Why Do Dogs Stare at the Wall?

red spaniel puppy staring to the side

Have you ever walked into a room and noticed your dog just staring blankly at the wall? It can be a little unnerving, especially if they don’t seem to notice your presence. Are they aware of something that you can’t see? Are they sick? There are a few rational and irrational reasons behind why dogs stare at the wall. Why do dogs stare at the wall? Here are a few potential reasons to consider:

1. Is There Something in the Wall?

Dogs have much better hearing than humans. This means they might be picking up on presences that humans can’t. Your dog might be aware of a squirrel that is loose between your walls. Or, they might hear mice rustling in the walls. Dogs can also sense the presence of bees and termites. These noises will pique your dog’s curiosity and they’ll want to find the source of the noise.

If you find your dog staring at the wall, sit close to the wall and see if you can hear any rustling. Take note of your dog reacting to any noise, with a head tilt or moving to another part of the wall. If you hear noises as well, it might be time to contact an exterminator to assess if you have any creatures living in your walls.

2. Are There Ghosts?

If you do a quick Google search for why dogs stare at the wall, you may find a lot of anecdotes about dogs being able to sense the presence of a spirit. This assumption is often fueled by horror movies and other fantasy tales.

But from a scientific standpoint, no, dogs do not see ghosts. If your dog’s behavior persists, call your veterinarian instead of a local ghost hunter.

3. Is My Dog Sick?

Sadly, infestations are not the only reason dogs stare at the wall. There are a few health conditions that can cause this behavior, with some conditions being fairly serious.

1. Aging or Senility

Just like humans, dogs can show signs of senility as they age. There are ways to care for your senior dog and things to watch for as they age. Senior dogs can exhibit Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS), which is similar to Alzheimer’s Disease in humans. This is becoming more common in dogs as they live longer than they used to.

CDS causes a cognitive decline in dogs and is very common in senior dogs. However, due to many symptoms overlapping with other causes, it is very hard to diagnose many dogs with a true diagnosis. There are a few key symptoms that show with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.

Dogs with CDS will show symptoms of disorientation, changes in interactions with people and other animals, changes in sleep habits, and forgetting previously learned rules. If you find your dog blankly staring at a wall, this could be the first sign of disorientation. If other symptoms present, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

2. Seizures

When people typically think of canine epilepsy, dramatic symptoms like convulsions come to mind. However, there can be less dramatic symptoms that indicate a seizure disorder. Staring at the wall can be a symptom of a type of seizure called partial seizure or focal seizure. This kind of seizure disorder can be hard to diagnose, so if your dog continues to stare at walls, consult your veterinarian.

4. Is it Compulsive Behavior?

Compulsive behavior can also be another reason your dog is staring at the wall. Dogs can exhibit compulsive behavior like spinning, tail chasing, fly biting, staring into space, and chewing. This also could be a way for your dog to get your attention.

So, why do dogs stare at the wall? There are a variety of potential reasons. Just because your dog stares at the wall does not automatically mean they suffer from CDS or another neurological disorder. But if you notice the behavior is accompanied by other changes in your dog’s behavior, it might be time to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.