Dog Acting Strange and Looking Around. Is it a Concern?

If you notice your dog acting strange and looking around frantically for seemingly no reason, these are the most common causes:

  1. Fear
  2. Stress or Anxiety
  3. Old age


Dog Acting Strange and Looking Around

Is your dog acting strangely and looking around as if it’s scared of something?

Are you concerned about your pup’s newfound behavior and would like to know how you can fix it?

My article will help you determine what could be causing your furry friend to act this way and how to deal with its behavior.

First, let’s discuss the reasoning behind it.


Dog Acting Strange and Looking Around: Common Causes

If there’s one thing about dogs you need to remember, it’s that they’re usually consistent with their behavior.

Also, just like humans, canines have their regular routines and like to stick to them.

So, if you notice any deviation from your pup’s normal behavioral patterns, you have every right to be concerned.

For instance, if your (usually) calm and collected pup suddenly start acting paranoid and fidgety throughout the day, there could be several reasons for this newly-developed behavior.

The most common causes are:

  • Fear
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Old age


In hopes of giving you a clear picture of how to discern the differences between these three causes, I would like to provide you with a few examples of each instance.


Dog Acting Strange and Looking Around: Fear

Dogs may act like fearless protectors, but they can get scared as easily as we humans do.

A frightened doggo will:

  • Put its tail between its legs
  • Lower its ears
  • Whimper while looking around


There could be several things that are scaring your pup, so now the real challenge is figuring out the cause.


Fear of Specific Objects in Your Home

If you like to redecorate your home from time to time, I’m willing to bet you buy new decor to match your furniture.

If that’s the case, your dog could be scared of the new items you purchased.

Fortunately, you’ll likely be able to spot the culprit and get rid of it.


Scared of New Smells

Keep in mind that dogs like to surround themselves with familiar smells.

If you like to change air-fresheners once in a while or try out a new perfume, your doggo will be the first one to notice.

New and unfamiliar smells can easily trigger fear in dogs, which can cause your pup to look around frantically to try and locate the source of the scent.


Dog Acting Strange and Looking Around: Stress and Anxiety

Dogs don’t get stressed as humans do, so it may be difficult for you to determine whether your pup’s behavior is stress-related.

The same thing goes for anxiety.

However, I’d like to share a few common behavior patterns of a stressed/anxious dog.

  • Your pup will whine a lot.
  • It will bark in a higher pitch than usual.
  • It may chase its tail more often than usual.


Stress Caused by a Change of Scenery

As I’ve already mentioned several times, dogs like to keep things familiar. If you’ve recently moved to a new home, your dog will feel stressed due to the change of scenery.

But that’s completely normal. I mean, even we humans experience some level of stress when we move to a new place.

Since dogs can’t express their feelings with words, they need to do so through their actions.

So, if you notice your dog acting strange and looking around your new home anxiously, keep in mind that it’s most likely behaving this way because of the unfamiliar surroundings.


Stress Caused by a New Pet 

Introducing a new pet to your household can stress your dog out. We would all like for our pets to get along with each other immediately.

Unfortunately, however, that’s not always the case.

You may have gone to the pet shelter and brought a new friend for your doggo to play with, but the reality is that your pup may not be up for it. At least, not at first.

When introducing a new animal to your household, here’s what you can expect:

  • Your dog will likely growl at the newcomer.
  • Your dog will probably snap and retreat away from it.


Dog Acting Strange and Looking Around: Old Age

No one likes to think about their dog getting older. However, aging is an inevitable part of life, even for our best friends.

However, before you mark your dog’s strange new behavior as age-related, keep in mind that small breeds age slower than large dogs and have longer life spans.

That means if you have a small pooch aged 10–12, it’s considered a senior dog.

Medium-sized breeds are considered to be senior dogs when they’re 8–9 years old, whereas large breeds are considered seniors at 6–7 years of age.


How to Deal With the Behavior

Dealing with any type of newfound behavior requires plenty of patience and understanding.

Keep in mind that your dog is not willingly acting differently, and possibly doesn’t even know its behavior is strange.

In the next section, I’d like to share some tips I found useful when dealing with this type of unwanted behavior.


How to Help a Scared Dog

If all signs are pointing toward fear, the first step is finding out what’s scaring your dog.


Fear of Inanimate Objects

As I mentioned, if your dog is afraid of an inanimate object, you can easily eliminate the culprit.

However, the better solution is to get your pup used to the object instead.

For instance, one of my friends had an interesting situation a few years ago when he decided to buy a Santa statue and place it next to his Christmas tree.

At first, his pup didn’t seem to notice it. However, a few hours later, the dog started looking around the room in a panicked state and whimpering on and off.

It took a while, but my friend finally figured out that the poor dog was afraid of the Santa statue!

Rather than packing it up, he decided to let his dog sniff the statue and get used to its presence.

After a few minutes, everything was back to normal, and his pup quickly became fond of the statue!

If you don’t want to keep having to throw away items your dog is scared of, the best thing to do is to allow your pup to sniff the object, lick it, and get to know its scent.


Fear of Scents 

On the other hand, if your dog is afraid of certain scents, you may have a difficult time discerning what smell is bothering it.

The best thing to do is to start with yourself. If you’re wearing a new perfume, your dog may not be a fan of it.

Most people like to douse themselves in perfume before they go out. That leaves the entire house smelling like a perfumery.

Since dogs have an incredibly keen sense of smell, the scent is bound to bother your pup at some point and cause it to behave erratically.

Furthermore, if you’re using a new fragrance, the unfamiliarity of it might cause your dog to panic.

If that’s the case, you should consider wearing less perfume or even putting it on outdoors.

Yes, your pup will eventually get used to the scent, but there’s no need to give your doggo a panic attack by overdoing it with your perfume.


How to Help a Stressed/Anxious Dog

Stressed in a New Home

Most people will move at least once in their lives. When you do so, your dog is bound to feel stressed and anxious in its new environment.

The best way to calm down an anxious dog is to surround it with as many familiar things as possible.

Create a special area just for your dog, and place all of its belonging there. Also, it doesn’t hurt to buy a few extra toys and doggy treats as well.

Remember to give your doggo extra love and attention for the next few weeks, or at least until it gets used to its new surroundings.


Anxiety Caused by a New Pet

Introducing a new pet to the family will always lead to a change in your dog’s behavior.

Some adapt within a few days, while for others, it can take months.

If you want to make sure everyone gets along with one another, you need to closely monitor your pets.

Make sure you don’t punish either party, but instead, reinforce good behavior.

Also, it’s essential to provide both pets with a “safe house” in the form of a crate. That way, either dog can quickly distance itself from the other.


How to Help an Old Dog 

If your dog is a senior one, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect a change in its behavior.

The important thing to remember is that, even if your pup does something out of the ordinary, you should try to maintain a regular exercise and play routine.

The next step is taking your dog to the vet for a consultation.

A professional will be able to advise you on how to deal with your pup’s newly-developed behavior.


Final Thoughts

Dogs behave strangely out of fear, anxiety, and stress. However, they also act differently as they grow older. Sometimes, the behavior will go away on its own.

However, other times your pet may need your help.

Whatever the case may be, seeing your dog acting strange and looking around the house can be quite alarming.

However, with the right approach, you can help your dog get back to its old habits in no time!

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2 thoughts on “Dog Acting Strange and Looking Around. Is it a Concern?”

  1. Thank you I found your article very interesting – I have always had dogs but not a frenchie of my own …. unique animals .. loveable. adorable very good companions. my Beau is 3 this month, lost her older companion earlier this year so decided to buy her a pup, Rosie – a beautiful cockapoo and they are great friends. Having extension done so are living in temp accommodation so I think this might be her problem she has LOTS of love and attention as I am retired – hopefully with time this anxiety will be resolved. thankyou

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