Pit bull seeking eye contact?

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Pit bull seeking eye contact?

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Old 09-10-2018, 07:16 PM
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Pit bull seeking eye contact?

So, I know that you arenít supposed to hold eye contact with dogs, and that most dogs will avert their eyes and display stress signals like licking, yawning, etc. However my grandmothers pit bull doesnít do any of that. Sheíll gaze into your eyes like a doe-eyed girl, tail wagging and all. She isnít aggressive or reactive about it at all. She wasnít well socialized with other dogs and perhaps doesnít know how to speak dog? I have no idea. Why does she do that?


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Old 09-10-2018, 09:04 PM
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I think you're overthinking it. Dogs have been lived alongside humans for thousands of years. Dogs making lasting eye contact with people is not a sign of aggression or even notable boldness- it's a side effect of continually relying on a creature that values eye contact.
Some dogs do stare as a sign of agression, and some dogs are too skittish to look you in the eyes. Look more towards other body language cues.
One more note: Dogs know that you are not a dog. They will communicate with you differently. A dog who won't make eye contact with other dogs may feel totally comfortable doing it with a person.
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Old 09-11-2018, 01:32 AM
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My boy will maintain eye contact so long as I don't stare at him. It's actually a good skill for a dog to have, and a lot of people teach it, because you know you have their attention.
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Old 09-11-2018, 04:50 AM
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I agree you√ā¬íre overthinking it. Eye contact can also be a sign of affection, trust, and other communications. You have have to look at the dogs entire body language and the context of the situation as a whole.

You don√ā¬ít want to stare down a dog that√ā¬ís acting scared, aggressive, reactive, etc. but eye contact with friendly dogs, especially ones you personally know, can be a positive behavior as well.
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Old 09-11-2018, 08:19 AM
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You could keep glancing & looking away then back again as a polite response & offer affection. My dog gives me long adoring looks after I've fed her & before I go to work. She's also figured out when she does this she gets more yummy treats & she can get lots more kisses & cuddles before I leave. ha ha 😁
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Old 09-11-2018, 03:47 PM
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With strangers it's true that they will typically avoid it but I've noticed most dogs will make eye contact with me once they've judged that I'm an okay sort.

Not so much losing the ability to dog as learning the ability to bond with people.

Some breeds are known for eye contact, my border collie and I stare off at the beginning of play. Other dogs hate it when they see her lock onto me so I've got to be careful about where we play.
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:48 PM
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Having a dog be able to maintain eye focus, or being able to allow human staring, is great for many reasons.

I teach my dogs to watch me by saying "focus'' and pointing to my eye at the same time, and then delivering a nice food reward and praise for compliance.

I started this early on with my shy cautious fearful Gracie to teach her that people staring at her were not a threat, but instead could be a happy reward source. She goes to work with me, so she meets tons of strangers daily-- and she is very pretty and has beautiful soulful eyes, so people always stare directly at her!

So now she has now problem if anyone stares at her. Now if a strange dog stares at her... ok, ok, we are making great progress on this one, finally!!

I actually started part of our reactivity training by taking her out to see fields of deer in our neighborhood and practicing counterconditioning and eventually making a game of "where's the special big doggies?" (deer).

Deer are fantastic in helping dog reactivity since they will stare at our dogs, but not bark or growl or lunge, provided you keep a nice respectful safe distance! Gracie loves seeing deer now--big reward payouts for being chill around them!

I am glad to hear that the OP's dog loves to look into people's eyes and not be worried about it!
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Old 09-16-2018, 10:36 PM
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We teach all of our dogs to make eye contact. Its a good thing to teach your dog because they see it as threat/challenge amongst other dogs. Of you train your dog they won't feel that way when a stranger looks them in the eye. We teach to not look strange dogs or nervous dogs in the eye. My dog looks everyone in the eyes to see who they are (he's very strange and doesn't use his nose at all). My moms dog was fear aggressive and we always warned ppl not to look him in the eye. But for us he was fine and knew the cue look your eye contact. I would train her it as a trick. Also there are studies about dogs judging your emotions off of your facial expression. Don't be intimidated by it.
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