Why Do Dogs Push Their Head Into The Wall

  • Home >
  • The Daily Wag! >
  • Behavior >
  • Why Do Dogs Push Their Head Into The Wall


Head pressing is more common then you might think but it can often be caused by some rather concerning things. It is important to take into account that the behavior may have no medical or neurological basis at all but it would be remiss to not discuss the possibility. Much of your concern for this behavior should be evaluated by when it began, the aggressiveness of the push, and the frequency of occurrence. This behavior can be a sign of neurological damage or a serious underlying medical condition. They should not be taken lightly and you should inform your veterinarian if you suspect anything is wrong.

The Root of the Behavior

Though they can come from something as simple as a dietary deficiency or hyperactivity, they can also be caused by tumors in the brain and serious infections like rabies. If your canine has had a medical workup recently and still exhibits this behavior then you should verify they are eating a healthy and nutritious meal on a regular schedule. Excess energy and no way to exhaust it can cause behaviors like this and others. Ensuring plenty of exercise for your canine friend can ensure they are healthy and without excess energy. Have toys around that they can engage in without your assistance. This will allow them to otherwise spend their time as head pressing can become a way just for them to pass the time.

To decipher the cause of the behavior it is important to look at when it began. Did this begin when they were a puppy or after they became fully grown? Does it seem like they do it compulsively to relieve stress or excess energy? Dogs can have behaviors such as these develop seemingly from nowhere in the first couple years. Often, in this case, it has no underlying medical condition, however, should still be addressed as head pressing itself is not a healthy habit and can, over time, cause other medical concerns. Dogs who begin doing this in their later years may have begun in reaction to something. The seemingly out-of-the-blue type of behavior is what you really need to watch out for. They could be pressing against the wall as a reaction to fleas or to a lump forming on their head. In this type of situation, you should reach out to your dog's veterinarian for a full work up. You should not be alarmed, however, you do want to know if it is being caused by something serious.

Encouraging the Behavior

If the underlying medical condition has been treated or it is just a compulsive behavior, then it is still important to make sure they stop the head pressing. With a large amount of force or over long periods of time this behavior can itself cause neurological or physical damage to your canine. Make sure they have plenty to do, plenty of exercise, and a healthy diet. Try not to give them a treat or pet them to distract them away from pushing their head into the wall. Unfortunately this type of behavior correction can be misread and they will believe the way to get a treat or pet from you is to push their head into the wall. Doing that could reinforce the behavior you are trying to correct.

Some types of toxic poisoning can cause neurological damage and cause the head pressing. Ensure cleaning chemicals and other toxic solutions remain out of reach and be sure to rinse the dog bowl well after cleaning. Ensure they are clean and there are not any wounds on the scalp. Any kind of itching could be causing the behaviors, much like a human would use corner to scratch their back. Contacting a behavioral specialist should be considered if you cannot get the behaviors to stop yourself.

Other Solutions and Considerations

These behaviors should be relatively easy to change provided there are no underlying neurological conditions. It could be as simple as playing some calming music and providing them an area away from the highly trafficked areas of your home. Many owners simply use the dog's kennel for that area. This provides them a private area to calm down or remove themselves from high-stress environments. This can be helpful in addressing all kinds of compulsive behaviors or any behaviors that are exacerbated by stressful conditions. Testing sodium levels, checking their retinas, as well as urine and blood tests may be required by your vet but these are in the best interest of your canine.


Addressing these behaviors quickly is important to prevent any additional damage to your canine. Often, neurological conditions only get worse when left unchecked and the compression of the skull over time is dangerous for your dog. Recognizing this behavior and acting quickly could save your dog's life. Contacting a behavioral specialist and your veterinarian may be essential steps to correcting this behavior.