"The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's." – Mark Twain, Letter to W D Howells, 4/2/1899

The EYES Have It.


If we want to understand our dogs then we must learn their language.

Dogs are all about body language and eye contact is very important in dog land.


When dogs first meet they avoid eye contact because in this setting eye contact means aggression. If a dog means no harm it will approach another dog slightly turned away from it but if it is challenging that dog it will be straight on with full eye contact. Every dog knows this signal; understanding it is a matter of survival.


Humans need to remember this; no matter how cute the dog is it will not like being looked at directly in the eyes.

Generally speaking it is a good idea to let a dog approach you and not the other way around.


No matter how cool the dog looks it is best to play by their rules and treat them with respect. If you see a dog avoiding your gaze he is showing you respect particularly if he is giving you space at the same time.


If the dog is on his home turf expect him to be concerned about you at the start. Watch to see if he gives you space before trying to enter his property. Again his eyes will give you valuable clues. And your eyes will help him to know what your intentions are.


Eye contact from your dog is a sign of respect and love. When you are out walking and your dog looks at you he/she is telling you that they are having a great time and that they love being in your company.


“When I look into the eyes of an animal I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul.” ~A.D. Williams …

Asking for eye contact from your dog is an important part of of your dogs training as eye contact is one of the ways that the pack communicate with each other.

The pack leader only needs to look at a dog that is behaving baldly and the behaviour stops!

You want your dog to see you as it’s pack leader so communicating with yours eyes is vital. A stern look is worth a thousand words. Always get eye contact with your dog after it has done something you disagree with.


The eyes tell the story.


Every look is a love letter from your dog.


Cafes and dogs go together. The look of love.


8 responses

  1. Pingback: Bow,Wow,Wow. | Understanding Your Dog

  2. Pingback: Every Dog Needs A Job. | Understanding Your Dog

  3. Joyce

    Saw your link on Sang Koh’s blog. Love, love love some of the picture in this post! Wonder if you have explored Natural Dog Training (NDT) as there is a different perspective about eye contact since the NDT model doesn’t include the alpha dog concept or the pack theory. Read some more on Sang’s site since you’ve already been there or go to NaturalDogBlog.com or Kevin’s site NaturalDogTraining.com.


    June 30, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    • I haven’t visited that site but I will certainly check it out, but ignoring the pack leader/pack dynamics seems a little unusual.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.


      July 1, 2013 at 12:42 am

  4. Reblogged this on Understanding Your Dog.


    February 24, 2014 at 1:19 am

  5. Hello, i agreed on everything you wrote there, apart from the pack leader bit lol. I wouldn’t promote staring at your dog when he has done something wrong, as this does not fix the problem and your not giving your dog a good indication of what you would like hime to do instead. As your probably aware the pack leader stuff has been debunked, but lets not go there lol 😉 i agree though, when i approach a dog on the street that is off the lead, i make eye contact as I’m coming towards them, then usually turn away and keep heading in the direction i was going into, Then the dog would normally approach me, i would come down and almost “squat” and the dog would then say hello to me. This also eliminates jumping 🙂


    March 6, 2014 at 9:49 am

    • Good point but we will have to agree to disagree on the pack leader stuff.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it.


      March 6, 2014 at 10:01 am

      • thats perfectly fine, but I’m always up for a discussion as I’m training as a canine behaviourist, and like everyone, we are trying to promote the best methods lol. I may learn something and so may you, so give me a shout if you want to chat. One of my posts may be about it soon 🙂 take care, i look forward to seeing more posts 🙂


        March 6, 2014 at 10:05 am

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