Why Does My Dog Stare and Look Into My Eyes? .. . . by. . . Dr Mark from Brazil.

November 27, 2014

My dog makes eye contact. She is watching me, waiting...

So why do dogs look into our eyes? When working with other species they have a tendency to look anywhere but our eyes.

Even a few of the species that do look directly at you, usually the carnivores, look at the face, not directly into the eyes. (I know I am going to anger a lot of cat owners with that comment but I am basing this on my own experience. Personal experience is only “anecdotal” and since there is no way to prove it scientifically you can choose not to believe it and no one can tell you that you´re wrong.)

Dogs will sometimes avoid eye contact too if they are very submissive, not used to being around someone, if they are nervous, or if they are afraid. After a while, though, most dogs make and hold eye contact more than any other species.


Animal behaviorist Alexandra Horowitz pointed out the difference between the gaze of dogs and that of other species in her book Inside of a Dog. She noticed that dogs looked at us for information about food, about our emotional state, and about what might be happening in their world. Dr. Horowitz believes that the dog´s unique ability to look into our eyes and hold our gaze was one of the first steps in domestication.

Since dogs have been domesticated at least 10,000 years (and some scientists believe much longer, up to 100,000) this ability has been selected for and carried down for many years.

Why have they developed this ability? Why is it that when you look into a dogs eyes you feel that he is looking at you, that he is reading your intentions and feelings?


Some believe that a dog that looks back at its owner is challenging his authority as leader of the pack and numerous articles will tell you how to establish dominance by staring down your dog and discouraging his looking at you.

Most trainers no longer believe this and tend to encourage eye contact. Getting the dog to maintain eye contact is now an important part of training.


Eye contact in dogs is even a topic of research. Research in a university in Budapest using eye-tracking technology shows that dogs are as sensitive to their owner’s looks as small children are with their parents. They recommend that owners increase their eye contact with their puppies so that they can build a better relationship.


So why have dogs developed the ability to look into our eyes? It is about attention.

If dogs are really just thinking about food all the time, like some researchers think, it is just a means of gaining information about where the food is.

If dogs really care about what we think, they are looking at us because they want to know how we feel…I know what I believe.

Look into my eyes and tell me differently.




. . . . . . .http://drmark1961.hubpages.com/hub/My-Dog-and-My-Eyes


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