Dog Refuses to Walk: 7 Reasons & What Should You Do? (2023)

Last Updated on December, 2023

For dog owners, going on a little walk with their buddy is one of the most refreshing things there is. The best part is that they love it as much as we do, if not even more. But, sometimes, they might be a little stubborn.

Dogs are big fans of walks with their owner, but sometimes dogs refuse to walk at all. As an owner, it’s your job to figure out precisely what’s causing the dog’s behavior.

There are lots of potential reasons on why the dog stops. This is exactly why getting down to the source of the problem is important. So, what exactly is it with these reluctant pups that’s causing them to act out like this?

We’ll discuss all there is to know about the matter in this guide to help you better understand things. If you’re new to dog issues such as these, we’ve gathered a bunch of helpful info that’ll aid you.

After checking the article out, you’ll have a proper understanding of what’s going on. On top of that, you’ll know the essential details to ensure you enjoy hassle free walks.

Quick Summary

Possible reasons for a dog’s refusal to walk include fear, discomfort, pain, and stubbornness.

Tips for getting your dog to walk include checking for any physical discomfort, adjusting walking pace, using positive reinforcement, and trying different training techniques.

Training and positive reinforcement can help to improve a dog’s behavior and willingness to go on walks.

Reasons Why the Dog Refuses to Walk

Dog refuses to walk

First things first, let’s get down to the main reasons why your dog is refusing to walk. Once you can figure out the exact cause, finding an ideal solution is much easier. With that said, there are a few different things to take into account.

Dogs are living beings, and much like us, they all have their unique wants and needs. They have their personalities, their interests, and their dislikes.

Read through these potential causes with the wants and needs of your dog kept in mind. Don’t think of it like any other animal.

Familiarise yourself with them. Then, dealing with problems like these will become much more manageable. So, without further ado, let’s get down to the specifics of the situation.

The Dog is Scared or Uncomfortable

Chihuhua dog refuses to walk

Before blaming it on the dog’s behavioral issues, consider that there might be something wrong with them first.

For example, imagine if you had something poking you or causing you physical discomfort.

You’d avoid doing many things in that state, wouldn’t you?

If something is scaring you, you’d want to avoid facing it no matter the cost. This doesn’t just apply to us, humans. Dogs have fears and sometimes feel uncomfortable too. This could be a fear of other dogs or certain noises.

If your dog is usually compliant but recently acted up when going on walks, something is bothering it. Figuring out what’s making your dog nervous is your duty as its owner. First of all, inspect all their equipment and any clothing on them.

Depending on the weather, it’s plausible that the dog might be a bit too cold or warm. Remove or add some clothing accordingly. Additionally, make sure to check the leash dogs are wearing. Sometimes this can be a little bit too tight.

Loosen it up a little, and they might comply more.Fear is also a reason why many dogs refuse to walk, especially if they’re only little pups. So, if your puppy refuses to walk with you, don’t force it too much.

Instead, try to understand the dog’s fear. Then, take things slow and reward even the slightest of compliance.Don’t tug on their leash or force them to go with you if the dog pulls. Walk at their pace. Start rewarding them for little things.

Offer encouraging words and practice some other kind gestures. Nothing helps improving a dog’s behaviour more than positive reinforcement. Take baby steps and appreciate the dog’s successes verbally.

That’ll get the little guy to open up with you, making it much more willing to go on strolls with you.Differentiating between fear and discomfort is essential. In the case of pain, they’ll likely be reluctant to move and might twitch now and then.

But they’ll stop moving altogether and freeze in place if they’re scared. So figure out which it is, and comfort them.

It is Suffering Through Some Pain

Dog suffering a pain

Another potential reason for your dog’s refusal to walk is pain. Dogs and tiny pups are pretty fragile creatures.

They can easily get hurt emotionally and physically. If there’s no sign of any unease or fear that could stop them from walking with you, check for anything hurting them.

A few significant things to check for would be:

  • The paws of the dog. These can sometimes have splinters, cuts, or other harmful things on them. Inspect for such sources of pain immediately and deal with them.
  • You should also check the feet of the dog. If a normally well-behaved walker starts having issues, check the dog’s legs for thorns, cuts, swelling, or thorns.
  • The knees of the little guy. A dog’s legs sometimes get hurt by a collision or due to other reasons. Check for any limping or unusual movements. If you find it, take your furry buddy to the vet immediately.
  • Potential back pain. Much like their knees, dogs’ backs can be prone to hurting now and then due to different reasons. Once again, the best way to tell whether this is the case is to check for irregular movements.
  • Orthopedic pain is another reason why your dog could resist walking. If you witness any unusual movements from your dog, take him to the vet.

If you find any of these signs or some other obvious ones, take action. These adorable miniature animals are man’s best friends because they’d do anything for us.

So, please return the favor by dealing with their pain too. Not all dogs are expressive. It’s up to you to get the best out of them. (1)

He Doesn’t Want to Go!

Dog doesn't want to go on a walk

It’s important to remember that dogs can be stubborn too.

When you’re out in your favorite places or chilling at home, it’s a little challenging to get yourself to leave.

Dogs think the same way, which might be the reason why yours is refusing to walk.

If they’re refusing to go back home and won’t walk at all, there’s not much to do other than being stubborn back. Wait for a few moments to see if they’ll budge.

If that doesn’t work, pull on their leash and encourage good behavior if you can.The best way to do this would be to judge them for misbehaving while showering them with love whenever they act the way you want them to.

It’s a simple trick, but it works pretty well with pups. A great way to do so is to reward them for good walking behavior. But at the same time, discourage improper behavior.

Try training them and teaching them some skills about recalls and basic commands. Then, let them know that they’ll get a reward for good behavior and compliance. This way, they’ll start playing along much more willingly!

Improper Leash Training

Leash training is one of the most essential aspects of dog training. Proper leash manners will not only help you correct inappropriate behavior, but a leash-trained dog will enjoy more frequent walks.

Before you leash train your dog, it’s vital to select the right collar and leash for the dog. As both the collar and leash come in a vast variety, it’s best to choose a comfortable one for your dog.

Most people start leash training using a harness. NEVER start with a harness if you’re working on correcting walking problems. A dog’s pulling power is in it’s chest.

If you force them to walk with a harness around their chest, it won’t help you reduce inappropriate behaviour.

Before you put the collar or leash on them, let them get familiar with the gear. Put the collar on them and play around with your dog. Once he gets comfortable wearing a collar, resuming leash training becomes less hectic.

Make sure to start with a small leash as it puts you into control. Once your dog has learned proper leash manners, you can get a leash long enough to let them have fun and maintain your control.

Your Dog is All Tuckered Out

dog tuckered out walking

Dog owners tend to over-analyze the situation too much in some cases.

This could potentially be one of those cases. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with the pups at all.

Maybe, all that’s making the puppy refuse to walk with you, is his stamina.

Some dogs tend to get too excited and tire themselves by having too much fun even on the shortest of walks. If this is the case, spend a bit of time sitting with them.

You need other ways to get your dog’s energy out. Walking isn’t the only thing that excites them. You can play fetch, teach him new tricks or simply run around with the dog in the garage or lawn.

Once some minutes pass, take things slow and make your way back home. Then the two of you can sit inside all comfy and relax in whatever ways you want to!

You’re Walking All Wrong

Being comfortable while moving around is important, and dogs are stingy when it comes to that. It could be that the source of the problem isn’t your dog, but the way you’re walking it.

Going too fast, too rough, or even too slow are things that can annoy some dogs. This causes them to anchor themselves. If your dog is doing this, he might refuse to move for a while until you sort things out.

So, do exactly that and the little guy will follow you without any more issues. (2)

Time to Start Training

If nothing else comes to mind, it is more than likely a lack of proper training that’s causing your buddy to act this way. There’s not much to do other than practice some training exercises with them.

Encourage proper behavior. Try to take away the fear of separation from them. Once he’s all trained and knows that he’ll be safe with you on walks, the doggo will stop much less often.

The Best Ways to Get Them to Walk

Dog walking

While the solutions we’ve are pretty helpful most of the time, they aren’t entirely foolproof. So sometimes, you’ll have to try other things instead.

But, that’s nothing to worry about, because we’ve got you covered! The following few tips will help you learn about other great ways to get your dog to go on frequent walks with you.

Slow Down and Give Them Love

A Girl and a dog

We all need a little bit of loving sometimes. This especially applies to attention-craving animals like dogs.

Getting some love from their owner is what a dog enjoys the most. If your furry friend won’t budge no matter what, try not budging with them.

Sit wherever you are and pet them a little. Maybe dogs want to feel loved and safe. This is something that you can reassure them about by taking a moment to lie down beside them.

Then, after a few minutes pass and you believe the little guy is feeling better, try getting them to move.

Trick Them to Go with You

A Girl and a small dog

A great way to get your dog moving is to trick him into doing so.

Sometimes the little guys will be a bit stubborn to mess with you or to assert dominance.

The best method for dealing with this unwanted behavior is to trick them into believing that you’ll be none of their nonsense.

You can walk away (but don’t do that). Instead, tie the dog to a sturdy pole or hand the leash over to someone you trust that might be walking with the two of you.

When you do so, you’ll almost have their attention. Then, continue walking away, and eventually, he’ll give in.

Keep in mind not to do this with a pup with separation anxiety, as they won’t handle it well. But, this is a great way to deal with the whole ordeal for the stern dogs that refuse to leave the dog park.

Use Treats to Your Advantage

woman training her akita dog to sit for a treat

Last but not least, we recommend trying out some dog treats.

Dogs might be intelligent and stubborn in their way, but the adorable little guys are easy to win over.

This can be done through high value treats.

Treats are a great way to get any dog to move. They can help you a lot if you want to reduce unwanted behavior. 

First, get one of them and break a small piece of it. Then, move it in front of the dog or throw it, specifically in the direction you want them to move. Once you do that, tug on their leash a little.

It’s also pivotal to reward good walking behavior. If your dog is walking in the proper direction as you asked them too, praise them.

Once that’s done, your buddy will go on more frequent walks with you. Make sure only to use a few treats, though. Don’t spoil them too much because that’ll lead to more issues down the line.


Your dog refusing to walk with you isn’t as big of a deal as some might make it out to be. They’re hardly ever acting out while doing so. It’s usually other issues, but some fail to understand that.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you must never lose your patience. These furry friends are delicate creatures, and it’s vital to treat them with love and care. On the other hand, don’t lose your cool, and they’ll start to come around.

Please read all the reasons while also following the tips we’ve suggested. Once you do that, you’ll get your dog to walk with you in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Before we wrap things up for good, let’s discuss a few other things related to the topic. Give these FAQs a read, and you might be able to find something that applies to you!



Was this article helpful?

Photo of author
Thomas Villalpando is the main author of IPet Guides. He spends his time reading, training, and working with several Dogs' behaviors. You can find more about him here.

1 thought on “Dog Refuses to Walk: 7 Reasons & What Should You Do? (2023)”

Leave a Comment