Sunday, 26 June 2016

Owners’ direct gazes increase dogs’ attention-getting behaviors

Volume 125, April 2016, Pages 96–100

  • a Senshu University, Japan
  • b Jichi Medical University, Japan
  • c Azabu University, Japan


Dogs attention-getting behaviors increase when confronted by owners direct gazes.
Dogs are sensitive to human gazes, and this may act as an attachment signal.
This may contribute to close relationships between humans and dogs.


This study examined whether dogs gain information about human’s attention via their gazes and whether they change their attention-getting behaviors (i.e., whining and whimpering, looking at their owners’ faces, pawing, and approaching their owners) in response to their owners’ direct gazes. The results showed that when the owners gazed at their dogs, the durations of whining and whimpering and looking at the owners’ faces were longer than when the owners averted their gazes. In contrast, there were no differences in duration of pawing and likelihood of approaching the owners between the direct and averted gaze conditions. Therefore, owners’ direct gazes increased the behaviors that acted as distant signals and did not necessarily involve touching the owners. We suggest that dogs are sensitive to human gazes, and this sensitivity may act as attachment signals to humans, and may contribute to close relationships between humans and dogs.


  • Gaze;
  • Attention;
  • Dogs
Corresponding author at: School of Human Science, Senshu University, 2-1-1 Higashimita, Tama-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa 214-8580, Japan.