UPDATED: Jul 8, 2021
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Some dogs just love walking on a leash and getting some exercise and fresh air.
Sometimes, your dog will be tired, bored or just not up for the walk, so he might sit (or even lie) down and not get up.
The problem is that once your dog starts sitting down on his or her walks, it could become the new normal.
And if this does happen, you need to correct the behavior right away.
Why Does My Dog Refuse to Walk?
Below are some reasons why your dog stops walking and won’t move:
1) Your dog is bored of the same walks
While dogs love their routine, your dog simply could be bored and is sitting down in protest!
Taking the same walk at the same pace every time you go out can make the routine too familiar.
… especially if they are older, like 3, 4, or 5 years old and have been walking the same route for years!
Try mixing it up and take your dog on different routes, walking at varying paces and introducing some unpredictability.
Pick up into a jog for a few blocks if your dog is starting to sit down. Surprise your pup!
2) Get off your phone and focus on your dog!
If you are busy texting or chatting on the phone, your dog will notice and might sit in protest.
If your dog feels like he isn’t getting the attention he deserves, he’s smart enough to find a way to get it.
And sitting down will do that!
Keep your focus on your dog throughout your walks by talking to him, engaging him with toys and stopping periodically to give commands and praise.
3) Bring treats on your walks for good behavior
This trick works well at any age, but especially if you start your dog off early like as a 1 or 2 year old puppy.
Take some treats along with you when walking your dog. However, use them sparingly.
Dogs are smart and will quickly learn to manipulate you if you give them the chance.
Don’t offer the dog treats in order to encourage them to get up when they are sitting.
If you do, you will find that your dog will never get up unless you give him a treat.
Only give out treats when your dog is walking the way you want him to and not sitting down.
Reward good behavior!
4) Dogs can remember traumatic events and get nervous
Your dog might be sitting down on his walk because something unpleasant happened to him.
It could be as simple as a dog scaring him or car on his daily walk.
Or if your dog is approached by a big mean dog on a certain street, he might sit down before getting there.
If this is the case either change your course or avoid that particular street.
5) Make sure your dog knows that you are steering the walk
When walking your dog, be confident, firm, and strident in your steps. Dogs are very adept at reading our body language.
If you carry yourself in a weak or submissive way, your dog will pick up on that and get the idea that he is the boss.
When your dog sits down, use a confident, commanding voice to tell your dog to get up.
There should be no question in your mind about whether your dog will get up.
You know he will because you told him to and you are moving onward.
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If your dog has just started sitting on his or her walks, take your dog to your vet to examine your dog’s legs and hips and to assess if your dog is the correct weight.
One reason that some dogs sit down during walks is that they are in pain from something such as:
If there is a problem, follow your vet’s recommendations regarding treatment.
If there isn’t a problem, then you can go forward with training, knowing that you are not hurting your dog and the issue is behavioral.
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