Have you ever been sitting on your couch, reading or watching tv, and noticed your dog staring at you intently, and wondered if your dog is thinking how cute you are?
Well, sadly, no, your dog is not staring at you because they think you’re cute. Instead, there are other reasons why they’re staring.
There are many reasons why dogs stare intently at their owners. Some reasons are for basic needs such as food, water, or bathroom time.
If you’ve wondered if emotional reasons are why your dog stares at you, we will get into emotional and mental reasons on what a dog may be thinking regarding its owner or other people and dogs.
Will my dog love me more because I look cute?
If you’re wondering if a certain level of physical beauty can win your dog’s approval, I’ve got bad news for you. Dogs are not wired to focus on human faces, strictly for beauty features.
Luckily for dogs, they don’t understand vanity or have shallow desires regarding looks that many humans share. While dogs may be staring at you, it is more often for visual cues than anything else.
Although dogs recognize familiar faces, like their owners, they get more excited by seeing another dog. This also calls into another question of whether dogs know that other dogs are the same species as them?
A study in the Journal of Neuroscience shows that while dogs aren’t wired to focus on human faces, they do have a specialized brain region that lights up when another dog comes into view.
Dogs like how you smell rather than your look
Studies show that dogs can recognize the difference between their owner and another random face, as noted above. So, while dogs can notice their owner’s face, the look of the owner’s face alone does not elicit more love from their dog.
In terms of humans, what does a dog’s brain respond to more than looks? A human scent has been shown to lead to more brain activity in your dog than your looks ever could!
To be more specific, the part of the brain that activates from an owner’s scent is the same part of the brain associated with pleasure.
The most important thing a dog looks for in an owner is one that will take care of them the best! An owner that will feed, protect, pay attention, and play with their dog is the perfect recipe for getting endless love from your dog.
Why does my dog stare at me like he is mesmerized?
Dogs look at owners like parental figures. When a dog is staring at you, it could be because they want to make sure they aren’t missing something.
Dogs want to make sure they can be there if their owner needs something.
This may seem like an apparent reason but is one of the most significant reasons for your dog staring at you.
A dog owner is usually responsible for their ability to eat, so when they are staring at you, it could be because they’re hungry.
If a dog owner has trained their dog not to bark, staring can be the only recourse a dog has to let their owner know they are hungry.
Dogs can read facial expressions
Dogs have a keen ability to read their owner’s facial expressions. They like to go off visual cues often, and their owner’s face can give off those visual cues.
They might be staring at their owner to find out if their owner needs something.
They are trying to communicate with their owner
As stated earlier, the primary way for your dog to communicate with its owner is to stare at them. This can be a visual cue that they want to eat, go for a walk, or play.
Another thing to remember is that dogs can be creatures of habit and, like humans, can get used to routines, and even though they can’t tell time, they can sense what time of day it is.
So, if you go for walks after your dog eats in the morning, expect them to stare at you after breakfast.
If you throw toys in the backyard to your dog after eating at night, expect them to bring you perhaps that toy or stare at you!
An owner on Quora gives a great example when she talks about how her dog sleeps at the foot of her bed at night.
Every night around 9:30, her dog will stare at her on the couch, practically asking her if it’s time to go to bed yet? This is a classic case of a dog communicating to its owner based on prior experiences and time of day.
Sign of Affection
Dogs and their owners have a special relationship, and the longer that relationship manifests, the stronger that bond gets. What does a dog do to show affection to its owner, you ask?
While licking, tail wagging, and even barking can be signs of affection, it is often staring that is the dominant cue for appreciation.
Staring between a dog and its owner has actually been shown to raise oxytocin levels in a dog.
As you may know, oxytocin has been labeled in the past as the “love hormone.” Simply put, your dog can be staring at you to show you that they care about you.
Does my dog know that I find him cute?
While dogs are very intelligent animals, they do not have the brainpower to decipher superficial feelings or judgments like the looks of a human “being cute.”
Dogs have exceptional bonds with their owners and, in some cases, can even start to mimic some of their owner’s physical actions if done routinely enough.
Dogs also take hints and cues from their owner to know their owner cares for them. Some of the ways to show your dog you care for them are:
Exercising with your dog is a crucial cue! Exercising shows your dog that you love them and value bonding time with them.
It also keeps your dog physically and mentally healthy, which will lead to an all-around more beneficial bond.
Looking into your dog’s eyes for an amount of time is a sign of affection.
Studies have shown that looking into your dog’s left eye specifically garners a response in your dog’s brain (make sure not to do this to strange dogs, though!)
Leaning slightly against your dog is also a sign of affection. Sometimes consistent but simple contact can show your dog you care. This action is very reminiscent of a pack of wolves in the wild bonding.
Talk to your dog
Talking to your dog and communicating with them consistently lets your dog know you care and are paying attention to them.
Also, the more you talk to your dog, the quicker and easier it will be for your dog to differentiate your voice from others. This can come in handy when at a dog park or other venue with multiple people.
“Roughhousing” or playing games with your dog is an obvious sign that you are bonding with your dog, as long as the roughhousing isn’t too rough!
This is also a great way to teach your dog the boundaries to play within to avoid getting too aggressive.
Will my dog find other dogs cute?
While dogs don’t have superficial preferences on looks like “cute” or “ugly,” they do have tendencies when socializing with other dogs.
When socializing with other dogs, you will notice that your dog will tend to gravitate towards dogs with the same energy level and size.
Another preference that dogs have that has been discussed with dog owners is that some dogs will socialize more with a dog of their same breed versus a different breed.
The main factor when discussing what attracts one dog to another has more to do with scent. Dogs use their powerful noses to find a smell in a dog that they like and will spend more time around that particular dog.
However, just like humans, there can be bonds between dogs that cannot be explained. There are examples of two dogs meeting in an animal shelter and developing a bond so close that they can’t be adopted separately and need to go to the same home.
When thinking about what goes through any dog’s mind, it isn’t easy to know with certainty.
As previously discussed through owners’ testimonials, studies, and even brain scans, dogs can recognize human faces and look at facial expressions to help determine mood.
However, when considering your dog’s mental health and what they are thinking, whether your physical appearance matches some form of physical beauty standard is likely not on the list.
Knowing that consistent and positive interaction with your dog keeps them happy and healthy is the key to a loving and nurturing bond with your four-legged friends!