Your pooch has a special song for you.
𝆕 Every bite you take,
Every slurp you maakkee,
Every chip you break,
Every bread you bake,
I’ll be watching you…𝆕
Uh-oh! Why does your dog always keep an eye on you whenever you eat?
In this article, you’ll find out:
- How the early humans domesticated dogs.
- 9 weird reasons why your dog stares at you when you’re eating.
- 3 tips on what to do to stop your dog from staring every time you eat.
- And much much more…
Table of contents
Why does my dog stare at me when I eat?
Your dog stares at you when you eat for reasons such as they’re begging for food, being reinforced to do this, feeling hungry, waiting for you to finish, being curious, expecting something, having no boundaries and no training, or they’re feeling confused.
9 reasons why your dog stares at you when you eat
#1: They’re begging for your food
The most common reason why your dog always stares at you when you eat is that they’re begging for your food.
There’s always somebody standing and staring while you eat in your peripheral vision.
And what’s worse is they’re not even moving. Just drooling and looking with their sad eyes. Sometimes, they also bark at you.
Your dog is watching your every movement. And if you drop them a piece of food under the table, they’d quickly grab it. With a snap of a finger, it’s gone.
You ask yourself, “Why does my dog always beg for food?”
How dogs were domesticated
They do this because asking you for food is already embedded in their instinct.
According to a study, this behavior traces back to the Ice Age. When the wolves were not yet domesticated by humans.
During the winters, there were two most common predators: humans and wolves.
But humans are omnivores, so they have to eat food other than meat.
Since they had excess meat to spare, they decided to share the meat with the wolves. Who in return accepted the extra food willingly.
This became the start of their long-lasting relationship.
Humans started to adopt the wolf pups. Then as they grew, those wolves helped the humans in hunting. While the humans feed them meat.
These wolves evolved and then became domesticated dogs. Like your pooch who’s always staring at you when you’re eating.
#2: You reinforced this behavior
Your dog is staring at you when you eat because you’re rewarding them for it.
Whenever your pooch looks at you with puppy eyes, you easily give in.
Maybe you think that if you give them a piece of your food, they’d stop. Or if you drop a tiny bit of chicken, they’d finally leave.
They just continue on doing it. Every day they stare at you during mealtime. Because they’ve learned that the more they stare, the more food you’ll give them.
“Not me! I don’t give my pooch food that I eat.”
Well, it’s not just about food. Any kind of touch will also cause your dog to behave this way.
For instance, you may have stroked their head before. Or rubbed their chin once because you think they’re too cute with their stares.
By doing this, your dog could also think that staring at you while you eat will earn them some kind of reward.
Dogs are smart animals.
Once you give them food for something they’ve done, they’d remember it for the rest of their lives.
#3: They’re hungry
Another reason why your dog might stare at you when you eat is because they’re hungry.
You see, the feeding time of your dog also matters. If you eat before they do, they can’t help themselves but stare at you and your food.
Imagine yourself being in a restaurant.
You’re anticipating because you’re starving. (You didn’t eat lunch for this meal.)
And then, the waiter brings out the food. It’s smoking, and the smell of the dish is… oooh, so amazing! *chef’s kiss*
But sadly, the food was brought to the table next to you. It’s not your turn yet.
You’re a decent human being. So you try not to stare too much at the people enjoying their meal.
But you can’t help it.
You want to see how they’re eating their food. Are they enjoying it? Is it delicious?
You stare at them and hope they don’t notice you. Sigh…
Now, that’s how your pooch feels whenever you eat first. It’s their instinct to stare because they’re hungry. And because they haven’t eaten yet.
Hungry vs. begging
But how can you tell if your dog is hungry or they’re just begging?
First, you’ll know that your dog is really hungry if you missed their feeding schedule. Or if they get over-excited when you give them food.
Another sign is being malnourished and underweight. (This may be caused by certain factors like having parasites, illnesses, conditions, etc.)
Last is if your pooch isn’t fed well.
But if you always feed your dog on time and their weight is average. Then it’s possible that your dog is just begging.
#4: They’re waiting for you to finish
“Mom/Dad, are you done eating yet?”
Your dog often stares at you when you’re eating. And when you’re done, they scout the dining table.
They look for any scraps and leftovers you may have missed cleaning. Or any food that fell off the table that you didn’t notice.
But be careful. You shouldn’t always feed your dog table scraps.
Because according to PetMD, eating human food is a health risk for your dog.
Some human food is poisonous and toxic for your dog. Like chocolate, macadamia nuts, and garlic.
They may also consist of factory-processed ingredients and chemicals that are bad for them.
Sometimes, there are also lots of calories and cholesterol in the food you eat. Especially the fried ones.
This may cause your dog gastrointestinal upset and pancreatitis, etc.
#5: Your dog is curious
Your dog stares at you when you eat out of curiosity.
But you’re wondering. Aside from staring, they’re also tilting their heads left and right.
It doesn’t matter if you’re just eating chips or a juicy steak. Whether you’re eating something simple or something you knew they’d go crazy about.
Their reactions are the same.
Staring is your pooch’s involuntary response when they smell and see food. It’s their instinct to get attracted to it. (I mean, who doesn’t, right?)
Fun fact: Your pooch loves food. But if they have to choose between you or a juicy steak, they’d choose you.
Research shows that your dog may prefer your praises over treat rewards any day. Because most dogs value their social companionship with their dog parents more.
#6: They’re expecting something
The reason why your dog is staring at you when you eat is because they’re expecting you to do something.
So every meal, it’s like a contest between you and your dog. They’re staring at you when you eat. And you’re staring back at them.
You wonder why they always do this. But what you don’t know is that your dog’s also wondering the same. So they bark to try and tell you something.
They’re probably wondering if:
Will you give them a piece of your burger? Or are you staring because you’re gonna keep them away?
#7: No boundaries
Meals in your home are like a war zone.
Not only does your dog stare at you when you eat. But they also put their head on your lap and paw at you until you give them food.
Sometimes, they also jump on anyone who’s eating. Or get in between your guest’s legs.
You’re not surprised why your friends don’t like to come over to your place for get-togethers.
Your dog is misbehaving because you allow these kinds of actions.
They’re not stopped and corrected every time they do these things. So they don’t think that what they’re doing is wrong.
Perhaps, there are no set boundaries in your home. Or maybe your pooch isn’t taught good manners yet.
Your pooch is invading people’s personal space and private time. Because they think that they can get away with anything they do.
Curious to know more about this topic? Check out this article.
#8: They’re not trained
“Amazing! How did you get your dog to stay away from the dining table?
My puppy just stares at us all throughout my meal.”, you told your friend.
Perhaps the reason for this is you haven’t trained your dog.
They stare at you when you eat because they don’t know where they should go. Or what they should do during this time.
If they’re not housetrained, then they don’t know the rules and how to behave properly at home.
So if your pooch is still a puppy, now is the best time to teach them. When they get older, these rules and good behavior will stick with them.
#9: Your dog is confused
The last reason why your dog stares at you while you eat is because they’re confused. They can’t learn what you’re training them to do. Because there’s no consistency at home.
“Why is this hooman not giving me food? The others give me chimkens!”
Your dog is wondering why the other members of the family give them what they’re eating. And you don’t.
They’re expecting you to give in after a while. Because they always get what they want when they stare at the other people in the house.
In this case, you have to ask others to cooperate. Your dog won’t properly learn if others are still letting them do this misbehavior.
Obesity in dogs
Is your pooch being fed often by the other members of the family? Aside from them eating their regular meals?
If so, then they could be at risk for obesity.
According to VCA Hospitals, 25-30% of dogs in North America are obese. Which makes them prone to risks such as:
- Heart diseases.
- Urinary bladder stones.
Note: Consult your veterinarian to know how much you should feed your dog based on their weight, age, and level of activity.
3 tips on what to do if your dog stares at you when you eat
#1: Let your dog eat first
Some dog parents have a neat trick to stop their dogs from staring whenever they eat.
And it’s by letting their dogs eat first.
By doing this, they’d be so full to even give a heck about you eating. (Well, unless it’s steak night. Then you have to train them to keep away. Don’t worry, I’ll talk about that later on.)
You can also let your dog eat in another room.
If they eat before you in another part of the house, they’ll associate it as the only place they’ll only receive food.
#2: Keep them away while you eat
Think about this. If your pooch isn’t in the dining area where you eat, then they won’t be able to stare at you.
And to make this tip work even better, you have to keep the dining door closed. (If there’s any.)
Your dog will still smell your food.
But at least they won’t be able to see it. That could hopefully lessen their desire to stare at you and drool over your meal.
To do this, teach them the ‘Place’ or the ‘Go to place’ command.
You’ll only need a few items for this training: their dog bed, some treats, and a leash.
Watch this video below to learn how to do it:
#3: Stop giving them food off the table
You want to refrain your dog from their staring habit while you eat. So to do this, you have to avoid giving them food.
But not just you. The other members of your family should do it as well.
Remember, consistency is the key to stopping your dog from staring at people during mealtime.
Because if you’re the only one who’s trying to do something about it, then it will just leave you with a confused pooch.
Bonus: Ignore your dog
Another way to stop your dog from keeping their eyes on you is by ignoring them.
Treat them like an invisible pooch every time you eat. Don’t even glance their way or make eye contact.
If you don’t pay attention to them, they’d get tired and just move on. Your dog will soon realize that staring at you while you eat will not gain them any reward.
Here’s one thing you should avoid when training your pooch.
If you give them food off the table once, they will remember it for a lifetime.