3 Reasons Why Your Dog Acts Like He Sees Something

Scared Dog

You might have noticed that your dog stares in one particular direction a lot as if he saw something. This behavior could be caused by a number of issues including fly-snapping syndrome. If you noticed this behavior in your dog recently, here are a few reasons why this is happening and how to go about fixing the problem.

1. Your Dog Has Fly-Snapping Syndrome

Your dog could have fly-snapping syndrome, which is when your dog suddenly begins to snap in the air a few different times while still looking straight ahead. Your dog will focus his gaze in front of him and he will act like he sees something, even though there is nothing in the area. Veterinarians believe this is caused by a neurological disorder, such as a partial seizure or epilepsy. It’s possible that fly-snapping syndrome is hereditary and is a result of canine epilepsy.

This behavior could be caused by eye problems such as vitreous floaters. Your dog could have floaters in his eyes and the black spots he sees he is mistaking for a fly. Compulsive behaviors are also thought to be a cause of fly-snapping syndrome, and could occur as the result of lack of socialization,being left in small rooms, or possible physical abuse in the past.

2. Your Dog Heard Something Strange

Dogs have very different hearing capabilities than humans, so it’s possible your dog heard something strange you aren’t aware of. Your dog likely will begin to stare as if he saw something in the direction where he believes the sound was coming from.

A dog can hear about four times the distance that humans can, so while their sight isn’t nearly as good as people, their hearing highly outweighs ours. If your dog is looking like he saw something, he likely heard something way off in the distance that you are unable to hear. While these sounds might not really be strange to you, your dog could be picking up on higher frequencies that you are unaware of.

3. Your Dog is Having Hallucinations

Hallucinations can be caused by fly-snapping syndrome, which likely is the result of canine epilepsy. Other medical issues could cause hallucinations as well, such as vitreous floaters and seizure disorders. Vestibular disease is also a possible cause of the hallucinations in dogs, which makes dogs feel like everything is upside down. You should take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible if you believe your dog is hallucinating, since it can be the result of an undiagnosed medical condition.

How to Minimize a Dog’s OCD Behavior

OCD behaviors can be minimized in your dog by incorporating more play time into their daily routine. You want to give your dog both more physical stimulation as well as mental stimulation to help ease the OCD symptoms. Take your dog on longer walks or get your dog some more interactive toys to keep them occupied throughout the day.

It’s also a good idea to try to distract your dog when you notice behaviors occurring, such as when they begin staring like they saw something. If your dog looks to be just staring off in the distance, distract him with treats or toys. Usually distracting your dog will snap them out of the behavior.

Call his name and try to get him to focus on something else. There are also medications that you can try if your dog is really struggling with OCD behaviors and nothing else has worked. You should take to your veterinarian to get an idea of what medications would work best to minimize these compulsive behaviors.

Have a lot of time at home with your dog due to the Covid-19 situation? There's no better time to start this amazing brain training system to eliminate all possible bad behaviors that your dogs may show at some point in their lives.
John at My Pet Child

is the Founder of My Pet Child, where he shares his tips on living with a dog in an apartment.

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Sarita Bradley
Sarita Bradley
4 months ago

I have a 12 year old Pomeranian, it bothers me cuz he acts like he sees something flying around the room and he watches it. His ears are positioned back like he’s scared. Sometimes he’s physically shaking. Me and hubby are really worried, it’s spooky too cuz his head pops up from a laying position as if something unseen has his attention all of a sudden and he reacts to something we can’t see. Sometimes he’ll stand up, jump off the sofa, it’s constant anxiety except for when he’s eating, playing with us, or asleep. His ears go from a… Read more »