You’ve noticed it, right? Whether it’s in the car, your living room, or front porch, dogs just love looking out the window. But why? What’s going on in their little doggie brains that could make it so exciting and should we be encouraging them to do it?
What’s the reason?
Why does my dog stare out the window? To answer this question we have to think about why we stare out the window (admit it, you do), normally with a cup of coffee in hand. It’s one of the first things I do every morning. I like to check the weather, look out at the little people below going around their morning commute, and sometimes, even a bit nosily, I look into my neighbor’s flats to check how the building work is coming along.
It’s no different for our dogs. They look out the window to see the world go by as it’s interesting! So maybe they’re not looking at their neighbor’s interior design, but for them, cars going past, a bird eating from the feeder, or the pesky postman walking by are all stimuli.
Similar to us too – and we’ve never experienced it more than in the last year – dogs love getting out of the house and exploring the world around them. Fresh air, different sounds, smells, and a bit of exercise are crucial.
Some also believe that a dog looking out the window is territorial behavior. By sitting there for the world to see they’re reminding every dog and their owner who this house belongs to. They can also protect the house from imminent danger – like parcels being delivered.
Is it a good idea to encourage this behavior?
Yes! But up to a point. Letting your dog gaze out the window gives them ‘access’ to the outside world and entertains them. It stimulates their brain and helps their cognitive processes. This obviously, however, shouldn’t be the only experience your dog has outside the home. They need to really explore, smell, see and experience new things outside. Letting them imagine it from the window is great, but they have to experience it for real.
It’s also a good idea to not let them do it for too long. If they see the fluttering bird outside but can’t actually interact with it (which is great for the birdie), they could become frustrated. Often this frustration manifests itself as barking or destructive behavior which could turn aggressive if they’re feeling territorial.
When you’re not taking your dog out for their walk and they’re not playing in the yard, it’s important they have enough entertainment inside the house to burn up all their energy. This could be puzzle games, toys, or training practice. If they’re entertained, they won’t feel so frustrated when they look out the window.
If you notice when your dog is looking out the window that they appear particularly stressed or anxious, or that they are barking at passers-by and movement, you need to try to calm them down. Reward them for not barking, bring them away from the window, or entertain them with a toy.
Letting your pup look out the window is a great way of them interacting with their environment. But it shouldn’t be their only interaction. Giving your dog plenty of outdoor exercise, time to roam, and social interaction is hugely important in making sure you have a happy and healthy dog.
Does your dog look out the window? Have you noticed what they’re normally looking at? Tell us below!
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