7 tips for dog tantrums on walks

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is your dog throwing tantrums on your walks? we've got 7 tips to help

If your dog is throwing tantrums on walks, you’re probably feeling pretty frustrated. It’s not fun to have to deal with a dog throwing a fit, especially when you’re out in public!

The good news is that there are ways you can help your dog. We’ll discuss those in this article. 

Why does my dog throw tantrums on walks?

One of the most embarrassing and stressful things to deal with on a walk is your dog throwing a tantrum.

In a lot of ways, dogs are just like human kids. Every once in a while, something triggers a tantrum. There are a variety of things that can cause a tantrum in a dog, and we’ll talk about them farther down.

If your dog is throwing a tantrum on a walk, it can be difficult to get him back under control. A dog throwing a tantrum in public can also be dangerous.

It could be a sign of reactivity. Basically, reactivity is when your dog overreacts to common stimuli. This can be a really challenging issue to deal with, and it could get you and your dog in trouble.

But even generally, your dog throwing tantrums on walks isn’t something you want. When your dog acts out like this, he loses control of himself. You’ll probably find it difficult to get your dog back under control to walk nicely again.

All that said, I’ve got some helpful tips that will get your dog walking politely again. Before that, we’ll talk about why your dog is acting out in the first place.

Make sure you also check out these related articles:

when a dog throws tantrums, on a walk or elsewhere, he loses control of himself

He’s frustrated about something

Lots of things can trigger tantrums in dogs, on walks or in other situations. But one of the biggest ones is frustration.

The same is true for many little kids. If something isn’t going their way, they tend to start lashing out.

That’s because kids that young don’t know how to regulate their emotions. And your dog doesn’t know how to regulate his emotions either!

That means that if something goes wrong on a walk, your dog might not know how to deal with it in the best way. Instead, he might start throwing a fit.

Remember, you can’t expect your dog to just know how to deal with these feelings of frustration. As his human, it’s your job to train him and show him better ways of dealing with his feelings!

He’s overstimulated or overexcited

Another really common reason why your dog might be throwing tantrums on your walks is that he’s feeling overstimulated.

There’s a lot going on outside, and it can feel pretty overwhelming for your dog. Dogs have super powerful senses of smell, and there’s plenty to sniff outside! There are also lots of noises, places to explore, and people and dogs to meet.

Unfortunately, all of that together can get pretty overwhelming for your dog. If your dog gets overstimulated or overexcited, then he’ll start losing control of his emotions.

And that could cause your dog to start throwing a tantrum.

An overexcited or overstimulated dog can be hard to calm down. Here are a few articles on the topic that you might be helpful:

this pup is just excited—but a combo of smells and noises might overstimulate him

Your dog knows that tantrums on walks gets him attention

There are lots of things that your dog wants in life. But one thing he probably wants most of all is your attention.

Dogs are social animals. And you’re part of your dog’s pack! So it’s important for your dog to have your attention and love.

Your dog might ask nicely for your attention at times. But there might be other times when he’s less polite.

Your dog might start throwing tantrums on walks if he thinks it will get him attention from you. He’s even more likely to do this if you do start giving him attention.

Remember, when your dog is in this mindset, any attention is good enough. Even if you’re telling him to cut it out!

7 tips for dog tantrums on walks

If your dog is throwing tantrums while you’re walking, this can be frustrating. Not being able to control your dog can also be pretty worrying.

If you’re constantly trying to rein your dog back in, try using these 7 tips.

1. Stay calm

When your dog throws a tantrum, the number one thing you need to do is stay calm!

Your dog is super intuitive—maybe more intuitive than you think. That means that your dog can easily pick up on your emotions. He’ll be likely to mirror those emotions too.

So, if your dog is throwing a tantrum and you start yelling or acting excited too, that’s only going to make your dog’s tantrum worse.

Instead, you should make sure to stay calm. Speak calmly and quietly. It can be hard to do this when your dog is acting out, but it’s really important to try if you want him to stop!

stay calm when your dog throws tantrums on your walks together. this helps him calm down, too.

2. Stand still when he’s pulling

Dogs pulling on leashes is a very common issue. A dog that’s throwing a tantrum is pretty likely to start pulling.

Leash pulling isn’t something you ever want to encourage. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous, especially if you have a big dog!

When your dog starts pulling, he’s trying to get you to get moving. So the best way to discourage this behavior is by not moving at all.

Stand still when your dog starts pulling. It may take a while for your dog to stop, but eventually, he should realize that tugging isn’t going to get him anywhere.

On a related note, wondering how to stop a dog from biting the leash? I’ve got some help for you on that too.

3. Choose areas with few stimuli

Some dogs are more easily overstimulated than others. If this is the case with your dog, then you might just need to work with him.

Instead of going into areas that are super busy and likely to set your dog off, look for quieter areas to walk in. This will help lower the amount of stimulation your dog is experiencing. In turn, that should do a lot to prevent any tantrums.

You might be able to work your way up to busier areas the more you work on this. But for the time being, your best bet might be to just avoid those busier areas altogether!

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4. Observe when the dog tantrums start on walks

Part of helping your dog avoid tantrums on walks is to pay attention to when his tantrums start.

You want to be able to identify your dog’s triggers. This will help you avoid them and so prevent your dog from throwing a tantrum in the first place.

As soon as your dog starts throwing a tantrum, take note of your surroundings and your dog. What is going on that’s different and that could be causing the tantrum?

As soon as you know your dog’s triggers, you’ll be able to more easily avoid them. You’ll also be able to start working with your dog to be able to handle them better.

this dog's tantrum could be triggered by falling leaves—too many small, unpredictable things suddenly dancing around him

5. Desensitize the reactivity

One very important word in dog training is desensitization. Reactive dogs especially will benefit from this type of training.

Essentially, what you are doing is taking a stimulus that triggers your dog and removing it completely. Then, you gradually reintroduce it in small steps to help your dog get used to it.

Desensitization can take a lot of work and patience. But it’s a highly effective way to train a dog to deal with his triggers better.

While you’re working with your dog, make sure to stay consistent, and never go above your dog’s threshold.

6. Reward calm behavior

Part of positive reinforcement dog training is teaching your dog what not to do. But it’s equally important to show your dog what good behavior actually looks like.

When your dog makes the decision to be calm, you should make sure to reward him. Always have some treats with you while you’re walking for this purpose.

Reward him when he doesn’t respond to a usually triggering stimulus. You should also reward him when he’s generally calm. This teaches him that it’s behavior that you like and that staying calm will get him tasty treats!

Related topic: For dog training in general I highly recommend you get a program that walks you through step by step, such as Braintrainingfordogs. Certified dog trainer Adrienne Farricelli teaches you to train your dog to be the best dog he can by be using mental stimulation! Check out Dogpackr’s review to see if this is a fit for you!

Field Dogs 300 x 600

7. Get him to focus on you

One important thing you might want to teach your dog is to focus on you.

It’s important to be able to get your dog’s attention, especially in situations that could trigger reactivity or a tantrum.

Getting your dog to focus on something else will help prevent a tantrum. Getting him to focus on you specifically will help you have much more control over the situation.

You’ll be able to give your dog a command like sit or stay that he might not listen to otherwise. If your dog doesn’t already know the focus command, it’s time to start working on it!

this little guy is focusing on you properly. he's much more likely to heed your commands now

In a nutshell, getting your dog to stop throwing tantrums on walks involves three things: Staying calm, paying attention to see what triggers the tantrums, and rewarding good behavior. You may need to desensitize your dog by slowly working up to triggering stimuli, and it’s useful to teach him to focus on you.

Related questions

Still have questions about dogs throwing tantrums? You’ll find the answers here.

Why do dogs throw tantrums?

There are lots of things that can cause a dog to throw a tantrum. Different things will trigger different dogs.

That’s why it’s so important to pay attention when your dog is throwing a tantrum. This will help you see what exactly causes your dog’s fits.

That said, there are a few general things that tend to cause tantrums more than other things. Being overstimulated, overexcited, or frustrated are some of them. Dogs seeking out attention that they don’t feel they’re getting enough of might also throw tantrums.

Why is my dog so stubborn on walks?

If your dog is super stubborn on walks, you might just be the lucky owner of a particularly stubborn dog!

One reason why your dog might be so stubborn is that he’s used to getting his way. You might have let him pull on the leash before. But now you’re just not having it anymore!

Your dog may not be used to that. He could be confused and not understand why you’re no longer just letting him pull. And that can result in him acting pretty stubborn!

Just stay consistent with your training. It might take a while, but your dog will learn eventually!

dogs are often stubborn when you stop letting them do something—like pulling on their leash

Why does my dog throw himself on the floor?

There are a few reasons why your dog might be throwing himself on the floor. One reason is that your dog is trying to show that he’s submissive and not a threat to you.

For some more information on that, check out these 13 tips to stop excited or submissive dog peeing—they’re not just for peeing pups!

If you’ve just come in from a walk, it could also be the heat. Always check the weather before you go for a walk. Heat stroke is a very serious issue, and it’s super important to keep your dog from overheating to stay safe and healthy!

Why is my dog crying on a walk?

Dogs communicate in a lot of different ways. Some dogs are pretty quiet, and you just need to rely on body language.

Other dogs bark to tell you that something’s going on. And some dogs communicate through crying.

If your dog is whining or crying on a walk, it could be because there’s just so much going on. He’s trying to tell you all about it, and this is the only way he knows to communicate it to you!

Just be mindful to check for any injuries if your dog doesn’t normally cry on walks. But if this is usual for him, then he’s probably just chatty.

How to stop your dog whining when walking

Whining on walks can get pretty annoying. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can help your dog stop.

You might want to try a different collar or leash, for example. The ones you’re currently using might be uncomfortable for your dog.

You can also work on obedience training and rewarding your dog when he’s quiet instead of whining.


If your dog is throwing tantrums on walks, you might be feeling pretty frustrated. You could also be worried that your dog’s tantrums could cause something to go wrong.

Just keep the above tips in mind, and remember to stay proactive and keep on top of training. Before you know it, your dog will be walking politely!

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