December 14, 2021

Why dogs suddenly stop on walks

Why dogs suddenly stop on walks
Dr. Chris Brown

The transformation from excited walk participant to immovable lump can be remarkably (and amusingly) sudden. But here’s why they do it…

We’ve all been there. Somehow you find yourself gently tugging on a leash that’s now attached to a very furry lump of lead. And yes, it feels like it’s highly amusing for everyone but you…

But before we dive into the reasons why, here’s the biggest take-out.

They do it because at some stage in their lives, they’ve tried it before and it’s worked. And they don’t forget a win in a hurry!

Topping the list of reasons why is actually a surprising one.

It’s over-stimulation. Basically this is when the sounds (of cars, barking dogs, construction work), the smells (think lots of dog urine) or a previous stressful experience all become too much for your little mate to manage at that moment. So…they put their world on pause. And ultimately buy themselves time to know what to do next.

Next up is the simple exhaustion flop. They’ve gone too hard on their walk, they’re hot, thirsty and want to cool their belly on the ground and catch their breath.

And finally, my favourite. The defiant flop. They simply don’t want to head home from their walk yet and so protest by becoming earthbound. On very hot days or if they’re sore or feeling off colour, this can even happen at the start of their exercise session.

In all these circumstances, the key is trying to work out what flop you’re looking at and staying positive.

If it’s heat or exhaustion, find some shade and water to help them cool down. For the remainder, it’s important not to reward the undesirable behaviour. Establishing that calm, controlled walking does earn treats before any flopping happens will help them keep momentum.

But if you’re just trying to get home, try encouraging them up with something like their ball and even take a few steps back towards the park before arcing back around to eventually find your way home a slightly different way.

I guess sometimes walks are just far too wonderful to end! It's a compliment...really.


Calm + Collected
Calm + Collected

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