What to do if your dog refuses to walk in the rain

I’m a dog behaviour expert – and these are five things to try if your dog refuses to go for a walk in the rain

  • British expert Angela Laws said certain breeds can be overwhelmed by rain
  • READ MORE: Dog breeds most likely to struggle with separation anxiety

As the UK braces itself for more wet and dull weather, you’ll probably want to stay inside and so will your pets.

Experts have shared their advice on what to do if your dog refuses to go for a walk in the rain, as well as how to keep them entertained indoors – if venturing out isn’t an option.

Angela Laws, head of community at Trusted Housesitters, told FEMAIL that breeds with thin fur or short coats, like greyhounds and whippets, can become overwhelmed by torrential downpour.

She explained: ‘Dogs can become so overwhelmed by a downpour, with some reactive dogs even disliking the sound of rain on the windows. However, it’s important that pets are exercised and stimulated’.

Here, experts offer advice on how to encourage your pups to get moving in the rain, and what to do if they won’t…

Experts have shared their advice on what to do if your dog refuses to go for a walk in the rain (Stock image)

1. Start off small 

Since we’ve learned that certain dog breeds can be sensitive to the rain, keeping abreast of weather forecasts in your local area is key to making sure pups aren’t caught unprepared.

‘It’s key to find a time that the rain is likely to be lighter’, explained Angela. ‘Begin by taking your dog out for short walks in the light rain and gradually increase their time outside with lots of verbal encouragement and some tasty treats to turn the experience into a positive one’.

Even starting of small for a few minutes in the garden is enough, if the rain is too heavy to get outside in. 

‘Remember, dogs love routine, so try to keep outside toilet times similar to avoid any accidents’.

2. Raincoats or umbrellas

Before grabbing your trusted brolly or raincoat before leaving the house, why not consider the same for your pup?

Dressing your dog in protective gear can keep it both comfortable and motivated in the rain.

Angela said: ‘Some dogs may be more willing to go for a walk in the rain if they are wearing a raincoat or a waterproof harness to keep them dry. 

‘This can help protect them from getting too wet and make the experience more comfortable for them’.

But be sure to maintain enough control over the dog lead to avoid any nasty accidents.

3. Dry them off

There’s nothing worse than getting soiled with rain water on a miserable and blusterous day. 

Dogs hate sitting around in wet clothes just as much as we do, and they’re not partial to walking around in wet fur either.

Angela says: ‘Although dogs may have a raincoat, pat them dry as soon as they’re back inside to make sure you’re minimising any discomfort.

‘Pay special attention to their tummy, as muddy puddles can splash up, causing skin irritation once it dries’.

Dog dressing gowns are a great choice for wrapping your pooch in whilst they dry off. 

It also prevents pups from leaving disastrous stains if they decide to have a shake.

4. The right location

Even if your dog shows signs of throwing caution to the wind and wants to head out into the rain, some areas are less conducive to adventure than others.

Ideal locations are areas with more shelters and less puddles, like places with plenty of cover from trees.

Angela said: ‘If storms are forecast, it’s best to avoid trees in case of any lightning strikes.

‘For fearful dogs, thunder can cause them to bolt, so keep them on a secure lead, or postpone walks until it’s passed. 

‘If there’s one available in your area, an indoor dog park is also a great alternative to a wet and drizzly walk’.

5. Stay indoors

Some dogs will want to put their paws down and make a stand against the rain, no matter how much you try. 

The good news is that, according to Angela, some breeds can ‘skip a walk and be fine, so long as they’re fed and have a toilet break’.

Dog-walking and pet-sitting expert Sophie Mae, from Furends Southampton, agreed. 

Sophie explained: ‘Not all dogs will come to love rainy walks, and that’s perfectly okay.

‘If your dog remains hesitant to venture out in the rain, don’t fret. Mental stimulation can be an excellent alternative. 

‘Engage their mind with activities like puzzle toys, hide and seek, trick training, and scent games. 

‘These can be as beneficial as physical walks. It’s all about keeping their mind active and their skills sharp, rain or shine’.

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