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11 Surprising Reasons Why Dogs Stare At The Wall (2023)

Why Do Dogs Stare At The Wall

You’re sitting down watching T.V. when suddenly…

Your pooch stares at the wall.

They don’t move and are so focused on it.

Sometimes it becomes creepy and worrying.

Distracting them with toys often works.

But today nothing seems to take them off of staring at the wall.

What’s happening?

Continue reading to find out:

  • 11 surprising reasons why dogs stare at the wall.
  • Activities that can make your pooch do this behavior.
  • What health problems do they have that lead them to stare at the wall.
  • And much much more…

Why do dogs stare at the wall?

Dogs stare at the wall because they have dementia. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome is another health issue that your canine might have. Staring at the wall is also a sign of compulsive behaviors. If you also give your dog some attention while they do this, they will do it again.

11 reasons why dogs stare at the wall

#1: They want your attention

Dogs do all sorts of silly things when they want something from us. You’ll notice this when activity in their routine is coming up.

For example, if they think that it’s already eating time, they might nudge your hands. Other canines will go all crazy and bark loudly at you to get your attention.

A reason why dogs “act out” to get your attention is positive reinforcement. You have accidentally trained them to repeat a certain action.

And this happened by giving them attention.

Take barking for example. 

Do you go to your pooch, pet them, and give them treats when they “woof” at you? If yes, then there’s a high chance they’re going to do it again.

This happens because they associate barking with positive rewards. Examples of these would be treats and pets.

There’s a reason why the VCA suggests using positive reinforcement during training. It’s the best method to use when teaching your pooch.

Think negative reinforcement is better? I hate to disagree but, research shows that this training method isn’t healthy for dogs.

It can negatively affect the health and welfare of your pooch both in and out of training.

Now, circling back to positive reinforcement, this might be what caused your dog to stare at the wall. You might be giving them “rewards” when they do it.

Maybe you got worried for them or even felt creeped out. Whatever the reason as to why you give your dog attention, this principle still applies.

Further reading: 15 Reasons Why Your Dog Barks At You (All Of A Sudden)

#2: They have Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

I know this section sounds scary. And that’s totally understandable who doesn’t want their pooch to stay healthy, right?

However, Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome or CDS makes dogs stare at walls. It’s a medical condition that is often seen in older canines.

If your pooch already lived beyond their average age, then they could have CDS.

“What exactly does this illness do to my pooch?”

Simply put, CDS is similar to Alzheimer’s Disease in humans. It affects your dog’s mental capacities and can make their behaviors odd. 

According to the AKC, canines between 11 to 12 years old are diagnosed with CDS. And naturally, this number increases when more dogs grow old.

If your dog also looks disoriented and has changed their behavior, then they could have CDS. One of the differences in their actions you’ll see is how they interact with their surroundings.

An example of this is staring at the walls. If this type of behavior is new to your pooch, then that’s a symptom of CDS.

Other signs of this disease in dogs include:

“Did you say forget their potty training?”

Yes. As your dog ages, there might be more cases of them pooping and peeing inside.

And not just that, some dogs will also develop the habit of staring at walls. Doesn’t matter if they’re seeing an object or not, they’d just do it out of senility.

Check out next: Dog Pooping On Carpet: 15 Reasons + 15 Tips To Stop ASAP

#3: They remember their playtime

What exercises do you do with your dog? Have you been taking them out for activities that involve laser and lights?

If you used to do this, it’s possible that playing with lasers is the cause why your dog stares at the wall. It’s all fun and games when they run after that red dot. But problems may arise if they keep “looking” for it.

It’s like your dog is an action movie star who met the villain that killed their parents. “Finally… we meet again…” *shows fight stance*

Ohhhh I’d watch this movie. Let’s call it Batdog. 

Going back to lasers… your dog could remember the times when they used to hunt for it. And seeing certain spots and dancing lights on your wall reminds them of the laser.

Research shows that dogs remember the actions their fur parents do. And this will include your playtimes with them.

They associate spots on your wall with the laser light they used to “hunt”. This behavior can be oftentimes seen in Sighthounds such as:

  • Saluki.
  • Borzoi.
  • Whippet.

Because of the hunting characteristics of dogs, other forms of lights can cause them to stare. If you have blinking lights at your home, this will trigger the behavior, too.

Sunlight coming in through the window can look like laser lights, too. Some canines even stare at small moving shadows because of curiosity.

If you want to stop this behavior, here are a few things you can do:

Tip #1: Introduce them to a new toy.

Tip #2: Put them inside crates to keep them away from the walls.

Tip #3: Call them to you, and when they take their focus away from the wall, give them treats.

#4: They heard something

Your Dog Stares At The Wall Because They Heard Something

Ever seen how the “Spidey-Sense” works? Spiderman knows danger is coming because of this ability.

While your dog can’t climb buildings and swing from trees, they do have “special senses”, too. Of course, I’m talking about their excellent hearing abilities.

Some dogs go crazy when they hear their fur parents’ car approaching. Or maybe hearing their hooman’s voice from afar.

You might wonder why dogs go crazy, it’s because they’re excited their mom/dad is coming.

And they can hear their parents approaching because they can hear extremely well. According to the AKC, there are some frequencies that only canines can hear.

Humans in general cannot hear above 20,000 Hertz. While dogs can listen up to 65,000 Hz. A canine’s ears can also hear sounds that are too quiet for our ears. 

-5 dB to -15 dB? Not a problem for your pooch.

The reason why dogs have excellent hearing is because of their predatory ancestry. Dogs, much like their wolf brothers used to hunt animals like:

  • Fox.
  • Rabbit.
  • Racoon.

And when your dog stares at the wall, they might be hearing something you didn’t. The sound could be from a rodent running inside the panels.

Flies and other small insects could also pique your dog’s interest. This behavior can be seen more in hunting dog breeds like:

  • Beagle.
  • English Pointer.
  • Golden Retriever.
  • Labrador Retriever.
  • English Springer Spaniel.

When this happens, you can try taking your dog out for activities. Focus on ones that engage their hunting skills.

#5: They’re experiencing seizures

To some people, when they hear the word seizure, they think of wild shaking and flinching. And that’s understandable, that’s what we mostly see in the media and books.

However, another form of seizure can look like your dog is staring at a wall. This is what medical professionals call a “focal seizure”.

It looks like your pooch is focusing on something. But in fact, they’re already having a seizure.

It can be difficult to see whether your dog is experiencing this since it’s very subtle. Although one sign that they’re having a focal seizure is that they repeatedly stare at the wall.

When this happens, you should call your vet and have them check your pooch.

“What is the usual cause for dogs having seizures?” 

There are several reasons why dogs have this. But the most common is idiopathic epilepsy.

Unfortunately, the cause of this condition is still unknown. However, vets say that it is hereditary. Here are dog breeds that are prone to having seizures according to the VCA:

  • Collies.
  • Beagles.
  • Poodles.
  • Shepherds.
  • Keeshonds.
  • Boxer Dogs.
  • Irish Setters.
  • St. Bernards.
  • Dachshunds.
  • Border Collies.
  • Cocker Spaniels.
  • Irish Wolfhounds.
  • Golden Retrievers.
  • Labrador Retrievers.
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs.

If your pooch belongs to these dog breeds then you might want to keep an eye out for them. Especially if they have been repeatedly staring at the wall.

You can also track the time of how long they stare at the wall. Seizures can last somewhere between 30 to 90 seconds.

#6: Your pooch has a compulsive behavior

Behaviors like staring at the wall can mean that your pooch has a compulsive disorder. Especially if they do it repetitively at any given time.

“Oh, just like OCD in humans, right?”

Well, it’s close but it’s a little different. But I don’t blame people who think they’re the same.

Research shows that disorders like these are similar both in dogs and people. This is in the context of the phenotypic and neurochemical levels of canines and humans.

OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, stems from having thoughts that show obsession. Dogs can’t have this kind of thinking.

According to Dr. Radosta, OCD can’t apply to dogs since we don’t know their thoughts. If we can learn about their thinking and find that the cause for behavior is obsessive, then it’s OCD.

Since we don’t have the capacity to do that, experts call behavior similar to OCD something else. It’s called “compulsive disorders.”

Behaviors that indicate compulsive disorders look like exaggerations of a typical doggy action. They usually do it over and over again. And it doesn’t make sense at times.

Take for example a dog chasing its tail. What’s the point of doing so? Did their tails hurt them? Does your pooch want to chop it off?

If your canine keeps chasing on their tail they have a compulsive disorder. Particularly if they do it for extended periods of time.

Randomly staring at objects like a wall is also a sign of compulsive disorders. This is true if they looked at it without any particular reason.

#7: They want to be alone

Sometimes our pooches go to their corners and stare at the walls because they need privacy. It’s not that they don’t wanna be with you anymore – it’s just a quick timeout.

Even we humans need time alone from time to time. Especially if we’ve been doing tiring tasks and chores all day long.

Asking for “me time” from your friends and family can also be healthy for you. And the same is true for your pooch. Having time for themselves will aid their wellness.

Now when your dog does this, they usually go to a quiet place. Somewhere no one can bother them or even walk by them.

Places like the bottom part of your couch can be a perfect spot for your dog. They might also avoid crowded places like:

  • Kitchen.
  • Hallways.
  • Bathroom.
  • Living area.
  • Dining rooms.

I understand that this can get frustrating sometimes. I mean, you just wanna cuddle with your pooch, right? And they get up every time you bring them to your room with you.

Some fur parents still force their pooches to be with them. Smothering them with hugs that are unwelcome.

Because of actions like this, some pooches can get aggressive and bite your hand. Yes, this still happens even if you have built a loving relationship with them.

The best thing you can do is to let them rest for a while. They might also be feeling something else internally, either medical or emotional.

There are also other reasons why your pooch might stare at the wall. Specifically, ones that are related to wanting to be alone.

I’ll discuss the more common ones in #8, #9, and #10.

You might also be interested in: 15 Reasons Why Your Dog Sleeps In Another Room + 9 Tips

#8: They are anxious

Your Dog Is Anxious

Turning away and keeping away from you can be a sign of anxiety in dogs. When they’re feeling this way, canines sometimes walk away and face the wall.

And fur parents like us can mistake it for something else. “Eh, maybe they just wanna stare at the wall.”

But in reality, they’re already having anxious thoughts. According to research, around 72.5% of the dogs they studied showed signs of having anxiety.

That’s such a high number. But this is because anxiety is pretty common in dogs. And here are the possible causes of their anxiety:

  • Old age.
  • Separation.
  • General fear.

And because of these things, dogs are inclined to relieve their stress. One way they do this is through avoidance according to the VCA.

One specific experience that makes your pooch shy away and stare at the wall is seeing new objects. Or it could also be meeting new people.

Do you notice your dog face our walls in a corner when you have visitors over? Then anxiety might be playing a role here, too.

Seeing loud insects and unfamiliar animals can also cause them to curl in their own corner. They could also have bad experiences with certain people and creatures they saw.

And because of this fear, they’d just stay in one place.

If you think this is what your pooch is experiencing, try moving them away from what’s scaring them. You can try to bring them to your room or somewhere less crowded.

Read also: How to tell if your dog has anxiety – 18 signs

#9: They feel bored

When dogs aren’t engaged in any activity, sometimes, they get bored. 

They are active creatures that require exercise. And when they don’t get enough of it, they can start doing things out of the ordinary.

One of these activities they do is wallowing in a corner. And sometimes they’d just stare into the wall.

Things like these happen when your pooch has a fixed routine of when they’d go play. After all, canines thrive when they have a schedule to follow.

This is why you’ll notice them trying to get your attention when it’s feeding time. Or in some cases, playtime.

Getting bored could be oftentimes experienced by dog breeds who are designed to work. These are canines that have been bred by humans to do tasks alongside them.

Be it in hunting, guarding, or general companionship. Here are examples of these canine breeds:

  • Samoyed.
  • Rottweiler.
  • Great Dane.
  • Dobermann.
  • Bloodhound.
  • Cane Corso.
  • Siberian Husky.
  • German Shepherd.

If you have pooches who belong to these breeds, be prepared to give them lots of exercise. You can start by going out with them on a run or trail hike.

They also love mind-boggling games like:

  • Hide and seek.
  • The cup game.
  • Treasure hunting.
  • Which hand game.

After playing, you can also train your pooch to keep their toys. This is another task that will help your pooch release all the energy they have.

You can also have them bring items when you’re out for chores. Just watch this cutie Golden Retriever picking her own snacks:

You may also wonder: 13 Reasons Why Your Dog Sits In The Corner + Dangers & Tips

#10: You have the smell of another dog on you

Jealousy is an ugly emotion… that dogs will feel when you “cheat” on them. 

Some fur parents have the habit of petting canines we see along the way. Especially those who are open to getting interactions with strangers.

And when we get home, our pooch will happily greet us. But once they smell another dog on you, sometimes they’d leave you alone.

Your dog might turn your back on you and go to their corner wanting to be alone.

“Do they really feel jealous? I was just petting a furry friend”

Yes. According to research, dogs show jealousy. And this feeling increases when their fur parents show affection to other canines.

Here are some things they might do:

  • Snapping.
  • Separating their parents from the other dog.
  • Nudging the canine they felt jealousy towards.

However, if they don’t see the other dog (but smell it on you) they might snarl at you. Or sometimes, they’d leave your presence and go to their spot.

As you know, dogs have incredible noses and can smell things we can’t. When you pet another canine, their pheromones might attach to you.

Your dog will then be able to detect this when you get home.

As your pooch smells you they’ll gain information on the dog you just had interactions with. They might get aggressive if they catch the scent of a bigger and territorial pooch.

It’s like a self-defense mechanism of theirs. This could be why sometimes your dog barks at you.

#11: Their eyesight is declining

Another reason why your pooch is randomly staring at the wall is because of their eyes. It’s already starting to lose its abilities.

When this happens, naturally, your pooch will have a hard time seeing things. And it can make them stare at nothingness.

Well, it may look like your canine is staring at the wall. But in reality, they just don’t see anything. It can be a coincidence that your dog sat in front of a wall while they’re trying to use their eyes.

This condition in your dog’s eyes is called Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration or SARD. If your pooch has this, they might go blind within 30 days or even shorter.

According to VCA, here are a few signs you can see if your fur baby has SARD:

  • They look disoriented.
  • Walking around aimlessly.
  • Randomly bumping into objects.
  • Staying in one spot with no reason at all.

People also ask:

Why do dogs stare at walls and bark?

Dogs stare at walls and bark because they heard something inside the panels. It can be small animals like rodents.

It’s easy for them to detect these creatures in the walls due to dogs’ excellent hearing. They can also smell animals hiding within the panels.

Why do dogs with dementia stare at walls?

Dogs with dementia stare at walls because their mental capacity is already degrading. They sometimes forget what they’re doing.

Dementia can also cause canines to do unusual things like forgetting where to potty.