Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of Brain Training for Dogs.
Why Do Dogs Refuse to Potty in the Rain?
Is your dog refusing to go potty in the rain? You can't blame them—nobody really likes to get wet. 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 the wet weather stays steady and never seems to stop.
Why Does My Dog Dislike Wet Weather so Much?
There may be several reasons why your dog doesn't like to potty in wet weather. Here are a few possibilities:
- Lack of exposure: Many dogs weren't exposed to rain when they were puppies, so they grow up not being used to the sensation of getting wet.
- Negative associations: If your dog is tentative about going out when it's raining and you get upset and scold them, your dog may start associating twet weather with bad things.
- Our overreactions: Some people avoid the rain as much as possible when walking their dogs and avoid puddles like the plague. The fact that we make a big deal about getting wet can affect how our dogs experience weather as well.
- Our frustration: When we get frustrated when our dogs won't potty in wet weather, we can make matters even worse. Dogs easily pick up on our moods and reactions, so they may learn that rain is bad and should be avoided at all costs.
7 Tips to Help Your Dog Pee or Poop in the Rain
In Arizona, where I live, things can be particularly problematic because dogs aren't accustomed to seeing rain for a good part of the year. Then, during monsoon season, the wet weather comes non-stop for days at a time. Having dealt with this problem first-hand with my Rottweilers, I have come up with a nice list of tips to help your dog get comfortable when it comes to pottying in wet weather.
1. Get your dog used to water.
Domestication may very well have spoiled our dogs. Dogs in the wild must get wet if they want to eat, yet domesticated dogs rarely get wet nowadays. I recommend getting young dogs used to rain from a young age. For this reason, water is something I include in my socialization classes.
I suggest getting a garden hose or a kiddy pool for your dog to play in. Your dog will have lots of fun! Even if your dog first appears shy of the water, it may only take them a few minutes to warm up to it. Of course, never force them to engage in play if they are absolutely uncomfortable. Try slowing down and start with minor activities and work your way up to more exposure.
2. Feed them on wet grass.
Rain is often not the only problem with dogs that hate water. Many dogs also seem to hate walking on wet grass. Well, guess what? You can classically condition your dog to love wet grass.
If it has not rained recently, wet the grass with a garden hose and put your dog's food bowl down on it or toss some treats around. You can also play a fun game of fetch on the grass. Your dog will start to associate wet grass with food or other fun things.
3. Let them walk.
Walking stimulates elimination. Take your dog for a walk in the rain. Sooner or later, the urge for them to potty will come, so be patient. It may be tough at first, but your dog will get used to the rain and the time it takes for them to go potty will gradually shorten.
4. Invest in a large umbrella.
If you are looking for shortcuts, using an umbrella may work. Doggy boots may be helpful as well in addition to a dog raincoat. But be aware, your dog may get used to these items and could go back to refusing to potty if one of them isn't available at a given time. Don't have an umbrella? Get your dog a nice raincoat instead!
5. Use a covered area.
It's not a bad idea to take your dog to a covered area to potty. Look for a tree with thick foliage, a carport, or build an area that covers a suitable substrate 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 approach may work in some cases. If it is raining outside, delay your dog's potty time. Instead of going out at 9 p.m., take your dog out at 10:30 p.m. or wait until your dog goes to the door. At this point, the urge to potty may override their fear of rain.
7. Train your dog with a "go potty" cue.
This will help your dog adapt the behavior of going potty to different situations, places, and scenarios. This is a very helpful cue. Here are tips on how to train your dog how to potty on command.
DIY Dog Raincoat
Figure Out What Works for Your Dog
With a little attention and patience, your dog can learn to potty in wet weather. If you are diligent about your training and choose one of the methods above, you will likely be successful in your efforts. If the problem seems unmanageable, consider working with a professional behaviorist.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: Are there ways to get your dog to pee so they don't get wet in the rain?
Answer: There are several options to get a dog to pee so that they don't get wet. One is to take the dog under a covered area (carport, tent, gazebo, area tarps, although with this latter dogs may be frightened by its movement/noise) and another option is to use a large umbrella. Many small dog owners use indoor pee pads for dogs who are squeamish about peeing in wet or cold weather. Owners of male dogs may use belly bands. Some dog owners use raincoats.
Question: Why are my dogs going potty in the house, even when it's not raining?
Answer: Dogs refusing to potty in the rain develop a tendency to go potty in the house for the simple fact that rain to these dogs is perceived as highly aversive. These dogs do not like the feeling of rain or are scared of storms, and therefore, will keep it for as long as they can. At some point, they no longer can hold it and will go potty in the house.
Question: It's been raining all day and now it's 8:00 pm and my dog hasn't gone potty for 24 hours because of the constant heavy rain all day. What can I do to walk the dog despite the rain?
Answer: You can try walking your dog using a large umbrella or taking him to a covered area (like under a carport, pavilion) where hopefully he can relax a bit, sniff around and do his business. Make sure to praise your dog lavishly and give him a treat when he goes. I have been there when my dogs were puppies they hated to potty in the rain and I didn't want them to go to bed on a full bladder, so I had to spend hours outside in hopes of them going. They always went eventually and when they went we threw a party so to leave a positive impact on them.
Question: How do I get my dog to poop outside when it's raining? He peed out there just fine, but wouldn't poop!
Answer: Pooping can be a little more challenging, considering that dogs are often picky of where to poop and they may do better in holding their poop compared to their pee. It can help to walk your dog and let him sniff around. What helped me the most was training my dogs to pee and poop on command. https://pethelpful.com/dogs/How-to-Train-a-Dog-to-...
Question: My dog hates to go potty in the rain and we're getting ready to have a hurricane to come through and I really don't won't to be out there either. How do I get him to use the bathroom if it's inside?
Answer: This is not easy, as your dog sounds like he's been used to going potty outside. You can help him by re-creating the surface he is used to going. For example, if outside he is used to going on grass, get a porch potty made with artificial turf, if he goes on gravel, try a litter filled with gravel. You can try to keep him in an indoor area by the door. Put a baby gate by the hallway by the door or an exercise pen, and place some pee pads closest to the door and food bowl/water bowl, dog bed the opposite side. Your dog may whine, bark in hopes of being let out to potty, but once the urge is too strong, he may just eliminate nearby the door. If you catch him going potty, praise and reward him as likely he'll feel uncomfortable about that. A well potty trained dog may struggle with this tough, and may hold it for long and often feels deeply confused about it.
© 2008 Adrienne Farricelli
Minerva Martinez on August 17, 2020:
I have two small dogs. They are fence in. They don’t potty on the neighbors yard. The neighbors have big dogs and they take them outside to potty and some times they go on our front yard. I water the grass at night thinking they wouldn’t come do their business but they still do. What can I do to stop it
John H on April 09, 2020:
My rescued small dog hates the rain and I live in an apartment. By accident I realized if I don't give in and walk my dog in the rain at his normal poopy time and won't let him back in until he goes, his waiting times are getting shorter. He knows right after he goes, he is able to go back home inside his dry home.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 30, 2019:
Alisha, it may help to erect a doggy gate or a baby gate so that she must stay in the area by the door where she has the potty pads. This way she has no other choice than to go there rather than going wherever she pleases. Take her out to try to go potty and then if she doesn't go, keep her in this gated area and do not let her out until she goes. It may help to praise her and reward with a tasty treat when she uses the pads.
Alisha Fogarty on December 29, 2019:
The problem with my dog a yorkie, is that when it rains, yes she doesn't like going outside to potty but we have potty pads near the back door. She unfortunately refuses to use them since she was a puppy she is now 3. We have two other dogs that use them and weren't trained to use them unlike she was. Me and my mom have tried EVERYTHING to get her to stop going where she pleases but nothing works. This issie only happens when it rains. I even try to go with her at times to have her go. So i have no clue what to do with her when it rains.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 14, 2019:
James, most likely your puppy isn't fully emptying his/her bladder. Try to stay outside a little bit more and encourage your dog to potty with positive associations. Here are some more tips:https://pethelpful.com/dogs/Why-Does-my-Puppy-Pee-...
James on May 29, 2019:
My puppy pees outside then immediately pees inside. So does the potty patch really work? Which is the best?
Craig on December 10, 2018:
Yeah no. I’ve been doing this stuff since the moment I got my dog at two months and none of it works. Even when he really has to poop if the grass is wet he’ll pee really fast then wait until we get back on the street/sidewalk and shit right there. There is no conditioning for him
Micky on June 23, 2018:
My dog WILL NOT go to the bathroom when its raining. I have tried an umbrella and treats, but no matter how much i encourage him, he won't pee! I have tried everything i can but he won't .
Angie on April 27, 2018:
I think my shih tzu associates rain with thunder. I try to take her mind off of the rain but she still shakes and is scared to death when she hears even the slightest hint of rain. Any suggestions?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 25, 2018:
Julia, with small dog breeds who get chilled easily, this option makes sense. It may help to keep the puppy pad right near the door so it's easier to transition again outdoors.
Julia Morgan on December 31, 2017:
You have many suggestions about potty in the rain but what about snow. The wind chill today is -30 degrees. When my maltipoo goes out she freezes. Do you think I should try to keep her in with puppy pads? Help.
NCgirl on August 08, 2017:
We adopted a wonderful and loving 4 yr old Chihuahua/Fiest mix. At first, I noticed she did not like to get her paws wet, but soon learned just hearing the rain is enough to stop her in her tracks. I try to coax her in a friendly way, but she is really stubborn. We determined that she needs to go out usually 5 x's a day; rarely less than that. Have read other comments, but still need more guidance!!!!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 06, 2017:
Heather, have you tried to close the bedroom door and leave some puppy pads nearby the door?
Heather on August 04, 2017:
My dog realy hates any kind of storm. Every time it rains she pees on my bed instead and Im at my whits end! Its hard to know itll rain in AZ. I leave for work and its sunny out and then a monsoon hits while im at work so I am not there to catch her in the act. She has a dog door and is housetrained fine when its not rainy.
Kate on June 05, 2017:
Got it sorted, my puppy hates going out in the rain and living in wales that's not good. Today torrential rain all day so resorted to a my very large umbrella and run round the garden sheltering her until she has peed and pooped, she thought this was great fun, crazy, who cares it worked, if you're desperate try it.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 02, 2016:
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.
Anon on September 24, 2016:
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.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 12, 2012:
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: https://pethelpful.com/dogs/How-to-Bathe-a-Big-Dog...
Mel on August 11, 2012:
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
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 10, 2012:
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.
Smarty69 on May 09, 2012:
I have a 11 month old mini sausage dog who refuses to go out in the rain.....my 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 :)
cassandra on March 13, 2012:
Thank you that really work for my pup!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 11, 2012:
Yep! getting the dog used to the rain is key!
Jessie on March 10, 2012:
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
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 03, 2012:
Your welcome, hope your dog learns to love the rain as my do know!
wetnosedogs from Alabama on March 03, 2012:
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.
Ken Barton on April 27, 2011:
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
Doug Quinn on August 19, 2010:
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!!
Christine Randolph on April 08, 2010:
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...
bonnie on March 31, 2010:
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.
Barbara C from Andalucia, Spain on November 01, 2009:
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 :))
jestone from America! on September 17, 2009:
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!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 14, 2009:
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!
Darlene Sabella from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ... on September 14, 2009:
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
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 07, 2009:
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!
Amanda Davey from Canterbury, Kent, UK on July 07, 2009:
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.