Understanding Why Your Dog Stops On Walks

Have you ever found you and your dog caught in a war of wills on a walk? You’re stuck on one end of the taut leash, and your furry friend on the other. Why is your dog refusing to budge? You might find this behavior confusing or even frustrating, but your dog is just trying to communicate with you. We list out some reasons why a dog stops on walks here so you can try to figure out what your beloved pet is trying to say!


One of the most common reasons that dogs stop on walks is because they are overwhelmed by their surroundings. Remember, your dog doesn’t just see and hear things, it also has a very acute sense of smell! To get your dog moving, use a reward system to motivate it. If your dog stops during your walk, walk a few paces away, giving the leash some slack, and let it come towards you. Once it does so, reward him with a treat and some pats.

Fear or Anxiety

If you think your dog looks frightened when it stops, it could be experiencing fear or anxiety. Perhaps there’s a loud construction project going on nearby, an unfamiliar object close at hand, or your dog associates that place with something scary that might have happened there before. Be patient with your dog if you notice it – never pull or drag it down the street. Instead, use the reward system detailed above to get your doing moving. Remember, you want to bond with your dog, and making sure that they feel safe with you helps.


Perhaps your dog is simply tired. If you’re exhausted on a run, you’d likely stop and catch your breath. Your dog might be doing the same thing! If you’re bringing your dog back from a training or playtime, or any other place or activity where it might have spent a lot of energy, it could simply be tired. Certain breeds are also known for being less energetic. These include pugs, bulldogs and flat-faced canines. Older dogs are also more prone to bouts of fatigue. If you notice your dog is panting heavily, give it some time.


Sometimes, your dog might stop because it’s in pain. A limp is easy to spot, but other injuries may be less obvious. If you notice your dog has been stopping during your walks for no apparent reason, a visit to the vet may be in order. If you’re trying to check your dog for injuries, do note that a dog in pain may bite, so be careful. Once both you and your dog are calm enough, inspect its paws to see if they might have caught onto something – perhaps a thorn or shard of glass. Remove the item and clean the area with antibacterial soap. If the area is swollen, apply an ice pack to it twice a day for 15 minutes each time. We recommend that you consult with your vet as well. If your dog has been injured, give it the time and space to relax. We recommend keeping it on bed rest until your vet recommends that it is safe for them to resume their usual activities.