Decoding Why Your Dog Gives You the Side-Eye?

Have you ever noticed your pup giving you the side eye? You’re not alone! Dog owners everywhere can relate to this phenomenon, but why does it happen? 

The side eye of the “whale eye” is a common body language among dogs. It’s often used as a way of communicating with their human, and it can mean something different depending on the situation.

You might feel like your dog is judging you, but there can be a different meaning behind those eyes.

In this article, we’ll dive into what this behavior is, and how to respond when your pup gives you the side eye. Let’s get started!

Why does my dog give me the side eye?

While every dog is unique, there are 7 primary reasons why your pup may be giving you the side eye.

1. Your dog feels uncomfortable or threatened

When a dog is feeling uneasy they will often fix their gaze directly on something they feel might pose a threat – and that includes their owner at times.

If the environment around them has suddenly changed in some way, such as having visitors over, loud noises outside or new furniture being moved around, then this could cause your pup to glance sideways at you.

Pay attention to see if their body language changes too – for example, a tucked tail or low stance.

2. Your pup is trying to figure you out

Dogs are incredibly observant and can pick up on even the smallest of changes in their owners’ behavior or body language.

If your pup notices something, they may stare at you to try and work out what it means.

3. Your pup feels ignored by you

Every dog wants love and attention from its owner, so if they don’t feel like they aren’t getting enough then they may resort to giving you the side eye as a way of silently asking for more affection!

4. You’re not holding up your end of the bargain

Dogs rely heavily on routine, structure, and consistency when it comes to their daily lives.

As such, if you don’t follow through on what your pup has come to expect then they may give you the side eye as a way of letting you know that they’re not happy!

5. You’re picking up on your pup’s stress signals

Dogs are very attuned to human emotions and can often sense when something is wrong with us, even before we do.

If your pup is feeling anxious, lonely, or stressed due to an outside factor, then they may give you the side eye in order to let you know that they need some extra love and reassurance right now.

6. Your dog wants something from you

This could be anything from food to fetching a toy, but either way, if your pup is giving you the side eye it usually means there’s something they want from you.

7. Your pup is trying to show you love and affection

While this may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of a dog’s body language, staring at us sideways can actually be their way of expressing their love and devotion!

How to react if your dog gives you the side eye?

If you’ve ever seen a dog give you the side eye, you know it can be both hilarious and intimidating. It looks like they’re giving you a disapproving look for doing something wrong. But what does it really mean?

The side-eye is one way your dog communicates with you—it’s their way of saying “Hey! Pay attention to me!” So if your pup gives you the side eye, here are five tips on how to react:

1. Acknowledge them:

The first thing to do when your pup gives you the side eye is to acknowledge that they’re trying to communicate with you.

A simple “Good boy” or pat on the head will show them that you understand what they’re trying to tell you.

2. Act appropriately:

If your pup is giving you the side eye because he doesn’t like something, it’s important to act accordingly and not ignore him.

Make sure you stop whatever it is that’s making him uncomfortable and let him know it won’t happen again.

3. Reward calm behavior:

When your pup stops giving you the side eye and shows a more relaxed demeanor, make sure to reward their calm behavior with treats or affection.

This will help reinforce the positive behavior and encourage them to remain calm when communicating with you in the future.

4. Avoid punishment:

Punishment won’t help your pup understand what you expect from them—it will only make them confused and possibly scared of you.

Instead, focus on positive reinforcement to communicate with your pup in a way they can understand.

5. Talk to a professional:

If you’ve tried all these tips but are still having trouble communicating with your pup, it may be time to talk to a professional dog trainer or behaviorist who can give you more tailored advice.


At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that your pup isn’t trying to give you a look of disapproval when they give you the side eye—they’re simply using their body language to communicate with you.

By understanding some of the common signs behind dog stares and reacting appropriately, you can help ensure that your pup feels comfortable and healthily communicating with you.

So the next time you see that side eye, take a moment to listen and respond accordingly.

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