Most dogs are eager to go out for a walk, but there are some breeds which prefer a quiet life and love to remain indoors. Often larger breeds show this tendency. Some dogs seem just plain lazy to move from their favorite spots on the couch or rug. They just don’t want to come out of their comfort zones. Even dogs who love the outdoors may occasionally act out of character and refuse to step out of the house. Dogs with a shy nature may sometimes show reluctance to follow you out of the door.
Why walks are important to dogs
All dogs are better off with a nice long walk in the open air that would refresh them and provide the required exercise. Dogs need to exercise their muscles to keep them in good condition. Walks are important as a time of close interaction between the dog and its owner.
Is the dog ill?
When an otherwise active dog shows no interest in going for a walk, he may be feeling a slight indisposition. All animals have some natural ways of healing themselves. So let him loose in a protected yard for some time and leave him to his own devices. You may find the dog chewing on certain grasses and herbs and regurgitating them later. That need not alarm you. Your dog will become energetic again after his self medication. If the dog is severely ill, it will often show other signs like listlessness and lack of appetite.
Fear and shyness
If the dog doesn’t seem to be having any physical ailments, its refusal to walk may stem from fear. If your dog has met with any potentially threatening situations while out on previous walks, he might be afraid of going out. The threat may have come from other people or from more dominant dogs. If you suspect that, take him for walks in quieter areas. Some dogs are timid by nature and need your constant presence and verbal assurances to feel safe. When you meet other dogs or people, keep talking to your dog to build up his confidence level. Don’t allow negative experiences to be repeated as it might reinforce their lack of confidence.
The question of motivation
Just like people, some dogs will be extroverts, but others may not have much interest in meeting other dogs and people. If your dog shows no interest in the walk, he could be bored of the same circuit day in and day out. Change your walks every now and then, and add other activities like a game in the park or a visit to the nearest water body for a change. Giving him small treats on the way to coax him to walk is an option. Carrying the treats in a way he can see them will keep him excited all along.
When your dog is too stubborn
Occasionally you can give into the dog’s reluctance and allow him to play in the yard instead. But sometimes the reluctance to walk may turn into a contest of wills. If your dog stubbornly refuses to accompany you outside even after you offer it treats, it’s time for firmer handling. The dog should not feel that it can disobey you and have its way all the time. Put your dog in a harness and order him out in a stern voice. Pull him along if necessary. Whenever he reduces his resistance, praise him and hand out treats.