Why Does My Dog Suddenly Refuse To Go Outside?

Going out to play is every dog’s favorite and most enjoyable time of day. They look forward to going for a walk and having fun. 

However, if your dog suddenly becomes anxious when they go out, this could be a sign of a bigger problem. 

If your dog appears fearful or unwilling to go for an evening walk, this indicates that he is bothered by them. 

While the issue is likely acute and non-serious, there could be a more serious reason for this, solved by following a few steps or seeing a vet.


5 Reasons Why Dogs Avoid Going Outside 

1: Fear/Trauma 

First, I’ll discuss the most likely cause of your dog’s refusal to go for a walk. 

Because a dog who enjoys going for walks will not suddenly start hating it out of the blue, they might be afraid of something or have a history of trauma. 

Something they encountered while on a walk may have scared him, and the dog now associates this activity with fear.

For example, when we are outside the home, we come into contact with various people and animals. 

No matter how vigorously we try to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, we can’t stay inside all the time. Interaction with strangers can cause your dog to become fearful.

2: Unfamiliar Territory 

The second reason for your dog’s altered behavior could be that he is in unfamiliar territory. Dogs, like humans, develop a comfort zone in places where they spend more time.

If you move to a new location, they will need time to become acquainted with it and connect. Sadness can be one of the reasons your dog isn’t ready to go outside. 

Going for a walk outside the house also means beginning a new play activity. Naturally, your dog may become more anxious as a result of this.

In this case, the dog requires time to become used to the new house and then all of the paths in the surrounding area. 

The good news about this anxiety is it will eventually subside. Don’t expect an instant change overnight, however.

3: Pain or Injury 

The third reason could be pain or an injury of any kind. For example, if your dog was fine the day before and not moved to a new place. 

Even then, the dog refuses to go outside, indicating physical pain. If a dog is in pain or injured, he may be unable to go for a walk. 

As a result, perform a gentle physical examination and look for any signs of physical injury. Examine his paws and legs. 

Walking can be uncomfortable if it has a broken or ingrown nail. Similarly, any leg injury makes it difficult to bear weight on that side of the body. 

Your dog may have accidentally injured himself while playing. There could be another medical condition that you are unaware of. 

For example, the dog could have bitten a bug or something harmful. Because of this, take him to the vet for a thorough examination.

4: Vision Problems 

Our dogs, like humans, can suffer from vision problems, which can lead to a variety of complications. 

Cataracts, glaucoma, and near or farsightedness are all medical conditions related to the eyes. The condition in which the lens inside the eye becomes cloudy is known as a cataract. 

It causes blurred vision and may eventually lead to blindness. Glaucoma, on the other hand, is caused by increased intraocular pressure. 

It is a painful condition that, if left untreated, can lead to blindness. Your dog will avoid physical activities if he is in constant pain and cannot see clearly. 

Near or farsightedness may also make it difficult for your dog to walk without colliding with objects or other pets. 

Moreover, the dog may become frightened at the prospect of falling or being hurt. As a result, vision problems must be checked by a vet.

5: Senior Anxiety 

Senior anxiety is the final reason your dog suddenly refuses to go outside. Dogs, like humans, limit their physical activities as they get older. 

We always think that the elderly are more fragile and that if they are not careful when moving around, they will get hurt or break their bones. 

This concept increases the individual’s anxiety. Similarly, a dog’s age, they become less active than they were as puppies. 

Growing older has a significant impact on their mental health. They experience senior anxiety. They may also have negative associations with their age. 

The dog may believe that he no longer needs to walk or engage in playful activities. This is possible even in dogs who have always loved and enjoyed going on walks. 

Consequently, old dogs can develop a fear of the outside world in their minds. Even though they enjoy walking around, they do not want to leave the house.

What You Can Do About It 

Rule Out, isolate and identify

The most important step is to rule out, isolate and identify your dog’s fear. Keep in mind that your dog needs your support during this period of his life. 

Because not every dog reacts to fear in the same way, you must keep an eye on him.

For example, one dog may refuse to go out (as in old dogs), whereas the other dog (as in puppies) may go out but cower low to the ground in fear. 

Even determining the cause of your dog’s new behavior will take some time. Always examine history. 

Try and remember anything bad that has happened to your dog in the last few days or weeks. Other than the fear of going out, look for other symptoms. 

Is your dog acting the same way at home, or is he completely fine and playful? Also, look for medical conditions that have several other signs and symptoms.

Things To Avoid 

While you are learning about and training your dog, there are a few things you should avoid. First and foremost, do not force your dog to go outside. 

One of the owners’ mistakes was yanking on the dog’s leash and forcing them to go outside. This will either increase his fear or cause you to lose his trust. 

You may successfully get the dog out, but this will be a traumatic event for him. Second, do not punish your dog as a result of this. 

If the dog appears fearful, they require love and support rather than punishment. This will make the experience even more terrifying for them. 

Third, do not overwhelm your dog with something he is afraid of. Do not push your dog to face his worries. Instead, they need to know they are safe with you. 

These are a few of the most prevalent blunders that dog owners make. Finally, only let your dog out when he is ready.

Make Your Dog Love Going Outside 

Once you’ve concluded out why your dog is being so stubborn and formed a strong supportive bond with him, it’s time to get him back on track. 

This can only be achieved by approaching the underlying cause. If your dog requires medical attention, take him to the vet. 

Get it tackled as soon as practicable; otherwise, it could harm his overall health. If other factors, such as fear/trauma or a negative association, assist the dog in overcoming the fear. 

Believe me when I say that no dog wants to sit inside the house and miss his walk. So work your way slowly towards desensitizing him to whatever scars him. 

You can set up a treat trail for your dog. Place the treats on his way from the front door to the walking trail. 

You can also put his favorite toys in the yard. Dogs will be drawn to their outdoor surroundings in this way.


Who doesn’t enjoy taking their dog for a walk? However, if your dog starts acting strangely, this can be worrying for a dog parent. 

If a dog gets excited every time they go out, it’s difficult to imagine them refusing to go out. 

However, it can be expected for a dog to act strangely now and then; there are several reasons for this behavior. 

First, help your dog in determining the source of the problem. Then work your way back to get him or her back to being their best self.

Written by Brian Rucker

Brian Rucker has been a dog lover since childhood. He has had his Lab Mix with Hound for over 10+ years now! They enjoy playing outdoors together. Brian loves sharing his knowledge about all things dog on this website. Read more of Brian's articles.