Why does my puppy avoid eye contact? A Complete Guide

How To Teach Your Dog to Make Eye Contact

Teaching your dog how to make eye contact will take some time, but it has great benefits for both of you. Here’s how to do it:

  • Put your dog on a leash or harness and have a bag of treats handy (try these all-natural morsels).
  • Stand still in front of your dog and wait until he looks up to you. When he does, your dog deserves a treat.
  • If your dog hesitates to make eye contact, consider holding a treat near your face.
  • Once your dog is readily making eye contact, you can start using commands like “look at me” or “look.”
  • After your pup learns the “look” command basics, you can start practicing it in the real world, especially while you both are out and about among other dogs.
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  • What Happens When You Stare at a Dog

    Dogs will likely move away from a threat. If they catch someone staring at them, they’ll try to disengage from the person staring. Some dogs will:

  • Look away from a staring person
  • Slowly slink away
  • Yawn
  • Hold up a front paw
  • Shake it off (looks like he’s shaking water off his coat
  • If this happens, the person unintentionally staring at the dog should turn sideways and look away from the worried dog. Intimidation teaches a dog that a person is unpredictable and scary. It’s tough learning from someone who’s intimidating, and it’s unfair to force a dog to learn this way. Remember, staring is considered rude in both the human and canine world.

    Reason 2: Your Bond May Not Be Strong Enough

    Studies have found that eye contact between dogs and humans can release a powerful hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone” as it can be found in a variety of intimate situations including interactions between mother and child.

    In other words, the release of oxytocin during eye contact indicates that your pup is feeling the love!

    But if the bond between dog and human is weak, then we’ve already seen how eye contact can instead feel more like a challenge than a sign of love.

    For some context, think about your own life and the difference between direct eye contact from a stranger and someone you love. The former could be uncomfortable while the latter could help you release your own oxytocin.

    So if your dog doesn’t feel comfortable with your direct eye contact, it could be because they’re still building their bond with you. Don’t push things or force your dog to make eye contact and instead focus on slow and steady progress with your pup.

    Why Is Your Dog Looking At You?

    Have you ever felt your dog’s eyes following you, like they’re watching your every move? Maybe your dog stares at you while enjoying a chew toy or bone. Or, perhaps you enjoy sitting with your dog and gazing into each other’s eyes. Whatever the scenario, dogs spend a great deal of time staring at humans. And many dog owners spend a great deal of time wondering why.

    Unfortunately, there is no simple one-stare-fits-all answer. Dogs have many reasons for turning their gaze on us. But most of the time they are either communicating with us or waiting for us to communicate with them. With a little knowledge and observation, you can learn to tell the difference. You can also teach your dog alternative ways to communicate that aren’t quite so puzzling as staring.

    More than almost any other animal on earth, dogs are in tune with humans. They sense our moods, follow our pointing gestures, and read us for information about what’s going to happen next. That means they stare at us a lot to gain knowledge about their environment. Essentially, they are waiting for us to do something that will impact them. For example, dogs quickly learn that their owners pick up the leash before taking them on a walk. Therefore, they will watch for that signal that a trip outside is on its way. The same is true for mealtimes, play sessions, car rides, and so much more.

    Dogs also wait for more deliberate cues from their owners. Cues to perform a specific behavior like sit or down are chances to earn a reward. Since dogs love getting a treat, toy, or game, they will keep an eye out for these opportunities. This is particularly true of dogs trained with positive reinforcement methods. These dogs learn to love training and wait eagerly for signs it’s time to play the training game.