If your German Shepherd has a habit of staring at you then you’re probably wondering why it is doing it. This post will show you a number of reasons that your German Shepherd might stare and will show you a number of things that you can do about it.
So, why does your German Shepherd stare? There are a number of things that could cause it to stare. It could be that it wants something like food, a toy or to go outside. Other possible reasons include wanting attention, waiting for a command, confusion, fear, aggression or having just misbehaved.
And, what should you do about it? To stop the staring you can try ignoring it when it stares and then rewarding it when it doesn’t stare. You can also give it lots of exercise, give it attention throughout the day, avoid rewarding it when it stares and you could also consider getting help from a dog behaviorist.
It can actually be quite challenging to figure out the exact cause of your German Shepherd’s staring. But, it’s important to take the time to figure out why it might be doing it since it could be that there is something wrong with your German Shepherd that needs more attention.
Reasons why your German Shepherd might stare
There are a number of reasons that your German Shepherd might stare and I will mention a number of them below.
German Shepherds were bred to work with humans doing intensive tasks for hours on a daily basis. With that being the case, it can take a lot of exercise to keep them properly stimulated. If your German Shepherd hasn’t been getting enough exercise or attention then it could cause it to stare at you since it’s waiting for you to do something with it.
If you think that a lack of attention or exercise might be the cause then make sure to give it a lot of exercise and attention on a daily basis. A good way to do both of these would be to play fetch with it.
Related post: How to keep your German Shepherd entertained
To get something
The reason that it stares might be because it is hoping that it will cause you to give it something that it wants. This is why dogs will commonly stare while you are eating. It will be especially much more likely to use this tactic if you have given it something that it wants in the past. To correct this you can try ignoring it when it stares at you and rewarding it for not staring at you when it normally would.
The reason that it stares a lot could be that it is fearful of something and it is staring so that it will be easier to anticipate what you are going to do. To prevent this you should avoid punishing your German Shepherd and to reward it when it does what you want it to do.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid?
In a 2015 study, it was found that when people and their dogs look into each other’s eyes their oxytocin (a hormone that promotes social bonding) levels increase in both the owner and the dog. This could be the reason why your German Shepherd has a habit of staring at you.
However, if your German Shepherd shows signs of aggression then you should avoid staring at it. Staring at dogs can be perceived as an act of aggression and cause it to become aggressive.
Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you
The cause of the staring could be due to aggression or to warn you to back off. If your German Shepherd shows other signs of aggression such as growling, showing its teeth, biting or other disobedience then staring could be a sign that it is feeling aggressive in that moment. This is especially the case when two dogs stare at each other as it often signals that they are about to fight.
If it stares at a time that it would normally get something that it likes then the staring could be because it is waiting to see when you’re actually going to give it what it’s waiting for. This is why it might stare at you when you would normally walk it or when you would normally feed it.
Related post: Why your German Shepherd follows you everywhere
It has misbehaved
It might be staring because it has done something that it knows that you won’t like and it is waiting to see how you’re going to react. If you would normally punish your German Shepherd in these circumstances then consider changing your approach to one that focuses on reinforcing good behaviors.
If your German Shepherd stares at you when it poops then it is because it wants to see that you are looking out for it. When animals poop they put themselves into a vulnerable position which other predators might try to capitalize on. As a result, they want to see that you are watching over them.
It needs to pee
It could be that it is staring because it needs to go outside to pee and it wants to let you know to let it out.
Waiting for your command
If you have been giving your German Shepherd lots of training or it is unsure of what is going on then it might be staring at you because it wants you to give it direction. It could also be the case that you have been giving it conflicting commands and it doesn’t know what to do.
How to get your German Shepherd to stop staring
There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to stop staring. I will mention some of them below.
Your first option is to simply ignore the staring. Since your German Shepherd will often be staring at you for attention then by ignoring it you will be able to avoid giving it what it wants and encouraging the behavior.
To do this method most effectively you will have to completely ignore it when it stares and avoid giving it any attention including bad attention. Then, when it starts to behave, you can reward it with your attention. You don’t have to ignore it for long you just have to do it for long enough so that it stops staring.
This will teach it that staring at you won’t get it what it wants but behaving well will.
Don’t reward the staring
Another thing that you can do is to avoid giving it things that it likes when it starts staring at you. For example, if it stares at you when you’re eating then you should avoid giving it any of your food since it will encourage the behavior.
Give it attention and exercise
Since German Shepherds are a very active breed you will be able to reduce their attention seeking behavior by giving them a lot of exercise, attention and training.
A good way to give it a lot of exercise would be to teach it to play fetch since it will get it to do a lot of sprinting without much rest in between.
Get help from a dog behaviorist
Another thing that you can do is to get help from a dog behaviorist. The staring could be due to a behavioral issue that is hard to diagnose if you don’t know what to look for. So, if you don’t know why it is staring then getting help could be the way to go.
Things to consider
There are some things that you should keep in mind with regards to your German Shepherds staring.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing
It might feel uncomfortable when your German Shepherd stares but it won’t necessarily be because of a bad reason. It could just be that it wants attention, direction or to get something like exercise.
It’s not unusual
Another thing to keep in mind is that it is not unusual for dogs to stare so don’t be frustrated if yours does too.
If you can’t figure out what is causing the staring then it might be worthwhile for you to get help from a professional.
Why does my German Shepherd stare and growl? If your German Shepherd stares and growls then it could be due to aggression especially if it shows its teeth as well. If it does then get help from a dog behaviorist. It could also just be that it wants you to do something but this wouldn’t be accompanied by other signs of aggression like showing its teeth or an aggressive posture.
Why does my German Shepherd stare when it eats? This is likely to be because it doesn’t want you to take its food away. It is necessary to give your German Shepherd training to avoid this type of behavior so that it knows that you are incharge.
This post contains affiliate links. Germanshepherdsowner may be paid a commission from the companies mentioned in this post. This has no effect on the price you pay and we are very grateful for any support.
Most Recommended For German Shepherds
Best German Shepherd Training Program
Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.
Best German Shepherd Guide
Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.