You may notice your dog shying away from rain sometimes when other times he seems to love it. In fact, he may just flat out refuse to go outside when it rains. However, if you think about it, humans are the same way. We do not usually want to go outside and get wet. It makes us uncomfortable, cold, and sometimes downright miserable. And we have the options of an umbrella or a jacket to keep the rain off, dogs do not usually have those options. Although, they do sell raincoats for dogs and you may have seen owners take their dogs out while they hold an umbrella over them. So, can you blame your dog for not liking the rain?
The Root of the Behavior
According to the experts, not only does rain make dogs feel uncomfortable, it may also make them scared to get in trouble with you. Think about it. Have you ever scolded your dog for tracking mud or rain in the house? Maybe he remembers that and so he does not want it to happen again. Remembering the aggravation it caused you to have to clean the floors and the bath you probably gave him afterward to get the mud off are two very good reasons for not liking the rain. Then again, they also may not like the sound of the rain. Some of us like the sound of the rain hitting the roof and it can be rather peaceful for humans but dogs are a different story. For one thing, they do not really understand what it is like we do. After all, they just know that it is loud and it makes them feel uncomfortable. Another thing is that when it rains, sometimes there is thunder and lightning, which can be very scary for your dog. Hey, sometimes it even scares us so you can imagine how they must feel when they have no idea what is going on.
Barometric pressure is another cause for your dog to dislike the rainy season. Dogs are more sensitive to the changes in barometric pressure and this may be an issue for your dog. Other experts claim that when it rains, the moisture makes all the smells much stronger and your dog has a much better sense of smell than you do so they notice this. In fact, some of the smells may be quite scary to your dog so this may be another reason they do not like the rain. The fear of the unknown is a powerful thing. This brings us to another reason your dog may not like the rain. Their lack of exposure to the rain up until this point may be negligible and this can cause your dog to be afraid of the rain.
Encouraging the Behavior
Although it is important to comfort your dog, you should not encourage them to fear the rain. So, what can you do? You can start by introducing your dog to water slowly. We all know that most dogs do not like baths so getting them used to water may be difficult. However, it is possible if you do it in a way that they enjoy. For example, what dog does not like to play in the hose? Has your dog ever tried to bite the water as it comes out of the hose or sprinkler? This is one way to get them to like the water, getting them a step closer to enjoying getting wet. Start taking your dog out when it rains whether he has to go potty or not. You can start by going out there yourself and leaving the door open, encouraging him to join you. It may be helpful if you use an umbrella at first. Let him get used to the sound of the rain and the feel of the wet grass on his feet. Let him smell everything while you are with him so he is less fearful. While you are doing this, be sure to talk softly and soothingly to your dog using encouraging words like “good dog” or “what a good boy.”
Other Solutions and Considerations
If your dog is still not happy about going out in the rain, try a covered awning or invest in a large umbrella placed in the yard where he can go potty. If you have a large tree with a lot of leaves for cover, this can work too. Pay attention to how your dog is behaving. If he is really scared, shaking and whining, you may need to talk to your veterinarian or a dog behaviorist. There may be some reason that your dog is afraid of rain that you do not know about that the behaviorist can uncover for you. It may be a traumatic episode that happened before you owned him or something that happened when he was outside that you do not know about. Animal behaviorists are like psychologists, they can figure these things out with their special training and instincts.
No matter how you do it, your dog has to get used to going out in the rain eventually. Unless you want to move somewhere it never rains, like the desert. Or if you can teach your dog how to use the toilet. But then you may be waiting in line for your turn to go.