We’ve all been there—shivering in the relative shelter of the porch as we attempt to convince our dogs to get out there and do their business in the pouring rain. There is no more worthy adversary than a dog who hates to get wet.
“Dogs probably don’t like going out in the rain for the same reason we don’t—it is just unpleasant,” says Dr. Bonnie Beaver, Professor at Texas A&M University. “We have the advantage of being able to use umbrellas and raincoats, especially to keep rain from hitting our face. Dogs don’t have that ability.”
Beaver’s top tips for peeing in the rain
First off, don’t assume they’ll just take care of business if you toss them outside on their own. Beaver says this is one of the worst mistakes owners can make. Be prepared to get wet while you work through this process alongside your best friend.
You could get them a raincoat but, Beaver adds, “The thing that they don’t like getting wet is their head.” So though a coat might keep their bodies warm and dry, most don’t come with hoods. Raincoats and booties take time to dig out and put on the dog, so training them to go outside au naturel is more efficient in the long run. Of course, the adorability factor of a dog wearing a dashing coat can’t be overlooked, so check out our favorite raincoats here.
Start by taking your pet out on a leash with a large umbrella and hold it over the dog, not yourself. Cue your dog to pee or poop as you normally would, and be lavish with the treats and praise. If you have a sheltered area with trees or an overhang try using that spot as a quick relief area.
Desensitizing to water
Get your dog used to water by taking him out to pee after you’ve watered the lawn. You could also try feeding your dog on the wet grass or playing with them in a sprinkler or with a garden hose to create positive associations with the feeling of wet terrain.
If your stubborn mutt refuses to go outside, don’t give them free rein of the house. Keep your dog with you on leash or in a crate and try again for a successful potty every 20 minutes to an hour until you have success. If your dog will move (not just stand like a statue), take them for a nice long walk with lots of praise and goodies, when they know they can’t just wait you out, they’ll likely do the deed. For smaller dogs that like to be carried, you could try carrying them halfway down the block or so to end an impasse. They may just give up and go along with it.
Back to the basics
Good initial housebreaking training is a must in any kind of weather. The Humane Society has a great list of steps for getting them off on the right foot including keeping dogs on a regular feeding and bathroom schedule.
If you’re truly desperate, consider using potty pads or an indoor dog potty to avoid accidents. One weird trick to get dogs to use an indoor potty is to get another dog to pee on it first! Use your potty signal and always reward for doing their business in the proper place.