’re doing it because you’re going to give it something.
There are a number of reasons why it might bark at you when you stare at it. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the most likely causes.
Why your dog barks when you stare at it
Below are common reasons why dogs will bark when being stared at and what would make them more likely to be the main cause why yours does it.
It thinks you’re being aggressive
The reason why your dog barks, when you stare at it, could be that it thinks you’re being aggressive or threatening.
Dogs generally perceive staring as threatening behavior and they will usually seek to disengage by looking away and moving away but sometimes they will become threatening themselves.
It might be the case that yours barks because it is warning you that it finds it threatening especially if it also starts showing threatening body language itself by doing things such as curling its nose, growling and showing its teeth.
It is scared
Since staring is often considered as threatening behavior to dogs, many of them will become scared when they are stared at. It might be the case that yours barks because it is scared and it wants you to stop. This would be more likely if it looks away, moves away or makes its body appear smaller.
It thinks you’re going to give it something
The reason why it does it might be that it thinks you are going to give it something. This would be more likely if it tends to show excitement when it does it by doing things such as wagging its tail, having wide-open eyes and running around.
It is showing love
When a dog owner stares at their dog it releases a love hormone called oxytocin (source). The reason why your dog barks could be that it is showing love which would be more likely if it tries to make eye contact with you often and if it does not show any signs of aggression when it barks.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out why it has been doing it.
What is different when your dog does not bark when you stare at it
If it does not always bark when you stare, it would help to consider what is different when it does not bark.
For example, if it only does it when you are making large movements, it would be more likely that it thinks you are being aggressive.
What its body language is like
It would also help to consider what its own body language looks like. If it does things such as growl, snarl its nose and show its teeth, it would be much more likely that it is warning you to stop. Whereas, if it looks away and moves away, it would be more likely that it is intimidated.
Avoid staring when it is being aggressive or at other dogs
While it is true that oxytocin is released when dogs and their owners stare at each other, it is also true that dogs consider eye contact from strangers as being aggressive. As a result, it would help to avoid staring at dogs that you do not know since it might cause it to perceive it as a threat.