9 Reasons Your Shiba Inu Is Staring At You (Explained)

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t remember other dogs staring at me as much as my Shiba Inu stares at me, It’s a little weird and worry at times.

Shiba Inus use staring as a means of communication, but it can be difficult to understand why unless you also pay attention to their body language. Staring, even frequently or for extended periods of time, isn’t an issue unless it’s paried with teeth and growling, both are signs of potential aggression.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned while raising my Shiba Inus it’s that she’s quick to learn and a very determined communicator. Often adding new sounds and motions to her vocabulary every couple days to get my attention or better explain what she wants. And I wanted to share what I’ve been able to learn and experience below.

curious shiba inu

Is It Normal For Shiba Inus To Stare At You?

It’s normal for Shiba Inus to stare at people, many use staring as a sign of affection but sometimes it’s used as a way to establish dominance. Other cues form their body language, like showing teeth or licking at you, will help you understand which their reason for staring at you.  

9 Reasons Your Shiba Inu Stares At You

1) To Read Your Cues

Social cues aren’t only important for use but for Shiba Inus too. Many Shibas are caught staring at the owners or strangers when they’re trying to understand what you are thinking or saying. Depending on how recently you got your Shiba they may still be getting to know you, often staring to watch and learn. We as people often do the same thing when someone or something has our attention.

2) As A Sign Of Love And Affection

Despite what you may have seen and heard Shiba Inus are affectionate dogs. Proper eye contact is a critical part of communication, letting the other person know that they have your undivided attention. And Shiba Inus often stare at their owners as a way to show you have their attention and that they love you.

3) They Want Or Need Something

Because proper eye contact is important for communicating Shiba Inus often stare as a sign they want or need something. Most of the time a Shiba will stare if you have food, because they want it, but other times they’ll stare and start whining.

Shibas are a vocal breed with a wide vocabulary that can be taken many different ways. The majority of the time my Shiba stares and whines at me to go to the bathroom or because there was a loud noise or people outside that she wants to go watch, primarily from a balcony or walkway. It’s always a safe bet to assume your Shiba has to go to the bathroom if they’re whining, especially if they’re at the front or back door.

4) Confusion

Shiba Inus are a remarkably intelligent breed that, despite their stubborn nature, do like understanding what’s going on around them. Confusion is a common reason you may catch a Shiba staring at someone. The majority of the time a Shiba’s confusion is paired with perked-up ears and a tilted head.

5) Confrontation

Shibas are no stranger to conflict, often starting fights and turning to aggressive behaviors when they’re scared, threatened, or aren’t used to social situations. Staring is a common tool dogs turn to in order to handle, or start, confrontation. Most aggressive behaviors are paired with them showing their teeth and growling. Routine training and socializing are great ways to minimize this if you struggle with confrontational or aggressive behavior. Do know not all growling is aggressive by nature, look for additional signs and cues.

6) They Feel Threatened

Shiba Inus are a basal breed, meaning they’re more primitive than most “modern” dog breeds other pet owners have. That point matters because it can help explain why Shibas react to situations very differently compared to other dog breeds. It’s also the reason proper socializing is so important for this breed.

Common body language a threatened Shiba Inus display include a lower or stiff stance, showing teeth, grumbling or growling, and staring. Each alone may not mean much, but mean trouble when paired together. Keep an eye out for these warning signs both at home and on walks with your Shiba. Strangers and unfamiliar animals often get this treatment when Shiba Inus are young or aren’t properly socialized.

7) They’re Trained To Look At You

Training, like socializing, is critical for Shiba Inus. Poor socialization leads to routine aggression, while poor training leads to a never-ending temper tantrum. Many owners purposely, or accidentally, teach they’re Shiba Inu’s to stare at them during training sessions. Often by holding a treat or reward up to keep they’re attention. 

8) They Want Your Food

Many Shiba Inus will stare at you while you eat because what you have is new, exciting, and interesting compared to their regular meals. But Shibas will also stare at their owners while they’re eating as well.

Shiba’s generally stare at they’re owners while they’re eating because you, their owner, are comforting for them. You are their safety net if something were to happen and display that affection through staring.

9) They Trust And See You As A Sign Of Safety

Many dogs, Shibas included, turn to their owners as a sign of trust. This is most often seen when they’re, unfortunately, pooping. It’s hard for your pet to react to something when they’re squatting, often turning to stare at their owner to make sure everything is good and they’re nothing to worry about.

But your pet doesn’t signal trust solely when they’re going to the bathroom. Your Shiba will turn to look at you when they’re stressed, either asking for help or trying to see how you are handling the situation.

Should I Be Worried If My Shiba Keeps Staring At Me?

There’s nothing to worry about if your Shiba Inu frequently stares at your, as long as they aren’t aggressive while doing so. Dogs sometimes use staring as a way of establishing dominance or displaying aggression, often pairing it will growling and showing teeth.

Should I Stare Back At My Dog?

Most dogs take you plainly staring back at them as a challenge or threat which often leads them to feel uneasy. It’s best not to just stare back at your dog if they’ve been staring at you, adding a comment or question when you go to look back is a great way to redirect their attention and put them at ease.

Summary Of Shiba Inu Staring

Shiba Inus turn and stare at their owners for a number of reasons. Aggression, fear, trust, and affection are some of the most common but aren’t limited to those four. Shibas are an intelligent breed that has a wide vocabulary and means of communicating with you or others, staring is just one of their many tools. If you catch a Shiba staring at you be sure to check their body language, understanding what they’re thinking and feeling will help you figure out why they’re staring at you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do Shiba Inus Squint Their Eyes?

Shiba Inus often squint when they are about to take a nap or go to sleep. Older Shiba Inus often squint as a way to minimize eye pain they’re struggling with, often from glaucoma. A painful eye disease that is common for Shiba Inus.

Why Do Shiba Inus Wink?

Shiba Inus often wink as a sign of affection or to show they’re comfortable. Other possible reasons your Shiba Inu may wink include they want to keep watching something without losing sight of it, they’re mimicking their owner, or something may be in their eye.

Why Does My Shiba Inu Follow Me Everywhere?

Shiba Inus often follow their owners around as a sign of trust and affection. Shiba’s are a loyal breed that deeply loves their owner, often following them around the house to show that. Many Shiba Inus will also follow their owners when they’re bored, scared, or curious as to what you’re up to.

Colby Adkins

I am a proud Shiba Inu owner who is just looking to share any tips, tricks, or advice I have to help others.

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