Why Shih Tzus Refuse To Walk & Solutions To Fix the Issue! (2024)

A leashed black-and-white Shih Tzu sitting at his owner's feet.

Shih Tzus are known for being lap dogs. While other dogs may crave exercise and playtime, Shih Tzus love to take it easy.

If you are hoping to take your dog on regular walks, this could cause some problems.

Why does my Shih Tzu stop walking? A Shih Tzu may stop walking because of stubbornness, lack of training, fear, pain, exhaustion, discomfort, lack of socialization, or a too-pampered lifestyle. Walking your dog a little at a time each day, using clear commands, offering treats, and making the experience fun may help. 

If you have a Shih Tzu who is refusing to walk, the following will explain some of the possible reasons for the resistance and how to make your walks go more smoothly. 

Common Reasons for Shih Tzus Refusing To Walk

When you bring your Shih Tzu puppy home, you likely look forward to your walks together.

If your dog refuses to walk at all or often stops in the middle of a walk, it can be quite frustrating. Here are some of the most common reasons why your dog may be refusing to walk.


Many Shih Tzus stop walking or refuse to walk simply because they don’t want to do it anymore. They may need a reason to continue to walk.


Offer treats when the dog walks properly to motivate him to continue moving.

Lack of Training

If your Shih Tzu is first learning to walk, he may not know what to do or what is expected of him.

If you’ve never taken the time to correctly teach your dog how to walk beside you when on a leash, your dog can not really be blamed for his behavior.

It can take some patience and persistence to teach your puppy or dog how they should walk, but in the end, your efforts will be worth the work.


Take your dog for short walks each day. Gradually add a little more time to each walk until your dog understands what is expected of him.

A short training leash, like this one with reflective stripes, may be a big help until your Shih Tzu gets the hang of walking obediently by your side.

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Shih Tzus can be shy and may be scared of new places. Your dog may not like the location of the walk due to traffic, loud noises, too many people, or other pets.


Take your dog to a place where he feels safe.

You can start with a fenced-in backyard, a secluded trail, or even work with him inside your home before gradually increasing his exposure to new places and situations.


If your Shih Tzu is in pain, he may refuse to walk. Health problems, rough terrain, overgrown nails, or even an uncomfortable collar can cause your dog to stop walking.


If you suspect your Shih Tzu may be experiencing pain while walking, make an appointment with your vet to rule out a health problem.

Walk your dog in a comfortable area and adjust the collar to ensure it is not too tight or pinching the skin.

Too Tired

Dogs and especially puppies can tire easily while walking. Although the distance may not seem like much to you, Shih Tzus are small and may have less endurance.


Give your dog a break from walking if needed. Be sure to take short walks when starting out until you learn how far your Shih Tzu can walk without getting tired.

Lack of Leadership

Dogs don’t always know what to do, and they need someone to show them where to go or how to behave.

If you haven’t established yourself as the pack leader and aren’t leading your dog properly, he may take charge of the situation and simply refuse to walk (and do other things you ask).


Give your dog clear commands as you train him how to walk. Let your dog know where to walk beside you, how fast to walk, and when to stop or change speeds.

Do not let him call the shots or lead you… this will lead to many other behavior issues down the road.

A brown and white Shih Tzu on a red leash outdoors with his owner.

Dog Is Spoiled

If your Shih Tzu is used to being carried or being allowed to do as he pleases, he may not feel the need to walk or obey any of your commands.

Spoiled dogs simply don’t understand their owner’s expectations if they have never had any before.


Don’t let your dog be lazy, avoid coddling at all costs, and start training and walking him at a young age.

When it becomes part of your dog’s daily life, your dog is more likely to walk willingly.

Uncomfortable Temperatures

If your Shih Tzu is too hot or cold or if the temperature of the ground is not comfortable, your dog may not want to walk. 


Never walk your dog in extreme temperatures.

Check the sidewalk or asphalt before you walk your dog on it. Dogs have sensitive paws, and temperatures that are too hot or cold can hurt them.

Lack of Socialization

If your dog doesn’t have good socialization skills, he may not want to walk when around other people or animals.

Shih Tzus can be shy and nervous in new places, and if your dog suddenly stops walking, it may be because he’s feeling overwhelmed by the people, dogs, or activities going on around him.


Socialize your Shih Tzu at a young age. If you have an adult dog that is not well socialized, start to introduce him to new people, pets, and places a little at a time, focusing on keeping the experiences positive.

This will also desensitize your dog, so he’s not distracted while walking.

Historically Bred To Live a Pampered Life

Shih Tzu were bred by Chinese royalty to be lap dogs. They rarely left the palace walls and spent most of their time being pampered and petted by their owners.


Understand that it is not in your dog’s nature to be extremely active or have a desire for a lot of exercise.

With the proper patience and training, your Shih Tzu may walk properly, but you will need to be patient and adjust your expectations.

Related Questions: 

Do Shih Tzus Need To Be Walked?

Yes, although Shih Tzus do not require a lot of exercise, they do need some. Walking your dog once or twice a day will give him a chance to socialize, get some exercise, and maintain a healthy weight.

How Do I Get My Shih Tzu To Walk?

The best way to get your Shih Tzu to walk is to work with him every day and offer plenty of positive reinforcements and even treats when he does walk.

Keep the walks interesting by choosing a different route every day and stopping frequently for brief training sessions with rewards offered for correct responses.


Shih Tzus need exercise and socialization, but they are not a particularly active breed.

If you want your dog to walk regularly, you will need to put in plenty of consistent time and effort and maintain realistic expectations.

Last update on 2024-06-20 at 06:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API