My Dog Refuses To Walk Certain Directions - Why?

My Dog Refuses To Walk Certain Directions – Why?

If you are a new dog parent, several things about your dog might confuse you at some points. We take dogs for strolls, but what if your dog refuses to walk certain directions? This will make you wonder why, and this is one of the most common questions that dog parents face.

What could be the reason behind this? Is it something to worry about? Well, read this article to clarify your doubts.

So, why does my dog refuse to walk in certain directions? A dog may refuse to walk in certain directions for many reasons. Sometimes dogs do not prefer having long walks, some do not prefer walking on the same routes, some do not prefer to walk far from their home, or maybe they are scared or anxious over something.

These are some possibilities that prevent a dog from walking in specific directions. Generally, this is not something to be panicked about; however, you must understand the situation and take appropriate actions as the owner.

Not every dog refuses their walk for the same reason; it varies. If your dog is reluctant to walk in a specific direction, you should not force them to do it.

Yet, there are tips and tricks that any dog owner can follow to overcome this issue. Your dog will undoubtedly enjoy their regular strolls if you follow the tips accordingly.

Why do dogs refuse to walk a certain way?

Earlier, you learned some of the common reasons that prevent your dog from walking in certain directions. Let’s elaboratively have a look at them.

  • Hesitancy to go far from home

Some dogs do not prefer to walk far from their home. This can be especially seen among puppies as they have more instinct to stay close to the home.

Leaving the house and going far might create separate anxiety in some dogs. Although they act scared and reluctant to leave home at early stages, this will eventually change as they become mature.

However, some adult dogs would still hesitate to leave home and go far.

  • Unpleasant incidents they faced or signs of danger

Suppose that your dog faced a scary incident when going on a walk. If you retake the dog on that route, it will get stressed out and scared.

When dogs face a traumatic experience, they always try to avoid it. Moreover, dogs have strong senses.

Dogs do go after intense scents, but they can prevent it if they sniff something unusual or rather suspicious.

  • Boredom

Dogs have different personalities. While some prefer staying inside their homes, others prefer going out and exploring things.

Taking some dogs in the exact directions repeatedly might make them feel bored, which will likely keep them away from walking in that direction.

Why does my dog stop walking and refuse to move on certain directions?

If your dog usually loves to go on strolls, you will get bothered to see them refusing to walk all of a sudden.

What could prevent your dog suddenly from moving? Even though one cannot give a precise answer to this question, typically, this happens due to two things.

Either the dog has fear or a phobia; if not, they experience pain.

Sometimes we find it difficult to understand what exactly scares the dog because dogs can get scared of several things. It could be an object, a sound, or even a place.

Scientifically speaking, fears and phobias are subjective; therefore, if your dog suddenly refuses to move first, you should carefully find out why.

You can switch the routes and see if they start to keep walking, then you can assure it’s due to fear. But if they still hesitate to walk, perhaps that could be due to pain or physical discomfort.

Should you drag a dog that won’t walk?

When your dog keeps refusing to walk, what could be the best thing you can do? Dragging them or forcing them to do it might not be wise to follow in such a scenario.

Pulling them to do it could worsen the situation. It will make your dog more uncomfortable and nervous. Not just that, dragging them with a leash could injure their neck, knees, and elbows.

So be mindful to follow positive alternatives rather than forcing them. Dragging is never a good option.

How do you get a dog to walk in the direction you want?

As explained, there are many reasons behind a dog’s reluctance to walk in certain directions.

When a dog keeps avoiding walking in a specific route, pushing them to do it will never help solve the problem. So how do you get a dog to walk in the direction you want? Below are some tips.

  • Try to find out what worries them

If your dog refuses to walk in a specific direction unless there is an apparent reason that you know, try to find what it could be. You can mix the road and see if the dog still hesitates to walk.

Figure out if the dog is tired, facing pain, or other physical discomforts. Give a couple of minutes for the dog to relax and calm its nerves.

You can also try giving them a small dog treat, but don’t get them used to it.

  • Don’t be too harsh with the leash 

When taking your dog out for a walk, it’s crucial to ware them a collar and a leash, but don’t dominate them harshly using the leash.

If the dog avoids walking, don’t drag them with the leash. It could hurt the dog and also make them feel more anxious.

You can teach your dog to walk loose with the leash. Don’t let the dog pass you, but let it walk parallel to you. 

  • Train them for commands 

Familiarize your dog with commands since the pup stage. Train them for commands such as “Let’s go” because when they are used to these commands from the youngest age, it will make them somewhat comfortable and less scared to follow directions. 

Final thoughts

Physical activities are mandatory for the well-being of any dog. Taking them for a walk is the easiest and most common way to help your dog meet their regular exercise needs.

However, sometimes dogs hesitate to walk in certain directions, which is an incident faced by almost all dog parents.

This could happen for several reasons, and as dog owners, we should know how to act calmly and help the dog overcome this issue.

Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts.


  • Dominic Parker

    Dominic P. is a dog behavioral researcher who graduated from the University of Surrey and holds BVMsi (Hons) in Veterinary Medicine and Science. He has been around dogs since childhood and has unconditional love for dogs. It makes him become a researcher instead of practicing as a veterinarian. Dominic enjoys his work and likes to share his findings with dog parents to give them a better understanding of dogs’ behaviors.

    [email protected]

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