If walks are a fun way to keep your dog active…
Why do they cry when they’re outside?
Are they in pain…
Or is this because of something else?
In this article you’ll discover:
- Why dogs get scared of the outdoors.
- 11 weird reasons why your dog cries during walks.
- 5 tips to stop your pooch from whining when they’re outside.
- And much much more…
Table of contents
Why does my dog cry during walks?
Your dog cries during walks because of having an injury, being scared of the leash or outdoors, having a painful collar, initiating playtime, feeling excited, seeking attention, having no training or exercise, being an extreme greeter, or not wanting to leave their comfort zone.
11 reasons why your dog cries during walks
#1: They have a body injury
“No walks for today, pwease!”
Does your pooch cry the moment they stand up for walks?
Or are they whimpering every time they take a step?
If so, then the reason why they cry during walks is because they’re in pain. And it’s possibly caused by a body injury.
Dogs are animals who like to run around and try all sorts of activities.
They’re adventure seekers who like to test their boundaries.
And they see themselves as ‘Superdogs’ who can do anything.
Therefore, it isn’t unusual for them to have body injuries every now and then.
Sometimes, they may run around and trip with their face down. Or land on the wrong foot and when they jump from a high place.
Let me share a story.
I know a dog like this. He often jumps from the roof of his dog house when you greet him.
That’s why he has leg sprains almost all of the time.
Lovely, but really silly pooch.
Anyway, so to know if your dog is injured and in pain, look out for these signs:
- Body stiffness.
- Changes in body posture.
- Being vocal when touched.
- Excessive licking of a body part.
Note: If your dog’s showing any of the symptoms mentioned above, take them to a vet or animal clinic for a check-up.
#2: Their leash scares them
As soon as you bring out your dog’s leash, they get scared.
They cry and scream when going for a walk. Because there’s something about being on a leash that puts them on edge.
What could it be?
The reason could be far worse than what you think.
Is your pooch from a shelter? Or were they rescued from a bad keeper?
If yes, then it’s possible that they have associated being on a leash with something negative.
For instance, they were always dragged on with a leash. Being forced to do something they didn’t want to.
Or they were always tethered or chained. So the sight of a leash instantly scares them and gives them anxiety.
#3: They’re afraid of being outside
You have a fearful dog. That’s why it’s hard for you to take them outdoors.
Every time you go on walks, they cry.
They’re afraid of other people and dogs. And it seems that they’re scared of being outside altogether.
Dog scared of people
Your pooch whines every time a person walks by. And whenever someone approaches to pet them.
When people gaze, your dog gets anxious and barks at them.
Then they hide behind you as soon as unknown people come near them.
It’s like they have a phobia for strangers.
“Why’s my dog acting this way?”
According to research, a possible explanation for this is they’ve been abused or mistreated before.
So they become fearful of people they don’t know.
Dog scared of other dogs
Your dog is scared of other dogs because they lack socialization.
So they cry whenever you’re on walks. (More so when there’s another dog across the road or coming towards you.)
Aside from whining, you may also notice that their body is showing submissiveness.
Their ears are pinned back. Tails are tucked with their body lowered.
And they could also be trying to avert their gaze from the other dog.
Dog scared of outdoors
Lots of people. Different scents. And the sound of car horns at every block.
These could be the reasons why your pooch cries whenever they’re on walks.
You live in a busy neighborhood.
So your dog is beyond overwhelmed every time they’re outside.
#4: Their collar is hurting them
Your dog might whine during a walk because they have an uncomfortable collar.
It could be too tight around their neck. Or there’s something sharp in there that’s poking their skin.
I remember one time my pooch, Lissa, gave a yelp every time I gently tug them when we’re walking.
And when I checked the inside of their collar, I found that it’s broken.
Do you know the holes in the collar where you adjust its size?
I found that the one in my pooch’s already deformed. And the metal in it was piercing on their skin.
“OH MY GOD!”
You can imagine my face when I saw this. (o.o)
I immediately removed the collar and apologized to my poor Lissa.
So now I make sure to check it every once in a while.
#5: Your dog wants to play
You sometimes wonder why your dog screams when going for a walk.
They don’t seem to be in pain. Nor are they showing signs of anxiety or stress.
Their tongue is sticking out. Eyes are wide open. And their tails are wagging like it’s the best day ever.
Perhaps the reason why they’re screaming is because they’re trying to tell you something.
“Mom/Dad, hurry and throw the ball already!”
“Come and chase me!”
In this kind of situation, your dog’s screaming during walks because they’re initiating playtime.
#6: They’re excited
Walking your dog requires tons of energy from you.
They’re whining, pulling, and screaming – all at the same time during walks.
(Sometimes you even dread walking them because neighbors might think they’re being mistreated.)
“Why’s my dog like this?”
You’ve already ruled out your dog from being injured. So it’s possible they’re being like this because of too much excitement.
They have bursts of energy whenever they go outside.
Because your pooch must’ve waited for this moment all day. And now they can’t keep it in.
They have to release their pent-up energy by doing all sorts of weird things.
But unfortunately, they have to do all the things that make you look like a bad dog parent.
Van Isle Veterinary Hospital says here are the signs of an aroused dog during walks.
- Tongue hanging out.
- Vocalizing excessively.
- Has an open-mouth grin.
- Unable to settle in one spot.
#7: Seeking attention
Your dog is a jealous pooch.
It’s impossible to have a peaceful talk with the kind lady next door. Or pet other dogs during walks.
Whenever you do, your dog cries and pulls their leash.
It seems like they want to take you away. Because they want your attention to be focused on them alone.
Fun fact: A survey shows that 80% of dog parents say their dogs do get jealous. And they pull on their leash when they notice they give attention to other pooches.
#8: They’re untrained to go on walks
“Look, they’re being pulled by their dog!”
Your neighbors always rush to help you. Because your dog is whining and pulling you during walks.
Your dog is behaving this way because they’re not trained how to walk properly.
So they’re dragging you all over the place. While screaming their lungs out like a mad person.
This happens because your pooch hasn’t been taught good manners yet.
They have no rules to follow. So they still don’t know which behaviors are acceptable and which ones are not.
If you have a puppy, you must teach them as early as possible.
It’s easier to do this while they’re still young. Because puppies can’t drag you while you’re walking.
#9: Lack of exercise
Sometimes, dogs become vocal because they don’t get enough exercise.
Here’s a scenario.
Your pooch whines and screams like they’re dying during walks. So everyone’s head turns to look in your direction.
It’s an embarrassing situation to be in…
But this happens because you’re not letting them spend time outdoors enough.
Dogs require at least an hour of exercise each day. (Thе amount of time depends on their size, weight, and breed.)
So if they don’t meet this, they get temperamental. And to use up their energy all at once, they complain.
I mean, cry and scream while they’re walking or playing with you.
#10: Your dog’s an extreme greeter
Your dog cries during walks because they’re an extreme greeter.
They’re like a politician. One that greets everyone they see along the way.
The neighbors, other dogs, and the people inside the cars – all of them know who your pooch is.
They’re kind of like a dog celebrity in your town.
“But why do they cry?”
They do this to catch others’ attention.
It’s possible that every time they do this, they receive petting all the time.
(And sometimes, they do this to ask for what the person’s eating. Like a piece of burger, chicken, etc.)
Aside from that, your pooch may also whine.
Because they want to play with other dogs.
In doggo language, this vocalization can be an invitation to become doggy friends.
#11: They don’t want to leave their comfort zone
Your dog screams when going for a walk because they’re unsure of the outside world.
They refuse to go out. Because they don’t want to leave their comfort zone.
This is common behavior for puppies.
If you have a pup, you may notice that after taking in a few steps outside, they’d stop. And then cry and proceed to go back home.
But if your pooch is already matured, the reason for this is lack of exposure to the outside world.
It’s possible that you don’t go out much as well.
So your dog’s more used to being indoors.
5 tips on what to do if your dog cries during walks
#1: Take things slow
Your dog whines during walks because they’re afraid. So in this case, you have to take things slow.
It’s important that you don’t rush this process.
Because if you do this, you’ll just put more pressure on your pooch. As a result, they may avoid walks more.
What you need to do is introduce this activity step by step. Like, literally.
Let them lead the way. Go as slowly as they want to.
If they stop because they’re having thoughts of going home after some time, let them be.
Try again next time.
Or you can also make them go further by cheering on them with a high-pitched voice.
If they do a good job, reward them with treats or belly rubs.
Once they get used to it, they may go on farther and longer walks.
A brief peek in the life of Lissa
I still remember when I first took my beloved Lissa for a walk outside.
The critical 3 months of decontamination have passed. And she was free to leave the bubble of our apartment and go out on the street (on a leash and all).
Oh, boy, did I find it hard to walk with her with the leash on… She’d cry as if I was putting her on a medieval torture device.
If I say I felt uneasy walking with her on the pavement, that would be an understatement… But what I did was go on, pulling the leash gently.
At some point, I had to cross a zebra to go to the dog park. So I picked Lissa up and held her in my hands.
Overall it went well. But the first few walks were the hardest. So bear with your dog. They’ll get used to it. But they need some time and consistency along the way. 🙂
#2: Check their collar
To make sure that your dog’s comfortable during walks, you have to check their collar.
Make sure that it’s the right size for them and it fits well.
What I usually do is insert two of my fingers in my dog’s collar as they’re wearing it.
Then I try to move it left and right.
If I can move the collar around comfortably, that means that it’s not too tight for my pooch.
Now, if your dog’s uncomfortable wearing any collar at all, try using a body harness.
It’s body-hugging. So it will put less strain on their neck and back.
Aside from that, your pooch’s anxiety outdoors can also be lessened. Because some dogs find harnesses more comfortable during walks.
#3: Let them socialize with others
Your dog cries during walks because they’re afraid of other people and dogs.
So in this case, you have to expose them to build their confidence.
Let them socialize.
Have your friends or other family members take them on walks.
Or introduce them to other dogs by organizing a doggy play date. Watch this video below to know how you can properly do this.
#4: Wait for them to calm down
But what if your pooch is an extreme greeter?
And they whine because they can’t wait to greet everyone in the way?
What you need to do is stand your ground. Just stand in your spot and don’t let their cries budge you.
When they stop their whines, that’s the only time you start walking again.
Your dog has to know that the only time they can greet people and other pooches is when they have calmed down.
#5: Hide treats along their route
If you’re a dog parent who likes to take things a little extra, this one’s for you.
To stop your pooch from crying during walks, you have to make it enjoyable for them.
Hide little treats in the route they often walk on before you go out.
(Don’t make it too advanced. Or else other dogs will get the treats.)
This will make their walking activity like a playtime as well. Thus they’ll look forward to it every day.