Just like people, many dogs have become accustomed to the comforts of the indoors. This can make early morning or evening bathroom breaks in cold, rainy weather a little challenging for owners. Some dogs simply do not like damp conditions, while others experience serious thunderstorm phobias. Determining which of these situations applies to your dog is the first step in making rainy day potty breaks easier.
Dogs with storm phobias typically demonstrate signs of anxiety including panting, staying close to their owners, salivating, pacing, and whining. Cases of extreme anxiety can trigger destructive behavior around the house. Dogs that have had a bad experience with a storm or loud noises are more likely to experience storm anxiety, but it’s possible for any dog to be fearful. Compassion is key for dogs with anxiety. Resorting to punishment or forcing a fearful dog to go outside can make the problem worse. If your dog experiences storm anxiety, it’s important to speak to a veterinarian regarding a behavior modification plan. Your vet may recommend an OTC anxiety product for dogs, a Thundershirt, or in severe cases, a prescription medication.
If anxiety doesn’t seem to be contributing to your pet’s dislike of rain, it’s okay to venture outdoors. However, it’s important to make the experience as positive as possible. Be sure to go outside with your dog and offer rewards if your pet does its business. If your dog tolerates clothing, you might also consider a doggie raincoat. Once back indoors, dry off your dog with a towel and give plenty of praise. The process will likely get easier after a few positive rainy day walks.