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What It Means When Your Dog Makes Eye Contact With You At Meal Time

 by danielle on 06 Sep 2014 |
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Eye contact has significance with dogs just as it does with humans. The meaning of eye contact differs between the human and dog worlds however. With people, making eye contact is simply politeness. It indicates you are paying attention and interested in what they have to say.
 
Dogs use eye contact instead as a dominance behavior. A stare is a statement. It declares: I am higher in the pack hierarchy than you. It is meant as a form of intimidation. Two dogs standing still, locked in a stare, usually explodes a few moments later in a flurry of growls and teeth.
 
A dog that purposefully makes eye contact with you before eating their dinner is likely warning you subtly away from their food. It is a threat, warning that if you come closer, they will defend their meal.

Food possessiveness is a natural and common canine behavior but is to be strongly discouraged, as is the attempt to ‘overthrow’ you in the pack hierarchy.
 
One technique which can help dissolve food guarding is to ask your dog to sit before every meal. Until they follow your command, they will not receive their food. Then, serve only a quarter of their meal. Stay while they eat and finish what they have. Then approach, ask them to sit, and place in the next quarter. Repeat this process until they have finished their meal. Your dog will soon grasp they must be respectful to you around dinnertime and your approach likely means they will receive more food, not have it stolen.

 

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