We’ve been told since we were children that it’s rude to stare. But it seems that Rottweilers didn’t get the memo, because occasionally it seems they love nothing more than to lock eyes with us and have us a staring contest. But what does it mean, and should you be concerned?
When they stare into our eyes it can make us feel as though they’re reading the thoughts in our brains, but it turns out that there are a whole host of reasons that your Rottweiler will stare at you. Beware, though, because some reasons are more dangerous than others.
Animals Don’t Understand Staring Competitions
When it comes to animals, particularly mammals, we’re encouraged not to stare. When researchers and vets meet primates in the wild, for example, they’re very quick to avert their gaze and not make eye contact with these wild animals.
This is because eye contact can be interpreted as a sign of aggression in the animal kingdom. It’s the animal equivalent of “have you got a problem, buddy?” and can be taken as an invitation to fight.
Dogs are very much like primates in this regard, and an aggressive dog will become even more riled up if you then proceed to stare at it. This is especially true in the case of unknown dogs. It’s a dangerous practice, so don’t do it.
Not All Staring is Aggressive
It’s true that Rottweilers who have issues with aggression will display such aggressive behaviors as intense staring without breaking the gaze, often accompanied by growling or raised hackles.
As they’re being trained, Rottweilers may sometimes attempt to establish dominance over their trainer by trying to intimidate them with staring.
This is behavior that should be knocked on the head by the trainer so that the human makes it clear that they won’t stand for the pushed boundaries.
Male Rottweilers in particular are very stubborn dogs, especially when they’re going through puberty. They naturally want to assert their dominance. Training should involve proper socialization, firm boundaries, and the rewarding of good behavior.
Showing aggression to your Rottweiler when they begin to stare at you will only make the problem worse.
For the best way to tackle signs of aggression in a Rottweiler, consult a professional dog trainer, and don’t let this behavior slide or it will soon get worse.
This isn’t meant to scare you, but it’s something to be aware of. Many owners report never having problems with aggression in their Rottweiler, and there are in fact lots of benign and even heart-warming reasons your Rottweiler might be fixing their gaze on you.
Let’s take a look at some of these.
Your Rottweiler Just Adores You So Much
Not all staring is aggressive. In fact, some staring is the exact opposite and is instead because your Rottweiler just loves you so much it can’t stop looking at your face.
To your Rottweiler, you’re the whole world. You feed your pet, take it for walks, look after it when it’s sick, and provide daily love and comfort. Sometimes, your Rottweiler simply wants to look at you in awe.
If your Rottweiler never shows signs of aggressive behavior, then this kind of loving staring is nothing to worry about and is actually very sweet.
However, it’s not a good idea to stare back. You never know when your Rottweiler might begin to see it as a threat.
Besides, it would look rather odd to other people if out of nowhere you and your Rottweiler began to stare at each other. It may make people think you’re able to communicate telepathically.
It’s Time to Go for a Walk
Dogs can’t talk. We wish they could, but they have to find other ways of telling us what they need.
Some dogs will stand at the door and bark as a way of letting their owners know that they need a bathroom break. Others may even bring the leash or a shoe to give Mom and Dad a nudge.
A Rottweiler has a more dignified way of letting you know that they need to go for a walk, and it can often be in the form of a penetrating stare. It’s a stare that says “you know it’s that time, and I really need to go.”
Your Rottweiler May be Looking for Forgiveness
Sometimes we can come home to find chewed-up cushions and shoes, or trash can that’s been ravaged, or even a roast chicken on the counter that’s disappeared into a now burping Rottweiler.
Our Rotties know when they’ve messed up and they can feel that we’re mad at them. They won’t remember what they’ve done, so never get angry or hit your dog, but they know from our reaction that they’re in trouble.
When they stare at us at this time, it’s a way of them searching our face for signs we still love them. They’re in trouble, they’re sorry for whatever it is they’ve done, and they really want our forgiveness. Go give them a hug. They just want everything to be OK again.
The Pooping Stare
Ever wondered why your Rottweiler insists on following you to the bathroom? It’s not just because they can’t bear to be apart from us for a single second.
Dogs look out for each other in the pack when one is pooping. It’s because animals are vulnerable in this position and are open to attacks from predators. A Rottweiler wants to come with you to the bathroom because they believe it’s a vulnerable place for you.
In the same way, they fix you with a stare when they’re doing their own business so that you’ll return the favor for them.
They’re not trying to be gross; they’re just making sure that you understand that they’re otherwise engaged and trust you’re on the lookout for trouble.
Why Else Might they Stare?
There could be plenty of reasons for the Rottie stare. Others include:
- Waiting for you to give it a command
- Wanting you to throw the ball for the thousandth time in this never-ending game of fetch
- Being in pain and not knowing how to tell you
- Knowing that there’s something wrong with you, for example, if you’re sad and crying
Should You be Worried by Your Rottweiler’s Stares?
Rottweilers are highly intelligent and emotional animals who have strong bonds with their owners.
Staring is a way for them to get across all manner of feelings and to search out the feelings that their owners might be having, too.
You should only be truly concerned if the staring is coupled with aggressive behavior, and if you feel that your Rottweiler’s entering into a staring contest with you to try and get you to look away first, and thus capitalize on the dominance.
If this is the case, you should certainly up the training and re-establish your role as pack leader with help from a trained behaviorist.
Never stare back at your Rottweiler; even if they’re not being aggressive, it’s not a good habit as it can cause them to begin to develop alpha tendencies.
Instead, enjoy those stares of devotion and get in touch with understanding exactly what it is that your Rottie’s trying to tell you.