If you’ve ever looked up from a book or away from your television only to find your dog staring at you, it might seem a bit disconcerting. While that staring contest with your pup might seem odd, it’s actually adorable.
Dogs stare at their owners as a sign of affection. Yes, you can say, “aw,” now.
Now, admittedly, there’s more than one reason why your dog might stare at you—like wanting food, or needing to go potty—but without a doubt, the cutest reason is that it’s a way they show love. The American Kennel Club explained that they use eye contact to express emotions.
The organization goes on to say that staring between dogs and humans releases oxytocin, the love hormone. The release of it helps to create a bonding experience and enhances the bond and trust between you and your dog. Yes, it goes both ways. When you look at your dog, the same hormone is released as when a new mother looks at her baby.
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Go ahead and tell your dog you love them, too, with some treats.
Now, there are some moments when you need to be observant about dog staring. Dogs might also stare in a threatening manner. Take note of a dog’s posture and body language. If they’re stiff and their eyes are unblinking, it might be best to back away and avoid eye contact.
But when it comes to your dog, one that loves and trusts you, that staring is very likely a show of love. Go ahead and grab some treats for your furbaby because you love them, too.