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Dog Doesn’t Want To Walk: What It Means

pilling dog with harness

You’re halfway through your morning walk, and your dog decides he is done walking. He sits down or lies on the ground and refuses to move. 

Nothing you can say or do seems to motivate your dog to get up and keep going. It can be frustrating and sometimes amusing when you have to carry your dog home, but is it stubbornness or is it something to be concerned about?

If your dog doesn’t want to walk, there are a few reasons why they might be reluctant. Here’s what you need to know and how to help your dog.

Is My Dog in a New Environment?

Dogs have an incredible sense of smell. When they enter a new place, it can be overwhelming. All the new smells, new people, and new animals are a lot for your dog to take in. 

They may be experiencing sensory overload. They’d prefer to stay still and process everything they’re taking in. 

When this happens, let your dog move in inches for a little while. As long as they aren’t exhibiting signs of fear or stress, they may be slowly exploring the world around them. 

If you frequently return to the same environment, your dog will soon grow out of their desire to understand everything about that environment. Your pup will get a grasp on it and begin to feel comfortable soon enough. 

Is My Dog Afraid of Their New Environment?

If your dog comes from one environment and moves into another, it might take a while to get used to things. If your dog spent a long time in the confines of the shelter and suddenly finds themselves in a bustling city, they may be terrified and not know what to do with themselves.

It may help to take your dog on short walks frequently. It can also be helpful to sit with your dog outside while they experience the new noises and smells and reward them with treats to build a positive association. Give your dog a chance to feel more comfortable with their new environment in short doses before you take them on a long walk. 

Is My Dog Afraid of Other Dogs?

Some dogs refuse to walk in dog parks because they fear other dogs. If the other dog isn’t displaying an aggressive temperament, there’s no real reason for your dog to be afraid. 

The trouble is, they just don’t know that. They’re not sure whether the dogs around them are friends or foes. They know you’re a friend and would prefer to remain exclusively in your company. 

Dogs who are afraid of other dogs need socialization and they need help understanding how to handle meeting new dogs.. You may be able to work with a dog trainer or behavior specialist to help your dog overcome a fear of other animals and to work on building positive associations with other dogs.

Is My Dog Sick?

If your dog is ill, they may refuse to walk. Refusal to walk without symptoms generally doesn’t indicate that your dog is sick but some dogs do not show discomfort so it can be hard to tell if there is something wrong. Refusal to walk can be a sign that something is not right with them. 

Look for other signs; their appetite may change, their behavior may change, and they may become despondent. If there’s any chance that your dog could be ill, you should take your dog to the vet immediately. 

Is My Dog Experiencing Joint Discomfort?

Senior dogs are prone to experiencing joint discomfort. Dogs with joint discomfort may not want to walk. They’d rather stay in a comfortable place to avoid overexerting themselves. 

Joint discomfort can also overcome your dog in the middle of a walk. They’ll only go as far as they can before giving up. If your dog gives up on a walk due to discomfort, carry your dog if possible — walking through the pain isn’t worth it.

Take your dog to the veterinarian and create a comprehensive treatment plan for joint discomfort. Treatment may involve changing the diet or enrolling your dog in a physical therapy program. 

ElleVet CBD + CBDA can help by relieving joint discomfort and helping your dog to enjoy walks again. While at the veterinarian’s office, ask if CBD + CBDA could become a valuable part of your dog’s treatment plan.

Why Is My Dog Having a Hard Time With Stairs?

Dogs with short legs, overweight dogs, and dogs with joint mobility issues sometimes have trouble navigating stairs. If your walk involves going downstairs or upstairs, your dog may be reluctant to attempt it. 

If your dog is overweight, you can adjust how much you feed them. Pause on giving your dog treats and human food — instead, feed your dog wholesome, nutritious dog food according to the amount suggested on the back of the packaging. 

Feed your dog an appropriate amount of food for their healthy weight. If your dog is supposed to weigh 50 lbs, give them the amount of food for a 50 lb dog — easy peasy.

If your dog has short legs, it’s probably a small dog. There isn’t anything wrong with your dog, so there’s no problem to fix. Carry your dog up or down the stairs and allow them to walk on level ground to give them a break.

Senior dogs are prone to joint mobility issues. If you suspect your dog’s reluctance to navigate stairs could result from joint mobility issues, take your dog to the vet immediately. In the meantime, you can help them navigate stairs — you can often find special harnesses to assist your dog in getting their back legs up the stairs. 

If your dog is much older and has significant joint discomfort and mobility problems, you may need to install a ramp or devise a permanent workaround for stairs if you can’t avoid them. CBD + CBDA is an excellent way to give very senior dogs the relief they need.

Is My Dog Happy With Where They Are?

Some dogs are homebodies and just don’t like going out. They’d rather walk around the backyard and play than get up, get in the car, and experience the ordeal of an outing. 

You might feel the same way sometimes! Why venture out when you have everything you need in the comfort of your own home?

It isn’t necessarily a problem if your dog won’t go for longer walks if they have access to a large fenced-in yard and enjoy active play. If your dog is healthy and getting sufficient exercise, they don’t need to go to the dog park. 

The reverse can also be true. If you’re out with your dog and they suddenly refuse to walk, it might be because they’re picking up on the signal that you might be trying to lead them home. 

When your dog is at a dog park, they might feel the same way kids feel on a playground. They’re having so much fun playing with their friends and exploring. Why would they want to go back to their boring old house? 

If your dog doesn’t want to leave the dog park, change the way you interact with your dog at the dog park. If you frequently call them back over and ask them to perform tricks for treats, they won’t suspect that something is up when you call them back to go home. They won’t take their name as a cue that the fun is about to end until tomorrow. Reward them with a treat when they hop in the car so they have a good association with leaving as well as with arriving.

Going for a Walk (and Finishing the Walk)

There can be many reasons why your dog doesn’t want to walk. Once you identify the reason, finding a productive solution is easier. It could be temporary, or it may just be your dog’s stubbornness. Be patient and encourage your dog to explore.

ElleVet CBD + CBDA is clinically proven to help if your dog feels stressed or uncomfortable. Try giving your dog ElleVet’s Calm and Comfort situational use CBD + CBDA product about an hour and a half before it’s time to go for a walk. Your dog may have fewer reservations about getting a little exercise and enjoying a fun day out of the house. 


The Nose Knows: Is There Anything Like a Dog’s Nose? | American Kennel Club

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