What to do when a dog looks at you if you are Scared of them

I remember the time I am so scared of dogs that when I notice stray dogs stare at me at the street, I become still and nervous. Those were the days where I don’t know how to solve these kind of problems. However, right now I have lessen the fear because I now know what to do and why dogs stare at us. It is a must knowledge the we know what to do when a dog looks at you if you are scared of them since if you are following this blog, chances are you are also scared of dogs.

To summarize what you need to do in case a dog stares at you and you are scared, you could try the following tips.

  1. Don’t mind them
  2. Do not encourage fear
  3. Try not to be nervous
  4. Ask for help
  5. If you are really scared, go the other way

If you want to learn more about them, read more about how below.

If you are new to the blog, make sure to check my other cynophobia articles: some of which are how to remove the fear of dogs which is the biggest tips that I can give that solved my problems, and if you have a friend who is scared of dogs and want to get to know their fear better, you can read my Why are we scared of dogs article. This one will help you understand and get along us better.

When a dog stares at you Infographic

What to do when a dog stares at you especially if you are scared of them

Here are some of the tips I can give you once a dog stares at you. However, I recommend you to also check out why dogs are staring at you in the first place. This will help you understand why they are doing it and help you in removing your fear of dogs.

Understanding them is a big part of removing your fear of dogs.

Biggest Tip

My Biggest tip is to know why they are staring at you. It will help you more in the long run than the quick tips. Just scroll down to the section below if you want to know more why they are staring at you.

1. Don’t mind them

Probably one of the best tips I can give based on experience. When dogs are threatened, just do your own way. Do not mind them since giving them some more attention especially if they are threatened will be an effective formula for trouble.

Try not to look back at them, see the other way and walk past them. Remember that they might just be confused and by not minding them or giving them a reason to be scared, you can get away safely.

2. Do not encourage fear

This goes in line with not minding them. I know you are scared. That’s why you are checking this article out in the first place. However, remember that dogs can sense emotional and facial cues.

Sensing fear in you also activates the same part of their brain as being threatened. This is a big problem since once they saw you as a threat, they have no choice but to protect themselves.

3. Try not to be nervous

Do not be nervous! Dogs can sense emotions from your facial cue. As I said, this activates the same part of their brain as being threatened.

So you are really scared like me before. How can you not feet so nervous?

First and foremost, you can check my article on how to remove your fear on dogs. But here is a quick tip.

Just don’t mind them.

As I said above, not minding them will save you from these kinds of problem. It can be telling yourself that you should not mind them repeatedly and walking past them.

That is the quick fix to these kind of situations. You may also check my other article to fully help you in your fear.

4. Ask for help

If there is a chance, you may also ask fellow people passing by to be with you. It might be situational but it might help easing your nervousness. If this does not even work? Then we have no choice but to do the final way,

5. If you are really scared, go the other way

This is my last go to options when I was scared of dogs. I usually go the other way or other block of road. Atleast you prevented some more problems by staying away from it. It is a quick fix and not a good one to use in the long run.

However, it might really help you in case of a big trouble.

I made an infographic for you to use. You may find it useful next time you are in these kind of situation

Why do dog stare

Why do dogs stare at you

There are many reasons why dogs stare at you. If you are reading this article as a cynophobe, I definitely recommend you to know these things so you will not panic every time a dog looks at you. If you are not and wondering why there is an article like this, you may understand us more by reading my why are we scared of dogs article.

Basically, the most common reason why they are staring at you is that of confusion. Why is this the case? There is a research conducted is PLOS ONE, where researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico had a bunch of dogs sit in an MRI machine to know what happens to their brain when looking at the people and the answer might surprise you.

50 pictures of different humans and 50 more inanimate objects where shown to these dogs and their brains are scanned. It is shown in the study that dogs tend to understand what people are thinking. They are really good in  reading facial cues which is surprising.

Surprising right? These creatures can read our facial expression. It might also be the reason why they sometimes tend to understand what we are saying.  The research says they can sense our emotion and facial cues which is one of the biggest reason they are staring at us.

So why is this important? Dogs stare at us because they are checking out what are we going to do to them. Are we going to be a threat? Are we going to be a source of treat? Are you we going to play with them? These are examples of what they are thinking when they stare at us.

To make it more understandable, I am going to separate it into two. One is what might be the reason why dogs stare at you as a pet owner and why do they stare at you as a stranger.

Dog as your pet

Chances are you are asking why am I including this in this article. Why would you have a pet dog even if you are scared of them. News Flash! There family dogs which sometimes becomes a pet of a cynophobe. There are even people who is scared on certain types of dogs. So I also need to include this in this Article.

They might be looking for Attention

If you have a pet dog, chances are they are looking for your attention. Maybe you have been busy with your work and they miss you. They might also be checking up your facial cues and emotion.

This does not only mean that you should play catch, give them treats or rub their belly. It could be that you are busy that your dog want you to play or to give time for them. After all, they are your pet.

They might want something

This goes in line with the might look for attention. They might really need something. They might be hungry, thirsty or just want to play with you.

Perhaps they might feel that you are sad and they want you to get your mind off a bit. Remember the research above? It really plays a big role when they stare at you.

Other examples are rubbing their belly, playing catch, looking for their treat, rubber ball or even they want to go for a walk with you.

They might be Confused

As dogs check your facial cues or expression, there will be times that they don’t know what we are thinking. This gets them also thinking what is it that you feel as their owner.

It is not surprising though, we humans tend are also not 100% perfect in knowing what others feel. There are times that we go out of line talking to people. So dogs will also be the same.

If this is what you think is the case, fear not. Just show what you really feel obviously to the dog and they will also feel at ease.

Another reason for this is the dog might think what you want from them. They don’t want to get the wrong picture and get you, the pet owner, angry at them. Nobody wants that but they just want to be sure. They want to understand us as the one who feeds them.

They might need a source of direction

They are dogs and you are human. Humans are smarter than dogs. This means that sometimes, dogs don’t know what to do.

As the owner, you need to directly instruct them what to do if such case happens. You might also feel the same since you can sometimes sense confusion with them.

This also happens when you start training your dog. They might wonder what you want from them and this is to time to give them a sense of direction on what you want from them. This is also related to confusion but you need to give them a sense of direction of instruction since they are confused and you can help them

Dog as a stranger

This might be a scary as a cynophobe but noticing dogs staring at you at the street does not only mean that they are going to bite you. There are other reasons why they are staring at you and you need to properly check on it.

But don’t be disheartened because once you find out the reasons for this, you can act wisely.

They might be looking for Attention

As with dogs as your pet, it might be the same on some other stray dogs. Maybe they want your attention because they need something from you. Maybe they need some help. We do not know why they stare but these stares are usually from a need for something.

They might want something

This goes in line with attention. Some dogs are just hungry or needed some place to stay. That’s why they are staring at you. If you are a scared of them such as me before, you can ask a friend to do it for them if you can’t help.

They might be Confused

As a stranger, the dog might be curious on you. This can also be seen with an innocent look at the dog without any signs of threats. However it might also be the case them they think you are a threat to them.

They might feel threatened

This is the scary part. Dogs that felt threatened are going to protect themselves. Of course combine that with your nervous look, they will get more confused and attentive. This is a big problem when you look at it since it needs you to be extra careful.

Questions, Suggestions and Help?

If you have questions or some more tips to help the community, feel free to comment down below. I will answer as fast as I can. You may also check out more of my articles such as lifestyle articles and more. Also feel free to check on me on social media!


Jason Ong is a YouTuber and the one who owns this site. He shares what he learned with people and makes videos if necessary. He was a former lecturer. The things he taught are topics related to Clinical Laboratory Science or what others call Medical Technology. Right now, he is also working part-time in an app company as a production supervisor. You can visit his YouTube Channel on https://ongjason.com/youtube

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