Tips for Dogs Refusing to Potty in the Rain

Why Dogs Refuse to Potty in the Rain

Are your dogs refusing to go potty in the rain? Who can blame them, nobody really likes getting drenched. If you have a dog that doesn't like to go out when it's raining, the situation may be quite frustrating to deal with, especially on those days when there's a steady rain that never stops and your dog must go potty before going to bed for the night.

Why does your dog dislike rain so much? There may be several reasons. One of them is lack of exposure. Many dogs aren't used to being exposed to the rain when they are puppies so they grow up not being used much to the rain and the sensation of getting wet. Sometimes, the cause may be negative associations. If say, your dog one day is tentative in going out when it's raining and you get upset and scold him, your dog may start associating the rain with bad things. Another problem may be people who overreact to rain and make a big deal when getting wet. Some people avoid rain as much as possible when walking their dogs and avoid puddles like the plague.Not to mention, if we always get frustrated when our dogs won't potty in the rain, we can make matters even worse. Dogs easily pick up our moods and reactions, so they may learn that rain is bad and should be avoided at all costs.

For those who live in Arizona, things can be particularly problematic because dogs aren't too accustomed to seeing this much rain for a good part of the year, and then during monsoon season, here comes the rain non-stop for days at a time. Dealing with this problem first hand with my Rottweilers, I have come up with a nice list of tips to help your dog become more comfortable in going potty in the rain.

Read on for Tips to Help You Succeed....

Train dog to go potty in the rain
Train dog to go potty in the rain

Seven Tips to Help

1) Get your dog used to water

There are chances that domestication has spoiled our dogs. Dogs in the wild must get wet if they want to eat. Domesticated dogs rarely get wet nowadays. I recommend getting young dogs used to getting wet from a young age. I add getting a bit wet in my socialization classes. Get a garden hose and let your dog play with the water. Your dog will have lots of fun! I was reluctant to believe this at first but after being shy a few minutes my dogs had a blast playing in the water!

2) Feed on wet grass

Rain is often not the only problem with dogs who hate rain. Many dogs seem to also hate walking on the wet grass. Well, guess what? You can classically condition your dog to love wet grass, here's how. If it is has not recently rained, lightly make the grass humid with a garden hose and put your dog's food bowl down in the wet grass or toss some treats around. You can play a fun game of fetch on the wet grass. Your dog will start to associate wet grass with food or other fun things, or at least will learn that wet grass is nothing to worry about.

3) Let them walk

Walking stimulates elimination. Take your dog for a walk in the rain. Sooner or later the urge will come, so be patient. It may be tough at first but they will get used to the rain and gradually getting used to it will shorten the time to go potty.

4) Invest in a large umbrella

If you are looking for short cuts this may work. Doggy boots may be helpful as well as would a dog raincoat. But be aware: should one of these items be missing, your dog will go back to categorically refusing to go potty. Don't have an umbrella? Get your dog a nice rain coat instead!

5) Use a covered spot

It's not a bad idea to take your dog to a covered area to potty. Look for a tree with thick foliage, a car port under dirt or build an area that is covered but that has still dirt under that you can bring your dog to when it rains.Of course, if you're using a public place, don't forget to pick up after your dog!

6) Wait until your dog really needs to go

This may work in some cases. If it is raining outside, delay your dog's potty time. Let's say instead of 9 PM take your dog out at 10:30 PM or perhaps wait when your dog goes to the door. At this point, the urge to potty may override the fear of the rain.

7) Train a "Go Potty" Cue

This will help you dog generalize the behavior of going potty to different situations, places and scenarios. This is a very helpful cue your want your dog to learn as it can make going potty a breeze. Here are tips on how to Train your dog how to potty on command.

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© 2008 Adrienne Janet Farricelli

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Comments 21 comments

Tigermadstanley profile image

Tigermadstanley 7 years ago from Canterbury, Kent, UK

Great hub. My puppy isn't keen on going potty in the rain but she's having to get used to it. I let her play under the house when I'm watering my veg patches.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 7 years ago from USA Author

That's a great way to get her used to loving water! Just make sure no water goes in her ears as moisture in the ears attracts bacteria. Best wishes!

Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

LOL I laughed so hard, that is what I have been going through with my tiny toy poodle...omg she just turns around and goes back in the house. Sometimes I pick her up and stand in the middle of the yard then I put her down, she then runs for cover and goes back in the house. Are pets are so funny and now snow will fall and she loves the snow. Thank you a great article

alexadry profile image

alexadry 7 years ago from USA Author

We moved from Arizona where it rarely rained to Missouri where it practically rains every other day and they really care less now, it's all about desensitation!

jestone profile image

jestone 7 years ago from America!

We moved from AZ to Oregon. I can't wait for the rain here to come. Oh well, train train train and finally they will be fine with it.

Thanks for the Hub!


Suki C profile image

Suki C 6 years ago from Andalucia, Spain

What a GREAT hub - I have this problem with my 2 Spanish campo dogs (pic of Charlie is on my hub about bad weather in Spain).

They don't have a regular time to pee & poo because they basically have the freedom of the countryside - they are brother and sister who we rescued as pups from being drowned and I intend to write a hub about them one day soon.

We have a problem though if we are going out and it's raining - we don't want to leave them out in it and want to make sure that they are comfortable before we leave, but -

A) They don't want to go in the rain, and

B) They don't want to go while on the end of a lead - I suppose they're shy!

They're on the lead at that time by the way as we don't want them running off into the campo and returning hours later cold, wet and muddy.

I will have to read up on your hub about getting dogs to come back on command but I fear that it may be too late with these two!!!

p.s. - I tried a raincoat on Cassie the little girl - but she just stood stock still and refused to take one step in it :))

bonnie 6 years ago

It has been raining in Georgia a lot lately, what I would normally do with my dog is walk her out near a bush or under the tree it sheilds most of the rain and she potties, the rain with her is not getting her feet wet its more like getting her coat wet.

Christine Randolph 6 years ago

yeah totally !!!!!!!

their instinct seems to be to have a bathroom in the house WHEN THE GROUND IS SUPER WET !!!!! does not even have to rain. I saw a documentary on wolves in yellowstone, they do not go after a moose in the water, because they get too cold when they get wet and it is winter.

my border collie is a water dog and goes potty outside no matter what, my 2 northern breeds DO NOT, I guess they are closer to a wolf and more genetically predisposed to avoid freezing to death which is what getting wet might mean most of the time for a dog/wolf at the arctic circle

really silly, they are SOOO good all winter long...

Doug Quinn 6 years ago

My Australian Shepperd still won't go in cold weather. I still take him on walks in the rain and snow. When it snows I just use my Yaktrax shoes and walk him like I normally would, but he will not go either!!

Ken Barton profile image

Ken Barton 5 years ago

Great Hub! Our dogs don't mind going in the rain, but what they don't like is when it's rained so hard our back yard turns into a small lake. Then they say, "Don't think so", and use the pad inside.

"I don't blame them then" lol

wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

This is awesome. I thought I was the only one with a dog scared of rain. She has two other friends she goes out with, so she's not alone. They will go down the porch and do what they have to do. She will stay on the porch and wait for me to join her. We will get off the porch and if I don't keep encouraging her, she sneaks back up where she knows the door in a dry house will eventually open. Thanks for the great hub.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Your welcome, hope your dog learns to love the rain as my do know!

Jessie 4 years ago

Tried to take my boyfriend's weenie dog out 3x to potty & it's raining. He acts like he wants to go out then when I open the door he'll turn right back around and go right back in. Even if I go out in the yard & try to get him to come with me. Guess you have to get them used to the rain as you said. Thank you

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Yep! getting the dog used to the rain is key!

cassandra 4 years ago

Thank you that really work for my pup!

Smarty69 4 years ago


I have a 11 month old mini sausage dog who refuses to go out in the other dog is a 15 yr old sausage cross & couldn't get less about the rain he jumps out his doggie door & goes in the garden! So Iam putting the mini on a lead & getting soaked outside with her until she goes then giving her a treat & praise ....but she sometimes has a pee with me then comes back in then poops in the kitchen if I'm not with her :( I'm sure we will get there in the end....then I have to carry her back outside complete with the poop eeewwww! & hope she eventually toughens up to abit of water!!! Lol :)

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Try to keep your dog on a routine where he pees and poos at certain times of the day. Then when you take her out make sure she does everything. If she does not, when you come in keep her leashed to your belt so you can watch her and prevent her from going in the home.

Mel 4 years ago

I am desperate for this info! I adopted three four pound yorkies five months ago. They had all been in a puppy mill for several years, living in horrific conditions. After medicines, surgeries, training etc, we are all doing very well except when it is raining. I am new to this adoption and rehab thing and didn't know what was happening. I have been figuring everything out as I go. It is raining outside and has been all week so all three dogs just stand and look up at me. I get so frustrated!!. I am watching their every move today. I know that if I turn my back, they will just go in the house. What I worry about most is that they wont understand to play in the water. They have just learn how to play with their toys but not with us yet. They have not had a life at all, not even been held until us. I will give it a try. I bought a doogy pool and I have a sprinkler that we could try but I dont have much confidence that they will understand it and they will just freak out. If that doesn't work, I will try walking them through it. Winter is coming and i am in a race to solve this. The cold will only make it worse. Wish me luck

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Mel, bless your heart for helping these dogs out! It is wonderful! Try your best not to show frustration; I know it is hard when it is pouring and you are getting all soaked. Take advantage of training them to accept rain now before it gets too cold! Here is a guide, I wrote a while back, that may help you out:

Anon 3 weeks ago

I have a maltipoo that I have a extreme problem with. If it's raining or the grass is wet she is terrified if I take her and expose her to the wet grass she just runs back as fast as possible to the dry steps under the porch...she holds her "rear end" and back legs up and yes, literally walks on ONLY her front legs when she is urinating as to avoid "stepping" in the wet urine. It's extremely but she has gotten very good at literally walking on her 2 front legs every time she urinates. The problem I have is when it's raining and she refuses to go outside if I let her in the house she immediately will run to the carpet, a blanket, or a rug and urinate all over. She waits to get I TO the house to relieve herself. I scold her immediately and she knows she's in trouble but will repeat this horrendous act everytime it's wet or raining out. I'm at a loss of what to do. This is coming from a dog who absolutely loves to swim and will jump in a river and play all day in the water??? But won't get her feet wet if grass is wet??? It's so frustrating. And I'm at a total loss??? Pls any help greatly appreciated. Thankyou.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 2 weeks ago from USA Author

Oh wow, that's quite a dog who hates the rain! Perhaps you can provide a covered spot where she can go potty outside but yet avoid the rain. That way you can wait with her under this covered spot and not allow her to go inside until she goes? I am not thinking of something drastic, something just like a piece of tarp hung somewhere or a large umbrella for tables or something along those lines. Maybe if she's used to going on grass, even place one of those fake grass litter boxes for dogs there in the dry area.When she goes, lots of praise, a treat and then straight back inside. You can also try putting a blanket or rug she used before to potty on under the covered spot.

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