Why Does My Dog Skip When He Walks?

Why does my dog skip when he walks? There could be several reasons for this behavior, including injury to the hip and knee area. Do read on to find out!

Every dog owner is familiar with the odd skipping walk. It’s not a normal part of canine locomotion, but it’s something that many dogs get into the habit of doing. So what causes it?

Well, your dog skips a few steps sometimes because it is cold. It can also be something serious like an injury or pain because of which your dog is skipping. It can also happen if your dog has slipped and dislocated the patella (kneecap). This is known as patella luxation.

In this post, we’ll help you understand why dogs skip when they walk and try to cover all the aspects related to it.

What Causes Dogs to Skip?

It could be because they are cold, but sometimes it can also be a sign of patella luxation.

Most of the time, dogs skip when they walk because they are stiff, either from the cold. Most dogs will tend to stiffen up after spending time outside in the cold, so their first few steps on first entering your home will often be skipping. They will then settle back into their normal stride after a few seconds of getting warm.

It can also be due to patella luxation where the patella (knee joint cap) of dogs becomes unstable and displaces. If your dog is small this can be due to a congenital disorder. If it is big it can be due to some trauma. 

If your dog is holding one of its legs up or has shaky legs or skips more often, then you need to take your dog to the vet. Knee surgery might be the last resort for your dog. 

If your dog is otherwise healthy, she probably won’t have any aches and pains that are serious enough to cause her to skip. 

These symptoms can be the early signs of arthritis and other conditions. If your dog is limping or can’t seem to get her gait steady, or if she appears stressed out, it’s a good idea to take her in for an examination.

Why Is My Dog Bunny Hopping? 

It could be a sign of an injury in its back legs.

Damage in back legs

Most dogs bunny hop only because their back legs have been damaged. There could be several different causes, including injury from surgery or trauma to the leg, osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia, and cancer.

If you notice your dog bunny hopping and you are concerned about his health, please consult a veterinarian as soon as possible because it is an important issue that needs to be diagnosed.

Degenerative joint diseases

The most common reason for bunny hopping is hip dysplasia or arthritis, two types of degenerative joint diseases. When these two conditions occur, the hind legs become weak, causing your dog to lean forward when walking. When this happens, excessive stress is placed on the muscles in the back and small of the back.

The muscles in charge of lifting a dog’s rear legs become overworked and strained. This causes your pet to bunny hop as he walks to relieve some of that strain.


Another major cause of bunny hopping is an injury or trauma, such as lameness caused by surgery or falls. This can happen because the muscles are still weakened and cannot support your dog’s weight.

The best way to help your pet when this occurs is by placing him on a low animal protein diet and high in carbs.

Other causes.

Other causes include cancer, parasites, and even over-exercising your pet or playing too hard. This also occurs when the dog bunny hops due to injuring or over-exercising his back legs because his muscles are too weak to support himself anymore.

Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tails So Much?

Tail wagging typically happens when they are very excited

You probably noticed that “wobbling” usually accompanies fast tail wagging. It also often happens when dogs are excited and anticipating some food or goodie. Some people see this as evidence that dogs are expecting something really good – like a nice piece of steak or some tasty food tidbit.

Some people believe dogs are happy when they wag their tails. But others say that fast tail wagging is an alert about something, such as a car coming up the street or a strange person approaching. The faster the tail-wagging, the more excited and the more concerned your dog is.

Why Does My Dog Hop Like A Deer?

There could be several causes, including happy ones like learning to play or bad ones like an injury to the knee or hip.

Hip Dysplasia

One of the common reasons why your dog might be consistently hopping is hip dysplasia. In this condition, your dog might have pain in the hips which flares up when they walk normally. This causes them to hop instead of walking normally. 

Patella Luxation

If your dog has suffered an injury in the knee cap (patella), then it could be trying to avoid putting pressure on it. This would be another reason why the dog is hopping instead of walking.

Learning to Walk

Puppies, like human infants, spend a good deal of time experimenting with their bodies. Many of these ‘formative activities’ take place while they are asleep. 

One such example of this is seen in the dog dream-state, where they push against the ground with their legs to practice walking. When they become more proficient at this, their legs tend to curl up, and they begin to hop. This is the start of a lifelong habit.


Dogs typically hop when they are running around or playing. You’ll often see dogs hop in the yard when they play with each other or with their owner. They may also do this as a way of getting attention from their owners, much like a child running for attention when left alone.

Hopping can also serve as a way for dogs to express excitement, as you’d see with a child jumping up and down in the dark. The bounciness of the action results from tension in the muscle spindle tissues in their hind legs, which causes them to vibrate. A common cause that leads to an accidental hop is when your dog’s hips are not straight.

Why Is My Dog Lifting His Back Leg When He Walks?

Typically lifting the back leg in male dogs is a way to mark territory during urination

Many pet owners are familiar with their dogs lifting one of their back legs when they walk as a means of scent-marking, which can help spread the individual’s scent evenly around. 

Urinating is one of the most common functions that dogs display when they lift a leg while walking. This is more common in male dogs than in female dogs, but both of these can sometimes exhibit this behavior.

Dog urinating presents some challenges for pet owners. This is very true if the dog is a young or recently adopted pet. Sometimes the challenges of dog urination result from improper training or bad habits, and it can be hard to change a long-established habit or train a dog for the first time.

Why Do Dogs Urinate While They Are Walking?

There are many reasons why a dog may want to urinate while walking. Dogs may urinate to mark their territory, undress themselves to mark their territory, relieve themselves of any unnecessary waste, or simply for the pleasure of the act. 

It can be challenging to determine whether these behaviors have been learned from early puppy training or have just become an innate form of communication for your pet.

A Few Final Words

You can help your dog get back to normal when they are skipping. You can increase the amount of exercise they get, but other than that, there isn’t a whole lot you can do. Increasing the amount of exercise is well worth the trouble. But once your dog has begun skipping, you most likely won’t be able to stop it.

Thank you for reading the article, we hope we were able to answer most of your queries. If you are worried about your dogs health, you might also like to read: Why Does My Dog Poop Standing Up? And Why Does My Dog Shake When He Eats?