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Why Some Dogs Hate Going for a Walk in the Dark

Why Some Dogs Hate Going for a Walk in the Dark

Health & Safety

A lot of dogs aren't that keen on going for walks in the dark which means as the nights start to draw in, taking a canine companion out in the evening can be a little problematic. It's usually sound-sensitive breeds that are most affected although all dogs if they've found themselves in a scary situation at night can show a real reluctance to go outside at night. However, some dogs will refuse point blank to go out after dark and again, it's usually because they associate a frightening experience with darkness.

You might find that your canine friend does not mind going out for a walk on a dark morning but hates going out at night. The reason for this, is that dogs are incredibly sensitive to everything that's going on around them and are perfectly capable of differentiating between the quiet of an early morning when everything is a lot fresher smelling and night time when sounds and scents are very different.

Never Force Your Dog to Go Outside

You should never force a dog to go outside for a walk but rather put them at ease by interacting playfully with them. Preferably this needs to done outside or in a back garden if you have one. If you insist on taking your pooch out for a walk and they're nervous or stressed out, this will just make their anxiety worse.

Employ a Dog Walker

You need to show a lot of patience towards your dog and try as much as possible to take them out for a walk while it's still light outside. This can be a problem if you have a nine to five job, but you could consider employing the services of a responsible dog walker who would be able to do this for you. However, you have to be sure the person is someone you can really trust with your dog.

Make an Afternoon Walk the Kid's Responsibility

If you have children and they are old enough, taking the family dog out for a walk when they get back from school can be one of their daily tasks. As a bonus this type of task teaches children a lot about the responsibility of looking after a pet which will stand them in good stead later on in life.

The Back Garden Last Thing at Night

If you have a back garden, then letting your dog out there in the evening to do their business is an option, but you have to make sure they can get back in the house as soon as they want to. You should use torches to light up the area and turn on the outdoor lights for your pet and then let them explore if they want to. It's also a good idea to stay with them when they are outside so they know you are there and can run to you if they get scared or anxious about anything.

Take a Drive to a Well Lit Park

Another option is to drive them to a well lit park, making sure you are allowed to walk your dog in the area and remembering to use "poop" bags which you can dispose of in the bins which are normally dotted around the park for this purpose.

Finding the Root Cause

With Halloween and bomb fire night coming up, it's important to keep pets safe and out of harms way when everyone is having fun letting off fireworks. You should never take a dog to a bonfire, even if they don't look frightened, the experience can really leave them feeling anxious which could well contribute to the fact they don't like or refuse to go out for a walk in the dark.

The thing to bear in mind is that dogs (and other pets) don't like loud noises because their senses are a lot more acute than our own. As such a loud bang, the smell of fire and everything else that's typically associated with both these nights can be a little too much for our canine companions to have to cope with.

Consider Getting Help

If you are very worried about things you might also like to consider discussing your dog's fear and anxieties with a professional animal behaviourist. You might even find your pet insurance would cover the cost of seeking their help and advice. It's definitely worth checking out your pet insurance plan before taking your dog along to see an expert canine behaviourist.


Dogs have incredible hearing and a very acute sense of smell which means they pick up a lot more than their owners do. If your dog has had a bad night time experience which has left them feeling anxious, you may find they are reluctant to be taken for a walk after dark. You may even find they refuse to go out altogether, and the one thing you should never do is force them to do so. You have to show a lot of patience and find the best solution so that your dog is never put under any sort of stress which then transfers over to you making what should be an enjoyable experience, something you both dread.