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Why Does My German Shepherd Always Stare at Me?

Have you ever been trying to do something whether it’s trying to make dinner or watching TV and you feel your dog staring at you?

Maybe you turn around and find that your German Shepherd has been staring at everything you’ve been doing. 

It can even be a little unsettling at times. 

Why Does My German Shepherd Always Stare at Me?

Don’t be alarmed if you find that your German Shepherd is always staring at you. Most of the time, German Shepherds will stare at their owners to show love and affection. They watch you because they love you and are both protective and curious. German Shepherds also use staring as a form of communication as it really does grab your attention. 

German Shepherds have yet to learn how to speak the language of their owners.

Instead, they have figured out ways to communicate that don’t rely on using human words. 

German Shepherds will bark, nudge, and stare to convey a message to you.

Sometimes, this communication is obvious.

If you find that your German Shepherd is staring at you while you are making dinner, it is safe to say that they are trying to tell you that they want food. 

Other times it might not be as obvious as it can seem like they are just sitting down and staring at you.

To tell if your German Shepherd is trying to tell you something, first pay attention to the location of where they are staring at you from. 

If your German Shepherd is sitting by the door, it could be telling you that it needs to go out. 

Also, pay attention to the body language of your German Shepherd. 

Antsy behavior paired with staring can convey that something is bothering your German Shepherd. 

Learning your German Shepherd’s body behavior is a huge help in learning how you can help them with what they need from you. 

Staring Out of Aggression

Dogs of many different kinds of breeds use staring as a way to challenge other creatures. 

Aggression in dogs can appear as trying to challenge other people. 

If your German Shepherd is staring at you intensely with a stiff posture, they are showing aggression and is trying to challenge you. 

They may also be guarding something, such as a chew toy or a bone. No matter the case, don’t stare at your dog back and slowly back away. 

If your German Shepherd is showing aggression in this way, it is best to call up a professional dog trainer. 

The reason that German Shepherds will show aggression in this way is due to their wolf ancestors.

To wolves, staring is seen as aggressive behavior and is a rude action to do. 

Wolves of different packs will use staring to challenge one another to establish a hierarchy or better status. 

While dogs today no longer reside in packs as wolves do, they have still kept these instinctual traits. 

Staring Out of Love

On the complete other side of the emotional staring reasons, your German Shepherd could be staring at your because they love you. 

This is where dogs and wolves diverge. 

Dogs are highly affectionate of their owners while wolves usually want nothing to do with humans.

Your German Shepherd staring at you can be out of love

Just as they use staring to convey messages, this message is that they love you. 

It’s actually similar to humans staring at each other out of love. 

Sometimes, staring between a human and a dog can release oxytocin in both beings.

Oxytocin is the love hormone that aids in trust and care development.

Oxytocin is also released in hugs or even petting your dog. 

As long as your German Shepherd isn’t showing any signs of aggression, it is okay to stare at your German Shepherd. It can help with bonding and trust-building.

Staring When Waiting for A Command

When you have a good training relationship with your German Shepherd, they might stare at you when they are waiting for you to give them a command. 

If your German Shepherd is experiencing a new situation and doesn’t know what to do, they might stare at you so you can give them direction on what they should be doing. 

Your German Shepherd might also stare at you if they are confused with the commands given to them.

Sometimes, the situation might arise that you give your German Shepherd a set of conflicting directions, and it can confuse your dog. 

In this situation, they will stare at you because they are unsure of what you are asking them to do. 

Correcting this situation is as simple as giving the direction that you want your dog to do again. 

Why Staring Could Be Bad

While staring out of love or staring to communicate with you are good reasons for your German Shepherd to stare, there are reasons why you don’t want your German Shepherd to stare.

The most obvious reason is if your German Shepherd stares out of aggression. 

This behavior can quickly turn bad in the wrong situation or with the wrong person.

Aggressive staring should be trained out with a professional trainer as soon as it becomes present in your dog. 

A German Shepherd, or any kind of dog, will also stare when they are begging for food. This could have been a trained behavior.

Maybe an owner found their dog staring at them while eating and became uncomfortable by it, so they gave the dog some food.

The dog has then learned that staring when food is present will give them food. 

While we are used to the trope of the begging dog, a dog isn’t aware of this until they learn the behavior. 

In this case, they might have just been staring at you for a completely different reason but ended up getting food too. 

Staring can be bad when you need a different method to communicate with your dog.

The staring method doesn’t work for everyone as they might not be able to tell what the dog needs. 

Finding a different method is important in this situation. 

How Do I Get My German Shepherd to Stop Staring at Me?

Remember, if your German Shepherd is staring out of aggression, it is best to call up a professional trainer as they are more prepared in working with aggressive dogs. 

They will be able to safely train the aggression out of your dog with both keeping them and you safe during the process.

If you want to train staring out of your German Shepherd’s behavior for reasons that aren’t aggressive, then you can do the training yourself. 

At any point, however, you can get the help of a professional to make the process easier. 

When training your dog for any reason, you must remember to be consistence and persistent in order for your German Shepherd to properly understand the command. 

For this situation, let’s use begging for food as the unwanted behavior. 

First, ignore the stares. Yes, it might be uncomfortable to sit there while your German Shepherd has its eyes glued to you, but you can’t give in.

If you give in and give your German Shepherd food, they won’t learn that this behavior is unwanted.

Ignoring the stares shows that your German Shepherd won’t get any attention by showing this behavior.

Reward them if they make it through a dinner without begging. 

Now, don’t reward them with scraps unless you go and place the food scraps into their food bowl. 

This also makes the distinction that they won’t get any of your food unless you get up and place it in their bowl. 

Reward them for not begging so they learn to not beg.

If you still need a little bit of help, give them something to do while you eat dinner. 

Maybe you can give them a bone to eat in another room while you eat your food.

This keeps them preoccupied with something else.

Over time, a combination of these will teach your German Shepherd to not stare at you and beg while you are eating food. 

You have successfully trained some of the staring out of your German Shepherd.

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds are a dog breed that loves to express how they feel through their eyes.

They love to stare at their owners for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes it’s out of love, sometimes it’s to communicate something with you, and sometimes it can be from aggressive behavior.

With not every reason for staring being wanted, some owners want to train some of the staring behavior out. 

You can both do this yourself or you can call a professional to give you some help. 

Either way, it is possible. 

Learning to communicate and have a good relationship with your German Shepherd is so important for the health of well-being of your dog. 

Owners want to give their dogs the best living experience and learning what their behaviors mean is a big part of it.