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More often these days people look at their dogs like people. Dogs are even taking the place of children in some cases. When you notice that your dog is looking away from you when you are talking to him, it can be something that is very misunderstood. You may be upset that your dog is looking away from you, but this is a very natural behaviour for a dog. Dogs, after all, are not people and they do not think like people either.

Why is Your Dog Looking Away From You?

Basically, dogs look away from people because they do not want to make eye contact. For humans, eye contact is polite, it means that you are paying attention to someone when they are speaking to you. It also means that you are interested in what that person is saying to you and it shows that you are engaged in the conversation. Finally, eye contact to humans means respect and so when someone or something does not make eye contact, it can be seen as a sign of disrespect.

For dogs, eye contact is a way that they will initiate a challenge and it can be seen as a threat. When your dog looks away from you, he is simply trying to make you happy and also preventing potential conflict. Unless a dog is trying to create conflict, the dog will look away from you when you are looking at it. When you watch dogs interacting with each other they will sniff each other, possibly touch noses, but they will not stare at each other. If you notice two dogs starting hard at each other then it is very likely that the dogs will fight.

Why Does Your Dog Not Want to Look at You?

Dogs do not want to look at their humans. The reason is that you, the human, are the alpha dog and for a dog to look at you will mean that they are challenging your authority. 

Dogs do not generally want to look at their owners. They instinctively do not feel it is safe, or right, to do so. As such, it often indicates that a dog is submissive and aware of its place in the household.

It is also more common in shy dogs, those who have had a previous traumatic experience by doing so, or they may have done something wrong and expect reprimand (which we will explore further in the next section).

Why Does My Dog Not Want To Look At Me?

Dogs do not generally want to look at their owners. They instinctively do not feel it is safe, or right, to do so. As such, it often indicates that a dog is submissive and aware of its place in the household.

It is also more common in shy dogs, those who have had a previous traumatic experience by doing so, or they may have done something wrong and expect reprimand (which we will explore further in the next section).

ts generally a good idea to contact your vet in such an instance. 

What Does It Mean When Your Dog Turns Away From You?

A dog will physically turn away from its owner to diffuse a tense situation. They could be looking to lower their stress levels, or even pacify you.

We have to remember that dogs communicate in different ways – which is more physically and vocally. 

Equally, dogs are very astute when it comes to analyzing and interpreting your mood and your intentions.

They pick up on subtle cues, and chances are that they will have already understood you through posture, movement, and tone of voice.

So, if you are generally quite animated, you’ve been shouting etc, chances are your dog is going to retreat a little. 

They could even feel a little bit scared and feel the need to look elsewhere to avoid any confrontation. 

Some dogs even anticipate this response – perhaps out of doing something wrong and expecting to be told off for it.

ts a fear response, as Scientific American explains

This could be the chewing of furniture, going to the toilet somewhere they know they shouldn’t have, stealing food etc. 

Whatever they have done; they avoid looking directly at you in fear of the repercussions.

Of course, you do not want your dog to live in fear. This is not good for anyone.

Buts, its important to be aware of, and rectify, if you suspect it is the case or if your dog is generally misbehaving.

he truth is, dogs are very socially intelligent. There’s more to this behavior than at first thought. 

What Does It Mean When Your Dog Ignores You?

If your dog is ignoring you, chances are it is due to insufficient training and bad behavior. Although, there is always the possibility that it is the result of a medical issue and a dog that is suffering from poor hearing.

So, its important to first rule out a potential illness or medical condition.

From there, you will need to look into their training and level of socialization.

For instance, a young puppy is most likely to ignore their owner.

In older dogs, it is more common in adopted dogs who are yet to gain the trust of their new owners. 

Nevertheless, with an appropriate dog training regimen focused around positive reinforcement techniques, and with consistency, a dog should soon learn what is right and wrong behaviour, and begin to listen to their owner.

Or it could be that your dog is choosing to ignore you because you have used ineffective training methods, such as punishment.

This is why it is so essential to teach clear commands and always give praise. You want your dog to associate your commands with positivity, and not out of fear of being reprimanded. Just be sure to monitor any other behaviors, the situation it is occuring and/or accompanying symptoms.

It may very well be that they ignore you in certain situations; such as when out walking and they get sight of a wild animals.

In such instances you may need to make certain provisions, such as having treats readily available, to make the reward of not chasing greater than the chase itself.

You can always contact a professional for support with training, or attend group training sessions locally. 

Can You Teach Your Dog To Make Eye Contact?

It is possible to teach a dog to make eye contact, but it is generally much easier and more effective when they are taught to do so like a puppy. 

Nevertheless, you do need to be especially careful during eye contact training. If giving eye contact is greeted with any hostility or aggression in your dog, then you may need to seek out a professional and specialist to support the process.

Assuming your dog is receptive to your training, its actually quite a straightforward thing to teach.

ou first need to let eye contact happen naturally. It will likely be minimal at first, but it can increase in time.

How To Teach Your Dog To Give Eye Contact

Begin by placing your dog on a leash. 

Keep treats nearby and at the ready. 

Wait for your dog to look up at your eyes, and as soon as they do so, provide them with a treat and give them a lot of positive praise. 

In dogs that are more aloof or unlikely to look towards your face, you may need to strategically place a treat up toward your face.

If you notice your dog moving their eyes from the treat to your face; you then need to reward them with the treat and praise them heavily. 

It is at this juncture, and when a dog is willing to more routinely give eye contact, you can introduce new commands such as ‘look’.

Your dog should soon begin to realize that looking in your eyes is a positive experience.

Besides, it brings treats!

At this stage, you can move onto making eye contact much more routine and regular – using it in different contexts and situations.

Be sure to do so from a variety of different angles, so when you are low to the ground and standing over them.

Your dog needs to get used to eye contact in different situations. 

Also, be sure to do so both inside and outside of the home, such as on a walk. 

Routinely use the taught command, such as ‘look’.

Just be sure to only continue with training if you are getting a positive response from your dog.

You do not want to cause stress, anxiety or aggression in your dog.

If you start to notice this you may have gone too far, or too quickly. 

Be sure to keep giving treats early on. Make this a really positive experience for them.

In time, you should notice your dog more willing to give you eye contact.

Should You Look Your Dog In The Eyes?

Whether or not you should look your dog, or any dog for that matter, in the eyes will depend on your relationship with them. How familiar are they of you, are they trusting?

It will ultimately come down to your own individual context, taking into account how long you have owned them, their general age, demeanor and aptitude to looking back at you in the eyes. 

Many owners are able to look their dogs in the eyes, especially if it has been taught from a young age.


Dogs certainly have their own behaviors and preferences. And looking away from their owners appears to be one of them.

For the most part it is nothing to worry about, but if you do want to engage in some eye contact with your dog then it may be something that you can train. 

Nevertheless, a dog looking at you and exchanging eye contact is a matter of trust.

There is also a key difference between a momental glance and a stare, with the former always being recommended.

Staring in dogs is the initiation for challenge. Of course this is not something you want to imply.

Instead, if you are looking for a deeper relationship and bond with your dog, train them accordingly, trust the process, take it slow. And of course. Always incentivize with a treat!

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