Training Cooper, my male Poodle, was a task to say the least, especially because as a puppy he was quite independent. As the years went on, his training became much simpler, but his personality started to shine through more and more. In his older years, I started to notice he was finding it difficult to walk, eventually refusing to do it at all. If you’re dealing with a dog that refuses to walk, this guide will help you to understand what the possible cause of the problem could be.
Dealing with Injuries or Illnesses
One main reason for why your dog might refuse to walk is because of an injury or an illness. I had an experience with Cooper, my male Poodle, where I was really concerned for his health, as this occurred right after I had received him as a gift from my grandmother.
Cooper and I were going on a walk for a fundraiser that I had signed up for shortly after I brought him into my home. After walking for about 2 miles, he started to lag behind to the point where I constantly had to stop walking. Eventually, he stopped to lie down entirely and the only time he would start walking again is if I tugged on his dog harness.
This continued on for about another mile, and then he stopped moving altogether, this is when I knew that something was wrong and that he wasn’t just tired. After looking him over, I found that Cooper’s paw pads were basically rubbed raw from walking on the concrete, 2 of them were actually bleeding.
It turns out that Cooper, my male Poodle, had never been on a long walk on concrete before and so I carried him across the finish line. I learned a very valuable lesson that day, and it’s my honest advice that if you find your dog is refusing to walk, think about how they might be feeling. Some things to look out for include:
- Sprained or pulled muscles
- Thorns, glass, or other types of debris stuck in their paws
- Overheating from hot weather or lack of water
- Being ill from food or perhaps something they’ve eaten along the way
When it comes to your dog’s health, it’s important that you take every possible precaution. If the problem persists, it’s advised that you book an appointment with your family veterinarian.
A Lazy or Lethargic Personality
We all know what it’s like to be lazy; in fact, I’ve had more than a few lazy days in my lifetime. The same applies for your dogs; sometimes they simply don’t have the desire to go for a walk. Depending on their personality, it can be something that happens often, or that barely happens.
Some breeds have higher levels of energy than others, for example, Jack Russell Terriers have an incredibly high energy level and will be willing to walk for several miles whereas Basset Hounds will not.
When I was dealing with Cooper, my male Poodle, having difficulty with the fundraising walk, one of the first things that I thought of was that he was tired or that I owned a dog that doesn’t want to walk. It’s possible that he could have tired himself out while running around the house before we even went out. All he would have needed was a few minutes to rest, and then he would have been able to continue.
When it comes to laziness, it’s important that as a pet owner you have an idea of what your dog is willing to do to get their way. For example, when Cooper is having a lazy day he has the tendency to lie down until he’s picked up and carried. There have been so many times where I’ve caved and carried him that sometimes I have to deny him the luxury of being in my arms because it started to become expected.
Confronting the Fear of Going Outside
When you take a look at the outside world, it might not be something that you’re scared of, but it could be something your dog is scared of. Remember, a dog’s senses are far more heightened than that of a human. With over 220 million olfactory (hearing) sensors, dogs can pick up sounds in the ultrasonic range.
It’s common for owners to have a dog that won’t go outside, especially if they’re more in tune with their multi-sensorial design. A few things that might prevent your timid dog from going outdoors include:
- Neighbor’s dogs barking
- Floor being slippery before going outside
- Stairs that lead to a lawn
- Distant sounds that human ears can’t pick up
- Fear of thunderstorms, rain, or bad weather conditions
- Fear of new places
In most cases, the fear of going outside comes from a fear of the unknown because of a lack of socialization. The less that your dog is able to be outdoors, the more they’re going to be terrified if they hear an unfamiliar sound.
To ease the transition between indoors and outdoors it’s important that you don’t flood your dog, meaning you don’t want to force them to face their fears. You wouldn’t want to throw a child who is afraid of water into a pool, and the same applies to a dog. Flooding can lead to the development of trauma. Dogs are not like humans, and they cannot talk themselves out of fear, they will feel trapped and become physically and mentally impaired.
It’s also important that you don’t punish your dog for being afraid. Imagine being someone who was terrified of something and when faced with that fear, your parents yelled at you for being afraid. It’s only going to make the fear worse. This also applies to the fact that you should not carry your dog outside and physically force it to deal with its fears. It’s important that your dog learns how to conquer their fears on their own.
Dealing with a dog that refuses to walk can be simple, as long as you remain attentive and understand the personality of your pet. With Cooper, my male Poodle, it was simply the fact that I pushed him too hard on the walk. With others, it could be the fact that they’re afraid, lethargic, or lazy. Regardless of any reason, understanding what it is that’s preventing your dog from walking will help you to keep them happy and healthy.