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Why Does My Shih Tzu Stare at Me: 7 Reasons Why

Does your Shih Tzu stare at you all the time?

You’re not alone, this is something many Shih Tzu owners report to us, so today we’re explaining this flattering, but sometimes weird behavior!

why does my shih tzu stare

Is Staring Common With Shih Tzus?

Yes, staring is quite common with Shih Tzus.

This breed is known for being affectionate, attentive, and closely connected to their human family. Here’s why staring is typical among Shih Tzus:

  1. Emotional Connection: Shih Tzus often form strong emotional bonds with their owners. Staring can be a way to understand and respond to your emotions, or simply a sign of love and trust.
  2. Communication: Staring is one of the ways that Shih Tzus communicate with their owners. Whether they want food, play, or attention, those big, expressive eyes can say a lot without words.
  3. Curiosity: Shih Tzus are often very curious about their surroundings and the activities of their human companions. Staring at you might be their way of figuring out what you’re doing or even learning from you.
  4. Training and Behavior: Some Shih Tzus might have been trained or encouraged to stare by their owners. If you respond to their stare by giving them what they want, they’ll learn that staring is an effective way to communicate.
  5. Breed Traits: The Shih Tzu’s expressive eyes and attentive nature make them more prone to staring. It’s a part of their personality that many owners find endearing.

Here’s a completely unrelated clip of Shih Tzus being hilarious, because… why not!

7 Reasons Why Shih Tzus Stare

After speaking to numerous canine behavior experts and veterinarians on this behavior, we’ve managed to get to the bottom of it.

Below are seven of the most common reasons why your Shih Tzu is staring at you. Let’s run through them below.

1. Looking for Attention

Shih Tzus, like many dogs, crave companionship and interaction with their humans. When they stare at you, they might want you to play a game, pet them, or just sit and spend time with them. It’s a way of saying, “Hey, look at me! Let’s have some fun together.” It’s part of their social nature.

2. Time for Food

If your Shih Tzu looks at you around mealtime, they might be trying to tell you they’re hungry. Dogs have an excellent sense of time, and they quickly learn when it’s time for breakfast or dinner. Those big, loving eyes could be a gentle nudge that they are ready for their meal.

3. Sensing Your Feelings

Shih Tzus can be very empathetic. They may stare at you to gauge your emotions. If you’re feeling down, they might come over to comfort you. If you’re excited, they might share in your joy. Your furry friend is trying to understand and respond to your feelings.

4. They Want Something

Your Shih Tzu’s stare could be a request for something specific. They might want a treat, a walk, or their favorite toy. Some Shih Tzus will even look back and forth between you and what they want to make their request clearer. They’re using their eyes to communicate their desires.

5. Curiosity

Shih Tzus are naturally curious, and they may be fascinated by what you’re doing. Whether you’re cooking, working on the computer, or watching TV, they might want to observe and learn. This curiosity shows their interest in your world and how keen they are to understand it.

6. They Sense Something

Dogs have incredibly sharp senses. If your Shih Tzu is staring intently, they might have picked up on a sound, smell, or sight that you haven’t noticed. They could be focused on a neighbor walking by or a new scent in the air. Their intense focus often alerts them to something happening around them.

7. Showing Love and Trust

Staring into your eyes can be a profound way for your Shih Tzu to show love and trust. Eye contact can build a deep emotional connection between you two. Your dog is saying, “I trust you, and I feel safe with you.” It’s a wonderful way to bond and understand each other better.

Quick & Simple Tips to Stop The Staring!

Staring in Shih Tzus is generally a natural and harmless behavior. But if you find it bothersome or if it’s becoming a problem, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Understand Why: First, try to understand why your Shih Tzu is staring at you. Are they hungry? Bored? Needing attention? Figuring out the cause can help you address the underlying need.
  2. Redirect Their Attention: If you want to stop the staring, you can gently redirect their attention. Offer a toy or engage them in a game. This provides a different focus for their energy and curiosity.
  3. Train a New Behavior: You can train your Shih Tzu to respond in a different way when they want something. Using positive reinforcement and treats, you can teach them to sit or lay down instead of staring. Remember, patience and consistency are key.
  4. Avoid Reinforcing the Staring: If you give in to what your Shih Tzu wants every time they stare at you, they’ll learn that staring works. Be mindful of how you respond, so you don’t unintentionally encourage the behavior.
  5. Consult a Professional: If the staring becomes a problem or seems linked to anxiety or other behavioral issues, consulting a professional dog trainer or behaviorist might be a good idea. They can provide personalized guidance for your specific situation.
  6. Embrace It: Lastly, consider embracing this behavior. Staring is often just a way for your Shih Tzu to connect with you and communicate their needs. If it’s not causing any problems, you might simply accept it as part of your unique bond.

For a more in-depth look at dog communication, check out this article on pet body language from Petfinder.

Last Thoughts

While you can take steps to reduce or redirect staring in your Shih Tzu, it’s essential to recognize that it’s usually a natural and loving form of communication.

If it doesn’t bother you, it’s a beautiful way for your dog to show affection and interest in you. If it does become an issue, understanding the cause and using gentle training techniques can guide your furry friend towards other ways to communicate.

For more information on interpreting your dog’s body language, check out this informative article from Modern Dog Magazine.


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.