How to Stop Your Dog from Sitting Down on Walks
24 November, 2014
Most of our dogs can’t wait for us to take them on a walk each day. It’s their time for to get some fresh air, exercise and release all that pent up energy. And you enjoy being with your dog and getting some exercise. However, if you have a dog who is tired, bored or just not up for the walk, he might sit (or even lie) down and not get up. Once your dog starts sitting down on his or her walks, it could become the new normal.
Below are some reasons as to why your dog(s) might be sitting down on walks and how to stop it.
Your dog is simply bored of the same old walks
While dogs thrive on routine, too much of a good thing can bore your pooch and cause your dog to sit down. Taking the same walk at the same pace every time you go out can make the whole ritual too familiar. Your dog becomes bored and then sits down in protest. 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.
Get off your phone and pay attention to 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 wants and deserves, he’s smart enough to find a way to get it, like sitting down and not moving. Keep your focus on your dog throughout your walk by talking to him, engaging him with toys and stopping periodically to give commands and praise.
Bring treats along on your walks for good behavior
Take some treats along with you when walk your dog. Treats are a great way to reward your dogs for good behavior and keep their focus. However, use them sparingly. Dogs are smart and they will quickly learn to manipulate you if you give them the chance. Do not 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 along the way you want him to and not sitting down. Reward the good behavior.
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. It’s simple. Change your course. Or avoid that particular street.
Your dog could be simply tired or need a break
Not all dogs are built to be long-distance walkers, so if yours sits down in the middle of a walk, he may just be tired or hurt. Elderly dogs or those suffering from conditions like arthritis, may experience pain and discomfort during walks that make them want to sit. Overweight dogs or those who overheat easily, like pugs, may sit down because they are experiencing difficulty breathing. Learn your own dog’s limits as far as temperature and distance go and respect those limits on your walks. If your dog is not a long distance runner, go running on your own.
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.
If none of the above works with your dog, take your dog to your vet.
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. Knee problems, hip dysplasia, obesity, and arthritis can all cause this behavior. If there is a problem, follow your vet’s recommendations regarding treatment. If there is not a problem, then you may confidently go forward with training, knowing that you are not hurting your dog and the issue is behavioral.
If you shake up your routine, bring some treats along and make the walks fun, your dog will most likely avoid sitting down on the walk because he is stimulated and wants to keep moving! Take a look at our other article on how to stop your dog from sitting or lying down on walks!