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Strange Dog Behavior


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#1 jackie2925

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 07:43 PM

For the past few weeks my American bulldog, Zeus has developed some strange behavior. I can't figure it out. He will randomly start barking, hair raised and run around the house looking for something. If he's outside he will look up in the sky like he's looking for something.

He doesn't just stop either. I have to scold him and he will finally stop.

A few days ago he was smelling the sidewalk in front of our house, on a leash and he got very scared. Tail tucked and he would try to bolt form the area. He would go back and stretch his head to smell the area without getting to close. This is when the looking up in the sky and growling thing started.

My other dog isn't doing a thing. Just acting like her normal lazy self. I'm not sure whats causing this but its very frustrating.
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#2 Heidi n Q

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 08:01 PM

Seems like he is smelling something that is frightening him.

Wanna try a test? Dab a tiny bit of Vicks Vap-o-rub on his nose, wait about 5min and then go for a walk and see if he reacts at any of the places he previously sniffed and got scared.

It won't tell you what he's scared of but it could show you that is it something olfactory in his environment that he is reacting to.

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#3 jackie2925

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 08:09 PM

I may try that tomorrow. I don't have any on hand. He's on alert all the time though. He sleeps in bed with my kids. And prior to all of this he never barked at night. Now if I walk out of my bedroom at night he's full on barking, growling hair raised.

Thinking about it I do remember a plane flying over the night we were outside. It was one you could hear faintly but not see.

My oldest son is getting spooked thinking that Zeus is barking at a ghost.
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#4 hästflicka

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 08:12 PM

Yes, or something that he associates with an olfactory 'happening'. Most important, don't "pamper" him and try to make him feel better, if you do he'll take it for approval of his behavior. Instead you need to be no-nonsense and use your normal voice, no scolding, no pampering feeling sorry for, just natural and expect him to do what you want.

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#5 Smokum

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 08:15 PM

What Heidi said, or maybe something with his eye sight. If he is seeing spots or shadows because he has/is losing eyesight for some reason it could explain why he's trying to sniff at nothing.

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#6 pintobeans

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 10:01 PM

Boyfriend's pit does something similar, only he stares at the dining room ceiling/fan like it's going to eat him. Freaks out to the point of destruction (which isn't a stretch for him) and urination. Sigh. I've asked boyfriend to go in the attic to see if there's something up there and maybe we are haunted.

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#7 Heidi n Q

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 12:39 AM

I have a habit of taming the local ferals and turning them into housecats. Pretty Green Eyes was my toughest feral-to-housecat. When she first started coming inside, the television FREAKED her OUT. She couldn't comprehend that the movement w/ sound on the wall wouldn't fully enter the room and 'get' her. I'd say it took a good 4mos before she became comfortable with the TV on.

It could be movement, sound, odor, a combination of two or all three the pets are reacting to. :confused0024:
I wish they could tell us so we could understand. Their vocal and silent body language is difficult for us to interpret at times.

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#8 Little Cow

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 05:29 AM

If he was previously acting normal and this behavior is new, you might let your vet check him out. Not to scare you, but we did have a dog with a brain tumor that had sudden behavioral changes.
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#9 ozland

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 07:08 AM

Cataracts comes to mind.....

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#10 JettyNJulie

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 07:38 AM

I was thinking maybe cataracts or hearing loss.. My Petey always thinks he hears something and runs to the window and bark, but usually he heard someone drop something in the other room, or an amish buggy going by. I'd rather have him a little more on high alert than not, however.
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#11 nightdreamer

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 09:35 AM

Could be a strange animal or something that has been around the house like a racoon or something he's getting a smell of.

#12 jackie2925

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 09:39 AM

He's only 3 and had a regular check about 3 months ago. Eyes checked out good then. I'm thinking that maybe he's hearing things off in the distance. We live on an army base. But not just a regular army base a training base.
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#13 ***ThreeStarsCorc***

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 02:07 PM

Some nights my dog'll do this kind of thing. Usually starts with a legitimate noise, that flips his alert switch to on, and he'll overreact the rest of the night. Will usually stop if I throw some white noise out there- a fan or whatnot.

I don't generally reprimand mine for barking, because he's pretty good about only barking when he thinks I need to know something. He quiets once I acknowledge him, usually with a good dog. If I don't let him know I hear him, he'll keep going.

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#14 Small Time Hay

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 02:46 PM

How are his ears? We had a dog that got mites in his ears. He kept "hearing" things but once we cleaned his ears and got rid of the mites everything went back to normal.
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#15 equicrzy

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 06:46 PM

If he was previously acting normal and this behavior is new, you might let your vet check him out. Not to scare you, but we did have a dog with a brain tumor that had sudden behavioral changes.


I was thinking along theses lines. Dogs will act weird, like they see/hear something, freak out, urinate, etc.....just before they have a seizure, they can sense SOMETHING is going to happen...but, if your dog hasn't had any seizures?

My neighbor's dog did things like that right before a seizure, that dog had epilepsy.

But, if your dog is healthy, I really don't know.
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#16 Taglet

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 06:57 PM

Ghosts! :twitch:

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#17 Kina Kat

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 12:33 AM

Ghosts! :twitch:

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#18 siseley

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 09:25 AM

I would have to agree with Equicrzy, and Little Cow.
Our older Lab started this type behaviour and in about 3 months she developed an epileptic seizure.
The Vet found a set of tiny tumors on her brain stem, and while we kept her on a medication, she succumbed about 3 months later. I am not trying to scare you, just relating what has happened to our pet, and now our friends across town have a dog with some of the same symptoms.
See your vet, and relate the symptoms to them. Perhaps they can do a brain and thyroid scan for tiny tumors.
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#19 dondie

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 03:40 PM

Friends of ours dog started barking at the walls and running around the house for about four months.
Then the dog stopped.
On their pre-winter fire place check by a Chimney Sweep, he found a couple of bird nests and two dried up chicks that had fallen on the closed damper and died.
They figured out that their dog had been hearing the birds in the chimney. The Chimney Sweep replaced the metal mesh at the cap and the dog was fine.

I've heard of mice climbing in the lath walls of old houses making dogs & cats act crazy. People that lived in an old 1890's Victorian across the street from my brother. "Lost" their ghost when they tented the house for termites.
The house started reeking and people were telling them that they had "Upset the Ghost." Instead of a hidden skeleton, they found dozens of rotting dead mice in the walls. After having foam insulation blown in, no more unexplained noises in the night.
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