Taking your dog out on walks can be the most exciting part of your pet’s day. It is finally their time to stretch their muscles and joints as they venture out of your house. As their owner, taking out your dogs on walks also have health benefits. This can even be your time to engage in some exercise.
Your dogs enjoy walks more than you expect. For them, it is more than just seeing a road larger than your home. During walks, dogs get to interact with other people or dogs, sniff and explore a bunch of things along the way.
However, there might be times where you notice that your dog suddenly stops walking during your trip outdoors. Sometimes, this can be very concerning as they might have done this often throughout the duration of your walks. There are a lot of reasons why our dogs suddenly stop walking and won’t move.
If you want to know more about these reasons and what you can do to manage them, then this article is for you.
13 possible reasons why your dog stops walking
It is not uncommon to see dogs halting from their usual daily walks. To know what to do about it, you should first know what the cause for their behavior is. Here are some of the most common explanations on why dogs stop walking:
Your dog might be too young
If you have just adopted a puppy and try to bring him out with a leash to potty train him, you will notice how they resist and occasionally stop walking. Very young dogs might not grasp the concept of walking on a dog leash yet.
The dog’s age might contribute to their willingness to go on walks. Young puppies have the instinct of staying close to their homes.
This benefits young puppies because this prevents them from wandering off to dangerous places while they are still developing.
Do not worry, you will notice this instinct gradually diminish. As they grow, they develop into mature and independent dogs that are more explorative.
Your dog can sense that the walk is coming to an end
Some dogs just love walks. They feel that this is their freedom from the tight and confined space that they have at home.
Hence, some dogs want to stay outside as long as they can! So if your dog is the type that enjoys itself too much when going on walks, they might want to prolong their walks by occasionally stopping.
Your dog might be stressed
Many harmless things can be stressful to dogs. This is not surprising since we know how sensitive their senses are. So, it will not be unexpected to see your dog stop walking because of something along the way that constantly stresses them. It is up to you to find out what stresses your dogs during walks!
Your dog might be scared of something
Dogs are regarded as independent and reliable animals. But there are just some things that appear scary to them! Similar to the previous reason, dogs also halt when they sense something scary along their path.
Dogs are superstitious!
Humans are not the only beings that follow weird superstitions. Astonishingly, dogs seem to be superstitious as well! If you notice your dog stop on the same spot in lots of instances, then they might have associated that spot with something. It may be a leftover treat, a biscuit, or something that gets their attention. Your dog might be hoping to encounter those gems again!
Your dog might be feeling physical discomfort
Similar to people, dogs are also susceptible to physical discomfort. The pain tolerance of dogs varies. But do note that this can be a reason why they stop walking. Check if your dogs have any physical injuries especially around their legs or paws and bring them to the vet.
Your dog wants to smell everything
The outdoors sure has a lot of places where your dog might find interesting. Hence, you might find them stopping everywhere to take a sniff around! This simple reason might be the explanation to why they stop by every bush or lamppost.
Your dog doesn’t like to walk
Different dogs have different attitudes. Some just aren’t the type to go on walks. This can depend on their breed.
It is very common to see large breed dogs like bulldogs and pugs avoid walks. Here at Doggie Collective, we believe that each dog owner should be the advocate of their own dogs, so you should know when your dog doesn’t feel like strutting its stuff on the street.
Your dog is too tired
Of course, if your dog is tired, expect them to stop walking to regain their lost energy. Knowing your dog’s breed and the proper amount of exercise that its breed requires will prevent overfatigue.
As a responsible dog owner, you should be vigilant on the reason for your dog’s fatigue and you should also know when the symptoms that your dog shows demand some professional attention.
Your dog wants to greet another dog
Dogs are social beings! If you walk your dog in places where other dogs are taking their daily stroll, then you might find your dog stopping just to greet other dogs. Some dogs are stubborn. They will not walk again unless you allow them to greet their friends.
Your dog might be suffering from canine hip dysplasia
Canine hip dysplasia is a serious injury. One of the first noticeable symptoms that this disease would manifest is pain and limping which will surely make your dog not only stop while they walk but they would completely stop walking eventually.
According to the American Kennel Club, the symptoms of hip dysplasia will start to show as early as four months of age, so if you notice that your dog is stopping frequently whenever you try to engage it in any physical activities like walking, it is probably better if bring it to the vet.
Your dog might be having “growing pains”
Growing pains are developmental disorders of the puppies’ joints, bones, and muscles that usually occur at around 3 months of a puppy’s life and could last until 12 months. These are common to young dogs of large breeds since they rapidly grow and develop.
Although this can easily be resolved under a veterinarian’s care, your puppy can still experience lameness, lethargy, and weakness which may cause him or her to stop while walking.
Your dog’s harness might be painful to them
A simple reason why dogs stop walking is that they feel uncomfortable with their harness. An ill-fitting or itchy harness can impede their enthusiasm during walks.
Most veterinarians prefer harnesses over collars as they might crush the dog’s trachea so choose this when you shop for your dog.
In addition to that, make sure that your middle and index fingers can still fit in it so it is not too tight nor too loose for your dog.
13 things you can do to get your dog moving again
Now that we have seen several reasons why your dogs stop moving during walks, let us now explore the things you can do to help them walk again. Here are 13 ideas that we suggest:
- Being patient is the best move. If you notice that your dog is very worried or anxious, you can try sitting with them. This way, you can help your dog regain their vigilance. Eventually, your dog might get up and walk with you again.
- For dogs that constantly stop walking with no apparent reason, you can try being more creative during your next walk. Try taking a different route.
- Rewarding your dog during walks is another tip for those that stop walking for no apparent reason. However, note that you should hand them some treats after walking. If you reward them before walking, it might cause them to be uninterested in the walk itself.
- Similarly, you can use treats to teach your dogs some tricks beneficial to walking. You can ask them to stay on a spot and teach a cue for them to walk towards you. Give them a treat once they start walking.
- You can try motivating your dog to go with you. You can do this by tying their leash on a post or bench when they stop walking. Then, pretend to leave them. Some dogs might feel motivated to walk since they do not want to be left alone by their master!
- If you really cannot say why your dogs stop walking, you can try working around their behavior. Pretend to talk on the phone or someone else. Your dog might think that your attention to him is not important since you talked to someone else. This trick might work if your dog really wants your attention.
- Another useful trick to teach and reward your dogs is this: ask them to move every time you give a cue. Leave a treat on a spot you want them to walk into. This will surely get them moving!
- You can simply wait for your dog to start walking again.
- Try teaching them the key “let’s go” before any walk and reward them if they do walk. This will only work if you noticed that your dogs might be anxious about going outside.
- Try to avoid pulling the collar or harness. Constant pressure from this might be uncomfortable for them and they might fully avoid walking due to the pain associated with it. Moreover, too much pulling can make your dog resist by digging in or walking in the opposite direction.
- If tricks and treats are not working, avoid doing it at all in the next walks. The treats might be the cause of their lack of participation in walking.
- The length of your walks should be adjusted according to the behavior of your dog. Try longer walks for overly excited dogs.
- Fear can stop your dogs from walking. If you identified this as the cause, do your best to communicate and connect with your dog. Show that you can help him overcome his fear.
Given that some of these tips involve teaching your dog some tricks, make sure to begin teaching them a few days before going outside for walks. Practice is essential so that you and your dog can benefit from their newfound skill!
Tips to master walking your dogs comfortably
You will be surprised at how fast you can master walking your dogs. Mastering walks is essential since this daily routine can help address lots of health and behavioral issues with your dogs.
First, note that your dogs see you as the “Pack Leader” during walks. Make good use of this leverage to encourage them to participate well during your walks.
Do your best to adjust to your dog. In their point of view, we humans walk very slowly compared to them.
Depending on the breed of your dog, some of them just prefer running, especially the large ones.
Some dogs are built for running and they can only do so once they are outdoors. You can aid them by jogging with them.
If you have difficulty keeping up with their speed or run out of breath often, try wearing rollerblades or riding a bike.
To master walking easily distracted dogs, try altering the length of their leash. Dogs love to sniff things along their path. To avoid too many distractions, try using a short but comfortable leash.
This way, your dog’s head can remain out of bushes or posts. Also, stay focused when walking. Do not forget that you can still have some stops along the way to avoid the build-up of fatigue to your dogs.
Moreover, a small stop can help give your dog the impression that walking can be rewarded.
In contrast, you can opt to walk your dogs on a loose leash. You know that a leash is loose if it dangles around in a J-shape between you and your dog.
The benefit of a loose leash is that you can give your dog autonomy in walking. What you can do is try to stop and go in another direction if your dog gets a few steps ahead. Eventually, he will turn to go to your spot.
You can reward your dog if they catch up to you. Another benefit of using a loose leash is that you do not trigger their opposition reflex when putting pressure on their throat.
Puppies can be very difficult to train in walking. If you are not vigilant, they might carry this habit until they grow big! What you can do is you may carry them away from the house. Then, you and the puppy can walk together home.
Remember how they instinctively want to stay close to home? You can take advantage of that instinct and use it to introduce them to walking.
If your dog just stops out of nowhere, be aware if there is an underlying health concern. Note if today’s temperature is different, if your dog eats and drinks well, or if your dog is too old to be going on walks.
Some conditions need medical attention. Seeking a vet might be the solution left for you and your dog.
When should you see a vet
Some symptoms of health problems of dogs might be noticeable when you take them on walks. It would be best to avoid forcing your dog to go on walks if you are not sure of any underlying medical reasons.
Dogs are very good at hiding their pain, so make sure to detect it early to prevent complications.
If your problems revolve around the difficulty in walking your dog, you might want to consider having them immediately checked by a vet. If they halt during walks, it is not always a behavioral problem!
The vet will examine your dog’s body and run several tests to see if there are any problems. During walks, your dog might have wounds or foreign objects lodged in its paws. Other than external wounds, the vet can also help you manage gait problems or limping.
If your dog is very old, it might be susceptible to developing joint problems like arthritis. The pain brought by this condition will undoubtedly prevent them from walking enthusiastically with you. Your vet will help manage this health condition.
One of the most serious conditions that need the intervention of a vet is canine paralysis. This is a mobility condition that is known to occur suddenly or progress thru time.
If your dog suddenly loses their mobility, you might feel terrified. But do not worry and just make sure to look out for the signs and symptoms.
Canine paralysis’ symptoms include the inability to bend their joints, pain, general body weakness, and an abnormal gait or limping.
This condition can be caused by neurologic degeneration. Meaning, the nerves might be damaged by a prior injury causing the paralysis of either the front or rear legs.
Seek immediate help from your vet if you notice any manifestation of these symptoms in your dogs.
Likewise, canine paralysis can be a product of other health problems of your dogs. Your vet can help you identify causes such as tumors, injury, disease of the nerves, muscles, or spine, or a viral disease.
Treatment for this condition ranges from having your dog undergo surgery to simply supportive care.
Dogs surely need their dose of regular outdoor walks. However, these will not go as smoothly as you might expect. They might suddenly stop in the middle of walking and leave you puzzled as to why they did it.
Hopefully, this article gave you an idea of some plausible causes and what you can do with them. Next time around, you know what you can do!