Why Do Dogs Avoid Eye Contact When In Trouble? (4 Reasons)

Why Do Dogs Avoid Eye Contact When In Trouble

There are many reasons why your dog is avoiding eye contact, especially if he is in trouble.

Understanding more about how your dog reacts in different situations can help you know how they will react in the future.


Dogs communicate through their body language and can understand how you are feeling through your facial expression and mood.


Read on to find out more about why your dog may be avoiding eye contact when he is in trouble.


A Dog’s Eye Contact

dog's eye contact

It is important to understand that having eye contact has a different meaning for dogs, as compared to humans.


To us, having eye contact with someone shows a level of comfort and respect.

However, for dogs, eye contact may signal a threat.


Dogs tend to only make brief eye contact, especially with other dogs, so as to not spark any potential conflict.

Long direct eye contact is a way for them to show dominance, that they will not back down.


Thus, if you notice your dog maintaining eye contact with strangers, they may be showing signs of a threat.


However, there are also many ways to train your dog to maintain eye contact with you and can be a way to bond and connect with them.


1. Guilt

If your dog is avoiding eye contact with you, this may mean that they are guilty of something. This is especially the case if they know they have don’t something wrong.


Similar to humans, it is hard for dogs to hold eye contact for long when they know they have done something wrong.


Fortunately, if you approach them in a loving way, instead of scolding them harshly, they will move on from avoiding eye contact quickly.


2. Fear

If you are harsh with your dog when they are in trouble, they may not want to give you direct contact. This may mean that your dog is afraid of you.


While it is important to correct your dog’s bad behavior, scolding them harshly may not be the best way. Try engaging with them in a loving way and showing them affection.


3. Acknowledging Your Dominance

Looking away from you may also show that they respect you and your dominance and that they have no intentions of challenging it.


4. Feeling Unnatural

As mentioned, eye contact is not natural and a pleasant sign for dogs. Thus, they may not be maintaining eye contact as it is not a natural feeling for them.


Although this is the case, you can help your dog learn how to maintain eye contact with people by teaching them to do so.


What To Do If Your Dog Avoids Eye Contact

dog avoiding eye contact

There are various reasons as to why your dog may be avoiding your eye contact, regardless of whether they are in trouble.


If you notice them avoiding eye contact constantly, there are a few tricks you can do to help them understand that making eye contact is fine.


1. Especially when meeting a new dog, it is best that you do not maintain eye contact with them right away.

Instead, look slightly away from their eyes. This will help them understand that you are not threatening and help them warm up to you better.


2. If your dog seems to be intimidated by maintaining eye contact with you, you can get him comfortable doing so by giving him positive affirmations when he looks at you.


3. You can also teach them to maintain eye contact by giving them praise and rewards when they do so.



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Teaching Them To Make Eye Contact

If your dog is not used to making eye contact with you, there are ways you can train him to do so.

While it is best to train them when they are a puppy, you can do so while they are adults too.


Encouraging this behavior by giving them treats when they maintain eye contact is one way to teach them that it is okay to look at you.

Reward them when they look to you for approval or confirmation to do an action. This will also establish you as a pack leader.


Having your dog learn to maintain eye contact can help them feel less stressed when meeting new people, who may stare at them.


When teaching them to make eye contact, you should be mindful of both you and your dog’s body language.

If he tends to walk away or defers from your authority, he may be showing submission.


If you notice your dog acting aggressively during this training, you should seek professional help.


Overall Thoughts

As compared to humans, dogs perceive maintaining eye contact differently from humans.


There are many reasons why your dog may be avoiding eye contact, especially when they are in trouble.

If he suddenly avoids your eye contact, it may mean that they are scared of you or fear a punishment coming due to something he has done.


If this is so, it is important that you reconsider your actions and change them to get your dog feeling comfortable in the situation again.


It is important as an owner that you understand why they do these actions and how to change them.


It may take time for your dog to learn to make eye contact, as it is a form of trust. Being patient and encouraging your dog to do so will help them have a positive association towards this action.


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A pet owner who loves to share useful facts and information about a variety of animals.