Dear Dr. Gail, sometimes our dog Lulu barks for no reason. My mom says she hears things that we don't, but what could she be hearing and why does she always shake her head after she barks? I think she's barking at ghosts.
I do not know much about ghosts, but I can give you some ideas about Lulu!
Your mother is right in that dogs do have very sensitive hearing. Their ear is shaped differently than ours inside so that noises are much louder to them. Many dogs can even hear the sound of a car door slamming from a block away.
When Lulu barks, she probably hears something unusual in the distance and is alerting you. She is being protective of your house and wants to be sure that you are safe.
You didn’t tell me how old Lulu is, but sometimes dogs bark because they are becoming deaf or confused, just like what can happen with very old people.
Headshaking after barking could mean that her ears are bothering her. She may have an ear infection, and should have them checked out by your veterinarian.