What To Do If Your Dog Doesn't Want to Walk?

Posted on 14 June, 2024

Image source from Pexels by Johann: https://www.pexels.com/photo/english-cocker-spaniel-puppy-sitting-on-ground-beside-grass-1254140/

Walking is not just a part of the daily routine for dogs; it’s also a vital part of their physical and mental well-being.

However, as a dog owner, you may experience that at times your furry friend shows reluctance or resistance when it’s their walk time. Your doggo may pull back on the leash or completely refuse to leave the house.

Understanding why your dog exhibits this behaviour is important to be able to address the issue effectively.

In this guide, we'll check out the reasons behind this reluctance and provide actionable steps to encourage your canine companion to enjoy their walks once again!

Understanding Why Your Dog Doesn't Want to Walk

Here are some common factors that may contribute to your dog's reluctance to walk:

1. Health issues

Like humans, dogs can experience physical issues that make walking uncomfortable or painful. These conditions may include:

  • Arthritis

  • Joint pain

  • Muscle strains

  • Injuries

Sometimes, the health issue may not be visible on the surface. It may be an underlying health issues such as heart problems or respiratory disorders may affect their stamina and energy levels.

2. Fear or anxiety

At times, dogs can develop fear or anxiety related to various stimuli encountered during walks, such as loud noises, unfamiliar surroundings, other dogs, or even past traumatic experiences. This condition is most prominently exhibited by signs of stress, such as trembling, panting, pacing, or attempting to retreat from the situation.

3. Environmental factors

If your locality is currently experiencing heat waves or extreme winters, there’s a chance your dog wouldn’t want to go out. The same is the case for strong winds and rain.

Plus, certain environmental stimuli such as loud construction noises, bustling traffic, or crowded areas may overwhelm or scare sensitive dogs, leading to reluctance or refusal to walk.

4. Ageing

As dogs age, they may experience physical and cognitive changes that affect their mobility and enthusiasm for walks. Elderly dogs may suffer from conditions like arthritis, vision or hearing loss, cognitive dysfunction, or reduced muscle tone. This makes walking more challenging and less enjoyable for them.

4 Effective Steps to Encourage Walking

Once you've identified potential reasons for your dog's reluctance to walk, it's time to implement strategies to address the issue.

Note: If none of the reasons mentioned above seem to fit your doggo’s case, it’s best to visit a vet and find out the root cause!

Here are some steps you can take to encourage your dog to enjoy its walk again:

Step 1: Assessing the situation calmly

Instead of pushing your dog to go on a walk with you, take a moment to observe their behaviour and body language. Approach the situation calmly and avoid displaying frustration or impatience, as this can make your dog’s anxiety even worse.

If your dog exhibits fear or anxiety during walks, consider gradually exposing them to whatever it is that triggers your dog — but make sure it is in a positive environment. Meaning, either the dog should be near you (in a comfortable position) or the dog should be home in a familiar place, where it feels safe.

You may want to use treats, praise, and encouragement to reinforce positive associations with walking.

Step 2: Positive reinforcement techniques

Reward your dog for desired behaviours, such as walking calmly on the leash or approaching unfamiliar objects without fear.

Again, it’s best to use high-value treats, toys, or verbal praise to reinforce these behaviours and make walking a rewarding experience for your dog.

Step 3: Choosing the right time and place

Consider factors such as weather conditions, time of day, and the location of your walks to create a comfortable and enjoyable experience for your dog.

Avoid walking during extreme temperatures or in crowded, noisy areas if they cause stress or discomfort for your dog.

Step 4: Exploring natural supplements

Alongside behavioural strategies, consider incorporating natural supplements like deer antler velvet into your dog's diet to support their joint health and mobility. Deer antler velvet for dogs is rich in nutrients such as:

  • Glucosamine

  • Chondroitin

  • Collagen

These nutrients can help relieve joint pain and inflammation. And thus, make walking more comfortable for your dog, especially for ageing or arthritic pets.

However, it's essential to consult with your vet before introducing any new supplements to your dog's routine.

If your dog's reluctance to walk persists despite your best efforts, consider seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer, behaviourist, or veterinarian. They can help assess your dog's specific needs and develop a tailored plan to address any underlying issues.

Final Words

Summing up, it requires a lot of patience, understanding, and a personalised approach to get your dog interested in walking again. You need to opt for the way that suits your pup the most.

That said, although these behavioural strategies play a significant role, exploring natural supplements like deer antler velvet can also support your dog's joint health and mobility to a great deal. It can significantly and conveniently enhance your doggo’s walking experience.

Some alternative ways to keep your dog active include indoor exercises, interactive toys, and mental stimulation activities. They offer enjoyable alternatives to traditional walks and are always good for a change!


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