I hear it all the time: “What do I do when my Dachshund refuses to walk?”
It’s not uncommon for me to hear stories of people who tried to take their Dachshund out for a stroll and their dog dug in – pulling in the opposite direction on the leash – refusing to take even that first step.
I also hear a lot of stories from people who were happily walking along with their Dachshund and their dog suddenly stopped, froze, and refused to get up.
One thing is common – everyone who shares their story with me is asking for help – so I thought I’d share what I know based on experience.
Why Would a Dachshund Refuse to Walk?
There are many reasons that a Dachshund may refuse to walk on a leash but the first thing I tell people is that they need to try to figure out why.
In almost all cases, the reason is one of these 12 things.
Injury or Pain
While many Dachshunds just refuse to walk because they don’t like it for some reason, there is also a possibility that they could be injured or not feeling well.
A little tug on the leash to encourage a dog to move on is ok but continuing to pull on the leash while they dig their feet in or lay down, or insisting they walk when they have to be drug, can exacerbate any health issue.
1) Foot problems
Feet or paws could have a cut, be chafed on or between the pads, or be bruised by walking on a very rough surface like pointy rocks.
If you notice something wrong with your dog’s paw, seek medical attention if needed or take a break from walking until it heals.
The first thing I always check if my Dachshund is refusing to walk is their feet. The paw pads might be scraped or they could have a rock or pointy burr stuck in between them.
2) Tender, raw skin
Legs or arm pits could be chafed due to current or previous rubbing of a harness or jacket.
Also, a dog could have allergies that can result in red, raw skin that gets further aggravated when walking.
If you notice mild chafing or red spots on your dog’s skin, don’t panic.
The problem will usually heal on its own with some rest or by using a different harness or jacket that doesn’t rub in the same spot.
If it is more severe, or doesn’t go away, it’s a good idea to visit your veterinarian to get it checked out.
3) Undiagnosed pain
There may be something you can’t see on the outside, or something internal, that is causing your dog pain.
If you suspect this is the case, take your dog to see the veterinarian. They will know the most common test to run to rule out an injury.
There might not always be something outwardly wrong with your Dachshund. However, they could be experiencing an internal pain.
Your Dachshund may be temporarily not feeling good or there may be some underlying illness that is making them not feel well.
If you suspect this is a pontional cause, and it doesn’t seem to resolve itself in a day or two, I suggest making an appointment with your vet to rule this out.
Fearfulness or Being Uncomfortable
5) Wearing something new
A new harness, jacket, or wearing one of these things when your Dachshund hasn’t before, can feel uncomfortable to them.
It may feel really weird or restrictive and make them reluctant to move.
If you think this is the cause, read my article on teaching your Dachshund to walk in a harness or jacket.
6) A new route
Dachshunds – and any dog really – can get used to a routine and get upset when things change.
If you ask your dog to walk on a different route or street than you normally do, they may protest.
The new street looks different, probably smells different, and may sound different.
Your Dachshund’s refusal to walk may be their way of saying, “This is not the right way” or “I’m unsure about this”.
This new, unfamiliar route may look scary, smell different, or your Dachshund simply may not understand that walking this direction is also ok.
Try taking the familiar route and try the new route again at a later time.
7) Afraid of the world
Many dogs that are exposed to new sights, sounds, and smells are usually skeptical at first. They may be hesitant to explore or may want to avoid the situation all together.
This is especially common with puppies, rescue dogs, dogs who have not been properly socialized, and those that have been scared by a similar experience before.
These socialization exercises can be done at, or around home, and may help your dog cope with new experiences better.
Too Much or Too Far
8) They’re tiredI
Just like people, dogs have good days and bad days. Some days they are just tired. Maybe your dog just doesn’t feel like walking as far today.
It’s ok to change walking plans on occasion if your dog seems to just be having a bad day. Just watch to make sure your Dachshund doesn’t think that you will give up every time they protest or they may start doing it more often.
It could also be that your Dachshund’s refusal to walk is not just being stubborn – it’s their way of communicating to you that they have had enough exercise today.
Make sure you know the signs your dog may be getting tired.
9) Old age may be slowing them down
In my experience, it’s not common to expect senior dogs to go further than they are capable of.
It can be hard to adjust our expectations when your 10 year old Dachshund used to happily go for 5-mile walks. But, remember, a dog’s ability and desire for exercise declines with age.
Your older Dachshund may start getting tired or sore after only 3 miles and their refusal to walk may be their way of saying, “I’m done now please.”
You may have to carry your senior dog back home and make a mental note not to go as far or as fast next time you go for a walk.
10) They may not be ready
Exercising a puppy can be tricky. They have so much energy but they are just learning to walk on a leash and the intensity and duration should be limited until they are developed enough.
A common issue I see with puppies is expecting too much from them too soon.
People tend to think that young dogs have boundless energy when, in fact, a puppy’s activity level is limited by bone and joint maturity.
If your Dachshund puppy suddenly puts the breaks on, or lays down, it’s likely their way of telling you that they’ve had enough for the day.
Also, puppies are new to the world so they don’t have a fitness base to start with.
It’s important for any dog to start with small periods of exercise and build up but slowly building fitness is especially important for a puppy.
11) They don’t want the fun to end
Your Dachshund might be having a great time and they don’t want the fun to end. They may protest if you ask them to leave or move on before they feel they are ready.
Fun can include sniffing something really interesting, playing with a furry friend, or leaving a dog park.
You have two choices here: give in and let them enjoy a little bit more of what they want or take charge and insist that they leave with you, even if that means carrying your dog back to the house or car.
12) Your Dachshund has to potty
Even thought this is last on the list, the #1 reason my Dachshunds refuse to walk is because they are looking for a spot to potty and I don’t realize it.
Some dogs need longer to sniff out the right spot to relieve themselves than others.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between the “I’m trying to find a place to pee” or “there is something stinky here I really want to check out” sniffing.
Most often, when my Dachshund refuses to walk, it’s one of two things: Either she has to potty or she is so interested in investigating a smell that she doesn’t care what I want.
If your Dachshund starts to lean against the leash when you give it a little “let’s move on” tug, give them a few seconds more and see if they end up going potty.
If it’s apparent that your dog doesn’t have to go, then insist that the walk continue.
Once you can figure out why your Dachshund is refusing to walk on a leash, you can start to address the issue.
Some of the causes may require you to modify your future plans (like senior dogs slowing down or a long-term injury or illness), may be temporary issues with a fix (like not feeling well or fear), and some can be addressed with additional training.
I see many people say they have given up because their Dachshund refuses to walk but, unfortunately, that can lead to behavior problems, and obesity, due to lack of exercise.
My advice is don’t give up. Whatever the reason your Dachshund is resistant to walking, it likely isn’t as hard to fix as you think. It may even come down to simply out-smarting them.