Why your dog stares at the wall featured image

If you search for and click this article, chances are you're wondering and getting worried about why your dog stares at the wall.

Sometimes, dogs just can't help it—they could be the weirdest yet cutest goofballs.

They'd just do something out of the ordinary out of the blue. And that's just part of their charm, really.

However, it's also understandable why it could worry you, especially if it's accompanied by other actions that are unusual even for your furry oddball.

It could be that your dog is standing still while staring at the wall, staring into the corner, or just staring into space in general.

And yes, this could actually mean something's up that needs medical attention.

But before you jump to conclusions, let's discuss below the common reasons why your dog stares at the wall and when you should be worried.


Why Your Dog Stares at the Wall: What's in There?

As we know, dogs have super senses. They can see, smell, or hear things our human senses sometimes don't pick up.

But don't panic just yet! It doesn't necessarily mean you should call the paranormal experts to inspect your house (or does it?)

Kidding aside, there could be a lot of reasons why your dog is suddenly taking an interest in your otherwise boring wall.

Observe your pooch. If his nose is twitching, he might be smelling something.

If he is tilting his head side to side with his ears pricked, he might be hearing something.

His eyes roving around the wall could mean he is looking for or seeing something.

Sit beside your dog and try to smell, hear, or see what could be on the wall.

Sometimes, you'd be surprised at how mundane or trivial their reasons are for having a staring-down contest with the wall.

But if you see them either restless or standing still, staring blankly, or pressing their head against the wall, that's when you should consider consulting with the experts (and we mean the veterinary one, not the paranormal!)

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Reasons Why Your Dog Stares at the Wall

Here are some of the possible reasons why your dog is suddenly staring at the wall, into space, or into the corner.

Pests or Termites

Have you been keeping up with your house's regular pest control treatment?

If not, it's possible your dog is sensing something behind your wall.

It could be termites, rats, or any other house pests that could've made a camping site in your house without you knowing it.

Because of their superior hearing and smelling abilities, dogs can actually be the perfect pest detectors.

Check your surroundings—if you're seeing other indicators of pest infestation, you may want to immediately call the pest control company for further inspection and treatment.

dog-shadow-on-wallLights or Shadows

If your wall is against a window directly in sight of a street lamp or any source of light outside, chances are any objects moving past it can cast a shadow on your wall.

And yes, even these silly shadows can be the culprit of your dog's sudden interest in the wall.

The same goes for lights too. Any “strange” lights for them can also pique their interest.

Needs Attention

Do you notice how sometimes dogs can be big babies? Staring at the wall out of nowhere can also be their way of asking for your attention.

It's possible that this has happened before—them staring at the wall and you babying them. You may not remember it, but they sure did.

If they have a wall-mounted pet camera that dispenses kibbles or treats, it's also possible that they have associated staring at the wall with some kind of reward.

While this is harmless and borderline adorable if you think about it, spoiled behavior like this shouldn't be tolerated.

Compulsive Behaviordog-compulsive-behavior-licking-paws

Animals also develop compulsive behaviors or bad habits. Some examples of these are licking or picking on their skin, barking, pacing back and forth, and yes, even staring at a specific spot like a wall.

While these actions seemed harmless for the most part, what makes them compulsive is when they just become too much, even for animals (or dogs, for that matter!)

They lick their skin to the point that it's causing them an open wound or they bark non-stop until it's becoming a nuisance noise in the neighborhood.

Dogs may engage in these compulsive behaviors to comfort themselves, especially when they're feeling stressed or afraid.

Thankfully, staring at walls doesn't usually have any sort of negative consequence.

ALSO RELATED: 25 Most Common Dog Behavior Issues: Habits and Problems That Are Not Normal

Partial or Focal Seizure

When you think of seizures, you'd probably imagine uncontrollable shaking, eyes rolled upwards, and foaming in the mouth.

However, the truth is there are some seizures that can be very subtle that you might only mistake for silly things dogs do, like staring at the wall.

Sudden stiffening, facial twitching, ‘fly biting' or biting into the air, and staring into space are some of the common symptoms of a partial or focal seizure.

To make sure it's not a seizure, try calling your dog while he is staring at the wall.

If he responds, it might just be a weird habit they like doing. But if they seemed to not hear you at all, it might be best to call your veterinarian.

Senior DogOld Age

Just like in humans, aging dogs' brains can get addled. Their normal brain function deteriorates which results in weird and unwanted behaviors like, yes, staring at walls.

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, simply known as Dog Dementia, is a common condition for senior dogs. But before you panic, try to observe first what other signs your dog has apart from the wall-staring.

Does he soil inside the house despite previous house training? Does he seem restless and disoriented most of the time?

Does he seem withdrawn and not interested in his favorite activities anymore?

Remember the symptoms you've been observing in your dog when you consult with the veterinarian.

Doing a dog dementia checklist will certainly help you and your vet come up with the most probable diagnosis and treatment plan for your pooch.

ALSO RELATED: Dog Dementia Stages: What You Need To Know


If you're wondering, yes, dogs get depression too.

Although they may not experience it the same way humans go through clinical depression, they still feel down, sad, and just depressed in general.

And yes, it can make them do unexplainable things too, like standing still and staring into space.

Depression in dogs can be caused by a lot of things.

A change in environment, boredom, or grief over the loss of a human or animal companion are just some of the possible reasons dogs feel depressed.

Wait… Are you sure it's not ghosts?

Thanks to countless series and movies, it's easy to assume that a dog staring into nothing could mean they're actually seeing something haunted and otherworldly (we're looking at you, Hollywood!)

Animal communicator and psychic clairvoyant Suzan Vaughn said that animals, in general, have a stronger sixth sense than people.

This means it's possible that they've become aware of some kind of strange presence in the house.

But whether you're the sort of fella who believes in the paranormal or not, it's still best to rule out any medical reasons first that may be causing your dog to stare blankly at a wall.

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Dog Staring at the Wall: When Should I be Alarmed?

While we hope it's nothing serious and that your dog is just being his usual goofball, it's still better to be safe than sorry.

If, apart from staring at nothing, your dog displays other worrying symptoms that we listed below, it's best to immediately call your vet and schedule a visit to look into other possible neurological reasons.

  • Head Pressing/Brain Tumor
  • Stroke
  • Loss of Vision/ Blindness
  • Diabetes
  • Hepatic Encephalopathy caused by liver diseases
  • Infection or inflammation in the nervous system
  • Exposure to toxins or poisons

What To Do if Your Dog Keeps Staring at the Wall

If you catch your dog staring at the wall for the nth time, don't panic just yet.

Try to get his attention and redirect it to other things, like toys or a treat. You can also take them out for a walk or a short car ride.

The downside here, though, is they'd probably get used to it if your dog is only doing it to get your attention.

So it may also be better to ignore them at times (if you can resist it!)

If it's a noise or lights and shadows that are distracting them, you can opt to use white noise machines or curtains to block out the distraction.

Ultimately, the best thing for you to do is consult your vet about it.

It's also advisable to take a video of your dog's behavior before doing so.

Remember that you can't have him repeat this behavior in the clinic, so taking a video would be much easier to show your vet than trying to explain your dog's behavior.

Also, remember to gather all the facts.

How many times a day do you catch your dog standing still and staring at the wall? How long is the duration? What other weird behaviors is he doing?

Take note of all the details so you can remember them all during your consultation.

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FAQs on Dog Staring at the Wall

What does it mean when your dog just stares at something?

Apart from the barking and the tail wagging, staring is another way dogs try to communicate with people or other animals.

What it means depends on what they stare at—staring while you're eating could mean they're asking to share your food.

Staring at you and then at the door could mean they want to go out.

Staring at you while you're busy doing something could mean they want your attention, too.

But if your dog seems spacey and stares into nothing specific—a wall, a corner, or in the dark with nothing to look at in particular, it could also mean something.

It's best to ease your worries by talking to your veterinarian about it.

How can you tell when a dog is in pain?

There are many indicators that a dog is in pain. Sometimes, the signs are contradictory, and it can be confusing.

But some of the common signs of pain in dogs are:

  • aggressiveness
  • shaking
  • low tail and flattened ears
  • crying out or whimpering
  • limping or lameness
  • excessive licking of a specific area
  • loss of appetite

If your dog is displaying aggressiveness even to you, try to observe him from a distance.

There could possibly be a physical injury you can easily spot.

But if there's none, it's best to bring him to the veterinarian for further evaluation.

Why is my dog acting weird or scared?

Dogs acting weird or scared could mean they are stressed or anxious about something.

Stress and anxiety in dogs are also caused by many factors.

Changes in the environment, loud noises, unfamiliar people or animals, any trigger of past trauma (especially for rescued dogs), or being in pain can cause dogs to act weird or scared.

Just remember that when your dog is suddenly acting out of the ordinary, and it's worrying you, that's enough grounds to call your veterinarian.

Why Your Dog Stares at the Wall — Final Thoughts

There could be a lot of reasons why your dog stares at the wall all of a sudden, and it may or may not be a cause for concern and panic just yet.

To recap, your dog standing still and staring into space or staring into a corner could mean:

  • He's distracted by something
  • He wants your attention
  • A compulsive behavior he developed over time
  • Neurological complications

While it's easy to panic and jump to conclusions, it's better for your dog's welfare and your nerves to keep an open mind and be observant of all other existing symptoms.

READ NEXT: How to Know If Your Dog Is Upset?

Jossana started as a TV writer in 2017, until her love for dogs gets the best of her and started writing about them instead for Top Dog Tips. Jossana is the proud mama to Xavier and to mixed-breed dogs Zorro, Budak, Lucky, and Lily, who she loves spoiling with toys and treats.