If your dog has been sniffing walls a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get your dog to do it less.
So, why does my dog sniff the wall? Possible reasons why your dog sniffs the wall are that it smells something on the wall, it is curious, it smells other animals that have been around, there is something stuck to the wall, the behavior has been encouraged or it might be doing it due to an obsessive disorder.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why your dog sniffs the wall
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
It is smelling other animals that have been around
The cause could be that it is smelling the scent of other animals that have been around. This would be more likely if it tends to sniff walls that other animals walk past a lot or if you have other animals at home and it often sniffs where they have been.
It smells something on the wall
The cause could be that it smells something on the wall. This would be more likely if it sniffs a certain wall that is likely to be smelly such as a wall in the kitchen. It would also be more likely if the wall was recently painted, in which case, it would be important to prevent your dog from sniffing the wall since the fumes from the paint could be toxic.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by giving it rewards when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it behaves the way you want it to, to avoid giving it rewards when it sniffs the wall and to try to redirect its focus when it seems likely to start sniffing the wall.
Obsessive compulsive disorder
The reason why it has been doing it might be due to an obsessive-compulsive disorder which is where it has an irresistible urge to keep repeating a behavior so it does so. This would be more likely if your dog has been sniffing at the wall constantly. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started sniffing the wall
If your dog did not always sniff at the wall, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as something being stuck to the wall, it was recently painted, learning that the behavior is rewarded or that it smells other animals that have been around recently on the wall.
What is different when it tends to do it
It would also help to consider if there is anything special about the timing of when it sniffs at the wall. For example, if it only seems to sniff at a certain wall, after another animal leaves, it would be more likely that it is smelling the scent of that animal.
What to do about your dog sniffing the wall
Below are some things you can do in order to get your dog to stop doing it.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
It might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewarded when it sniffs the wall. Instead, it would help to try to redirect its focus when it seems like it is about to do it, to stop rewarding int when it sniffs the wall and to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage your dog to behave in a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way. To use it to get your dog to stop sniffing the wall, as often, you could reward it whenever it is not sniffing the wall, stop rewarding it when it starts sniffing the wall and reward it again after it stops sniffing the wall.
Get help from a vet
If your dog has been doing it excessively, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out the possibility of it being due to a more serious cause.