If your dog walks slow when called, you are likely wondering what's the matter with your dog. Perhaps, you are even worried.
Something you may want to rule out is some type of pain or discomfort, or maybe your dog is feeling weak and has low energy levels.
If your dog seems OK, another reason that he may be walking slow is in response to your mood or because he simply thinks he's in trouble. Let's take a closer look at some dynamics.
A Matter of Pain
If you have a slow-walking dog, you may want to consider veterinary attention so to rule out medical problems.
Maybe your is suffering from a bout of arthritis or he has some type of joint pain going on. Injured dogs may walk slow so to avoid further damage. Maybe this is the result of a lingering injury.
Check your dog's paws for splinters or embedded glass. Watch him walking to see if he is not putting weight on a leg.
In some cases, the pain may be in the dog's neck or back area. Discs in the dog's spine may interfere with the nerves that control its movement. IVDD can cause pain and can even lead to paralysis.
Some dogs are more prone to this condition than others, including dachshunds. Other causes of IVDD include excessive jumping and hard play.
To prevent further pain and discomfort, you may want to visit a veterinarian to determine what the cause is.
A Matter of Weakness
If your dog is walking slowly and seems lethargic and is not eating, there may be chances something serious may be going on.
For instance, if you have an intact female dog, pyometra can always be a possibility. This is a life threatening infection of the uterus affecting unspayed females. Treatment consists of immediate surgery to prevent septic shock and death.
Other possible issues include tick-borne diseases (Lyme disease and several others) which are notorious for causing joint pain, lethargy and a poor appetite.
Anemia which can cause weakness and can result from some types of bleeding cancers and other serious causes.
Other possible causes are pancreatitis which is inflammation of the dog's pancreas causing serious digestive upset and pain in the abdominal area, an intestinal blockage due to eating inappropriate items and several other systemic disorders.
If your dog is walking slowly, and is lethargic, not eating or showing other worrisome signs, please see your vet sooner than later.
Responding To Your Bodily Cues
If your dog walks slowly when called, and you are sure he is healthy, consider the possibility of him reacting to your body language or tone of voice. Perhaps, he thinks he's in trouble.
For example, if you call your dog in a loud, upset tone of voice or your body language denotes frustration or anger, your dog may still come to you, but he may do so walking very sloooowly.
This can be upsetting to some dog owners who think their dog is acting stubborn or lazy, so they'll likely call their dog again in an even louder or angrier tone.
In reality though, this makes dogs walk even slower!
Here's the thing: walking slowly is an appeasement gesture, a way your dog hopes to calm you down. Your dog is therefore simply reacting to your negative tone/ body language.
In order to help your dog feel safer and more comfortable, try to call him in a happy and relaxed tone of voice next time and don’t forget to reward him!
Concerned About What Happens Next
Dogs are masters of associations, they can readily associate events and link them to one another. For instance, if your dog dreads baths, expect him to be reluctant to come to you if you're holding a towel in your hand which predicts a bath.
Or if you call him every day after dinner and right afterwards clean his ears, he may think twice next time about rushing to you happily.
If your dog therefore anticipates something unpleasant is soon to follow, expect him to walk to you very slowly or even not come to you at all!