Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

11 Signs Your Dog Wants to Go for a Walk: What to Watch-Out For

Written by: Adam Mann

Last Updated on April 5, 2024 by Dogster Team

dog sitting on doormat at home

11 Signs Your Dog Wants to Go for a Walk: What to Watch-Out For


Dr. Ashley Darby Photo


Dr. Ashley Darby

BVSc (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

If your dog is like most, they’re always looking to go for a nice, long walk. But sometimes they’re a little more adamant than others, and if you know what to look for, you can start recognizing the signs for yourself. There’s a lot to consider, but as you get to know your pet a bit better, you’ll be able to tell what they want in no time!

dogster face divider

The 11 Signs Your Dog Wants to Go for a Walk

1. Standing by the Door

a german shepherd dog by the door
Image Credit: pryzmat, Shutterstock

If your dog is standing by the door, it can mean all sorts of things, but one thing is almost always for sure: They want to go outside. Whether it’s for a quick trip around the yard or a walk around the neighborhood, your pup is saying as loud as they can that they want to go outside. Even if they don’t want to go for a walk (which is unlikely), they at least want to go potty, so it’s best to take them for a short stroll anyway.

2. Standing by the Leash

If your dog is trying to be a little clearer about what they want, they could direct you right to the leash and wait by it. This doesn’t necessarily mean they want to go out to the yard (but they probably wouldn’t turn it down) but that they want to go out with you for a walk.

It’s one of your dog’s favorite activities, and pointing you right to the leash they wear whenever you’re out on your adventures together is about as clear as it gets.

3. Pacing Around the House

Belgian Barge Dog (Schipperke)
Image Credit: Welshea, Shutterstock

Dogs need to meet minimum activity levels to stay happy and healthy, and if they’re not getting outdoors and moving around enough, it can start to make them feel pent-up energy. When this happens, they won’t be able to sit still as much, which can lead to them pacing around your home.

Not only can this drive you nuts, but it is an extremely clear sign that they need more movement in their day. You’ll need to get them out one way or another or the pacing can turn into other destructive boredom behaviors.

4. Staring at You

Your dog knows you’re the one who takes them for a walk, so when they want one, they’re mainly looking for your attention. Of course, when they’re looking at you, it could mean all sorts of things, like that they’re hungry, thirsty, want to play, or just want your attention. But we’re sure if you offer them a walk, they’re not going to turn it down!

5. Staring Out the Window

dog looking at the window
Image Credit: Rachel Moenning, Unsplash

While some dogs just like looking out the window to see what’s going on, others are looking out longingly with a desire to go explore the world on their leash. You’ll have to get to know your dog to figure out which is which, but we’ve yet to meet a pup that turns down a walk.

If they’re staring out the window whimpering or whining, it’s more of a sign that they need a walk or to go potty, but even then, it could be them just wanting to go out and lay in the sun. Still, it’s best to meet these needs if you haven’t already.

6. They Grab the Leash

Some dogs are intelligent enough to grab exactly what they want and bring it to you. While most dogs don’t perform this trick, if yours does, there’s no clearer sign of what they want. Even if your pup doesn’t do this now, they could in the future, and it’s even something you can train them to do. However, the tradeoff is since they almost always want to go for a walk, you can wind up with them bringing you their leash all the time.

7. Bringing You Your Shoes

golden retriever dog biting shoes
Image Credit: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock

Although rare, anecdotally, some dogs have been said to bring their humans their shoes. This is another clear sign they want to go get their steps in. They know you need to put your shoes on to go for a walk, and it’s their way of telling you to get ready. Most dogs won’t do this though, and if they’re running around with shoes, it could simply be because all they want to do is chew on them!

8. They’re Excited

Is your dog’s tail wagging uncontrollably or are they running and jumping around all over the place? If so, they could be optimistic about going for a walk! Either way, they’ve clearly got some energy they need to get out of their systems.

9. They’re Making Noises

little dog barking at home
Image Credit: Dubin Mykhailo, Shutterstock

When your dog tries to tell you something, it can come out as all sorts of noises. Half whines and barks are common, and while these can mean all sorts of things, we’re sure you’ll make their day if you take them out for a walk. They can’t talk like us, but the noises they make can be telling all the same. However, if this behavior is unusual, be sure to get them checked out by a vet, as it could indicate a range of health problems that could potentially be causing them pain.

10. Excessive Sniffing

If your dog is starting to pay some extra attention to the carpet or other areas in your home by sniffing, it could be that they’re looking for a place to relieve themselves. This is the perfect opportunity to take them out for a walk. They’ll go to the bathroom outside, get a walk, and bond with you all at the same time. On top of that, they get both physical and mental stimulation by moving and sniffing these new surroundings rather than everything in your home.

11. They Have an Accident

Puppy pee indoor
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

An accident is a clear sign that your dog was showing you signs they wanted to head out but you missed them. Don’t beat yourself up too much over it, but take note of it and try to pay a little better attention to what they were doing before they had an accident. Of course, repeated potty accidents could be a sign of a health issue, so you might want to speak to your vet if you’re letting your dog out regularly but they’re still having accidents.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03


Now that you know a little more about the different ways your dog can tell you they’re ready for a walk, all that’s left is for you to figure out how exactly they’re trying to tell you. By knowing the signs we highlighted here and paying attention to how your dog communicates with you, we’re sure you’ll be able to read their cues and signs in no time!

Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.