Those sweet saggy cheeks and big round eyes are some of the most adorable features of a Bulldog! They certainly are enough to catch your eye when your dog is looking at you. Have you ever wondered why your Bulldog stares at you so amorously? What could they really be thinking?
Maybe he wants to share his innermost thoughts, or maybe that stare is her begging you to share some of your snacks with her! Although it’s often the reason, it’s not always food, judgment, or secrets that they are staring you down for, but it may have something to do with it.
Your Bulldog will stare at you as a way of communicating with you. They will often stare at you looking for cues of what is going to come next. They stare when they want something from you, such as attention, or food, or even when they are just trying to show you admiration and affection.
So how do you tell what the different stares mean? Why is it sometimes feel strange when your Bulldog stares at you so intently? ….And of all things, why on earth does he stare at you when he poops! Consider this article your one-stop shop for winning the Bulldog stare down!
1. Your Bulldog is Trying to Read Your Cues
The number one reason our dogs may stare at us is that they’re trying to figure us out. Interestingly Bulldogs were originally bred for their ability to help move livestock (including Bulls) then unfortunately later they were used in a sport called Bull baiting where the dog and the bull would fight to the death.
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After Bull baiting was banned in the UK, the breed almost became extinct, luckily they were imported to the US and Germany where they became working dogs once again. As the history of this breed progressed they became more domesticated, but even before becoming loving companions for us humans, their instinct was to look to their pack leader for information on what to do next.
Not much has changed except well…. of course…. who the pack leader is. In their eyes, you are the Alpha, at least that is the hope.
Bulldogs may have a bad rap and like any other dog can be aggressive if trained to do so, but mostly they are a very calm and docile breed. They are trusting and can be protective of their family. Taking care of them and spending quality time with them will soon help you gain their understanding and trust. When they stare intently at you they are looking to your for guidance to be their leader.
They may also be staring at you as they try to decipher your body language and figure out what might be coming next in their daily routine.
Dogs are really smart, and although the Bulldog is not always the brightest of the bunch there’s still a good reason they make such good companions for us, when your Bulldog stares at you he is drawn to look at your eyes because as this study shows they actually do really well at reading eye movements and facial expressions of their owners and can interpret your emotions, which will help them decide what may come next!
2. Your Bulldog is Communicating Love
Another reason your Bulldog is staring at you can simply be explained that he loves you!
When a new mother holds her new baby and they look into each other’s eyes it has an amazing effect of releasing a powerful hormone called oxytocin. This hormone is often called the love hormone as it helps us connect and bond with one another.
Eye contact is a big thing to us humans, and dogs may be the only species that really understands that. A study shows that dogs and their owners alike both experience an increased release of oxytocin when we stare amorously into one another’s eyes. Dogs are the first and possibly only species besides humans that have been observed doing this.
So even though your Bulldog may be cautious and suspicious with strangers, this explains why your Bulldog may just be your best and most loyal friend. This release of hormones will actually help you and your dog build a stronger bond and build more trust with each other.
Here are some other ways to tell that your Bulldog loves and trusts you.
- Curls up next to you or in your lap
- Greets you enthusiastically while wagging his tail
- Pushes on you with his nose
- Gets excited when he sees you after you’ve been separated for a time
- Licks you or wants to kiss and lick your face
- Relaxed body language around you
- Sleeps on his back and exposes his belly when he’s close to you
- Leans against you, or lying down next to you
- Sleeping with or carrying around your dirty smelling laundry or shoes
- Wants you to play with him
- Stares at you lovingly
- Brings things to you
So next time you are feeling stressed and need a pick me up, try having a staring contest with your sweet Bulldog and see if that helps you both feel a bit better.
Or you could spend some time cuddling with your Bulldog on the couch while you check out this adorable Bulldog YouTube starting contest.
3. Your Bulldog Wants Something
Your Bulldog stares might not always have loving intentions. If your Bulldog is staring at you with an accompanying whimper or whining he’s most likely trying to communicate that he wants something from you.
Learning how to read your dog’s body language can go a long way in helping you bond with your dog as well as helping them to be better behaved.
Your Bulldog may be asking for you to let them outside to use the restroom, he may want you to play with him, or maybe he is dying for you to share some of your delicious chicken sandwich you are eating.
Either way, pay attention to not only his eyes but his ears, tail, and how his body is positioned and you may soon discover how to understand your dog’s secret language.
4. Your Bulldog is Trained to Look at You
When you bring home a new puppy and first start teaching and training it, one of the most important things to teach them first is to look at you. Teaching them how to sit, stay, heel, settle and all the other important commands is so much easier when your dog first knows to look at you.
Dogs often recognize visual cues much easier and sooner than they can figure out what you want them to do purely by speaking the command. When your Bulldog is trained to look at you are able to see your movements and interpret whether you want them to sit, stay, come, or something else.
So for training purposes, if your dog looks at you a lot that will make your job a lot easier. Take advantage of all that attention and see what fun tricks you can train them to do.
This attentive stare may also explain why your Bulldog looks at you while he’s pooping. He’s not doing it to gross you out, but most likely when you trained him to go poop in his spot outside you gave him lots of praise, attention, and maybe even treats. He may continue to stare at you because he’s expecting more of the same.
5. Your Bulldog is Confused
If your Bulldog is looking at you and you’re are confused as to why that may just be your answer as well. Sometimes we humans do funny and unpredictable things. If your Bulldog is looking at you with his head tilted to one side and his ears perked at the attention he’s probably confused and wondering what you are doing or trying to communicate to him.
Another sign of confusion in your Bulldog may be licking of the lips or a quick shake of his body. This could show that the confusion is causing a bit of stress in your dog.
Your Bulldog may be asking for more clear directions and understanding of the behavior your are looking for from him.
Unfortunately, as your Bulldog ages and becomes a senior, his confused stares could indicate something more serious such as cognitive dysfunction. If you have an older Bulldog and they are also forgetting basic commands, wandering aimlessly in circles, or having accidents in the house it’s time for a visit to your vet to see what can be done.
6. Your Bulldog is Confrontational
Bulldogs are generally not confrontational, but if they get into a standoff with other dogs and animals they can be. If your Bulldog is not well socialized as a puppy it could add to this problem and his stare could be a warning that something bad is going to happen.
If your Bulldog has an icy hard stare accompanied by a low growl or baring of teeth, proceed with caution. Bulldogs are unlikely to show this behavior to their owners but will do this when feeling threatened.
Situations where your Bulldog might feel threatened can include:
- Resource guarding a treat, special toy, or food
- Being approached by a stranger or someone that makes them feel uncomfortable
- An unfamiliar animal that is invading his space
- Any interaction that is unfamiliar, unsettling, or startling
Other signs that your Bulldog’s staring could lead to confrontation may include a rigid or stiff body, holding very still, tail tucked or not wagging, and ears laid back on his head.
If this is your Bulldog or any other dog that you may be approaching break eye contact and back away. Give your Bulldog some space to calm down and evaluate why he may have reacted that way. You will also want to work on training him to not be aggressive in order to avoid potentially dangerous situations in the future.
If you need help in training your Bulldog to be less aggressive here is a good article by the Spruce Pets.
So next time your Bulldog is staring you down, and your first reaction is to think about how creepy it may be, or that he’s judging you and found you unworthy, think again. Most likely that intense stare means that your dog is your lifelong companion ready to please and protect you no matter what.