Skip to Content

Why Does My Dog Refuse to Walk With Other People?

I’m wondering if you could help me figure out why my dog refuses to walk with other people.

Over the last several months, my husband Matt and I have had several days where we’re away from the farm, and our parents have taken turns coming to stay with the baby and the dog.

My dog Baxter knows his “grandparents” very well and likes them (perhaps because he knows they usually come with treats).

However, Baxter does not like them enough to go for a walk with them. On days when we’re not home, Baxter will wait stoically (or stubbornly) until we return to take him for a walk.

If one of the grandparents manages to coax him outside, he will stand on the driveway and refuse to move. He won’t even take the opportunity to go to the bathroom.

This behaviour appears also if Matt and I are home and someone else tries to walk him. No way, Jose.

Baxter with his grandma - Why does my dog refuse to walk with other people?
My mom and Baxter

This is a bit frustrating because it would be very helpful to us if we didn’t have to personally fit in a dog walk in every day—especially after a long day away from home. (One of us always gives him a walk in the morning before we leave.)

Baxter and my daughter Ellie occasionally spend days at their grandparents’ houses. On those days, when he’s not on his home turf, Baxter happily goes for a walk!

Why does my dog refuse to walk with other people?

I’d love to hear from the ThatMutt community what you think is going on with Bax.

Is he afraid his grandparents are secretly dognappers? Does he feel a duty to watch the house when we’re not home? Has he appointed himself our official welcoming committee and doesn’t want to miss our arrival?

(The last two don’t make sense because he won’t walk even if we’re home… but his grandparents having a secret career as dognappers also doesn’t make sense.)

My Mom is not Cruella Deville! Why does my dog refuse to walk with other people

How can I get my dog to walk with other people?

I’d really appreciate some suggestions for possible solutions.

One idea I have is an obvious one: going for walks with Bax and my Mom, so he gets more comfortable walking with her.

We’d build up over a few days, and she could start to hold the leash while we walk together. And then a few days after that if Bax is walking well I’d gradually drift away as he and my Mom walk on.

The challenge with this is it requires an additional commitment of time from the grandparents when they’re already helping us out a lot with baby and dogsitting.

What do you think Baxter is thinking?

How do you think we can help him be more comfortable with different walking buddies?

Related articles:

Julia Preston writes for That Mutt about dog behavior and training, working dogs and life on her farm in Ontario, Canada. She has a sweet, laid-back boxer mix named Baxter. She is also a blogger at Home on 129 Acres where she writes about her adventures of country living and DIY renovating.


Saturday 12th of November 2022

Sorry, I couldn’t figure out if there was a way to edit. I should also mention that Emma is blind in one eye.


Saturday 12th of November 2022

I realize I’m late to the party, but I’m having the same issues with Emma, my rescue border collie. She is also 1/ third Pyrenees and a third Australian Shepherd. Three of the dogs as I understand it who become the most bonded to one person. It’s like the perfect storm ha ha! She is extremely bonded to me, but she adores my husband and gets beyond excited when he comes home from work. However, she refuses to walk with him. We’ve tried going along both of us with him holding the leash and me lagging farther and farther behind. But as soon as she realizes I’m not with them she pulls out of her halter and runs home. My husband is left walking the halter like with an invisible dog!


Tuesday 22nd of June 2021

We have the same issue with out 4 yr old pit bull. Tho I am working from home with lots of work, also a messed up ankle and each day walking for me is just getting more difficult. However to no solution the puppy refuses to walk with our teenage boys and the wife. Just me.. :D ..exhauting. He won't even do his potty stuff on our .08 acre city yard. The trainer sounds expensive, but perhaps the best solution. I will have to continue reading the other replies.

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 22nd of June 2021

Could your wife or sons try to totally mix up the routine, like maybe they head out a different door or different side of the yard? Perhaps bring a special squeaky toy along? Maybe if they jogged with him for 30 seconds or a minute, to get him more excited? Just brainstorming. Could even put him in the car and drive to a nearby park or a few blocks away. I realize that is a huge pain but if he like the car, that might help him start to enjoy walks with other people. Maybe they bring his food along and feed parts of it during the walk?

Kevin Byrne

Wednesday 20th of January 2021

I found this page as I have the same problem with Milo, our border collie, who we rescued a few months ago. He will walk with my wife or me, or us together, but when my teenage daughters try to walk him he refuses to go. He is absolutely comfortable around them inside the house but if they try to walk him more than a few steps, he wrestles himself out of his collar and runs to the door. We are perplexed.

Lindsay Stordahl

Thursday 21st of January 2021

Maybe try you and one of your daughters walking him a few times, where you are still holding the leash. And your wife and one of the daughters, with your wife holding the leash. Then same thing but the daughter holds the leash while you or your wife are with them. Then maybe after several walks like that he would go with just the daughters.


Tuesday 21st of July 2020

I have the opposite problem! I had a dog walker for three years then I moved and my schedule allowed for shorter days so I went without one. I moved again and now my dog refuses to go out with the dog walker while I am at work. He growls and snaps at her if she tries to get close. I had one guy here who was able to walk him (Crash, my dog, took to him immediately and is more excited to see him than me), but he has decided to go back to a normal day job. So now I’m stuck. I live in an apartment and have no yard and work long hours. I know it’s bad for him not to relieve himself for 7-9 hours, but coming home to walk him definitely isn’t feasible. Any ideas? He also refuses to walk with anyone else if I am around, but that’s not new behavior.

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 27th of July 2020

Gosh, that is challenging. I'm sorry to hear that. I'm assuming a dog daycare is not an option? If it were my dog, I would unfortunately probably just leave him for those 7-9 hours rather than risk him biting a dog walker, unfortunately. It sounds like he is this way with most people, and not just a few dog walkers. One thing that might be worth trying is having the dog walker ring the doorbell once she's in the apartment. I used to be a dog walker and when I did that with one stubborn dog, he would bounce up and run to the door, eager to see who had arrived. But, you want to be very, very careful and be certain this will not trigger an aggressive/protective response from your dog. Also, I'm assuming the dog walker/s have tried using high-valued food like pieces of chicken or maybe a squeaky toy to encourage him?