What Does It Mean When a Dog Stares at a Wall & Growls?

by Dave Donovan
    Dogs have hypersensitive hearing that allows them to hear things humans can't.

    Dogs have hypersensitive hearing that allows them to hear things humans can't.

    George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    When your dog suddenly starts staring, growling and barking at the wall, it can startle you or it can downright scare you senseless. After all, you have to wonder what he is seeing that you can't. It can leave you wondering if your four-footed friend has developed a case of the crazies. Simply because he's growling at nothing isn't a cause for alarm.

    Critters in the Wall

    If you have critters in your walls, like mice, squirrels or other burrowing animals, your dog's sensitive ears will pick up their scratching even if you cannot hear a thing. Since dogs are territorial and hunters by nature, your dog will look at the unusual sound as threatening and this will result in him staring at the source of the sound and growling or barking. In most cases, the spot that he focuses on is where the critters are residing in between the walls.

    Seeking Attention

    Sometimes a dog will bark or growl just to get some attention because he knows that his owner will give it to him. Dogs don't always separate good attention from bad attention, so if you scold your dog for growling at the wall, he may just do it again in the near future in order to get you to pay more attention to him.

    Senses an Outside Threat

    Dogs can see and hear things beyond the scope of human perception, so it is not uncommon for a dog in the back room of a house to growl or bark when he "senses" someone, like the mailman, outside at the other end of the house. Although it may appear that your dog is growling at the wall, he may just in fact be growling in the direction he is sensing something out of the norm.

    Sees a Ghost

    Unlike humans, dogs are often considered to have the ability to sense or see into other realms besides the one we exist in, so quite a few people believe their dogs have the ability to see ghosts. Of course, there's no scientific evidence to back this theory up, but it is strange how dogs will sometimes stare and growl at the wall as if there's someone standing right there, invisible to the naked eye and not all that far away from you.

    Breed Peculiarities

    Certain breeds of dogs, like Jack Russell terriers and other small breeds, sometimes exhibit odd behaviors that can borderline on the compulsive. One such behavior is incessant growling at nothing in particular. Sometimes this behavior can include an obsession in which the dog licks one spot on the wall.

    Photo Credits

    • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Based in Atco, NJ, Dave Donovan has been a full-time writer for over five years. His articles are featured on hundreds of websites, and have landed him in two nationally published books "If I Had a Hammer: More Than 100 Easy Fixes and Weekend Projects" by Andrea Ridout and "How to Cheat at Home Repair" by Jeff Brendenberg.

    Trending Dog Behavior Articles

    Have a question? Get an answer from a Vet now!