If your Labrador often stares at you this post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do about it.
So, why does my Labrador stare at me? Possible reasons are that it does it for attention, it wants something from you, it does it because it loves you, it’s waiting for you to do something or that it needs to go outside.
There are a lot of reasons why it might stare at you and it could be the result of a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can do about it.
Reasons why your Labrador might stare
Below, I will show you a number of reasons why your Labrador might stare at you and what would make them more likely to be the reason.
The reason why it does it could be that it is trying to get attention from you. This would be more likely if it does it more when you haven’t been giving it much attention and if you often give it extra attention when it does it.
Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it does it unless it seems to be doing it for a different reason, if you want it to stop. It would also help to give it attention throughout the day in the form of training, exercise and by playing with it.
To get something
The reason why it does it could be that it wants to get something from you. This would be more likely if it tends to stare at you at certain times such as when you would normally feed it or walk it.
A 2015 study found that when people and their dogs look into each other’s eyes the oxytocin levels (a hormone that promotes social bonding) increases in both. This could be the reason as to why your Labrador has a habit of staring at you.
But, don’t stare if your Labrador has signs of aggression since staring at a dog’s eyes can be perceived as an act of aggression and cause it to become defensive.
It could be the case that it has been doing it aggressively. This would be more likely if it also shows other signs of aggression when it does it such as growling, showing its teeth and standing more stiffly.
It has misbehaved
The cause could be that it did something that it knows you will not be happy with and it is waiting to see your reaction. If you normally punish your Labrador in these circumstances then you should consider changing your approach to one that is focused on reinforcing positive behavior.
Dogs will often stare when they are pooping because they are in a vulnerable position and they want to see that you are looking out for it.
It needs to pee
The reason why it stares could be that it needs to pee. This would be more likely to be the reason if it does it when it has not been able to pee in a while and if it does it when near the door leading to the yard.
Waiting for your command
The cause could be that it is waiting for you to tell it to do something. This would be much more likely to be the reason if it stares in situations where you have trained it to do something in the past.
How to get your Labrador to stop staring
Below are a number of options you have if you want to get your Labrador to stop staring at you.
If your Labrador seems like it stares for attention to persuade you to give it something such as your food, one option would be to ignore it and to reward it when it is being well behaved.
By doing so, you should be able to teach it that trying to make you give it attention won’t work but behaving well will. When ignoring it the best thing to do is not to interact with it at all not even in a negative way. It’s also important to note that the ignoring doesn’t need to be for long it just needs to be long enough for it to stop and then you can give it attention.
Give it attention and exercise
It would also help to give it attention throughout the day in the form of training, exercise and by playing with it so that it doesn’t feel the need to get attention from you. If it is not currently getting much exercise and it is healthy, it would also be important to make sure that it gets daily exercise.
Get help from a dog behaviorist
If you cannot figure out why it has been doing it or you cannot get it to stop, it would help to get help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so you will be able to see what is causing it to do it and how to train it to stop.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider about your Labrador staring at you.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing
It is not uncommon for dogs to stare at their owners. It could just be that it wants attention, direction or to get something like exercise.
When it first started doing it
It would also help to consider what else changed when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it.
If it started doing it suddenly, it could be because of a sudden change in its daily routine such as if you started feeding it at different times especially if it started staring when you would normally feed it.
When it does it more
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to do it more since the timing would also likely have something to do with it.
For example, if it stares when you would normally walk it then it might be waiting to get a walk.