Why Does My Dog Freeze When On A Walk

Why Does My Dog freeze on walks

There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the pouring rain with a dog that refuses to finish their walk. You may think this is just them being stubborn but there are many reasons why dogs freeze during their walks.

The main reason dogs freeze during their walk is because they are scared or apprehensive about something yet to happen. Dogs are great at anticipating their surroundings and assessing what could happen next. This anticipation could be in the form of fear, physical weakness or purely behavioural. 


What To Do If Your Dog Stops Walking And Wont Move

If you out on a walk and your dog suddenly freezes, the situation can become quite stressful depending on a variety of factors. If its cold wet or windy your not going to want to stand still for very long, and the prospect of passers by judging you for your poor dog handling skills is not something your want to experience…….everyone’s an expert.

So what do you do if this happens. Well there are a few approaches and all need a patient, levelled head to carry out. In this scenario your dog has frozen on the spot deciding he doesn’t want to walk any further, what do you do?

Your first most feasible option is be patient and wait, your dog may have seen something up ahead or heard something in the distance, acute awareness can often be the cause of a frozen dog. Often your dogs body language will tell you what how long they are planning on staying in that position. Giving them a little pull on the lead with a command will often encourage them to walk on, although they may still keep most of their attention on the thing that made them stop.

If your dog is in a stubborn mood and wont budge despite your commands and gentle pulling, you may have to try something a bit more firm. If your dog is on a collar then try not to pull too much as this can damage their throat, harnesses can often be great at encouraging a dog to move without hurting them. Which ever your dog is wearing try pulling a bit harder with the leash short, make sure you get up close to them, and try to make them walk with you side to side.

My best tip and on occasion has worked wonders is a simple one. Walking behind your dog and nudging them in the bum can get them moving quickly. You can use the lead close by them and with a gentle nudging of their backside walk in the direction you want. This often works for me, however the response can sometimes be for your dog to drop to the floor and lay down, where you will have probably a bigger problem.

Why Does My Dog freeze on walks

What To Do When Your Dog Lays Down On A Walk

A frozen dog that is standing is one thing to deal with, however a dog that decides the best option is to lay down on the floor is a whole other ball game. Small dogs are easy to deal with as you can usher them along or even just pick them up. Large dogs are heavy and strong, so if they are unwilling to move you are going to struggle no matter how strong you may be. If you have a large dog you may also be interested in our article on “How To Travel With A Large Dog”.

Training is going to be the biggest asset when it comes to moving a large dog from a lying down position. The chances that you will move them by force is slim so success will be up to the amount of training you have done. Combining your training with treats can help to motivate them and makes it more likely they will listen to what your saying.

Training is not something that is going to work every time as fear will outweigh any commands you give them. Try finding something that your dog loves such as a treat, go high value on treats and only give them one for encouragement. If your dog starts to listen to you every time, start commanding them to move without a treat, they may assume a treat is what they will get. Its important to ensure you do start to convince your dog that lying down will get them a treat, so with holding a treat every now and again is a good idea.

Why does my dog lay down on a walk

Reasons Why Your Dog Freezes During A Walk

Although one of the main reasons for a dog freezing during a walk is because they are scared or apprehensive, there can also be some other reasons you should consider before making up your mind.


The physical nature of your pooch is a very important reason for them freezing during a walk. Older dogs will often be the first to tire and stopping is something they need to do. In these moments you have to be patient and let them rest for a little bit. An even better idea could be to stop during your walk and sit down somewhere, relax and let your pooch relax too, after this they should be ready to go again.

Its not just older dogs that freeze during a walk and you may find your younger pooches stop for a rest too. The reason for this is most likely because they have run around too much, which happens when they are off lead. If you have your young dog on a lead and they stop, looking exhausted then you should take them to a vet as soon as possible, there could be some underlying issue that your not aware of.


Behaviour related issues are a common problem when owners walk their dogs in public. You just want your dog to behave and they just wont.

If your walking back to your car or home and your dog realises this, they will sometimes freeze to prevent them getting closer to going home time. Of course your dog does not want to stop their walk, but they need to know that your decision is the final one.

Much of this comes down to the consistency of training. Most owners will train their dogs during the puppy phase and after this stop any structured training. Its important to realise that after you have trained your puppy, reinforcement of this training should be moulded into their everyday life. Training should follow them into adulthood, allowing them to understand that you are the boss and they must do as they are told.

Of course, even the most well behaved dogs are going to be rebellious at times, but you don’t have to have a rebellious dog every time you are coming home from a walk. Keep up consistent training and when you notice a rebellious side starting to appear try to stop it before its too late.


Fear is the most noticeable reason why a dog has stopped during a walk, this may not mean they are scared as such but rather more alert than usual. Dogs have great senses for detecting their surroundings and they will hear or smell something way before you know about it.

Giving your dog the benefit of the doubt will help a lot with this situation and monitoring their body language too. The best way to get them moving again is allow them a moment to monitor whatever it is they have sensed and then gently encourage them to walk on, with commands or a gentle pull on the lead. If you need to you can use some treats to tempt them into walking with you.

Its likely that your dog will still be highly alert for the remainder of the walk, listening out or sniffing the ground for whatever they sensed. Remember after all it was probably just a squirrel.


Its not a fun thing for a any owner to experience, but its important to be patient when your dog stops on a walk and assess the reasons why they have stopped. Hopefully the advice here will help you get your dog moving again and back to enjoying their walks. If you enjoyed this article don’t forget to check out our homepage for more great articles on getting out and about with your pooch.


Dean Lissaman

As a child I grew up around dogs and have loved them ever since. I now have a beloved Golden Retriever who enjoys exploring the outside world. Being an outdoor enthusiast has inspired me to create the ultimate resource on relating both dogs and the outdoors. For more information on me check out my about page.

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