Greyhounds are known to stare at their owners, which can be unnerving and unsettling, to begin with. If you have recently observed this behavior, then naturally you will want to know what it means and why they do it. Is it normal in this breed? I have spent some time researching staring in greyhounds and would like to share with you my findings here today.
So, in answer to your question, why does my greyhound stare at me? Your greyhound stared at you primarily to communicate. Although what they are trying to communicate can vary by context; they could be interested in what you are doing, may want something that you have, or may just generally want your attention.
Staring has mostly positive intentions, and is often a sign of affection from dog to owner.
That being said, it can get uncomfortable. Especially when excessive.
If this is the case, finding the cause and distracting your greyhound are useful approaches to consider.
But, it usually does not mean anything is wrong.
It’s a commonly held belief that when a dog stares at its owner, or other humans, they are being confrontational – this is not always the case.
When a dog stares at you, most of the time they are trying to figure you out.
Canines can often be curious, like any living being, and simply want to get an understanding of what is going on. They cannot speak, so have to rely on other means.
The more quality time you spend together and the more you bond with your dog, the more you will figure one another out.
Most owners often report that staring naturally subsides in time.
Let us now take a closer look at staring in greyhounds, along with the most common reasons.
You’ll learn how to identify when a greyhound may stare, what it could mean, and how you can safely and effectively stop or reduce this behavior if it is becoming a problem.
Why Do Greyhounds Stare?
Greyhounds stare at their owners for many reasons. So to understand why they may be doing this, it is first and foremost essential to understand the context.
It’s a good idea to ask yourself some questions. When does your greyhound appear to stare, are there any other accompanying behaviors?
Is it at a certain time of the day or following certain actions? These are just some of the things you will want to keep in mind.
Like in all dog breeds, if staring is occurring regularly, then it is most likely an increased attempt to communicate something with you.
They cannot ask for what they want, so staring is an attempt to get and hold your attention. They know this works. Especially if you give in to it.
Staring is usually done to let you they want something. It could be food, a toy or it could be a cuddle. Either way, it is up to you to figure out what they want.
Otherwise, they may take matters into their own hands. In frustration, they can even act out and destroy your home.
Chewing of furniture and other destructive behaviors are not unheard of in this breed.
Greyhounds do have a unique way of adoring you, so if your dog’s muscles are relaxed while they stare at you, this suggests they accept you as their leader and alpha of the group.
Ultimately, you can discern the meaning behind the stare your dog gives you if you can understand the body language that goes alongside it.
If your greyhound’s body is stiff and they are staring, it could be a ploy to gain authority and rule. In this context, you must retain your dominance by staring your dog down. In time they will back down and recognize their place.
If your dog does not back down, continued staring back at them will not work. Training will be required.
It is unlikely for a greyhound to stare aggressively at its owner, for they are not generally an aggressive breed, but there is no harm in being aware of this type of stare as it does occur in some.
One other potential cause for staring is that your dog is bored and is simply looking for something to do.
Staring and being curious is how they can remain stimulated and keep their minds busy.
If you suspect that your dog is bored or does not have enough to do throughout the day, you must proactively keep them entertained. This could be through toys, play or general exercise.
Is Staring A Bad Behavior In Greyhounds?
With greyhounds, staring is unequivocally not bad behavior. Their intentions are mostly positive.
With some other dog breeds, it is more likely that there are bad intentions behind their staring. In that case, it can be considered bad behavior.
Greyhounds are one of the most gentle breeds going. While staring might make some people feel uncomfortable, you must remember that greyhounds are sight-hounds – staring is natural to them.
While some dogs are more confrontational than others, greyhounds are the least confrontational breed going.
Staring is how this dog breed connects with its owners.
Some dog experts even suggest that staring is a behavior a greyhound will do to tell you that they love you. Who doesn’t like looks of gratitude and adoration from their pet?!
At the end of the day, greyhounds stare at you for a reason; it means something.
Who among us doesn’t like to gawk at something interesting that’s happening?
Well, greyhounds are just like us in that respect, they want to know what’s going on.
They also want to be able to communicate their thoughts and feelings to us, it may come across as rude, but it isn’t meant to be. We shouldn’t consider this as negative.
When A Greyhound May Stare And What It Means
As previously mentioned, there are several different types of staring in greyhounds.
Let’s now take a closer look at them. You will see that for the most part, they are all quite harmless.
When Reading You
Greyhounds will do their best to read you and sense your mood. They do so to help them work out what will happen next.
It’s an attempt to gain knowledge about their situation and environment. In other words, they are waiting for us to do something that will have an impact on them.
This is most likely to occur if you have recently adopted your dog; as they equally want to get a better understanding of who you are.
They need to learn to trust you and recognize you as their new pack leader.
It will feel bizarre at first, but they are generally trying to get used to you and to better understand how you behave.
Remember, they are likely uncomfortable at first as they find themselves in a new environment altogether. So it will take time for them to become less anxious in your company.
To ‘Feel Safe’
If your greyhound is frightened, they are likely to want to get close to you as a form of feeling more secure and protected.
When doing so, they often look up at you, sometimes even with eye contact.
Once your dog becomes more confident, say the situation has passed or the trigger for anxiety has been removed, you may notice a reduction in the staring.
To Show Affection
Greyhounds are very affectionate breeds by nature. They like to spend time in their owner’s company, and part of this behavior is looking lovingly into their owners eyes.
All dogs use eye contact as a way of expressing themselves, and just like humans, may do so as a way to express their appreciation for said person.
While greyhounds are generally even-tempered, there may be times when they want something and they are running out of patience!
Staring in such circumstances is your dog’s way of trying to get you to proceed with what they want.
Equally, something may have been taken away like a toy or a treat which they may desperately want back.
Sometimes your greyhound may stare if they are confused as to how to behave or what you may want them to do. Often this occurs during training.
Usually, this means that training has progressed too quickly, or you need to communicate with your dog more effectively.
So, if you command your greyhound to do something, like sit, and they simply stare back at you it could mean that they do not understand what you are asking. They will likely need to be taught again!
Greyhounds will often stare at their owners when they want something; such as their bowl to be refilled with food.
Often, owners find that this is the case around mealtimes.
When Expressing Aggression
Greyhounds are docile and gentle by nature, but any dog has the potential to lash out.
If your greyhound gives you a hard stare, does not blink, and appear dominant with a stiff posture and another aggressive body language, it is best to refrain from giving any eye contact.
This can happen when they are attempting to protect something of theirs (like a toy). This is otherwise known as resource guarding.
During this time you need to carefully ensure that your dog can calm down, and you may even need to consider a professional trainer or behaviorist if this is to continue.
How To Stop Your Greyhound From Staring
Most people do not have an issue with their greyhound staring at them, because it’s usually out of love.
Greyhounds are a stare hounds, and you might never be able to prevent your dog from staring at you.
You might be able to lessen the amount your dog stares through bonding exercises, or just through gaining a better understanding of your dog and what they need.
Spending time bonding with your dog and getting them to exercise more should help them with their self-esteem and confidence.
Consider the following ways to improve and gain your dogs’ trust. This will help them feel safe, secure, and loved:
Spend Time Together
There are lots of activities you and your greyhound can enjoy together.
Greyhounds are not high-energy dogs, but they still require exercise and activity throughout their day.
Take your dog out for walks and engage in quality playtime with them, such as playing frisbee or getting them to catch a ball, etc.
Grooming your dog is a great way to spend some quality time together as it offers your dog physical contact such as petting – this can enhance the relationship between greyhound and owner.
Pay Attention To Your Greyhounds Likes And Dislikes
It’s essential to learn your greyhound’s preferences from early on, such as his favorite toys and foods.
You also need to familiarize yourself with the things they do not like.
Your greyhound needs to understand the way you communicate with them. It should be clear.
Be consistent when giving training signals.
Dog’s are more visual and have a better understanding of visual signs than vocal cues, use visual signs where possible.
It’s essential to provide your greyhound with the best nutrition possible from the earliest age; the way to your dog’s heart is through their stomach.
You can cook food for your dog or purchase the best quality commercial dog food. Either way, your greyhound will appreciate the effort you have put into preparing healthy, tasty food.
Make sure that your dog never sees you losing your temper or yelling; it can upset your dog even if it has nothing to do with them.
Always exude a sense of calm so your greyhound can rely on you to keep a level head.
Greyhounds are among the most gentle, calm, and docile dog breeds you will find.
This breed is also affectionately known as the ‘gazehound’ because they like to stare at people. Usually, they do this from the moment you bring them home.
When a greyhound stares at you it’s usually in good nature. They don’t mean to be rude or confrontational.
If you got your greyhound recently, they are likely trying to figure you out.
As your dog settles in, you should see less staring.
If your dog’s prolonged gaze is bothering you, perhaps they have low self-esteem and need a little confidence building.
You can help your dog’s confidence by improving on the bond you have with them. You must spend as much quality time as you can with your dog. They must see you as someone they can rely on.
Other than this keep them well-exercised and occupied. Then, staring should be minimized and should naturally decrease over time.
Related greyhound guides you may want to check out:
- Are Greyhounds Good With Kids? [Is This Breed Safe With Children?]
- Can Greyhounds Swim? [Are They Naturally Good Swimmers?]
- How Big Do Greyhounds Get? [Average Height, Weight and Size]
- Are Greyhounds Hypoallergenic? [Does This Breed Shed Often?]
- Do Greyhounds Shed? [The Owners Guide to Greyhound Shedding]
- Can Greyhounds Be Left Alone? [What About Separation Anxiety?]
- Best Treats For Greyhounds [Top Picks & Feeding Guide]
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.