Watching the World Go By

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Last weekend my sister-in-law sent me this photo of her dog Kylie. She’s sitting on the landing of their stairway in front of a large picture window looking over her yard and the street. It’s her favorite spot and perfect for surveying the neighborhood activities.
kylieatthewindow
 
It got me thinking about why dogs (and cats) sit and watch out the window – or at least why some do and some don’t. The only dog of mine that used to do that was Max. She would sit at our dining room window, rest her chin on the windowsill and watch the street. We lived on a corner so there was a lot to watch.
 
But none of my other dogs have done it. Is it that they aren’t interested in what’s going on out there, or did we just not have a good window to look out of?
 
Jack will lie in his bed by the side door when I go out and watch for us to come home. He will also watch us through the front window when we are hiding the treats for a game of find the food, but those are the only times he looks out a window. Maggie will sit by the door and look IN when she’s waiting for dinner, but she never sits and looks out. I don’t recall Tino or Sally doing it either.
 
Maybe it’s a weather thing? It’s warm here and they can go outside whenever they want, they don’t have to look longingly at the out of doors.
 
Does it mean that dogs that do it are more watchful or protective? Or are they bored and want the stimulation? Or is it that dogs that don’t do it are just focused on the internal family activities? I don’t know the answer, but looking for theories. A quick search turned up nothing – only articles about dogs sticking their heads out of car windows, which is a whole different thing.
 
What do you think? Does your dog have a favorite lookout spot where they watch the world go by? Or are they like Jack & Maggie and don’t really care what’s going on out there?
 

Kylie outside lookout spot.

Kylie’s outside lookout spot.

 
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37 Comments

  1. maybe it’s a herding dog-thingy to have always an eye on their area? Easy is a typical hunter, he only looks out of the window if he hears something what could be a prey :o)
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  2. Dolly never showed any interest in looking out windows because we never had any for her to look out, they are all above her and we live on the second floor. Once we had a cat she showed interest and would look out with the cat. You have to be careful because some dogs that do it bark which means they are territorial and warning other dogs, this isn’t suppose to be healthy. With Taffy, she always looked out the window at my mom’s. She had a love seat in front of her picture window where Taffy could stand and look out between the shears all the time. Realizing this I have tried making a window available for her to look out here. Next to the “dog’s” chair I always pull up the blinds for her and she does look out a lot so I’m glad she still enjoys doing this.
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    • Max was never territorial…she just watched the kids go by on the street…but I know some dogs do get like that and freak at passersby.
      mkob recently posted…Watching the World Go ByMy Profile

  3. Cash watches outside when he wants to go out. We live on a farm and he wants to go outside. That said, he also watches t.v. when something of his interest is on. He prefers to go and sit outside, and he comes back in when he is ready. None of my other dogs (females) did this.

    • None of my dogs have ever watched TV…that’s another one I should investigate.
      mkob recently posted…Watching the World Go ByMy Profile

  4. Kilo is usually on high alert looking out the window ready to bark and pounce for anyone who happens to walk by. But the odd time I just catch him staring outside almost in a meditative state I always wonder what he is thinking about.

  5. Kylie has a sweet perch, even I’m jealous. We know plenty of familiar dog-faces around the neighborhood who peer out windows, but my apartment offers no such vantage points. At my old place Eko had a lookout and I suspect he and Penny would both appreciate my next place have one.

  6. Interesting question – I wish I knew the answer as well. Kylie’s spot looks awesome and comfy by the way. My previous dogs didn’t look out the window much but Laika tends to watch it like a hawk. It might be because in the house I own now I’ve got a few sliding glass doors – she tends to do a lot of lounging & looking while basking in the sun. We didn’t have any convenient spots for watching in our previous house. I know Laika’s more protective than any of the other dogs I’ve owned but yeah.. it’s a good question.
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    • We’ve got great windows for the dogs to look out, but neither of them do unless we are in the yard. We live on a dead end street and there’s not much activity…but even when there is, no interest.
      mkob recently posted…Watching the World Go ByMy Profile

  7. Blueberry isn’t really into gazing out the door or window. But she does have intense focus when we are at the park or hiking. She can stay in one spot for a really long time, just waiting for a critter to appear. And if she sees even the slightest movement, she’ll stay in that one spot even longer. I usually have to encourage her to get going again.

    My last dog Shadow was a cattle dog mix as well and she LOVED looking out the door and the window. I suppose it has little to do with breeding and more with personality. Just like some humans can sit and watch a bird feeder or other wildlife for hours, some would find it tedious and even ridiculous.
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    • Tino was like that waiting for rabbits to poke their noses out of their den…he could lie in wait for hours, fall asleep and wake up ready to pounce.
      mkob recently posted…Watching the World Go ByMy Profile

  8. Both of my guys are window/door watchers especially if something is going on out there. Sometimes they are known to just sit and stare and other times just to take a glance on their way through … like making rounds. I call it being nosy and that long collie nose!
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  9. You’ve probably seen my photos of Luke on the back of the couch watching out the window. Cricket gets up there too, but Sheba doesn’t lie and look out any windows (and we have plenty others she could without having to be on the couch). Then again, when we’re home she can go outside on the deck and look around. I think Luke and Cricket are more watchful, and keeping an eye out for things, and I think especially intruders (they both bark if a car pulls in the driveway). They do it more when either my hubby or I aren’t home, but they still do it some when we are.
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    • I think it is related to protectiveness to some degree, but Jack is pretty protective of me and he doesn’t do it.
      mkob recently posted…Watching the World Go ByMy Profile

  10. Cooper and Lucas both love to look out the window. They’ll prop themselves up on the couch and watch all the things that pass by. Of course, they love to BARK at all the things that pass by, too… Emmett has zero interest. Even if he’s on the couch closest to the window, he gazes into the living room rather than outside. I never put my thought to it, but now I have to! Great question!
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  11. All our windows are about a foot off the floor. So Honey could easily hang out and watch the world. But she’s more interested in sitting by my side.

    Most of the time, I’m more interesting than anything happening on the street. Who’d have thought? 🙂
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  12. Kylie, has on occasion, killed squirrels and raccoons…even crows in the yard. So I’m wondering if it’s related to a hunting instinct and she’s keeping an eye out for prey. She, I’m sure, believes that her territory stretches as far as the eye can see and she’s at a good vantage point to savor the goings on 🙂
    Thanks for the super article, Kate and to all who left the great comments!!

  13. Kylie is a gorgeous dog! Bentley and Pierre LOVE to watch out the front window. They feel the need to bark greetings to any thing that moves on our streets. The sill is the exact height for Bentley to rest his head. Pierre watches our the front and back searching for lizards and squirrels.
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    • That’s what Max would do – rest her head on the sill…it was so funny to see her from the outside.
      mkob recently posted…Watching the World Go ByMy Profile

  14. I think it’s totally a case of dogs being individuals. Scooter, our pom LOVES to look out the window- but he of course needs assistance getting into prime viewing condition. Bear, it seems, could take it or leave it- the only time he’s interested is if an open window brings in a good smell 🙂

    Of my past dogs, only one of them loved looking out the window in this way- she was quite obsessive about it- and we jokingly called her ‘gladys cravitz’ because she was always snooping on the neighbors!

  15. We have a storage bench which currently sits under a window in our bonus room on the 2nd floor, overlooking our (fairly boring) cul-de-sac. The pups like to sit on it occasionally to observe bird & squirrel activity happening on trees within their sight, FedEx or UPS drop offs, and us doing yard work right outside that window. When we lived in an apartment complex, the bench sat right under a window in our kitchen, and the pups seemed to sit on there on a much more frequent basis ~ maybe because we were in the kitchen a lot more than we actually are in the bonus room? There wasn’t anything interesting going on outside that kitchen window either except for lots of trees!
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  16. Nellie will sit/lay in front of the patio doors and just watch, I think she is watching for people coming in the driveway so she can alert us. Glory doesn’t watch at all and Gman will only watch if one of us is outside as he thinks we are doing something without him.
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  17. All of mine love to look out the windows. Cats and dogs both!
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  18. Freighter loves to look out the window. The only place he can get a really good view is at the cabin where he can watch the road. Of course he has to climb on the bed to really see and be comfy….lol.
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  19. Haley keeps a close eye on what’s happening in her yard. She looks out the window pretty often just in case a squirrel, deer, cat (or god forbid, a skunk) is encroaching on her turf. She’s never hurt another animal, she just wants them out of her yard. I’m pretty sure that’s why she enjoys looking outside through the windows.
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  20. Harley is a couch window watcher. He has two couches he loves to lay on and stare out the window.

  21. I think it is a prey drive thing. Some dogs love to watch critters. The dog in those photos looks like a critter lover to me.

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