8 Tips if Your Dog Hates Eye Contact

The view from a dog’s eye

For we humans making eye contact means different things. For one it means that you are paying attention to whoever is speaking, it can also mean that you are interested in them. However, not all creatures on this earth believe eye contact is a good thing.

If you walk into a place and a bully stares at you and does not take his gaze off of you, you may feel the desire to run. Animals may consider the act of looking in the eyes to be a much different meaning.

As our pups grow though, we are able to look at them and see the feelings they feel, the concern in their eyes, and the love they show to their owners.

What they think

As a dog is being stared at, whether by another dog or a human, they may feel as though they are being threatened. It is quite similar to what humans feel and how some react to being looked at by a stranger.

The introvert, human, and animal will try to retreat and divert their eyes. The extroverted canine or human will continue to stare in the eyes until one backs down.

A canine is the same as us in the way that they take it as a threat to their well being. You may think that when you look into your dog’s eyes they are thinking about how much they love you.

A dog reacts in a way to protect themselves. They want the other party to know that they are in charge and are not afraid.

To train or not to train

It is very important for all dogs to learn that when a human is looking into their eyes it is meant as a loving gesture. In order to teach this, one should begin when the dog is still a pup.

Not only will they become accustomed to the gaze from you, but they may also learn that this is rewarded by a treat or something special. At times, you will notice that two dogs will lock eyes with each other. This is done when they want to play.

They will begin to chase each other and it appears they are playing tag. Most often it is a matter of dominance when two dogs stare at each other.

Genes

The natural disposition of any canine is that an eye stare is a challenge of power. This will generally progress into an aggressive form of behavior for one or both of the dogs. This is a natural instinct for canines.

Training them as soon as possible when they are young helps to ensure that if a child looks them in the eye the dog does not become aggressive and bite. Older canines can also be taught this, but you can believe the natural instinct will rear its ugly head more often than not.

Body language

Canines seem to have complete knowledge and understanding of body language. Maybe more-so than many humans. For example, when you look directly into your dog’s eyes, they will be submissive and look away first. This is generally a form of pack domination.

The dog sees you as a leader. There are times when a dog will look at a human and interpret the body language they see from you. If you act relaxed at this time, they are more likely to see the state as a friendly one.

If for some reason, the dog senses hesitation or anger stemming from you they will react instinctively.

Their hair may stand on end, they may give a low warning growl or become aggressive and attack immediately.

This is why training is so important for your dogs. Even the older dogs will be able to learn some differences between the loving look and the angry or dominating stare.

Windows

It is not just a line that the eyes are the window to the soul. It is the truth in humans and animals. When you and your dog have developed a bond and there is mutual respect you will see a look of love that has no end.

A dog is true to those they love and will do everything to protect and care for them.

When you are on the receiving end of a loving gaze from your dog, it will soften the heart of the biggest bully. This gaze has the ability to melt your heart.

Breeds and communication

Just as there are different breeds of dogs, there is a different way of viewing visual communication in canines. When separated into different groups such as working dogs, retrievers, herding, ancient breeds, and hounds the whole group made eye contact when they were able to obtain their treat.

When a test was given and the dogs were unable to obtain the treat themselves, it took the ancient type breeds longer to make eye contact. This ancient group of breeds uses less visual communication with humans.

Unconditional

The love that a dog has for its human becomes extreme and completely unconditional. The loving look that you will ultimately see in their eyes makes all the training and teaching worth it in the end. Those moist eyes giving you that puppy dog look is the best feeling you will ever experience.

Getting your precious pup to that point with eye contact and visual communication is not as hard as you may think. It takes patience and a reward. Give your dog the chance to make first eye contact. They may not be ready for that.

You can hold a treat a few inches away from your face. The dog will likely look at you for permission to have it. The reward is then given.

If you can speak a few words when the pup looks at you for permission, something as simple as saying ‘you are such a good boy’ or even ‘I love you’ may be enough by the tone in your voice to get your pooch to understand that you are not threatening them.

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