Dog Won't Go Outside: 5 Reasons Your Dog Refuses to Walk

Dog Won’t Go Outside: 5 Reasons Your Dog Refuses to Walk

Dogs usually love going on adventures and are eager to spend time outside. However, if your dog won’t go outside suddenly, then there might be an issue and it’s important to find out way. Dogs will often associate certain places with certain things and if they have had a bad experience this might cause some stress and inhibit their desire to go outside. The key in these situations is to ensure that outside time has positive associations. However, the reasons as to why your pup isn’t going outside could be caused by a myriad of factors from anxiety to illness. Thus it’s imperative to examine the different reasons as to why this might happen and to consult your vet or even a behaviorist if needed.

Desensitization might also be key and will usually have to start off small. Walk your dog around a small space in the garden and gradually expand the scope as their confidence grows. If they are scared to go potty outside, be sure to stay calm and always praise them when they do something good. Don’t shout at them if accidents happen as this might increase their anxiety and perpetuate the problem. Your dog will respond best to kind and consistent training.

Sad dog lying at home

Your Dog Is Scared

One of the key reasons why your pup won’t go outside is probably because they are feeling anxious or afraid. They might have had a bad experience outside and are now fearful that this will happen again. Perhaps they got shouted at by a stranger or got bitten by an animal in the garden. Their response to the outside world is now based on fear and it’s your job to rewire their brain so that they feel safe when they spend time outside. Anxiety can be caused by a number of things and if your dog is a rescue pooch, you might not know what they have been through. Consistency and kindness are always key and positive reinforcement has been well-researched in making a huge difference in the lives of animals. Sometimes you might have a situation with a puppy scared to go outside. Again, be patient as this is all very new to them. help your dog to realize that the outside world isn’t scary and that they are safe. Also, show them that they can easily come back inside when they want to.

Your Dog Is In Pain

Another reason why your dog might be reluctant to go outside is because they are in pain. Perhaps they have injured their paw and walking hurts, they have a splinter that needs taking out or they are dealing with overgrown nails that dig into their paw pads when they walk. Be sure to check their paws for any sign of injury and consult your vet if needed. Some dogs might thrive well with a pair of dog boots. These can protect paws and ensure they don’t get burnt on hot roads. They might also be dealing with an internal illness that doesn’t have any external physical symptoms. If your dog stops eating their food or drinking water, is dealing with an upset stomach or vomiting, or seems lethargic or unable to move, it’s best to consult your vet and get a medical opinion.

Related Post: Paw Protection Waxes For Dogs

They Are Getting Old

Older pups can become anxious and even deal with issues like dementia. This can make them feel unsafe and they can become unsure of even the most familiar of surroundings. It is thus important to keep their surroundings as familiar and structured as possible. Stick to a routine with your senior pup and ensure that feeding times and potty times happen at the same time and in the same place every day. Older dogs need some extra patience and care and it’s also important that they get their yearly checkup at their vet to ensure that they are doing okay. Dogs, much like humans, are more prone to certain ailments as they get older and it’s imperative for owners to keep an eye on them and ensure that they feel healthy and well. If your senior pup is afraid to go outside they may be dealing with a medical issue and this should be ruled out first. If you have any worries about your dog and the raging process, chat to your vet and be sure to do a regular checkup. You might also want to change their diet and opt for food that supports seniors.

Related Post: Senior Dog Food

Dog laying down in front of the door

Sound Sensitivity

If you have ruled out any medical issues and your dog is still anxious when it comes to going outdoors, they might be super sensitive to sound. Dogs can hear at a far higher frequency than people can and thus sounds that don’t seem too loud to us could really unsettle a dog. They could become agitated by a number of sounds that might not bother us. Noises that your dog might find unsettling might include:

  • Other dogs and their barking
  • Screaming children or noisy people close by
  • Lawnmowers, tractors, or lorries
  • Construction or building projects where loud power tools are used
  • Nature noises like thunder or lightning
  • Fireworks (which can cause great stress and anxiety in pets)

If these sounds are frightening your dog it might be a good idea to take them outdoors at different times of the day, or even in the evening when some of these sounds might have stopped. An early evening stroll is also a good idea as the weather will be cooler and this enables you and your dog to unwind after a busy day.

They Haven’t Had Proper Socialization Training

Socialization training is critical for your dog to feel safe and secure in the outside world. This training usually begins when they are a few months old and it should ideally occur before your dog reaches 4 months. Encourage them to explore the unknown and reassure them. that they are safe. If you have an older rescue or your pup missed this critical stage, be sure to consult a dog trainer and consider going to some classes. This will expand their social skills and ultimately make them a much happier pooch.

What You Shouldn’t Do If Your Dog Feels Scared

  • Don’t Punish Your Dog – Punishing your dog will only make them more scared to go outside and won’t do anything to boost their confidence and make them feel safe. While it can be frustrating to navigate the situation of a pup not wanting to leave the house, patience is key and kindness and a gentle approach can go a long way in making them feel safe again.
  • Don’t Push Them Too Much – While you want to gently encourage them to explore the world and leave the house, pushing them can have the opposite effect and make them feel afraid. If you’re dealing with a dog afraid to go outside it’s important to be patient and calm. Gently coax them every so often but don’t push them too much.

Woman walking with beagle dog in the park

How To Entice Your Pup to Explore The World

  • Entice them with treats: Make outside time a time for lots of tasty treats and rewards. You want to associate the outside world with positivity and happiness. This will take some time but with enough effort and patience it will pay off.
  • Play games with them: Make outside time a wonderful time for games and exploration. Bring their favorite ball or toy and spend wonderful quality time together. This will slowly associate outdoor time with fun and happiness. Positive reinforcement is key.
  • Be gentle: The key thing is to be gentle and kind with your dog. Positive reinforcement takes time but will pay off in the end as it builds trust between you and your pup.
  • Consult a behaviorist: If you’re struggling to get your pooch outside, it’s a great idea to consult a professional behavior therapist. They will offer you practical tools as to how you can enhance your pup’s confidence.

When your dog refuses to go outside it can cause a lot of upset and stress. However, by consulting professionals and dealing with matters in a loving and gentle way, you’ll soon be able to support your dog and make outdoor life enjoyable once again.  Taking your dog for a walk is essential for their wellbeing. In fact, many have suggested that a dog walk is much like reading the newspaper. It enables them to exercise parts of their brain that don’t always get stimulated and new smells enhance the wellbeing of your dog. A walk a day is great for physical and emotional wellbeing in both dogs and humans and is thus a wonderful bonding activity for any owner and their dog.


  1. Dr. William Fortney, Medical Treatment for Dogs, HowStuffWorks
  2. Victoria Schade, Why is My Dog Afraid to Go Outside?, Victoria Schade, CPDT-KA
  1. Margaret
    Nov 23, 2021

    I’ve read your comments. It’s way to expensive to visit the local vet. Shysters. Thank you anyway x

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