This post is about what to do if your dog refuses to walk.
I’m not referring to senior dogs who might be in pain or are physically unable to walk.
This post is about dogs who just don’t want to walk because they’re scared, lazy, bored or whatever it might be.
You know, when your dog “puts on the brakes” and digs his nails in refusing to move? Or when he just flips over on his back and says “I’m done.” Or when he keeps turning around trying to bolt back home? Those are the dogs I’m talking about.
I’ll address fearful dogs at the end of this post, but first let’s focus on dogs that are just not motivated to walk. Those dogs exist!
Here are some of my tricks. Leave yours in the comments because these discussions are helpful to dog owners in this situation.
What to do if your dog refuses to walk
1. Play with your dog.
Be silly! Run for a second to initiate chase. Do a “play bow.” Bring a rope toy or a squeaky toy. Call out, “Yeah! Good boy, Zeus! Yay!” Praise him and pet him when he follows.
If your dog “puts on the brakes” and refuses to move, try building some momentum by quickly turning around at a fast pace to go the other direction. But then, quickly turn around again so you’re heading in the original direction.
Use a happy voice, food or a toy to motivate him. “Yay! Good boy!”
2. Change your route.
Be unpredictable. Most dogs “put the brakes on” at the same spot every time – a certain corner or a certain house. So pick a different route.
It also helps to go on more of a “loop” route instead of heading to a turnaround point. If you follow a loop, you remove the habit of turning around. But choose smaller loops to start with.
3. Bring high-valued treats.
I’m talking pieces of real meat, smelly jerky treats or pieces of cheese. Hot dogs?
Be careful not to fall into the pattern of luring/bribing your dog with food every time he stops or sits. Instead, give him a surprise treat when he’s IN MOTION.
Slowly increase your expectations so he has to walk a few seconds longer to get a goodie. Combine that with a really upbeat, excited voice. “Wow! What a good boy! So fast! Look at you!”
If your dog loves to use his nose, using high valued food is even better! You can drop little pieces on the ground to get him using his nose instead of focused on stopping or turning around. Sometimes just getting their little brain to focus on a new task is all you need to break a habit.
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4. Bring a friend or family member.
My dogs think it’s 10X more fun if Josh tags along on our walks. Have your family member walk ahead of you a bit so your dog is encouraged to catch up. Don’t worry about pulling. For extra motivation, have the friend carry food or a toy or bring another dog along (assuming the two dogs are friends).
5. Drive somewhere more interesting.
Get out and walk there. Could be a park, a different neighborhood, the country, wherever. Only if your dog is not fearful of new places.
6. Change up your dog’s feeding schedule.
If you normally feed your dog right after your walk, it’s possible he’s trying to end the walk sooner so he can get home and eat. Consider feeding him before the walk.
Or, you might have the opposite problem. Maybe you need to use his food to motivate him for the walk. Or feed him his food DURING the walk! The point is, consider changing the routine to your benefit.
7. Re-consider the collar or harness you’re using.
Would he walk better if you used something else? Some dogs “shut down” while wearing a Gentle Leader or Halti-type collar that fits around the muzzle, for example. While these are great to prevent pulling, sometimes they work too well!
8. Is your dog wearing a coat?
Some dogs don’t like to walk while wearing a coat, sweater, dog backpack or booties. Your dog probably doesn’t need this gear anyway. On the other hand, a dog backpack might motivate some dogs because it gives them a “purpose” and they’re focused on their work instead of stopping or turning around. Silly dogs.
9. Don’t let your dog slip out of her collar.
Dogs that don’t want to walk or dogs that are scared are VERY good at backing out of their collars or twisting out of just about anything, including harnesses.
So pick something that fits properly and clip the leash to more than one tool if needed. For example, clip it to a harness and a collar. Sometimes using a carabiner or a second leash is helpful.
Of course, make sure your dog wears ID tags and consider a microchip for added safety.
What if your dog refuses to walk because he’s scared?
That’s more challenging but you can still try some of the tips above. Here are some additional points to consider.
1. Acknowledge your dog’s fear.
If your dog is scared, it’s important to acknowledge to yourself that your dog is truly afraid and can’t help it. However, it’s also important not to feel sorry for him or coddle him too much. Instead, slowly build up his confidence so he can learn that walks are not so scary!
2. Give encouragement.
I find that dogs with low confidence do well with happy, verbal praise combined with slow, firm pats on the side. (Not all dogs appreciate this however.)
3. Give newly adopted dogs time to adjust.
If you just adopted the dog, make sure you’ve allowing him time to adjust to his new routine. It’s a lot to adjust to a new home, new owners, let alone a new neighborhood and town.
4. Use basic obedience to build confidence.
Work on some simple obedience or tricks at home to boost confidence. Short sessions of 5 minutes or so. Sometimes you can fall back on an easy trick or command during a walk to get your dog motivated and confident to keep going.
5. Walk with a friend’s dog.
If she likes other dogs, walk with a friend and their dog is a great way to encourage her to go out and investigage, especially with an easygoing, happy dog. Don’t let this backfire by pairing up with a dog that could scare her. Do slow intros, avoid direct eye contact between the dogs and head-on meetings. Walk side by side or one in front of the other first. See my post how to introduce dogs.
6. Clicker train.
First teach your dog what the clicker means. Click = treat for doing the behavior you want. Start with something simple like sit. The dogs sits, click, instant treat. On your walks, click and treat your dog when she’s in motion. Don’t worry if she’s pulling for now.
7. Reach out to others for ideas.
See the comments below and please leave your questions or suggestions there too because the discussion is helpful for others. Thank you!
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-Lindsay, Ace & Remy
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I reviewed a product called the Shed Defender because it sounded like a product designed specifically for my dog Ace.
The Shed Defender is a onesie for dogs designed for containing dog hair, replacing the medical cone collar, reducing allergies for a dog or person, reducing a dog’s anxiety or protecting a dog from insects.
My dog Ace is often itchy due to allergies. He wears a cone collar during flareups, and we use the Shed Defender to give him a break from the cone of shame.
My readers responded positively to our review of the Shed Defender, so I wanted to share some examples of other dogs the product has helped. I emailed several dog owners to get their feedback. You can read their experiences below.
This post is sponsored by Shed Defender. Use code THATMUTT20 for 20% off a Shed Defender (limited time). Click here. Normally $39.99 to $72.99.
And yes, I know it’s hard not to smile and laugh when you see a dog in a onesie! The Shed Defender is a serious product but I can’t help but smile at how funny and cute the dogs look in their suits!
Shed Defender Reviews
Controlling hair and reducing anxiety
Bleu is a 7-year-old Catahoula dog, and Phil Muldowney said his dog’s dark fur would quickly clump up on the hardwood floors and cover their light-colored furniture.
“Think Western film and substitute tumbleweeds for dog hair balls,” he said.
They did buy furniture covers, but Bleu kicked those off after a few hours. They also bought two Dyson handheld vacuums.
The Shed Defender has helped reduce and control Bleu’s shedding, Muldowney said. It has also helped reduce Bleu’s travel anxiety so he no longer wears a Thundershirt on car rides.
“We simply keep the Shed Defender on and his travel anxiety goes away.”
Muldowney said he would recommend the Shed Defender to any dog owner who needs a solution to their dog’s shedding, car anxiety or for a dog who needs slight compression to feel safe.
That Mutt readers can get 20% off a Shed Defender with code THATMUTT20. Click here.
Controlling dog hair in the car
Stephanie Shaw has a large mutt named Kiwanis who could be a German shepherd, Rottweiler and Lab mix.
She decided to try a Shed Defender because she takes her dog to work every day and they ride in the car together for about an hour, five days a week.
“My car interior was getting ruined—absolutely covered by hair,” she said.
“It was on the dashboard, in the gearshift, all over both the back and the front seats, even with expensive seat covers. It was on the floor, in the hatch, everywhere!”
She said the Shed Defender has been amazing.
“I went from having to spend boatloads of money on vacuums and car washes every week to not really needing to vacuum the car at all,” she said.
“He’s comfortable in the suit and it is more effective in cutting down shedding than I can even put into words. It has been a life saver for our car, and the compliments he gets when he wears it don’t hurt either.”
Shaw highly recommends the product for anyone who rides with their dogs in the car on a daily basis. She said she introduced Kiwanis to his with a “whole bunch of cookies” so he would have a positive experience.
“He has no qualms at all about wearing it every day, twice a day now!”
Katrina Smith has an 8-year-old German shepherd with a long coat.
While Jake is generally an outdoor dog, Smith started bringing him inside at night because she was noticing he was getting very sore due to his age and the cold.
The only problem was all the dog hair.
“The hair that he loses is crazy,” she said. “Even when he doesn’t come inside we still get his hair everywhere and on everything.”
She was trying to make her own onesie for Jake when she found the Shed Defender online.
“At first, the Shed Defender is a little tight and tricky to put on, but loosens up after a while,” she said. “Jake now has the process down pat and doesn’t mind wearing it at all.”
The Shed Defender helped to stop Jake from barking at possums and cats at night because now he gets to sleep in the house. And perhaps best of all, Jake is no longer showing any signs of soreness.
“The hair inside my house is now minimal and Jake enjoys being close to us at night.”
Controlling shedding at relative’s homes
Sadie is a pitbull mix who tends to shed brown hair “all over the place.”
“When I take her to my parents’ house, they do not like the hair everywhere,” said John Moody.
Moody said he was also looking for something to keep the dog hair out of his truck when Sadie tags along. The Shed Defender has really helped with that too.
The product also had a third benefit—helping Saide feel calm.
“It definitely helps to calm her down even though I did not purchase it for this reason,” Moody said. “She gets very calm and usually lays down or sleeps.”
Controlling a dog’s scratching
Kelli Teague said she loves the Shed Defender. She bought it to control the allergies and scratching of her Chihuahua/Pomeranian mix named Lilly.
She said it has really helped reduce Lilly’s scratching and she would recommend the product for any dog with allergies.
Ordering information—Shed Defender coupon code
That Mutt readers can get 20% off a Shed Defender with code THATMUTT20. Click here.
The Shed Defender comes in 9 different sizes ranging from mini to giant. It also comes in 8 different colors. You can view the size chart here. Shed Defender also offers free returns and exchanges so you can make sure to get the correct size. If your dog is on the larger end of a size, I recommend you go up a size.
If you have any questions about the product, just leave them in the comments and I will answer.
Also, let me know in the comments if the Shed Defender has helped your dog. It would be fun if you post a picture to That Mutt’s Facebook page here.
My 11-year-old black Lab mix Ace recently started taking a high-quality hip & joint supplement for dogs from Mavericks Ranch.
Ace has had weak and stiff back legs for many years, and he also takes an anti-inflammatory every day.
I really hope the Mavericks Ranch hip & joint supplement gives my dog some extra relief. I know glucosamine is not a “miracle” but even a small improvement would be wonderful.
This post is sponsored by Mavericks Ranch, a company that makes all-natural health supplements for dogs.
Use code WQO2VC9E for 30% OFF a bottle of Mavericks Hip and Joint Booster on Amazon. CLICK HERE.
Mavericks Ranch review
My thoughts on the Hip & Joint Booster from Mavericks Ranch:
I really like this company and hope to see some improvements in my senior dog’s mobility.
He’s been taking the hip & joint supplement for about 13 days, so it’s too soon to tell and of course every dog’s condition is a little different. My dog is 11 and has had noticeable stiffness for at least 6 years so there’s only so much we can expect at this point.
Each tablet of the Hip & Joint Booster contains:
I’m giving my dog a “loading” dose for 4 to 6 weeks and then I’ll give him the maintenance level after that.
Some of the potential benefits to the Mavericks Ranch Hip & Joint Booster include restoring your dog’s joint health, reducing pain and increasing mobility and flexibility, according to the company. It also contains essential vitamins and minerals to help with bone strength and cartilage and connective tissue formation.
What is the cost of the Hip & Joint Booster?
Mavericks Ranch Hip & Joint Booster is on sale for $29.99 per bottle on Amazon. Each bottle contains 120 tablets.
A bottle will last my 68-pound dog 2 months during the “loading phase” and 4 months once he starts the maintenance dose.
What’s unique about Mavericks Ranch?
Each tablet has a higher dose of glucosamine (800mg), chondroitin (400mg) and MSM (400mg) compared to the majority of joint supplement brands for dogs.
The supplement is made with all natural ingredients in the United States. It’s also grain free and comes with a money back guarantee.
Pros of Mavericks Ranch Hip & Joint Booster:
– 120 tablets per bottle
– Made in the USA
– 800mg glucosamine per tablet (shellfish sourced)
– 400mg chondroitin per tablet
– 400mg MSM per tablet
– Beef flavor my dog likes & chewable
– 100% satisfaction guaranteed or your money back
– Each bottle will last 1 to 4 months, depending on your dog’s size
– On sale now on Amazon! Use code WQO2VC9E for an additional 30% off
– Grain free
Mavericks Ranch says it has a higher amount of glucosamine per tablet (up to 8X the amount of other brands). This is obviously a good thing in general, but more is not always better.
I suggest a brief talk with your vet as I did beforehand to make sure your dog gets the right dose of glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM.
I would recommend Mavericks Ranch for …
The Mavericks Ranch Hip & Joint Booster is a good option for any dog in need of a glucosamine supplement. It is a good brand that I trust.
Ingredients in the hip & joint product include: glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, MSM, vitamin C, manganese, grape seed extract, L-Glutathione, vitamin E, liver granular, stearic acid, sweet dairy whey, vegetable magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide and beef liver flavor.
Ask your vet if your dog would benefit from glucosamine, but I recommend it for middle aged and older dogs of all breeds. I also recommend it for younger dogs if they are medium to large or very active like my weimaraner Remy.
Smaller dogs might also benefit from glucosamine. If you’re not sure, it’s always a great idea to bring it up with your pup’s vet or breeder. My senior cat even started taking a glucosamine supplement recommended by our vet to help keep his bladder healthy. I never knew there were so many benefits to glucosamine!
Ordering information: Amazon & Mavericks Ranch
Mavericks Ranch is offering That Mutt readers a special 30% off code on Amazon so you can order a bottle of Hip & Joint Booster for your dogs at a great discount!
Mighty Paw is a company that makes high-quality leashes, collars and other gear for dogs.
My Lab mix Ace and my weimaraner Remy recently got to test out Mighty Paw’s brand new double dog leashfor walking two dogs.
Each side of the leash adjusts from 16″ to 24″ so you can adjust differently for each dog.
It attaches to an optional 36″ handle or you can order without the handle and just clip it to your everyday leash.
Mighty Paw is a sponsor of That Mutt. Our readers can use code MP20Mutt for 20% off any of the brand’s products. Works on its website and on Amazon. Click here.
Mighty Paw Double Dog Leash Review
My thoughts on the double dog leash.
I like all of Mighty Paw’s products and this leash is also high quality. It’s made of weatherproof nylon and durable hardware. The leash is lightweight and comfortable, yet durable.
Each side of the double dog leash adjusts separately from 16” to 24”. For a few extra dollars it comes with a 36” handle (leash) or you can just attach it to your everyday leash.
I recommend ordering the handle because it’s made with padded neoprene and really comfortable. It matches the rest of the leash and both pieces have reflective stitching that really pops! I love the gray/green design.
Many of you know I worked as a dog walker for 8 years and sometimes I would walk 2-4 dogs at one time.
I prefer to use a double dog leash when:
I walk two well-behaved dogs who know each other
walking 2 smaller dogs
walking 3 dogs (I put the 2 best behaved dogs on a double leash)
When I walked dogs in North Dakota winters, sometimes it was difficult to juggle multiple leashes + used poop bags while wearing gloves. A double dog leash came in handy and I would recommend Mighty Paw’s leash because of the reflective stitching.
Of course, some dogs don’t do well on a double leash. For example, it’s not ideal for my two because my senior dog moves very, very slowly while my younger dog pulls.
This leash would be awesome for two dogs with the same fitness level and leash skills. My two are on the opposite ends of the spectrum, but we had some fun with it anyway:
What is the cost?
Price without handle: $15.99
Price with handle: $18.99
Get yours on Amazon for 20% off with code MP20Mutt. Click Here.
What’s unique about the double dog leash?
This leash has a swivel, which works well for preventing tangles. It’s made of weatherproof nylon meant to last many years, according to Mighty Paw.
It also has reflective stitching along the whole length of the product, and the two leashes adjust independently from 16″ to 24″.
Mighty Paw’s products also come with a 90-day 100% money back guarantee.
Pros of the Mighty Paw double dog leash:
Each side of the leash adjusts separately 16″ to 24″
Pairs nicely with any leash OR comes with a 36″ handle
Reflective stitching along the whole product – works really well!
90-day 100% money back guarantee
Made with weather-proof nylon
Has a swivel to prevent tangles
Good price! Just $15.99 to $18.99
The handle is made of padded neoprene for comfort
One color option available (gray with green accents). I love the color but it’s not for everyone.
16″ is the shortest each side goes; some people might prefer even shorter
I would recommend this leash for …
I would recommend Mighty Paw’s brand to anyone considering a double dog leash. This leash is good quality and stylish and you can’t go wrong with it.
A double dog leash is a nice option for simplifying your walk with 2 or more dogs. If you have 3 dogs it’s nice to be able to double 2 of them up so you have one less leash. I also think all dog walkers should have a double dog leash on hand.
That Mutt’s $7/mo Patreon members received a FREE product from Mighty Paw every month. They’ve received products such as a martingale collar, a long training leash, leather squeaky toys and more. Join us HERE.
Are you interested in Mighty Paw’s double dog leash?
If you have any questions about the double dog leash, make sure to leave them in the comments and I’ll get them answered for you.
Please share this post with anyone who might benefit from the product!
It’s extremely frustrating and stressful to be woken up at 5 a.m. to barking every single morning. The timer was a small price to pay for getting a good night’s sleep every night and starting my day without stress.
The timer even made my dog happier because he knows how to WAIT patiently. He’s calmer.
How to get your dog to sleep in
The timer we used – GE Bluetooth Smart Switch (plug-in)
This is not a sponsored post. I just wanted to share a product that made a big difference for us.
How to use the timer:
Plug it into your wall
Plug your lamp into the timer.
The timer connects to an app on your phone.
Program the timer through the app.
There is a lot of flexibility with the app so you can adjust for different times each day or you can set it for certain times for certain days of the week. It’s really simple to use. It’s also nice to be able to set the light to turn on when we are traveling.
The only “con” is you have to set the timer at quarter-hour increments like 5:30, 5:45, 6:00, etc. You won’t be able to set it for 5:33, for example. Here’s a comparable timer that allows you to choose any time.
In just a few days, your dog will learn that when the light turns on he gets food.
1. Set your timer to go off before your dog would normally bark.
On the first morning, we had the timer go off a few minutes earlier than when our pup would normally start barking.
He would normally bark around 5:30 so we set his lamp to turn on at 5:15.
I also set my own alarm clock to go off at 5:10. That way I had plenty of time to wake up. I waited quietly at my bedroom door until exactly 5:15 and then I walked out to the living room and did my best to place his food bowl in front of him within a minute of the light turning on.
Lamp turning on = food. (The faster you can deliver the food, the better.)
On Day 1 of this, there was no barking for the first morning in over a year.
2. Stick to that for a few days and then slowly change the time to later.
We were able to quickly move the timer so the lamp would turn on later and later, but it’s best to wait a few days before adjusting the time. That way it’s easier for your dog to be successful.
By the third morning it was pretty obvious our dog had made the connection. He was drooling big time when I brought out his food on the third morning. His brain had paired the lamp turning on with food and that was pretty much that.
3. Use the timer consistently for 2 months.
In our case, the timed light broke the barking habit immediately.
After about six weeks it was clear we didn’t need to set the timer anymore. My dog’s new habit is to wait patiently instead of bark.
However, I suggest you use the timer for a good two months just to really solidify the new habit.
It’s been about three months since we started using our timer and now we don’t need it anymore. The barking habit is gone. However, if we ever need to we will quickly return to using the timer, and it wouldn’t be a problem if we had to use it ongoing. It’s just so simple to use.
The GE Bluetooth Smart Switch is available on Amazon HERE.
Here’s how our setup looks. The lamp sits on the shelf right above his kennel. The lamp is plugged into the timer, which is plugged into the wall straight back behind the kennel.
5 additional training tips to get your dog to sleep in:
1. Know why your dog is barking in the first place.
My dog barked because he wanted to eat, but some dogs bark because they want to go outside or they just want to see you.
If your dog barks because he wants to go for a walk, then you’ll need to pair your lamp turning on with a walk instead of food. You’ll also have to set your own separate alarm clock accordingly so you’re ready to head out for a walk when the timed lamp turns on.
2. If you’d rather not feed your dog right away, give a treat instead.
If your dog barks to eat but you’d rather not feed him right away, try giving him a high-valued snack when the light turns on like a bully stick or a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter.
He can work on that while you get ready to go for a walk or to feed him, etc.
3. Don’t expect too much from puppies.
This post is geared towards older puppies and adult dogs. If your puppy is still very young, wait with this training approach until you know he can easily hold it all night and doesn’t need to rush outside immediately when he wakes up.
I would start this training approach once the pup is about six months old.
4. Using a timed lamp is just one example.
You could try a similar approach as the lamp but instead use sound instead of a light. A basic alarm clock by your dog’s kennel could work. Or you could set a radio, TV or music to turn on at a specific time each morning.
5. What about just ignoring the whining?
This is good advice, but it didn’t work well for us. It worked only if I got up extra early and went to Remy before he started whining. Once the whining started, he wouldn’t stop. I felt like the whining and barking was being reinforced more and more each day by allowing it to happen, and we’re in an apartment. I’m sure our neighbors would prefer not to hear our dog barking.
I wrote a few posts on this method, and you could certainly give it a try:
Blogger Lindsay Stordahl Lindsay Stordahl (with her mutt Ace) is the blogger behind That Mutt.
Blogger Julia Thomson Julia Thomson (with her mutt Baxter) writes regularly for That Mutt.
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