Have you ever glanced over at your pup while on a walk, only to discover they are mid-squatting and making eye contact with you as they do their business? You quickly glance away, hoping the awkward moment has passed.
However, you’ve discovered that your dog has not broken their stare. So what would cause a dog to stare at its owner while pooping? Believe it or not, this is actually quite a common canine behavior. It’s built into their DNA and not something to be worried about.
In this article, we will discuss the details of why dogs make eye contact with their owners when going potty. This will help you better understand this strange behavior going forward.
Is It Normal For Dogs To Lock Eyes When Pooping?
This may seem odd for most dog owners, but it is normal for dogs to lock eyes with us when doing their business. This ingrained canine behavior has many causes, ranging from attempted bonding to a need to protect themselves. So what does it mean?
Why Do Dogs Look At You When Pooping?
As we mentioned, this behavior can have multiple causes. Just like when dogs are not feeling well, or are trying to get your attention, there are multiple ways that they can use to communicate with their humans. To help you better understand your pup, let’s discuss the many reasons why your pup looks at you when they poop.
They Want To Protect You
Many of our dog’s habits can be traced back to their wild roots. Our dog’s ancestors often lived in packs, ready to protect their pack members if needed. Going to the bathroom was seen as a vulnerable moment for wild dogs, as predators could easily approach them as they were doing their business. Because of this, other members of the pack would often stand guard and watch for any potential threats.
When our dogs make eye contact with us while pooping, this may be a tribute to this ingrained behavior. Your dog might be making eye contact with you to ensure you are watching their back, or they may be trying to protect you from potential threats as well.
The next time Fido makes awkward eye contact with you while passing stool, take it as their way of saying you are a pack member. Keep in mind that some breeds are also more likely to make eye contact than others.
They Are Bonded With You
Similar to what we stated above, our pups may be trying to make a connection with us when locking eyes. Whether they are doing this for protection or not, it can still be a chance for them to connect with their favorite human.
A hormone study performed with dogs stated that when our furry friends gaze into our eyes, they produce a physiological bond. This is similar to humans and children. Due to this, it’s not too far-fetched to assume that they may be trying to have a sincere moment with a “member of their pack.”
While this may seem like an odd moment to connect, it’s important to remember that our dogs do not pick up on the same awkward cues as you and me. The next time your pup locks eyes with you while doing their business, they may be simply trying to show affection. It’s not uncommon, and it could just be their way of saying “I love you.”
They Want To Be Rewarded
When taking our dogs on walks, we often praise them each time they use the restroom. A simple “good boy” can be extremely important for a dog. This leads them to desire this praise going forward. Our dogs thrive on positive reinforcement. Because of this, they may look into your eyes to see if any praise is coming their way.
This is even more possible if your pup is rewarded with treats when doing their business outside. Your pup’s awkward stare may be their way of questioning when their praise is coming. They likely don’t understand how strange their staring can seem.
They Are Keeping An Eye On You
When our dogs are attached to us, they don’t want to miss a single move we make. Keeping an eye on us can be a full-time job for our pups, one that continues even when they are going potty. Your pup may want to make sure you do not leave their side without them being aware.
Locking eyes while they poop can help them do just that. This may be due to their need to stay at our side at all times, or even an effort to make sure you are always safe. It may also be because your pup is used to playing, and dogs sometimes like to run around after they poop.
They Are Checking For Approval
If your pup has recently gone through potty training, they may stare while pooping to make sure they are going in the right spot. This is even more possible if a dog was ever scolded due to going potty inside the house.
If you’ve inadvertently been hard on your pup, they will likely be seeking positive reinforcement on their actions. If your newly trained dog is always looking your way when going potty, he may simply be making sure he is following the rules.
Making Your Dog Feel Safe
There are many possible reasons behind a dog’s need to lock eyes with us when pooping. It most commonly comes back to their need to feel safe. The squatting position is a vulnerable state for a dog. This is why they may look to us for safety. Most dogs just want someone to watch their back. Here are a few ways to help them feel secure.
- Try to avoid any sudden movements.
- Try not to turn your back to them or walk away.
- Give them a quick word of reassurance.
- Words of reassurance can help if they are anxious.
- Watch their back! Use this opportunity to scan the crowd for potential threats.
It may seem silly to us, but some dogs struggle to feel secure when going potty in public. If you have a nervous pooper on your hands, they may appreciate the extra effort.
This canine behavior seems to be linked to our dog’s wolf ancestors. While there are several other reasons the behavior can occur, it may just be something you’ll be stuck with. It’s inherently built in their DNA, and getting them to stop may be difficult. In most cases, look at it as them bonding with you. Or you can always close the blinds while your dog does their business.
December 27, 2021 at 12:11 pm
it's because pooping puts your dog in a vulnerable position. From an animalistic standpoint, your dog is an easier target to attack in that position.
He's looking at you so he knows you've got his back. And in the same manner, dogs tend to do the reverse, hover around you or make eye contact when you're pooping, to tell you "I've got your back, dude. Do what you need to do."