Why Does My Dog Sit Down (and Stop) During Walks?

Dogs stop mid-walk for a number of reasons. If your dog refuses to budge, you might want to take a moment to make sure everything’s OK.

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Is your dog stopping mid-walk? Check the paws for stones or broken glass. By: notapreppie

I’ve seen it happen to other people while they’re walking their dogs. I’ve seen funny videos of it, and I’ve seen pictures of it being shared on social media.

You’re strolling along happily with Daisy, and then all of a sudden she stops in her tracks. She sits or lies down and refuses to budge. She’s done with the walk — period. How embarrassing.

And as you struggle to coerce Daisy to keep moving, hoping you don’t look too foolish to the giggling passersby, you wonder why she has decided to stop mid-walk. Before getting frustrated, consider that Daisy might have a legitimate reason for not continuing.

Injury or Illness

We are not newbies to the mid-walk flop. It’s an everyday occurrence with Babe. We refer to it as “the stop-and-drop phenomenon,” or we say that she’s “turning on the gravity.” We’ve experienced it enough to understand that Babe stops for a number of reasons, and some require immediate attention.

For example, shortly after rescuing her, we took Babe on a 5-mile fundraising walk. About 3 miles in, she started lagging behind. Then she stopped to lie down and started back up only when we insistently tugged at her leash.

Finally, she flopped down on the concrete and refused to budge. We picked her up and looked her over. All 4 of her paw pads were rubbed raw from walking on the sidewalk, and 2 were actually bleeding.

At 3 years old, Babe had never apparently gone for a long walk on a sidewalk. So my husband and I took turns carrying her the 2 miles to the finish line.

Before scolding your dog and dragging her forward, check to see how she’s feeling. She may:

  • Have a sprain or pulled a muscle
  • Have stepped on glass or a thorn
  • Be overheating
  • Be too ill to continue

The possibilities are endless, and in the case of your dog’s health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Give Daisy the benefit of the doubt that she really needs a break.

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Maybe your pet just doesn’t require as much exercise as other dogs do. By: AJU_photography

Lazy or Tired

Laziness isn’t just a human vice. Dogs can get lazy too, and sometimes they’re just not in the mood to walk. It may not happen often, but I’ve seen pups that simply aren’t up for a long stroll.

In fact, doing some breed research may shed a little light on your dog’s expected activity level. A Jack Russell terrier, for instance, is going to be much more likely than a Basset Hound is to keep up for a few solid miles.

Your basset isn’t necessarily lazy, but he will likely need less exercise than a more energetic breed needs.

Another reason Daisy could be lagging behind or outright stopping mid-walk could be that she is just plain pooped. As limitless as her energy is when she’s running circles around your living room, she could have exhausted herself before going on a walk. Letting her rest for a few minutes might be just what she needs to keep going.

Don’t forget that your dog is a clever creature. She will learn what she needs to do to get her way.

Babe often lies down while we’re walking simply because she wants to be picked up and carried. She’s tired or lazy — or both. But we’ve caved so many times that now she knows all she has to do is lie down mid-walk to get a lift home in our arms.

Distractions

Another common reason dogs stop in their tracks is that they’re distracted. Daisy might be stopping because she:

A great way to lure Daisy back to the walking path is bribery — namely giving her a tasty morsel. Bring a treat bag to dispense little bites throughout your walk to keep her attention.

This English Bulldog may be hot, tired or just plain lazy. Watch as he takes his human for a stop-and-go walk:

Always Take a Moment

Even if you’re in a big hurry or just not in the mood for puppy shenanigans, do your dog a favor: Take a moment and look her over for injury and watch for strange behavior when she stops. Make sure she is well enough to keep walking.

It could just be that cute Chihuahua across the street who has caught her attention, or it could be something serious. Take the time to double check.

Allison Gray

View posts by Allison Gray
Allison Gray gained a wealth of knowledge about animal welfare issues and responsible pet care during her nearly 5 years of work for an animal shelter. She is a writer, photographer, artist, runner and tattooed remedial knitter. Allison also has been researching, testing out and perfecting nutritious pet treat recipes in her kitchen for Petful since spring 2017.

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