All dog owners can agree: dogs do a lot of things that, while weird, are designed to tell us something. For example, you know that happiness is plentiful if there is a wagging tail. A rattling food bowl is most likely an indicator of hunger. However, walking into your house from a long day at work only to find Fido staring at something is, to say the least, disconcerting. Is it a sign of a sickness or is there a ghost that only he can see?

Why Do Dogs Stare at Random Things?

Although this behavior may seem inexplicable, there are some possible explanations.

Acute Hearing

It’s probably safe to assume that there is no ghost, so you can breathe easy in that regard. One of the reasons why dogs stare at things is because of their acute hearing, which is so much better than our hearing. If, for example, if your dog stares at a wall, he or she may be picking up on tiny animal or insect sounds that you normally won’t hear. You may have an infestation in your house.

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS)

Sometimes, however, staring at things may be a bad sign. One such condition could be CDS, which is brought on by old age. These days, due to better healthcare, dogs live longer than they used to. Studies show that about 28% of dogs above the age of 11 are more prone to CDS while plenty of dogs with this condition are not diagnosed. Diagnosing the condition is not easy since it is diagnosed through elimination. Aside from staring, accompanying symptoms may include disorientation, changes in sleep patterns, disregard for learned rules, and others.
You can handle CDS using several strategies. First, make sure that the vet confirms the presence of CDS. The vet will then prescribe a number of solutions that may include an antioxidant-rich diet plan, mental stimulation through exercise, medications, and other things.


Traditionally, humans associate seizures with more visible symptoms such as frothing at the mouth. In dogs, a seizure can manifest itself as staring at things. This type of seizure is known as a focal or partial seizure. They are tough to detect but repeated staring is a sign, which is why you need to get a vet involved. Causes of such seizures include epilepsy and cancer. The vet will manage it through medications.

Other Reasons

1. The staring could be a compulsive disorder just like in people.
2. You may have conditioned your dog to seek attention that way. If you give him attention every time he stares, then he will keep staring at things whenever he needs attention.
3. Some research has suggested that staring at you may be a sign of a positive bond on the hormonal level.