If Your Dog Refuses to Go Out In the Rain

How to get your pet to go to the ‘bathroom’ in bad weather


Some dogs absolutely hate to go out when it’s raining. It becomes a tug of war at the door. Yet you want your pet to be able to comfortably relieve himself rather than try to hold it in (and potentially fail in that attempt). And you don’t have a backyard you can let him out in for quick relief. You’re also on a schedule and can’t always wait until the skies clear. What to do?

First, never show impatience or annoyance, no matter how impatient or annoyed you might feel. That’s not going to make a disinclined dog want to go out with you. It’s only going to make him feel anxious and resist even more.

Instead, try the following steps.

  1. Put rain booties on your pet. What bothers a lot of dogs about rainy weather is not the water coming down on them but the water on the soles of their feet. Some don’t like the sensation of moist, squishy grass or soil or even wet sidewalks.
  2. Try a doggie rain jacket. Some dogs, especially those who have never worn a sweater or jacket for warmth, may balk about being wrapped in material. But you can work to get them used to it by giving treats around the house as they adjust. A number of rain jackets even have hoods — important, since it’s wet heads that many dogs are more bothered by than wet bodies.
  3. Get a very big umbrella, and make sure it covers your dog as the two of you are walking. In fact, it’s more important that you cover him than yourself. You know you can dry yourself off when you get back home. But your canine companion needs to do his business right now, and you want to do what you can to make it happen.
  4. Bring along an absolutely delicious treat that won’t crumble in the rain, and give it to your dog with a “Good boy!” immediately after he finishes relieving himself. You want to teach him that there are rewards for cooperating. You may also want to give him a morsel of the treat the moment you get him out the door as a way of letting him know that this will all work out.
  5. As soon as you get back home, dry off your pet with a plush towel. That can be part of the newly satisfying routine, and you can conspicuously put the towel by the front door as you head out together, letting him know that it will be there for him a little later on.

If your dog has thunderstorm phobia and is afraid of thunder and lightning, taking him out in the middle of a “sound and light show” will backfire. He needs help getting over the phobia before you can begin to acclimate him to walking in the rain.


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