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There are a few possible causes of this behavior including an eye issue, seizure activity or even mice.
I had a dog that looked at the ceiling for about a month, panting and whining on and off. We had him checked out, and everything was fine. When we went to put up a ceiling fan, we found a mouse nest in the junction box. The dog could hear and smell the mice in the nest. So this is a possibility. We didn't even know we had mice in the house so it came as a surprise.
Some types of seizures can cause abnormal behavior and it can be different from dog to dog, one such behavior is trying to catch flies that are not there, so that can not be ruled out either. You can read about these here: http://www.canine-epilepsy.net/flybite/flybite.html
http://www.canine-epilepsy.net/basics/basics_index.html . You can read about all types of seizures here: http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/site_map.htm . He may have injured his eye and developed an ulceration creating a spot in his vision which is making him think he sees something that isn't there. So he sees the spot and moves his head higher to look for it and of course it moves too. Since he can't ever actually see it, this leads to stress, leading to the panting behavior and wanting to be with you.
Since seizures can be the result of toxin exposure, I'd err on the side of caution and have your dog seen if the behavior continues. If your dog hasn't eaten recently and is a smaller dog, you might want to put a drop of karo or pancake syrup on his tongue in case he is hypoglycemic. You can read about that here.
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