Last Updated on May 3, 2023 by The Puppy Mag
Does your Shih Tzu constantly just stare at you? While it may seem like a simple behavior, there’s often more to it than meets the eye.
And as it happens, many Shih Tzus do this behavior with their owners!
In this article, we’ll explore the possible reasons behind this endearing gaze and what it really means. We’ll also discuss whether or not you should do something about it, or if it’s okay to let it slide. Let’s dive in!
5 Reasons Your Shih Tzu Stares at You
Let’s run through each of the five main causes of this behavior an explain them in detail.
1. Communication: Their Way of Talking to You
One of the main reasons your Shih Tzu may be staring at you is because it’s their way of communicating with you.
Dogs can’t speak, so they use body language and other non-verbal cues to express themselves. Here are a few reasons why your Shih Tzu might be staring at you to communicate:
- Attention: They may want your attention, either because they’re bored, need something, or just want to spend time with you.
- Curiosity: Your Shih Tzu could be trying to figure out what you’re doing, especially if it’s something new or interesting.
- Anticipation: If you’re holding a treat or toy, your dog might be staring at you in anticipation, hoping you’ll give it to them.
- Direction: Your Shih Tzu could be waiting for cues or directions from you, especially if they’re well-trained and responsive to commands.
For a more in-depth look at dog communication, check out this article on pet body language from Petfinder.
2. Seeking Reassurance: The Comfort of Your Gaze
Another reason your Shih Tzu may stare at you is to seek reassurance or comfort. Shih Tzus are known for being affectionate, loyal, and people-oriented.
They often form strong bonds with their owners and may look to you for reassurance, especially in new or uncertain situations. Here are a couple of instances where your Shih Tzu might seek reassurance through eye contact:
- New environments: If you’ve recently moved or brought your dog to a new place, they may be feeling overwhelmed and look to you for comfort.
- Stressful situations: Loud noises, unfamiliar people, or other stressors might cause your Shih Tzu to seek reassurance from you by staring.
If your Shih Tzu is seeking comfort, it’s important to provide them with the reassurance they need. Speak to them in a calm, soothing voice and offer gentle pets or cuddles to help them feel safe.
3. Monitoring Your Actions: Keeping an Eye on You
Shih Tzus are known for being intelligent and observant dogs.
They often enjoy keeping an eye on their surroundings, and that includes you! Your Shih Tzu may be staring at you simply because they’re monitoring your actions and trying to understand your intentions.
This can be particularly true if your dog is well-trained and responsive to commands, as they might be waiting for your next cue.
It’s also worth noting that some Shih Tzus can be a bit possessive or protective of their owners, which could lead to them keeping a close watch on you.
4. Health Issues: Rule Out Vision Problems
While it’s less common, it’s important to rule out any health issues that could be causing your Shih Tzu to stare at you. One possible cause could be vision problems. Shih Tzus are prone to certain eye issues, such as:
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Dry eye (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca)
If your Shih Tzu is staring at you and also exhibiting other signs of vision problems, such as squinting, excessive tearing, redness, or discharge, it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian.
They can help diagnose and treat any underlying issues to ensure your dog’s overall health and well-being. For more information on common Shih Tzu eye problems, visit this comprehensive guide from Vetstreet.
5. Expressing Emotions: Reading Their Mood
Just like humans, dogs can express emotions through their body language and facial expressions. Your Shih Tzu might be staring at you to convey their current mood or emotional state. Here are a few emotions they could be trying to express:
- Happiness: A soft, relaxed gaze accompanied by a wagging tail often indicates a happy and content dog.
- Anxiety : A wide-eyed, tense stare might signal that your Shih Tzu is feeling anxious or stressed.
- Fear: If your dog is staring at you with wide eyes and a crouched body posture, they could be feeling afraid.
Understanding your dog’s emotions can help you better respond to their needs and strengthen your bond. For more information on interpreting your dog’s body language, check out this informative article from Modern Dog Magazine.
Should You Do Something About This Behavior?
Now that we’ve explored the possible reasons why your Shih Tzu stares at you, let’s discuss whether you should do something about this behavior or if it’s okay to let it slide.
When It’s Okay to Let It Slide
In most cases, your Shih Tzu staring at you is a normal and harmless behavior. As long as they’re not exhibiting signs of stress, fear, or health issues, it’s generally okay to let this behavior slide. In fact, you can take advantage of these moments to bond with your dog and reinforce positive behaviors.
When to Address the Behavior
There are a few instances where you should address your dog’s staring behavior:
- Health concerns: If you suspect your Shih Tzu is experiencing vision problems or any other health issue, consult your veterinarian immediately.
- Stress or fear: If your dog’s staring is accompanied by signs of stress, fear, or anxiety, it’s important to address the root cause and help them feel safe and secure.
- Obsessive behavior: If your dog’s staring becomes excessive or obsessive, it could be a sign of a behavioral issue that may require professional help, such as a veterinary behaviorist or a certified dog trainer.
In conclusion, your Shih Tzu’s staring behavior is typically a normal and harmless way for them to communicate with you, seek reassurance, or monitor your actions.
It’s important to understand the possible reasons behind their gaze and respond accordingly to ensure their well-being and strengthen your bond.
And remember, when in doubt, consult with a professional to ensure your dog’s health and happiness.