Pomeranians are not the only breed of dogs that like to stare at their people. But they are arguably one of the cutest!
Why does your Pomeranian stare at you? What is going through your dog’s mind? What does that unblinking stare mean?
We are going to answer all of these questions and more in this article.
Why Does My Pomeranian Stare At Me
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), dogs stare at their owners for several reasons.
The first is simply because they want to connect and communicate. Eye contact is a powerful communication tool.
But that isn’t the only reason. Dogs are truly specialists in studying, interpreting, and responding to human behavior. Your Pomeranian is staring at you because your dog is studying you and trying to get to know you better!
We will talk about the science behind this statement in the rest of this article.
Watch a Pomeranian Doing “The Stare”
You might wonder how any dog can stare and stare and stare without even blinking. And that is exactly what we are going to investigate in this article.
But first, to get a good idea of the type of behavior we are talking about (if you’ve never seen it before), you can watch this adorable YouTube video of a wide-eyed, unblinking Pomeranian dog staring like a champion.
The Science Behind Those Cute Pomeranian Puppy Dog Eyes
Many people who have loved dogs their whole life are not aware that dogs are the only domesticated mammal that has literally evolved in direct response to their close connection with our species.
As New Scientist explains, somewhere along the way, dogs evolved special eyelid muscles to make “puppy dog eyes” – a look humans quite reliably respond to in favorable ways.
Wild wolves, the direct ancestor to modern domestic dogs and their closest genetic relative, do not have these special eyelid muscles.
These muscles allow your Pomeranian to lift the inner eyebrow – the part beneath the brow ridge but above the eyelid – to make those adorably cute mournful puppy eyes we so love.
We love this look because it widens our Pomeranian’s eyes, making them look more puppy-like, more pleading (or sad), and also – it has to be said – even cuter.
We respond to this expression in ways that are advantageous to dogs, such as with pats, with treats and praise, and with pampering and attention. So in a way we have not only created but also reinforced the development of puppy dog eyes.
What If Your Pomeranian Was a Wild Wolf?
Of course, puppy dog eyes isn’t the only expression your Pomeranian can make.
Pomeranians can also stare like champions, as the YouTube video, you watched earlier here aptly illustrates.
What is so interesting here is that if your Pomeranian were a wild wolf instead of a domesticated modern dog, staring would be considered extremely rude – even hostile.
In fact, as a wolf owner explains in Forbes, staring is not a good strategy at all if you want to make friends with a wolf.
You actually want to do the exact opposite and avoid making eye contact if at all possible.
One reason staring is an antagonistic social behavior in wolves is because wild wolves use the stare to communicate “this is mine – stay away.” This is called “resource guarding” and it is a very important survival skill.
If a dog does stare at you while standing near a treat, food bowl, or favorite toy, this is not the time to move closer. Your Pomeranian is likely resource guarding “their” belongings and this is a problem behavior that requires expert K-9 training to resolve.
What Staring Typically Means When It Is Between Owners and Their Dogs
As the American Kennel Club (AKC) explains, one of the main reasons that owners and their dogs tend to stare at one another is because it releases a powerful “feel good” chemical called oxytocin.
When you stare at your Pomeranian and your dog stares at you, both of you get a hit of oxytocin.
This bonding hormone is so positively reinforcing it has even been nicknamed the love hormone.
Since you can get more of it just by staring at your dog (and vice versa) it is no wonder dogs and their owners spend so much time staring at each other!
It is oxytocin that reinforces the sensation of bonding between you and your Pomeranian. The more you stare at one another, the deeper your bond becomes.
An Odd Fact About Pomeranian Eyeballs
Another strange fact that many dog lovers and dog owners don’t realize is that dogs actually have a third eyelid of sorts.
Just in case you are confused about where the second eyelid is, it is the lower eyelid (the first eyelid is the upper eyelid).
This special third eyelid is called the nictitating membrane. As Davies Veterinary Specialists points out, the main purpose of this third eyelid is to protect the eye.
If you have ever looked over at your Pomeranian because you thought your dog was staring at you and realizing your Pom was sound asleep, it is likely the nictitating membrane was responsible for the illusion of wakefulness.
Unlike the main outermost eyelid, the nictitating membrane is translucent. It sits between your Pomeranian’s eyeball and the outer eyelid. It can slide over the eye any time there is a need for a barrier between the eyeball and the outside world.
Unfortunately, as Traditions Veterinary Centers explains, Pomeranians can suffer from certain health issues that involve this special protective membrane as well as the outer main two eyelids.
When left untreated, problems with the nictitating membrane can eventually contribute to blindness. Cataracts, entropion (inward-turning eyelid, distichiasis, cherry eye, and various infections can all lead to trouble using the third eyelid naturally.
If you suspect your Pomeranian is staring at you because they are having trouble with their eyes, it is always smart to schedule a visit with your dog’s veterinarian.
Your Pomeranian Is Trying to Anticipate Your Behavior
Even though most people don’t want to admit it, there is always an element of survival interest at work underneath other motivations for why we act the way we act.
The same holds true for your Pomeranian.
As PetMD explains, while some anticipatory behaviors your Pomeranian uses may be instinctive, many are actually learned.
As in, you taught your dog to stare and stare and stare.
If you don’t remember teaching your Pom to stare at you, it might help to think back on how you typically react when you catch your dog watching you.
Do you “ooh and ahh” over your dog, exclaiming about how cute your Pomeranian is and offering pats, praise, playtime, and/or treats?
Do you stop what you were doing and go over to spend time with your dog, taking photos or videos and speaking sweetly to your pup?
When your Pomeranian stares at you for the 30 minutes (or two hours) before the regular time when you serve their meals, or right before the evening walk you always do together, you can bet you actually taught your dog to do this.
Other Strange Reasons Your Pomeranian Stares At You
Sometimes dog owners get weirded out when their Pomeranian stares at them while doing their business out on the lawn.
But if you think like a dog instead of like a person, it is easier to see how your Pomeranian might feel quite exposed or even in danger while squatting to relieve themselves out in public.
This is a time when your dog has to answer nature’s call and this makes them less well able to defend themselves from potential threats.
So staring at you could well be the equivalent of asking you to be their lookout while they visit the canine port-o-potty!
Your Pomeranian Stares Because They Want Something You Have
Nearly every dog owner has had the experience of eating a juicy hamburger while their canine companion quite literally salivated nearby, watching their every move.
As Modern Dog Magazine points out, if you have ever – even one time – succumbed to “the stare” and fed your dog while you were eating, you can bet your Pomeranian remembers.
Your dog stares because they don’t know exactly why you fed them at that time and aren’t feeding them this time.
Staring isn’t a sure thing, but it isn’t a lose-lose proposition either. This could be the time when you choose to feed your dog again and you can bet your Pomeranian isn’t going to pass up the chance for a morsel.
One of the best perks of dog ownership is getting to experiment with thinking like a dog. You get regular infusions of oxytocin while gaining a glimpse inside the mind of a species that is not your own, yet one you love and treasure.