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Why Do Dogs Walk Backwards Through Doors?

Last updated:

26 November 2021
Written by: 
Edith at Spot Dog Walkers

Time to read: 

5 minutes

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Post
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Our dogs do a lot of different things when they are excited, nervous, or in pain, and walking backwards through doors may be one of those behaviors. If there are no other symptoms or behaviors, it is likely not anything that should immediately concern you. Still, you may be wondering why do dogs walk backwards through doors? While there is no confirmed reason behind this behavior, there are three different explanations that could be the root cause: pain, trauma, or a neurological condition.

Pain

Like humans, dogs favor their limbs when they are in pain, so if your dog starts to walk backwards through doors, it may simply be because it is more comfortable for them. This is more common in older dogs who may have hip conditions or easily dislocated joints. Sometimes walking backwards can help to pop these joints back into place or reduce the rubbing that forward motion can cause.

Keep an eye if your dog starts to limp, as this could be indicative of a new injury. If it doesn’t clear up in a few days, you may want to consult with a vet to rule out any serious injuries. 

Trauma 

Dogs are intelligent creatures, and if they have been previously abused or injured, they may start to walk backwards through doors so they can keep their eyes on anything that they deem a threat. This could be a person, animal, object, or anything that causes anxiety when they are moving. They want to watch what is happening around them to prevent harm. 

It doesn’t always have to be physical trauma, either. Bad storms, loud noises, falls, and more can cause your dog to be more careful around doorways and floors. They can develop these skittish and nervous behaviors over time or overnight, depending on the dog. 

Neurological Condition

In more severe cases, an increase in your dog’s walking backwards could be a sign of a neurological condition or a brain injury. In this case, your dog would have suffered an injury that impacted their motor functions, including how they can walk. It may also cause confusion, seizures, and other neurologically based symptoms.

This is the most severe of three common explanations, and if you fear your dog has had a brain injury, it is important to consult a vet. However, if there are no other serious symptoms, it is unlikely that your dog’s walking backwards through doors is neurologically based. 

One Final Note on Dogs Walking Backwards through Doors 

When you are trying to understand why your dog keeps walking backwards through doors, it is important to think about when this behavior started. Have they always done it? Did it happen after an injury or a scare? Take note of the circumstances surrounding any new behaviors in your dog, as this can help you to identify the root cause.

If you have any concerns or believe the issue may be an injury or neurological condition, it is important to consult with a vet on the proper course of action. 

Written by:

Edith at Spot Dog Walkers

Hey i’m Edith! Originally from Etobicoke, Ontario, I moved to Calgary to follow my passion for dogs.

Ever since I was little, my family always had golden-doodles which sparked my desire to work with animals.

Now, working as a customer success specialist at Spot, my job is to help dog owners like yourself find all the resources necessary to care for your fur-baby!

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