If your dog has been looking away when you look at it, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about them.

So, why does my dog look away when I look at it? Possible reasons why your dog looks away are that it is being submissive, it thinks it has done something wrong, it thinks you’re annoyed with it, or being intimidated.

There are actually multiple possible causes and it might be the result of a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main reason and there are a number of things you can do about it.

Reasons why your dog looks away when you look at it

Below are a number of possible causes and what would make each of them more likely.

Submissiveness

Staring can be considered as aggressive behavior by dogs. It could be the case that your dog looks away because it is being submissive. This would be more likely if it also shows other submissive behavior by doing things such as making itself appear smaller, moving away from you and hiding its tail.

It’s done something wrong

The cause might also be that it thinks it is in trouble. This would be more likely if it tends to look away when it has done something you normally are not happy with. In this case, it would help to try to change its behavior with the use of positive reinforcement training or Nothing In Life Is Free dog training instead of using a fear based approach.

It thinks you’re annoyed with it

It could also be the case that it does it because it thinks that you are annoyed with it. This would be more likely if it does it when you are showing signs of being annoyed yourself such as when shouting. In this case, it would help to be calm with it and to train it with the use of positive reinforcement training or Nothing In Life Is Free training.

Intimidation

The cause could also be that your actions have been intimidating it. This would be more likely if you tend to approach it in an aggressive manner, you shout at it a lot or make large movements around it. Instead, it would help to be calm around it and to change its behavior with training.

Age

If your dog is still a puppy, the cause might be that it is going through a more frightful period. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been behaving unusually in other ways as well. If the behavior persists, it would help to take it to a vet for a checkup.

Encouraging the behavior

It could also be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it rewards when it looks away. If you tend to give it things such as treats, toys, or extra attention, when it does not look at you, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it looks at you but to stop giving it rewards or attention when it stops.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

If your dog always looked away

If your dog did not always look away, when you looked at it, it would help to consider what else happened when it stopped doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be due to things such as a traumatic event, someone being aggressive towards it or an injury.

What is different when your dog does not look away

If it does not always look away, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not avoid looking at you. For example, if it does not look at you when you have been talking loudly, it could be the case that it feels intimidated.

What to do about your dog looking away

Below are a number of options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Avoid encouraging it

As mentioned above, it could be the case that it has been doing it due to the behavior getting rewarded. Instead, it would help to give it rewards when it does look at you and to stop giving it rewards when it stops looking at you.

Be calm with it

As mentioned above, it might be the case that your own behavior has been causing it to get intimidated. It would help to interact with your dog in a calm manner and to try to get it to behave the way you want it to with positive reinforcement training instead of fear based methods.

Get help

If your dog has been doing it excessively or you cannot get your dog to stop doing it, another option would be to get help from a vet or dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing your dog to behave that way and what can be done about it.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.