If your dog often looks up at nothing, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you five common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do about it.
So, why does my dog look up at nothing? Possible reasons why your dog looks up at nothing are hearing, seeing or smelling something, or having learned that the behavior is rewarded.
Your dog might actually be doing it for a number of different reasons and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.
Reasons why your dog looks up at nothing
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.
It hears something
The cause could be that it hears something. This would be more likely if it does it when you also hear something but it could still be the case that it hears something when you do not. It would also be more likely if it does it more when it is likely to hear something such as when there are people outside.
It sees something
Another possible cause could be that it sees something. The thing that it sees could be a fly, a reflection on a window or light reflecting onto a wall from outside. This would be more likely if it tends to do it when you also see something and if it does not seem to be doing it excessively.
It smells something
The cause might also be that it smells something. This would be more likely if it does it more at a certain time such as when there is food being cooked in the kitchen or a strong smell coming from something else.
The cause might also be that it has an injury. It might be the case that there is an issue with its neck or it could be a mental issue. This would be more likely if it has been doing it excessively and if it has been behaving unusually in other ways as well. If your dog has been doing it excessively, it would be best to get a vet to take a look at it.
The cause might also be that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give it things such as treats, toys or extra attention, when it looks up at nothing, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
How often your dog looks up at nothing
It would help to consider how often it does it. If it only does it occasionally, it would be more likely to be due to things such as smelling something, hearing something or seeing something. Whereas, if it has been doing it a lot, it would be more likely to be due to a more serious issue or it might have learned that the behavior gets rewarded.
What is different when your dog looks up at nothing
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to do it. If there is, it might be the case that the timing has something to do with it. For example, if it does it more at 9am it might be because it hears lots of cars and people driving past.
What to do about your dog looking up at nothing
Below are some things you can do about the behavior.
Take it to a vet
If your dog has been doing it excessively or it has been behaving unusually, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored to your particular dog and to rule out the possibility of more serious causes.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to ignore it when it does not until it starts behaving the way you want it to again.
Let it continue
It is likely that it would be difficult to train it to stop looking up at nothing. If it has not been doing it excessively, the easiest option would be to just let it continue doing it.