Updated at: 08-01-2022 - By: petstutorial

Why is my dog walking backwards?

Is he moon-walking to the upbeat sounds of Michael Jackson in his head, or does he know some hidden secret to which we mortal humans are not privy?
Actually, neither of these reasons is very likely, but there are some simple—and a few serious—explanations for this odd behavior.


Let’s face it, our dogs are always doing strange and often unexplainable things that baffle us as owners.
This includes taking steps in the opposite direction of forward, leaving us scratching our heads for answers.

To help put some rationale behind this bizarre behavior, in this article we will point out several potential reasons as to why your pooch is walking backwards, and explain what you can and should do—if anything—to address each of these causes.
If your dog is doing this, there is a very specific reason. There are actually numerous reasons that these animals do this. In this article, you’ll get more insight into this particular behavior.

Why Do Dogs Walk Backwards?

Have you ever sat and watched the way your dog normally walks—really watched to pick up on their walking style?

If you have, you may have noticed that dogs, as well as all members of the canine family—wolves, coyotes, foxes, etc.—have a certain method to their walking that sets them apart from both humans and their fellow four-legged creatures.


Dogs walk in a way that many zoologists have called a “semi-strut.”

It means that both limbs on one side move before they repeat the pattern on the other side.

According to experts, when dogs walk, they “first move their rear left leg forward, followed by their front left leg.”

They then repeat that process on the right side so as to catch up with the movement from the left.

Now, this whole progression of ambling happens very fast, which is probably why you haven’t noticed it before.

The “walking” movements of a dog are different than those it uses when moving in other ways.

So, with all of this in mind, let’s examine some of the reasons why a dog may reverse this procedure at times and walk in the opposite direction.

Walking Behavior in Dogs

Chances are you’ve probably never really paid close attention to how dogs actually walk. These animals step forward with their back left leg, with their front left leg the following suit. This followed by their right back leg going forward, and then their front right leg.

Dogs normally walk this way because it provides them with maximum stability and coordination. The first documented observations of canine walking behavior date back to the early 19th century. Dogs tend to walk in a semi-strut, as opposed to cats, which typically move in a slinking fashion.

Walking Backwards & Pacing in Dogs

Pacing is a type of walking movement signified more by the amount of movement rather than the gait itself. In dogs, pacing could be indicated by restlessness and the inability to simply sit down and relax. However, pacing can also indicate more serious health issues. Causes of PacingA canine can begin pacing for many different reasons, with some being serious health issues and others being completely normal. In large-breed puppies, pacing may occur because of bloat or because of various growth stages, with the dog pacing to compensate for the uneven growth.

Can Dogs Walk Backwards? (4 Reasons Why + Tips)

If you have been training your puppy to walk backward, they may do it just for the kick of it, perhaps to amuse themselves. FearAnother common reason for dogs to walk backward may be fear of anxiety. If you need to call the vet, you will have notes on your dog’s behavior when they are walking backward. When you walk towards your dog, they will instinctively walk backward. But the important thing is to be observant and notice changes in your dog’s behavior so you can intervene in time if required.

Why is My Dog Walking Backwards? – CanineJournal.com

When I let my dog outside to go to the bathroom he walks backwards around the yard. This is the only time I see him walk backwards. Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

Can Dogs Walk Backwards?

Can Dogs Walk Backwards? Can dogs walk backwards? If you have ever owned a dog, you have probably seen a dog walk backwards briefly in a variety of circumstances. These are some of the behavioral reasons that a dog may walk backwards, but dogs can also be trained for backward walking. As the disorder increases in intensity, dogs will sometimes walk backwards since the brain is not providing the proper signals for normal walking.



  • There are a total of four different gaits that the average dog uses in its lifetime, with walking being the most common.
  • Dogs have flexible spines that make running and walking in an agile manner fairly easy.
  • The pads on your dog’s feet help keep them grip the surface beneath to avoid slipping.
  • A lot of dogs walk backward because they are injured or have a medical condition that is painful. This could be your dog’s way of relieving the pain.
  • Walking backward is something that a lot of older dogs with hip or patella problems do.
  • It’s also possible that your dog is doing this because it is anxious/nervous about something.
  • There are many different things that can cause a dog to suddenly become nervous, including loud noises like fireworks.
  • Certain neurological disorders like Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome can also cause dogs to walk backward.
  • If this behavior continues with your dog, you’ll want to get them to the vet right away to be looked at.
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