Thursday, 11 August 2022
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Critter Corner: Training your dog for the rain

So many days of rain; oh, I lost count. Rain totals – yeah, a lot.  More coming in this week as I write.

As I was putting my dogs out to relieve themselves, I began singing “Just peeing in the rain!”

Then I started thinking, it really is important that dogs learn to potty in the rain.  If a dog is not comfortable being out in the rain, it can be harder to teach him to potty in the rain.  If a dog does not want to relieve himself when it is raining, what is his other option?

If you do not want your dog relieving himself inside when the weather outside is bad, then what do you need to do?  First, let’s look at how we often make rain not such a good thing.

It is annoying enough for people who have a securely fenced yard to have to deal with wet dogs:  muddy paws, trying to towel the dog before he shakes.

It can be frustrating when you live in a place where you have no option other than to walk your dog when it is raining.  Now not only do we have a wet dog, but we have a wet, unhappy owner.

We get stressed, our tone and body language changes.

We want our dog to do his business and fast. We rush him. We get flustered. Then we wonder why Sparky refuses to potty in the rain.  How do we change this?

I think you know where I am going with this train of thought.

How can we make being in the rain at least less stressing if not outright fun?  We get out and make it that way. Now, this is NOT to be used as an excuse to leave your dog out in the rain just because you think he likes it.  All I want to do is try and change the attitude toward going potty outside when it is raining. Let’s get started.

When it is raining lightly, get outside and play with your pup.  Walk him, feed him treats, get silly. Dampened grass, hoses on mist, lightly running sprinklers, etc., can all be used to help mimic falling water (rain).  

Do not spray the dog directly.  Do not force him into the water.  He needs to do it on his terms and at his speed. Your job is to be fun and reinforce going in the mist or light rain as good. Do not stress or get upset.  These behaviors from us can undo progress.

Do not forget things we or our dogs may use/wear when going out in the rain.  Going outside then suddenly popping open an umbrella can be scary.

Rain coats and booties are not normal things for dogs to wear.  Slowly acclimate your dog to anything they or you may use to stay drier in the rain.  Make them all as positive as possible.

When our dogs are less stressed about being out in the rain, it becomes easier to teach them to potty outside when it is wet.  The more comfortable they become relieving themselves in the rain, the easier it becomes for you.

So, let your inner child out.  Play in the rain and mud. Make it fun.  Yes, you will end up with a soggy dog and having to wipe paws.  However, would you rather have a dog that willingly goes out in the bad weather to potty or one who fusses about and may refuse to go at all?


The Bark Box

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