What Does It Mean When a Dog Sits Down While Walking?

by Tom Ryan
    Switch up your route to stave off walk boredom.

    Switch up your route to stave off walk boredom.

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    If your dog gives up and plants himself down in the middle of a walk, he may need more than a breather. While tiredness can compel him to sit down mid-walk, his actions may be a form of protest. By changing your walking style and shaking up the routine, you can get your dog interested in walking again and stop wasting time convincing him to get up and move.

    While dogs thrive on the comforts of routine, too much of a good thing can bore your pal. Taking the same walk at the same pace every time you go outside can make the whole thing too familiar to him, and if he gets bored, he may just sit down and protest. This is your cue to mix up the walking routine, so experiment with taking different routes, moving at varying paces and introducing some unpredictability.

    It's easy to get distracted by other things, like cell phone calls, while walking your dog. If he feels like he isn't getting the attention he wants and deserves, though, he's liable 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 of course, reward him with treats after).

    Dogs don't form memories the same way that people do, but that doesn't mean they forget big events. For example, if your dog is attacked in front of a particular house, he may be frightened to walk past that house in the future. If he has a traumatic experience like that, avoid walking in or around that area as best you can -- if he feels nervous about returning to that area, he may sit down and outright refuse to proceed.

    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 and/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.

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    About the Author

    Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

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