Q. Our dog Daisy refuses to go to the bathroom outside if it is raining. She is totally housebroken, unless it has been raining. We let her out, but she only wants to come back in the house and in some cases will pee inside. Any suggestions on getting her to go outside in the rain?
A. Dogs descend from wolves who live in the great outdoors, so who would think they would hate going out in the rain? But this problem is pretty common. Dogs are pampered and enjoy the comfort of a warm, dry home just as we do.
There are a few things you may want to try to get her to use the outdoors when it is wet out.
Typically dogs don’t go out in the rain as often as they do when it is not raining. You can try desensitizing her to the rain by spending time outside when it is lightly drizzling.
Start training Daisy on sunny days to urinate on command, so when it is raining she will have an idea of what you want her to do. To teach this, take her outside to an area she normally pees and as she sniffs, getting ready to go, tell her to “go potty.” Bring really tasty treats out with you, rain or no rain, and treat her every time she goes to the bathroom. As she starts catching on that treats are involved she’s likely to go more quickly and hopefully will do the same in the rain. And don’t forget to enthusiastically praise her to let Daisy know how pleased you are she has gone on command. Many dogs live for the praise and affection of their humans.
When it’s raining, put on your raincoat, grab an umbrella (to hold over Daisy) and go outside with her on a leash. She will appreciate the company. If she doesn’t seem interested in going, taking a short walk will help stimulate elimination. Once she goes, give a treat along with praise and head back home quickly. This will let her know it’s back to the comfort of the dry house once she has gone.
It may be worth buying a raincoat for Daisy to help her stay dry. Many dogs do well wearing them and some will even tolerate wearing boots. I see now they even have an umbrella just for dogs. It attaches to their collar and opens up over their body for protection. I have never used one, but the reviews on the internet are favorable.
You can also try getting your canine companion used to wet grass by encouraging her to go potty on the lawn after it has been watered. Putting a bowl on the wet grass with some treats in it may also help Daisy get used to getting her feet wet. Some canines just hate getting their paws wet, even more than being rained on.
Think twice about indoor alternatives such as pee pads. Some dogs can be trained to use them, but it may confuse Daisy. She may then prefer to go indoors, and not always in the appropriate place. Always be sure to keep her close to you if she hasn’t gone and watch for signs she has to go out.
Hope some of my suggestions help with getting Daisy to eliminate outdoors in the rain and not in the house.
Sally Salopek is the owner and operator of Attend-A-Pet pet sitting services in northern Door County. She has also worked professionally with animals in health care, pet grooming, training, wildlife rehab and rescue. Send your pet-related questions to her at [email protected].