Training a dog

What to do if Your Dog Doesn't Want To Walk

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 20, 2017
What to do if Your Dog Doesn't Want To Walk

Walking your dog is one of the most important but also delicate moments of the day. Exercising your dog is essential to channeling its energy and have it release accumulated tensions, while also using the time to relieve itself. It may happen that your dog suddenly becomes still, sits and decides that it does not want to walk any more, or maybe it did not want to move right from the start of the walk. What to do when this happens? In this OneHowTo article we show what to do if your dog doesn't want to walk, so you know how to fix this issue and resume the walk.

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Steps to follow:


To have your dog stop in the middle of the walk and refuse to move can happen for several reasons. The most common is for not having taught your dog to be walked properly. Bad practices can cause your dog to acquire bad habits, such as not wanting to go for walks. Another reason why your dog will not walk might simply be that it is tired and needs to take a break.


If your dog is adopted and therefore had a previous owner, another possibility is that the walking caused a trauma and fear that makes the dog not want to go for walks. If it is not adopted maybe it fears something on the street such as the noise from the trucks, motorcycles or children. And, the last of the more common possibilities, is that your dog has pain in the joints or on the paw and it hurts to walk. In these cases, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible so it can be treated and cured.

Is it raining? The sound of rain sounds louder in the dog's ears, so they are more fearful to get out in the rain.

What to do if Your Dog Doesn't Want To Walk - Step 2

If it has no medical condition, you should follow these recommendations to correct and resume the walk. Your dog should associate walking with positive things, therefore always carry with you a bag of treats and a toy. A very effective way to make your dog walk is to motivate it by showing it the toy. Show it to your pet and take small steps forward to force your dog to stand and walk. When it does reward it with the toy or a treat. The positive reinforcement is vital to train your dog.

What to do if Your Dog Doesn't Want To Walk - Step 3

Another reason why your dog decides to stop walking is that it is tired. If this is so it is because you have not made the adequate breaks. Take your dog for a walk to a large space like a park and after a while out walking stop to sit on a bench and let your dog rest. You can give it the toy to make it lie down and play with it. Make a 10 minutes stop and then carry on walking.


If your dog is afraid of street noises and the noise produced by children it is best that you stand firm and do not let your dog's fear set in. Your attitude is essential because without realizing it you transmit this to your dog and its behavior and sensitivity is conditioned by it. When passed by a noisy truck, a child, a motorcycle or any element that produces a loud noise do not give importance to it and give your pet a treat to distract it and avoid any panic setting in. This way it will not be aware that these elements scare it and so it will not stop. Gradually reduce the treats to normalize the situation and avoid panic.


So that your dog wants to walk and does not stop during the ride it is very important that we educate it correctly. Remember that if the reason for the stops is trauma or physical discomfort you should take it to the vet. If after taking these steps your dog still does not want to walk, you must take it to a specialist.

If you want to read similar articles to What to do if Your Dog Doesn't Want To Walk, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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My dog wants to walk in the middle of the road instead of on the side. What could be the reason?
Krista Z.
My GSD (approx. 7.5 yrs old - 78 lbs.) has been a good companion for daily morning jogging for the last 6 years. About 3 months ago, after 45 minutes or so of jogging, she missed a step to a sidewalk, squealed, and propped down. I called my husband to pick us up and made an appt w her vet to have her hip checked. The vet said she has arthritis, but can walk for an hour, and no more jogging.
She quickly learned that when she lies down, our car comes and picks her up. She does not even walk 15 mins now before she lies down. Tried walking her with her favorite treats, but she would not get motivated enough to get up and start walking. What should I do? Any advice?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Krista,

GSDs are wonderful dogs who, unfortunately, are often plagued by mobility and joint issues. They also love to run and stay active when they can. If your dog is not walking, it doesn't necessarily mean they are being lazy. They may simply be unable to walk, which is something we shouldn't force. There are limited options available, but you can ask your vet about rehabilitation. There may be swimming options available or other courses which can help rebuild their strength.
Pauline Skilton
I rescued a Jack Russell dog 6 weeks ago from Battersea, right from the start he rushes out the door on his lead and then refuses to go any further. At first I gave him treats to get him moving. He still does it he refuses to move at all I wait a few minutes and try and encourage him to walk but he is having none of it. It is very frustrating as he goes mad when I put the lead on him. I don't know what else to try. At first I thought it was the traffic that was worrying him but we live in a very quiet close where there is hardly any traffic. Please could you try and work out why he is doing this. Thank you
Rhody my 16 months old male Corgi does not want to walk. He loves to play in yard and chase balls, etc. etc. His health is just fine, had a good yearly check up. The vet did say he was over-weight, so we are on diet. i will try the treats when walking. like you have advised.
OneHowTo Editor
Good luck Debra and Rhody!
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What to do if Your Dog Doesn't Want To Walk