Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Dog Stops Walking & Won't Move!

Dog Stops Walking & Won't Move!

Dogs can stop walking all of a sudden while out on walks or at the park. In this post, our Fort Worth vets list a few possible reasons why this may happen and what you can do to help your dog. 

Reasons Why Dogs Stop Walking & Refuse To Move

It is scary if your dog suddenly stops moving while on a walk. First, know you aren't alone. While our Fort Worth vets hear questions from pet owners about this issue often enough, it can be frustrating and hard to manage. This is especially true if you don't understand why they are stopping or what to do. 

They are Suffering From Joint Pain

Dogs may sometimes stop walking if they are experiencing long-term pain in their joints. Hip dysplasia and arthritis are common causes of joint pain in senior dogs. These conditions can prove very painful for dogs, which means it's important to be able to recognize symptoms of joint pain, such as favoring one leg over the other when stopped or letting out a whimper or yelp before stopping. 

If you suspect your dog may be suffering from pain in their joints, the best thing you can do is call your vet and book an exam. Your vet will conduct a comprehensive wellness examination to determine the underlying cause and prescribe a treatment plan. 

Your Dog Has Been Injured

If your dog refuses to walk, it could be due to an injury. These injuries can range from minor, like a sprained paw or broken nail, to more serious issues like an open wound or a foreign object lodged in their limb.

If your dog has been injured, stop walking immediately and examine their legs and paw pads for injuries. If you can find the source of the wound, take pictures and call your vet to schedule an appointment. You'll likely be given first-aid instructions to follow. If you can't find the source of the injury, you still need to contact your vet to get advice and arrange an appointment. 

Meanwhile, you may prevent the injury from worsening by calling a friend or family member to pick you and your dog up. 

They are Scared of Something

If a dog is afraid of something in their environment, they might hesitate to walk or continue moving. This is often seen in young puppies during their fear period and in adult dogs in unfamiliar surroundings, especially if they are naturally anxious, fearful, or have a history of trauma.

Symptoms of fear in dogs include held-back ears, crouched body posture, a tucked under tail, or heavy or abnormal breathing. 

When addressing this issue you need to find the source of their fear. This can include noises, a trash can, a sign, a scent you didn't notice, or another dog walking by. If the source is a specific smell or sight, they may stop in the same spot every time you walk by it. 

After discovering the source of your dog's fear, you can start desensitizing your dog to the trigger (if it's safe) and help them build their confidence. While the precise steps needed to desensitize your dog can differ by the fear, here are some basic actions you can take:

  • Offer rewards 
  • Determine the source of the fear and build resistance
  • Use commands to redirect your dog's attention 

If your dog stops walking out of fear, contact your vet to schedule an appointment. Your veterinarian can help by offering specific tips and advice on how you can appropriately manage your dog's fear safely and efficiently. 

Not Enough Leash Training

Another common reason your dog may refuse to keep walking is that they aren't used to going for walks on a leash or haven't gone for a walk before.

If this is the situation, it can be a scary or overwhelming experience for your dog. It's best to take it slow and introduce them to the process gradually. Start by showing them one piece of equipment at a time, allowing them to sniff and become familiar with it while giving them treats. Skipping this step could lead to negative associations with walks and the equipment.

Then you can start putting the collar on them for brief periods, gradually increasing time intervals, starting with a few seconds, and increasing the time until they are used to it. 

It's also essential to select a properly fitting and weighted collar for your dog, by carefully reading the size guidelines and recommendations on the packaging. For training purposes, a lighter collar and leash are typically best. 

Before taking your dog for a walk on a leash, let them wander around your home with the collar on for several days, so they get used to the feeling. Then you can start taking your dog for leashed walks in your home. Gradually, you can introduce your dog to outdoor walks in areas such as a fenced backyard or an enclosed dog run. 

Don't forget to reward good behaviors with treats and to move at your dog's pace. If you need help leash training your dog, don't hesitate to contact your vet for advice.

Other Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Doesn't Want To Walk

If you don't think the above situations apply to your dog, here are some other potential causes:

  • Your dog is tired
  • It's too hot or cold outside for your dog
  • Your dog's walking gear (leash, collar) is uncomfortable for them
  • They want to keep walking more
  • Your dog needs to get more exercise and stimulation out of their walks
  • Their walks are too long for them

Ways to Get Your Dog Moving

Here are some additional tips and ways you can help your dog start moving again:

  • Stop walking and restrict their access to objects they are interested in (this will help them realize the only way to walk is with you).
  • Implement proper leash training
  • Reward good walking behaviors
  • Start walking faster when going through interesting locations
  • Choose one specific side for your dog to walk on to prevent pulling
  • Spice up your usual walk and take other routes

Suppose your dog stops walking and won't move. In that case, it's always a good idea to call your vet for advice and book a physical examination because many potential causes are due to an underlying medical condition or even a veterinary emergency

It's also key to note that if your dog stops walking, you shouldn't bribe them to keep moving or drag them as it could motivate this negative behavior. It's also important that you don't yell at or punish your dog because there could be many factors causing this issue. This is why we say "When in doubt contact your vet".

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you are worried about your dog stopping on walks then contact our Fort Worth vets and schedule an appointment today.

New Patients Welcome

We're accepting new patients at A-Animal Clinic & Boarding Kennel! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals in Fort Worth. Get in touch today to schedule your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

(817) 731-1494 Contact