If your dog has been acting strangely, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. In this post, I will show you common reasons why dogs can start acting weirdly and what you can do about it.
So, why is my dog acting weird? Possible causes are illness, injury, being in a new environment, an issue with its diet, a change in its daily routine, being mistreated or boredom.
There are actually many reasons why your dog might be doing it and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are also a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are many things you can do about it.
Why your dog is acting weird
Below are common reasons why dogs can start acting weirdly and what would make them more likely to be the reason why yours has been doing it.
Illness or injury
The cause could be that it has gotten an illness or injury. This would be more likely if it has started acting weird suddenly, it has been crying, hiding, showing other signs of being ill or injured or if it has been being much less active as well. If it seems like illness or injury might be the cause, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
A new environment
If you recently adopted your dog, it could be the case that it is unsure of its new environment. In this case, it should begin to improve over the course of a few weeks or months. It would help to give it positive attention in the form of training, exercise and play. If it does not improve it would help to get the help of a vet or dog behaviorist.
Stress or depression
The reason why it has been doing it might also be that something has recently caused it to become stressed. This would be more likely if it started acting weird after an event occurred that might have caused it to get stressed. Such events could include an owner or another pet dying, another pet being added to the family or moving homes.
In this case, it should improve over the course of a few days or weeks. It would help to give it positive attention in the form of training, exercise and by playing with it. If it does not improve, it would help to get help from a vet or dog behaviorist.
It might be the case that something has been causing it to become fearful. This would be more likely if it does it more at certain times such as when there are fireworks, sirens or construction works outside.
In this case, it would help to remove the thing that is making it become fearful if possible or to try desensitization training.
Dogs are generally meant to get exercise on a daily basis. When dogs do not get enough exercise it can cause them to behave weirdly and it might be why yours has been doing it. This would be more likely if yours has started acting weird since getting less exercise.
It could also be the case that there is an issue with its diet. It could be the case that it has been eating things it should not be, it has not been getting the right nutrients in its diet or it has been eating too much or not enough. This would be more likely if it has started acting weird since a change in its diet or since it ate something that it probably should not have.
In this case, it would help to consult with your vet about its diet when you next see them, to make sure no one else has been feeding it and you can look here for advice on what to feed it.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it behaves that way. If you have been giving it treats, toys or extra attention, when it acts weird, it might have caused it to do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to encourage it to behave the way you want by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way and to follow the other tips below.
Someone mistreated it
The cause could be that someone mistreated it. This would be more likely if it has started acting weird suddenly, if it avoids certain people or if you know that someone was recently aggressive towards it.
In this case, it would help to ensure that it is not put in a position where it might be mistreated again and to give it positive attention regularly. If its behavior does not improve over the course of days or weeks, it would help to get help from a dog behaviorist.
The cause could be that it can hear noises that it does not like. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more at certain times such as when there are construction works or fireworks outside.
In this case, it would help to try to reduce the loudness of the noise or to use desensitization training.
A change in its daily routine
Dogs generally like having a consistent daily routine and it can cause them to act weird when their daily routine gets disrupted. This might be the reason why yours has been acting strangely. This would be more likely if it has started doing it since a change in its daily routine. Changes could include walking it at a different time, feeding it at a different time or waking up at a different time.
Another possible cause is that it has separation anxiety. This would be more likely if you have been leaving it alone for long periods lately and if it starts getting anxious when you are leaving. In this case, it would help to try to leave it alone for shorter amounts of time if possible.
If your dog recently misbehaved and you got mad at it, your dog might be acting weird because it is being submissive. This would be more likely if it has been trying to avoid you, if it has been showing other signs of submissive behavior and if it has been sulking.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when trying to figure out why your dog has been being weird.
What else happened when it started acting weird
It would help to consider what else happened when it started doing it since it might be the case that something happened that caused it to start acting weird.
Some things to consider would be:
- If you changed its diet
- If it got less exercise
- If it started showing other signs of being ill such as vomiting
- If someone was aggressive towards it
- If you have started leaving it alone for long periods
- If an owner left home or passed away
When it acts weird
If it has not been acting weird constantly, it might also help to consider the timing of when it starts doing it. For example, if it does it more when it does not get exercise, it would be more likely to be due to a lack of exercise. Whereas, if it does it at around the same time that you leave home, it might be due to separation anxiety.
If it has been acting weird constantly, it would make it more likely to be due to illness, injury, something it ate, being fearful, stress or depression. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
What to do about your dog acting weird
Below are some options you have when dealing with your dog acting weird.
Take it to a vet
If it has been showing signs of being ill or injured, it has been acting that way for a long time or it has been acting very strangely, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to rule out medical causes and to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog.
Get help from a dog behaviorist
If there are no medical issues, another option would be to get help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see why it has been behaving that way and how to get it to stop.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have been encouraging the behavior by giving it things it wants when it acts that way. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want, to wait for it to stop acting weird before rewarding it and to give it positive reinforcement training.
Ensure that it is getting the right diet
It would also help to make sure that it has been eating correctly, that no one else has been feeding it and that that it has not got access to things that it should not be eating.
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