“in addition to the great advice by Joan Morris below, when you do get your dog outside in the rain for elimination – make a huge fuss of your dog with your voice, PLUS, award with a top quality treat -or a few! - this will make the association of going outside in the rain a more rewarding one"
The first thing to say is, I love my dog.
He has brought me more joy than I likely deserve. He’s loving, playful, loyal and my best buddy. But Bailey in the rain is a different story.
Bailey is an almost 9-year-old Chihuahua rescue. He’s been a part of my life for six years. He sleeps beside me every night, taking more than his fair share of the bed. He loves to play tug-of-war and fetch with a large assortment of toys. And he absolutely hates getting his feet wet, which has been a problem in recent weeks with all this blasted rain.
Getting him to go out in the backyard for a potty break is impossible. Even if it hasn’t rained in a couple of days, he just stares suspiciously at the pavement and then gives me a look that clearly indicates I’m trying to murder him by forcing him to go outside.
It’s not just the outdoor wet weather that dismays him. Whenever we’ve had the carpets cleaned, he walks along the baseboard for weeks afterward.
He will go out on a leash in the rain, but he’s clearly not happy about it and for some reason he seems to think that the curb is dryer than any portion of the sidewalk, which means I’m in a constant struggle to pull him more toward the center.
The other day, during one of our heaviest storms, I wrestled him into a rain poncho and headed outside through the garage. He stopped in the open door, looked at the huge raindrops bouncing off the pavement and then back at me. He then hiked his leg on a box of trash and created a big puddle of his own. That was good enough for me.
If you have a dog that is reluctant to go out in the rain, here are some tips:
- If your dog won’t go out in the backyard on its own, man (or woman) up and go with it. Put on your foul weather gear, strap on the dog’s harness and leash, and walk around the backyard with your dog.
- Canine raincoats can be more fashionable than functional, and some dogs don’t like them. I tried one on Bailey on a sunny day, just to see how he’d do. He refused to hike his leg at all and we had a very frustrating walk. The jacket went back to the store and I replaced it with a poncho that he at least tolerates.
- You also can find doggy rain boots and umbrellas. There is no way my dog will put up with boots, but if your dog will, it can help keep its feet dry. I had no success with a canine umbrella, which combines an umbrella with a leash. They are clever in their design, but Bailey acted as if it was a giant squid about to eat him.
- Before going out, prepare yourself for coming back. Have towels on hand to dry your dog — don’t forget their feet — and a blanket to warm them up. Some praise and treats won’t go amiss either.
As anybody with a dog or cat knows, one of the things that is guaranteed, is to have pet hair around! It can be found in beds, on furniture, in the car, on the chairs, clothing and who hasn’t at some stage, removed a hair from their mouth after eating or drinking!