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My Dog Keeps Sitting While Walking: 6 Possible Reasons

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on May 27, 2024 by Dogster Team

Rottweiler breed with a metal collar and a long leash sits

My Dog Keeps Sitting While Walking: 6 Possible Reasons

Walking provides your canines with the physical and mental activity they need to stay healthy, happy, active, and alert. That’s why it’s no wonder that pet parents begin to worry if their dog suddenly starts sitting down in the middle of a walk. There are a few reasons that this can happen. Everything from the age and breed of the dog to the dog being distracted could be the culprit.

One of the first things to check is whether your dog’s leash and harness fit correctly. If they are too tight or uncomfortable for your dog, they may be sitting down because walking is uncomfortable. If you’ve checked the harness setup and the sitting while walking is still an issue, we’ll give you a few other reasons your dog might be sitting in the guide below.

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The 6 Reasons Why Your Dog Keeps Sitting While Walking

1. The Age and Breed of Your Dog

The age and breed of your canine can make a difference in how they act when you take them out on walks. It’s a well-known fact that not all breeds can walk for long distances. For example, dogs with flat faces have problems breathing if they walk for too long, and some dogs don’t need as much exercise as others.

You can’t expect your senior dog to walk as far as it did when it was a young adult. Senior dogs can suffer from arthritis and joint pain, which might make it uncomfortable for them to walk. This isn’t to say they don’t need daily walks, but you need to cut back to accommodate your elderly pet’s needs.

a senior dog laying in the grass in a backyard smiling at the camera
Image By: Annette Shaff, Shutterstock

2. They Are Bored

Dogs get bored, just as people do. If the dog is bored, it’s not being mentally stimulated. The dog may sit and refuse to go anywhere to tell you it’s bored. You can remedy this boredom by adding some spice to your walk. Take a different route, meet new people, and let your pup meet new dogs while you control them with a leash.

You can also take a friend’s dog with you on your walks or take your canine to a local dog park and let it get its exercise while playing with new friends. Who knows, you might meet some new friends as well.

3. The Dog Needs a Break

If you grow tired during your walks, you can safely assume that your dog also does. Your dog may be sitting down because it’s tired and needs a break. A break may be necessary if you’re taking your dog on a longer walk than usual.

For example, if your dog has become a couch potato, you don’t want its first walk in a while to be a 5-mile-long one. Start slowly, and let your dog take breaks as needed.

It’s also important to consider the weather you’re walking in. A dog will walk much faster in the spring and fall than during the humid summer months. You probably have a hard time walking for longer distances during the summer, so assume your canine pal does, too.

During the summer, keep your dog in the shade during walks as much as possible, and take multiple breaks. If your dog sits down anyway, maybe it’s just too humid or hot, and you need to head back home and try again another day.

tired New Zealand Heading Dog
Image By: janecat, Shutterstock

4. The Dog Is Sick

It is a possibility that your dog is suffering from an illness or is in pain. If the dog abruptly sits down during your walks, it may have suffered a cut to its paw or something else. Examine your dog’s feet and legs for cuts, scrapes, or blisters.

If there are no apparent signs of trauma, it could be that your pet is sick. Some conditions that will cause a dog to plant itself abruptly during a walk are listed below.

  • A pulled muscle
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • An infection
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Bone cancer
  • Torn ligament

If you believe your dog is in pain or see any signs of the conditions above, it’s best to make an appointment with your vet immediately for treatment options.

5. They Are Afraid

Your dog could sense something you haven’t felt or heard yet. It could be a firetruck with sirens blaring coming down the street or an approaching thunderstorm. Other reasons for your dog’s fear could be fireworks, other dogs, or even bicycles passing by if your dog isn’t used to seeing them.

Also, if your dog isn’t used to being taken out for walks on a leash, it could cause the dog to become scared and anxious. The dog might sit down because it’s frozen from fear or refuses to go further in a strange environment.

Give your pup time to get used to the leash and a new area by shortening your walks and taking the dog out a little at a time. Be careful that your dog doesn’t try to bolt when scared, as this could lead to the dog becoming injured or worse.

scared dog hiding in grass
Image By: Isa KARAKUS, Pixabay

6. The Dog Is Distracted

There are all kinds of things to see and explore on a walk. If the dog sees another person, smells something new, sees a squirrel it wants to chase, or another dog it wants to socialize with, the dog can become distracted. Often, the dog finds something on the ground to sniff or eat and plants itself until it’s done.

You can lure your dog back by offering a treat so that you can continue your walk. However, using this method sparingly is best, as you don’t want your pet to associate walking with a treat. You’ll end up with a dog that plants its butt constantly, expecting you to give it a treat to get it going again. This is not the behavior you want to encourage in your furry friend.


Dogs love to go on walks, so if your dog is suddenly planting its bottom and refusing to move on during your walks, you’re probably concerned. While nine times out of ten, there’s nothing to worry about; there is the chance that your dog is ill or injured. If you feel your dog is sick due to this behavior, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your vet for diagnosis and treatment.

If the vet has cleared your dog for health issues, you can do a few things to entice them to walk with you, including tempting them to move with a treat or distracting them with a toy.

See also: How to Protect Your Dogs While Out Walking: 12 Tips & Tricks

Featured Image Credit: YouraPechkin, Shutterstock

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