Why Does My Shih Tzu Stare at Me? [Reasons Behind Their Gaze]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Do you ever feel like you’re being watched? Those adorable, wide-set eyes seem to follow your every move, gazing deep into your soul.

But why? Why does your Shih Tzu stare at you with such intensity?

In this post, let’s uncover the meaning of these expressive eyes and figure out if anything needs to be done about it!

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Dear Dog Owner

Why Does My Shih Tzu Stare at Me? 7 Different Reasons

Why Does My Shih Tzu Stare at Me

When your pet Shih Tzu locks eyes with you, it can be a sign of various things.

Understanding the reason behind your pet’s gaze will help you strengthen your bond and decipher their messages.

1. Your Shih Tzu is communicating love

Our pets have unique ways of appreciating the things that they value the most. And one of those ways is by keeping the object of their love within their sight. 

Staring can be a heartfelt way for your furry friend to express their deep affection and love towards you.

In my experience, if a furry companion is deeply attached to their human, they enjoy watching them just to see if their fur parent is doing okay.

2. Your Shih Tzu is observing the environment

Is the environment new? Our furry pals are naturally curious creatures and they like familiarizing themselves with their surroundings.

When your fur baby stares intently, it could be their way of observing and taking in the world around them. 

The staring should stop once they’re satisfied that they’ve gotten all the necessary information about their surroundings.

3. Your Shih Tzu wants something or is seeking attention

Staring at you could mean they need something from you. This attention-seeking stare could be a signal that they want food or to go play outside. 

Their focused gaze is their way of communicating their needs, so be attentive and respond accordingly. 

4. Your Shih Tzu is trained to look at you

Your Shih Tzu may have learned to keep their eye on you as part of their obedience training. Staring at you will allow them to quickly see if you’re giving them a command. 

By keeping their attention on you, they can quickly catch any word or gesture that you are directing at them. 

5. Your Shih Tzu is confused

Staring can also happen when your pet is trying to make sense of a situation.

If what’s happening is out of the ordinary, they may focus harder to understand what you expect from them. 

Doggy says, you might be interested in this too: Why is my dog constantly staring at me?

6. Your Shih Tzu is confrontational

In rare cases, staring can be a sign of confrontational behavior, especially if accompanied by other signs of aggression. 

If your dog is growling, snarling, or maintaining a stiff body posture while keeping eye contact, then there’s something that’s setting it off. 

It’s best to quickly identify the trigger so you can diffuse the situation.

7. Your Shih Tzu is bored

There are times when your pet’s stares are a hint that they might be feeling a bit bored and looking for some fun! 

They’re trying to catch your attention, hoping you’ll play with them or provide some mental stimulation.

Try bringing out some puzzle toys to see how they’d react.

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Doggy says, consider reading this too: Dog avoids eye contact

What to Do About Your Shih Tzu Staring at You?


To address your furry pal’s staring effectively, you first need to understand the meaning behind their gaze.

Each stare may indicate different needs or intentions. 

By following these simple steps, you can decipher their stare and take appropriate action.

Determine the context 

Check out the situation and observe your pet’s body language.

Did something happen before the staring incident? What other things is your pet doing?

Maybe another dog is approaching your furry pal and they are trying to get reassurance from you. 

Assess their needs

Always fill their basic needs first.

Your pet might be seeking—attention, food, or water. They could also need to go potty.

See if the staring stops once you’ve satisfied their needs.

Interact and engage 

Spend quality time with your furry friend. Offer them affection or engage in playtime.

By providing them with the interaction that they need, you’d be able to meet their social and emotional needs.

Redirect their focus 

If the staring becomes excessive or unwanted, divert their attention to other activities like playing with toys or going out for a game of fetch.

Ignore unwanted staring 

You can always ignore it if the staring doesn’t seem problematic. 

Plus, ignoring can prevent you from accidentally reinforcing the behavior. 

If you acknowledge the intense glare, your pet might continue doing so just because it managed to catch your attention with it.

Provide mental stimulation 

If your pet is staring out of boredom, a surefire way to stop the behavior is by providing them something to preoccupy their mind. 

Keep your pet Shih Tzu’s mind active and bring out their favorite puzzle toys. Give them extra motivation by giving them treat-dispensing toys.

Not only will this curb the staring habit, but it will also endear you to your pet.

Ensure regular exercise 

Again, if the staring is done because your pet has nothing else to do, then you need to provide them with an alternative activity.

Regular exercise keeps them physically active and prevents excessive staring caused by pent-up energy.

Consult a veterinarian 

If you are still worried about your pet’s staring behavior or notice any other worrisome symptoms, it’s advisable to consult a veterinarian. 

This way, you can rule out any underlying issues and address any concerns appropriately.

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Thank you. The rest of the article continues below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it advisable to maintain direct eye contact with dogs?

When it comes to unfamiliar dogs, it’s usually better to avoid long, intense eye contact. This helps prevent any misunderstandings or situations where the dog could feel threatened. So, locking eyes for too long may not be a good idea.

What makes dogs stare at each other during their initial interactions?

When dogs meet for the first time, they may stare to gather information about the other dog. It could also be the dog’s way of figuring out its place in the group. They could be subtly sizing each other up. 

Why does my Shih Tzu fixate on me while I’m eating?

Your Shih Tzu may fixate on you while you’re eating because they’re interested in the food you’re enjoying and hoping for a bite. They could also be waiting for a chance to sneak a piece away if you’re not willing to share.

What are the reasons for my Shih Tzu staring and barking at me?

Staring and barking can have different meanings. It could be your pet asking for some attention or assistance. Your pet may also be showing anxiety or discomfort. Paying attention to other behaviors can help you understand what your dog is trying to communicate.

Why does my Shih Tzu stare at me from across the room?

When your pet Shih Tzu stares at you from across the room, they could be trying to keep you in their sight because they’re feeling anxious. This is especially true If the room is new to them. your pet could be looking at you for comfort. They may also do this to catch your attention. Another reason is that they could be finding what you’re doing entertaining. 

Why does my Shih Tzu look at me while defecating?

Sometimes dogs look at their owners while defecating because they feel vulnerable in that position and seek security and reassurance from their bond with you. Looking at you provides them with a sense of comfort.

In Conclusion: Why Does My Shih Tzu Stare at Me?

So, now you know. The next time your Shih Tzu locks eyes with you, remember that their unwavering stare holds a world of love, loyalty, and curiosity.

To learn more dog behavior, check out these posts too:

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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