Why Do Dogs Freeze When They Play? (9 Reasons)

Why Do Dogs Freeze When They Play

You may have experienced this with your dog before — one moment you see them playing, the next, they are suddenly standing frozen and still.


But, before you start to panic and start running off to the Vet, there are a few things you need to know why this is happening.


For instance, a dog may suddenly freeze while playing because they are trying to control their emotions. It is trying to regroup with other dogs or signal other dogs that they are “playing.”


In today’s article, we will be sharing nine reasons why your dog suddenly freezes while playing.


1. Controlling Emotions

dog suddenly stop moving


Dogs can quickly lose control because of too much excitement and the adrenaline rush.


When they pause, they try to control this excitement because failing to do so may lead to running around the house or, worse, aggression.


In addition, this overwhelming feeling can harm the other dogs they are playing with.


The same also goes when dogs are playing with humans.


They may freeze and pause many times to control their excitement to avoid causing harm to their “hooman.”


You may also notice that dogs can be softer and freeze more often when they play with younger pups and kids.


2. Regrouping with Other Dogs

When playing with a large group of dogs, a dog may freeze to regroup with its playmates.


Some dogs may not catch up quickly, which is why the other more active and faster dogs would freeze to help the other catch up and regroup.


They could also be waiting for the frozen or resting others and wait until everyone is ready before they start playing again.


You may find this behavior evident between parent dogs and their pups.


Sometimes, parent dogs would just lay down and not show any signs of excitement at all.


In other cases, you may find them running around and then stopping in the middle to wait for their pups.


3. Signaling Other Dogs That They are Playing

You may find this in cases when a dog meets another dog for the first time, for instance, at a dog park where there are a lot of dogs that your furry friend can play with.


Your dog may initiate playtime by jumping and running around.


However, you may notice that it freezes while looking at the other dogs — this is its way to signal the others that it does not want to fight and that it only wants to play.


Without pausing or freezing, the other dogs may mistake the action as a form of aggression towards them.



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4. Natural Instinct of Hunting

You cannot expect younger dogs to immediately know that pausing and freezing is a way to communicate.


However, you may observe older pups to be doing this quite often. It is because freezing or pausing is instinct dogs use whenever they are hunting.


They would wait and recollect their senses, then get ready to run and pounce.


You cannot remove this natural behavior from dogs, but as they grow older, they would be able to discover ways to utilize this action in a way that would benefit them.


5. Feeling Stressed or Uneasy

group of pug playing cards


In some cases, freezing and pausing can be a negative sign that your dog is feeling stressed.


It often happens when dogs are not playing, but it could also occur even while they play.


For example, if your dog is already feeling tired, stressed, or uneasy, it could pause and try to walk away from the playing field.


Therefore, you should be aware and always keep an open eye out for signs that show when your dog is already tired or does not want to continue playing anymore.


6. Deciding if They Want to Continue Playing

In some cases, dogs get bored too.


When they pause or freeze, they could be deciding if they want to continue playing or not.


When they begin walking away or just laying down and grooming themselves, it could be a sign that they already want to stop playing.


It could be their way of signaling the other dogs, “Hold up! I don’t want to play anymore.


7. Trying to Build Their Confidence

If you have only introduced your dog to its playmate for the first time, it is understandable that your dog would be cautious.


However, there is a difference between your dog trying to initiate playtime with the others and trying to build confidence and trust.


If your dog is a naturally cautious breed like a Chihuahua or an Akita, you may find this kind of behavior standard.


It tries to test the waters to see if the other dogs are safe to play with or trusted.


8. Your Dog Is Cautious

Dogs sometimes freeze when they sense another animal, especially the small ones nearby.


It is because they go into hunting mode. The same thing goes when a dog finds something threatening or something they do not quite understand.


It could be a loud bang in the distance or another dog it is not familiar with.


If you find your dog pausing, for this reason, you should check in on what it saw or heard.


9. Your Dog Is Resting

Like us, dogs can get tired too, but it does not mean that it wants to stop playing.


It could be that it is pausing or freezing to rest for a while and breathe.


There is no harm in this behavior unless your dog is suffering from an illness affecting its stamina.


However, you should still check if it is pausing because it is trying to catch its breath.


When this happens, it is better to stop it from playing and if breathlessness persists, take it to the Vet immediately.


Key Takeaway

Pausing and freezing while playing is a natural action that dogs do.


There are various reasons behind this action, and the important thing is that you know how to decipher your dog’s behavior.


As an owner, it is always best to understand how your dog communicates with you and even with other dogs.


With this, you will have a better understanding of your furry friend.


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A pet owner who loves to share useful facts and information about a variety of animals.